Citizens of San Diego wanted a rail link to the East almost from the moment the city became part of the United States. A rail line would take advantage of one of the finest harbors on the West Coast, and put San Diego on the map. Best of all it would show the upstarts in Los Angeles that California’s first city could be its finest.
In the 1850s San Diegans hoped to become the western terminus for the transcontinental railroad, but first politics, then the Civil War, ended that dream. Another early effort, the Texas and Pacific, failed in the Panic of 1873. Finally in 1885 the California Southern, a subsidiary of the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad (AT&SF), built its tracks into National City from Cajon Pass, but the line eventually became only a spur from Los Angeles.1
An early twentieth century attempt to link San Diego directly with the East by way of Yuma, the San Diego and Eastern (SD&E), folded in 1905 before laying any track, but its efforts were not completely in vain. John D. Spreckels, soon to be a leading citizen of San Diego, had a hand in the road, his company having paid for a portion of the route survey carried out by the San Diego & Eastern.2
Shortly after the SD&E failed Spreckels and several other leading San Diegans incorporated the San Diego & Arizona Railway Company (SD&AR).3 They planned to tie into the national railroad network through Yuma, Arizona. Hoping to finish the road in just a few years, it took them more than twelve years from groundbreaking to golden spike. Much of the blame for the delay can be attributed to the mountainous terrain the road had to traverse to reach the desert for its relatively easy run to Yuma. The SD&AR has been called “The Impossible Railroad” primarily because of that terrain and most notably because of Carriso Gorge.4
Located in the high desert of eastern San Diego County, Carriso Gorge is eleven miles long, with a very barren landscape. In places the slope of the hillsides is so steep that it exceeds 40 percent.5 Chief Engineer Edmund J. Kallright of the San Diego & Arizona Railway wrote in 1907 that “Carriso Gorge itself is one of the most formidable places that a railroad was ever built in.”6 Because of the dramatic view the SD&AR used a drawing of a train on a hillside in the Gorge as the centerpiece of its logo. It is a starkly beautiful area with its desert terrain and steep hillsides. Though it caused many problems, costing millions more than any other part of the line, and taking more than twice as long as planned to finish, the company needed to build through the Gorge because it allowed them to limit their gradient to 2.2 percent or less on the way to the desert floor, an important consideration for steel wheels on steel rails. Carriso Gorge was the key to reaching Imperial Valley and the East.7
Why was the Gorge so expensive and time consuming? The common assumption has been that the tough engineering challenges of the mountainous terrain, coupled with the heat and isolation caused most of the delay. While they were contributing factors, a thorough examination of the archives of the San Diego & Arizona Railway, emphasizing the records of tunnel eight, shows that labor problems, especially shortages, shoulder most of the responsibility.
Shareholders incorporated the SD&AR in December 1906 and broke ground on the road in San Diego in September 1907. The company had done some preliminary work in Carriso Gorge in February of 1907, but it was ten years before construction crews got back there to do any substantial work.8 Before they could return to the Gorge the company had to select a final route. The SD&AR chose one based on new surveys they undertook themselves and older ones done by the San Diego and Eastern. The course of the chosen route was south to Tijuana, then eastward through Mexico to just past Tecate where the line reentered the United States. After zigzagging through the mountains to Jacumba, the road turned north to enter Carriso Gorge where it would pass through seventeen tunnels and over fourteen trestles9 on its way out of the mountains.10 After reaching the desert floor at what is now Ocotillo the line paralleled San Diego-Imperial Boulevard to Seely where it joined with the Southern Pacific.11
Next the builders had to finish the line from both ends to a point close enough to the Gorge to facilitate transporting supplies and laborers. Construction problems, the Mexican Revolution, and financial difficulties delayed the accomplishment of that goal until early 1917.
When the SD&AR was finally ready to sign the contract which covered the work in Carriso Gorge they chose the Utah Construction Company (UCC) as the general contractor because of the company’s previous experience in railroad tunnel boring.12 UCC and SD&AR signed Contract Twelve on 5 February 1917. (It was essentially the same as one negotiated in 1914 which the parties had not signed then because of the outbreak of World War I in Europe.)13
Contract in hand, UCC had some preliminary work to do. First, the extreme heat in the Gorge made plenty of water essential. They solved that problem by tapping into three springs14 and then piping the water to the camps.15 Next, the contractor needed roads to connect the end of the tracks near Campo to the Gorge, a distance of twenty-four miles. Some parts of the needed roads already existed, others had to be built. Work in the early part of 1917 concentrated on building those roads, labor camps, supply dumps, and roads through the Gorge. This effort continued well into the summer of that year.16
With the preliminary work done, the actual work of building a railway line through Carriso Gorge could begin. UCC subcontracted out many sections of the work, with tunnel eight being awarded to Gus Johnson’s company. Tunnel eight was to become the linchpin in the completion of the SD&AR. It was the last section of the road to be completed. Originally projected to be 2,515 feet in length,17 tunnel eight ended up being 2,527.317 feet long, the second longest on the road. (Tunnel fourteen was the longest at 2,604.733 feet.)18 The work of digging it lasted from September 1917 until October 1919, although UCC had told the SD&AR that they would do their best to complete Contract Twelve by 31 May 1918,19 even though they were not obliged to give a firm completion date.20
They were not able to do so because of a number of problems they encountered in Carriso Gorge. The company experienced cave-ins, fires, floods, hard rock, poor supervision, subcontractors leaving, and the United States Government taking over the line after the outbreak of World War I. Beyond all that, they experienced a scarcity of labor which became the biggest impediment to progress.
Labor shortages started early in the fall. By 5 October 1917 Kallright was complaining to William Hood, Chief Engineer of the Southern Pacific Railroad, about the scarcity of labor attributable to the building of cantonments in the San Diego area.21 The harvest season in Imperial Valley was also taking away workers.22 Kallright was writing to Hood because of SP’s partnership in the building of the SD&AR, and because Kallright had been Hood’s assistant at SP before coming to the SD&AR.
In an ironic twist, shortly after he sent that letter, Kallright received one himself from the Imperial Valley County Council. They were concerned about their own lack of labor in the Valley and asked that SD&AR stop recruiting workers there.23 Residents of Imperial Valley were eager to have the road completed, they just did not want it at the cost of their farm labor pool. The SD&AR would have to look elsewhere for workers.
The lack of laborers may be why Gus Johnson stopped work on tunnel eight sometime before 22 October 1917.24 Progress reports for the period from 27 October until 22 December report no digging in the tunnel during that time, but by 31 December Johnson was back working in the west end and the tunnel had advanced ten feet.25
Another problem appeared in December 1917 which also slowed progress. The United States Railway Administration (USRA) took over the road because of World War I. In San Diego & Arizona: The Impossible Railroad, Robert Hanft claims that the USRA halted all work on the road from then until the following May.26 While it is true that all railroads in the country did come under the USRA during the war, construction work did not halt on the SD&AR during the period he mentions. Weekly Progress Reports for that time show headway being made in tunnel eight and other parts of the Gorge.27 The progress was slow and somewhat erratic, but there was ongoing work. Spreckels did have to travel to Washington to ask for permission to continue building the road. He successfully argued that completion of the line would benefit the war effort because of San Diego’s military installations.28
The first nine months of 1918 continued the trend of slow progress from the previous fall. A detailed look at that period of time will show that the scarcity of labor became an even bigger problem, so the contractors looked to Los Angeles and Imperial Valley for workers. Management suspected the contractors of trying to slow down work in the Gorge hoping for bigger profits if the war were to end and price controls were lifted. SD&AR officials devised a bonus scheme in January to speed work. UCC predicted that they would lose money on Contract Twelve. Subcontractors came and went in tunnel eight, and a fire destroyed a compressor plant. There was some good news when the western end of the line was finished to Jacumba in July.
Labor shortages were again bad news in February 1918. Kallright complained about the contractor’s lack of effort in acquiring new workers. He said that there was enough equipment and machinery on hand at the Gorge to accommodate at least 800 men, but that the Weekly Reports showed an average of only 413 workers employed. UCC told him that they would “increase the force and push the work more vigorously,” but nothing changed.29
All the construction companies hired to work on the SD&AR had promised to engage as much local labor as practical, but there was none to be had in San Diego, so UCC went to Los Angeles to hire workers, with SD&AR paying the transportation costs. By doing this they managed to keep the number of men in the labor force in the Gorge even, at least temporarily.30 David W. Pontius, general manager of the San Diego & Arizona Railway, complained that the force had gone from a high of 506 men during the week of 7 April to a low of 397 men the week of 15 May 1918. He could not understand how this had happened when the SD&AR had paid the fares of one hundred men from Los Angeles to San Diego during that period.31 By May the average force on Contract Twelve was down to 378 men. The SD&AR transported 156 more workers from Los Angeles but lost seven in transit.32
The following month the SD&AR again ran into problems with the Imperial Valley County Council. El Centro authorities arrested S. Rodriguez, one of the SD&AR’s labor recruiters, for trying to hire workers without a license.33 In an attempt to slow an exodus of farm workers to the San Joaquin Valley, the Council had passed an ordinance requiring that all labor recruiters be licensed. The ordinance also required a recruiter to ask anyone he hired if they were farm workers, and if so he was not to induce them to leave Imperial Valley. The council would allow the SD&AR to recruit workers for Coyote Wells and Carriso Gorge, however.34
Even with the necessary permits and permission, the recruiters apparently were not able to hire many workers in the Imperial Valley. The number of workmen in the Gorge went from 358 per week in June to 315 in July. They made only modest gains in the number of workers during the rest of the summer, going from July’s 315 men per week to 366 in September. During the same period the SD&AR shipped 234 men from Los Angeles to San Diego with four of them lost in transit.35 This arrangement resulted in a net gain of only fifty-one more workers in Carriso Gorge.
Towards the end of summer, Hood said that “ the entire matter of delay seems to be caused by war conditions as to labor, and by practically nothing else.”36 Shortly thereafter, in a coded telegram, Hood asked Kallright about a rumor to the effect that contractors were turning away workers because they were losing money due to wartime conditions having driven up wages in the San Diego area. The rumor continued that the contractors were delaying the work in hopes of a quick end to the war “and then they can complete the work with large profits.”37 The next day Kallright wrote that he had “ had this up with Mr. Lawler on several occasions.” H.J. Lawler, who was Utah Construction Company’s representative for Contract Twelve in the San Diego area, said that UCC was only turning away those men who were unqualified for tunnel work.38
Back in January 1918 officials began to explore ways to speed up the work. Spreckels came up with a plan to spur the contractors on with bonuses, hoping that would encourage them to finish work in the Gorge by midsummer 1918.39 Pontius telegramed Vice President Paul Shoup of the Southern Pacific Railroad to suggest that Spreckels’ bonus system might encourage the contractor to finish sooner.40 Given the go ahead to look into the matter, it was more than a month before Pontius replied. President Wattis of UCC had said that bonuses would not work. Wattis had also announced that his company was going to lose $250,000 on Contract Twelve, but intended to finish it anyway. He hoped that after the completion of the contract SD&AR would feel inclined to help out with UCC’s heavy losses, and if so the contractor would appreciate it.41
Even if they were going to lose money, Utah Construction Company was predicting that they would finish Contract Twelve by 1 January 1919.42 In spite of that prediction, progress continued to be slow for the next several months. Tunnel eight only advanced an average of fifteen feet per week from the beginning of February until the end of May 1918.43
Subcontractor turnover probably caused some of the slowdown. Late in January Gus Johnson stopped working in tunnel eight. His name is missing from the Weekly Report of 1 February, and does not reappear.44 No one worked in the west end until April when Young and Crook and Company appear there, with J. Norrel boring away from the east.45 By the middle of May however, Young and Crook had taken over both ends of tunnel eight.46 In July L. Hamre & Company took over the work in the east end of the tunnel from Young and Crook.47 This kind of turnover among subcontractors must have had a deleterious effect on the speed of progress in tunnel eight.
Other problems during this time included the main compressor plant burning down on 28 February, and material shortages in June. It took almost a week to rebuild the main plant while the other plants tried to pick up the slack.48 This meant major trouble because the compressors supplied air to run the drills used to dig in the tunnels, as well as the breathable air supply at the work face.
The material shortages in June were primarily in timber to shore up the tunnels once they were bored out. Tunnel Progress Reports show no advancement in number eight from 31 May through 30 June. The Weekly Progress Reports for the time do show work being done, but it only consisted of taking out smaller trap drifts.49 These trap drifts were necessary preliminary work towards removing the entire profile of the tunnel, so the subcontractors did make some progress.
Not all the news during the first nine months of 1918 was bleak, however. In July, workers finished Contract Eleven, completing the tracks as far as Jacumba. Building materials could now be hauled by train twenty-four miles closer to the work. The key to completing this portion of the line had been the upper bridge over Campo Creek which Twohy Brothers Construction Company had finished the previous April.50 The SD&AR considered Contract Twelve for Carriso Gorge to be nearly fifty percent done by this time because they were including all the preliminary work that had been accomplished before actually starting on the roadbed. The completion of the line to Campo and Contract Twelve being half finished inspired new optimism among management about an early completion in mid 1918. In July, General Manager Pontius claimed that the SD&AR would be in operation by the end of 1918. That is hard to understand, because tunnel eight was only 30 percent complete when he said it.51
Pontius’ optimism was misplaced. There were more labor shortages that fall and winter, although this time management could not do much about them. In October Utah Construction Company had shipped 211 men from San Diego without any appreciable increase in the work force. Men had been leaving the Gorge because of the influenza epidemic, which was devastating the camps in Carriso Gorge. There had been 100 cases of flu in the Gorge in October, with twelve dead. Each time a man died, many of the other workers in that camp would leave for town.52 They had tried hiring Mexican workers to alleviate the shortages, but according to UCC’s Lawler they were unsatisfactory for tunnel work because they had no training as powder men or drillers. The Mexicans did well working on the roadbed outside the tunnels, however.53
The influenza epidemic may have scared off the 200 tunnel men from the Seattle area who were reported headed for San Diego in early November. According to that same report UCC was bringing some expert tunnel foremen from Salt Lake City, in addition to which they had hired a new tunnel supervisor.54 Those tunnel men never did show up. By December the flu situation was much worse in the Gorge. Every camp reported some cases of the flu, and twenty-five men had died so far.55 The number would reach twenty-eight by the time the epidemic had run its course in January with a total of 215 men having contracted the illness.56
As if the influenza was not enough of a problem that fall, Kallright had speculated in August that the contractors might be trying to drive up the contract by dragging their feet.57 His words proved to be prophetic. In an attempt to spur the Utah Construction Company on by increasing their profits, the SD&AR signed a revised contract on 30 November 1918. The new contract raised prices paid to UCC for work in the Gorge between 15 and 20 percent, retroactive to 30 June 1918.58 The contract also contained provisions to protect SD&AR against “increased costs with no increased results.”59 Not even a new contract could inspire UCC to predict an early finish, however. They must have learned their lesson from their earlier estimate of 1 January 1919, because the Monthly Progress Report for October had dropped that date and said that UCC could not predict a completion date.60
The late winter and spring of 1919 brought slower progress to the work in Carriso Gorge and tunnel eight. Lack of labor was still a problem, as were inefficiency, a cave-in, and poor supervisors. Many letters and memos were written about the labor shortages, but they did little to hurry the work. Tunneling progress reached a low point in March, but gradually crept back up by June.
By late April 1919 the management of the SD&AR must have realized tunnel eight would be the sticking point in the completion of the line. They began to push UCC to start the third shift in tunnel eight that Lawler had mentioned earlier.61 Their prodding must have worked because the Weekly Progress Report of 30 April described a third shift working in tunnel eight. Employing a third shift meant they were able to utilize the compressors from the other tunnels during the hours from 11:00 P.M. until 7:00 A.M. Unfortunately they still needed more machine men — drillers — to take full advantage of this.62
At the end of April, A. Dubbers, SD&AR’s Division Engineer at Carriso Gorge, listed his perceptions of the problems in tunnel eight. Among the difficulties he saw were: (1) the inefficiency of the workers, (2) a scarcity of machine men, (3) poor shift bosses, (4) a slide in tunnel eight that delayed work from 22-25 April.63 In his letter Dubbers failed to mention the workman who had been killed in the slide, an oversight the San Diego Union did not make.64 Just over a week later he said that “no progress may be expected until a change of foremen is made.”65
At about the same time Kallright wrote that the workers in the Gorge were very surly and would leave due to the “ slightest provocation.” They would not take “correction or criticism,” and refused to give notice when departing. The shift bosses came in for their share of criticism too.66 A few days later he wrote to Pontius to explain that a shortage of machine men and muckers, plus poor supervision were slowing down the tunneling.67
A good supervisor finally came along for tunnel eight. Although he had reported on 15 April 1919 that no good foreman or shift bosses were available for tunnel eight,68 Dubbers was happy to report in late May that a new foreman — W.O. Houston — was now assigned to the tunnel. Houston began putting in new shift bosses and better progress could be expected in the near future.69
The scarcity of labor and good supervision were not the only reasons for slowness during this period, however. Work had dropped off sharply in the tunnel during March and when Kallright brought it up to UCC,70 they explained that they had been busy installing a steam shovel, an engine, and some trackage to remove the muck from tunnel eight.71 The following month he again complained about the lack of progress during March and insisted that Lawler come to San Diego for a conference about expediting the work.72 Some of the slowness in March was probably attributable to another change in subcontractors. L. Hamre and Company stopped working in the east end of tunnel eight and Young and Crook took over both ends again.73
On April 30th the San Diego Union caused a bit of a sensation among the builders with a front page story misquoting General Manager Pontius as saying that the SD&AR planned to build a line around tunnel eight to speed up opening the railway to Imperial Valley.74 Eleven days later the paper retracted that statement, saying they had mistakenly quoted Pontius.75 In early May Kallright asked UCC why tunnel fourteen advanced 182.5 feet in April while number eight only moved forward 119.5 feet. He made a veiled threat that if the next weekly report did not show better progress the SD&AR might be forced to take some unspecified action against UCC.76 It is difficult to understand what he could have meant unless he intended to invoke the clause in the revised contract about increasing the pay without getting increased results. Kallright made excuses for the contractor later that month though when he wrote that they had encountered “bad wet ground in the east end” of tunnel eight, and that was slowing the work there. He recommended that UCC be compelled to take over tunnel eight and finish it themselves under close supervision.77
Apparently the progress being made satisfied officials of the line until late June when they got anxious again. Vice President Shoup of the Southern Pacific wired Pontius in code on the twenty-fourth that he wanted the contractors to push tunnel eight.78 Shoup’s anxiety was understandable. Although the SP had dropped its support for a while, they were back into the project wholeheartedly now, and had been for several years. Work started on the road over twelve years before. It was taking longer to build this 139 mile line than it had to finish the transcontinental railroad fifty years before. Pontius wired back that the contractors were already “at maximum” and were giving tunnel eight preference.79 Yet only two days later Kallright told Pontius that there was an increasing shortage of machine men in the Gorge. It appeared that the labor market in the area had dried up since the fruit picking season had begun. Men were rushing to get those sixty cents an hour outdoor jobs in preference to digging tunnels.80
In late June Lawler explained UCC’s latest excuses for the slow progress in tunnel eight. He said that most machine drillers “get discouraged and leave.” This was because they were contending with water and hard boulders with mud seams in the east end of tunnel eight. If there were no seams, the rock was very hard. They were also experiencing shortages of crane men, shovel runners, and a blacksmith.81 Southern Pacific’s Shoup had no patience with this explanation. He said that SD&AR should not accept a dearth of labor as an excuse. They were to look around San Diego and Los Angeles with an eye to finding the needed workers, and to raise wages if that is what it took to get the job done.82
In an effort to induce workmen to stay on the job, Kallright, Pontius, and Lawler came up with a scheme to pay longevity bonuses. Every man who stayed longer than thirty days would get a bonus of fifty cents per day for those first thirty days. If they stayed for a second continuous thirty day period they would be paid one dollar per day extra for those days.83 This renewed effort to induce workers to remain may have been the result of the flooding in tunnel eight in early July. Tunnelers hit a stream of water that delayed them for eight days.84 Workmen often left because of boredom, and an eight day stretch of waiting while the flooding was brought under control probably drove many of them away.
In the middle of July Kallright expressed his misgivings about subcontractors Young and Crook’s ability to finish the tunnel. In a memo he lambasted them for several reasons: (1) UCC had earlier put W. O. Houston in charge of tunnel eight, but Crook’s bad nature drove him off, (2) some of the laborers refused to work for Young and Crook because they “gypped men out of their coin,” (3) they might not have had as much financing as UCC and SD&AR had been led to believe, and (4) Crook was “ornery” and Young ran off to town at every opportunity. Young was in Los Angeles at the moment hobnobbing with President Wattis of the Utah Construction Company. He went on to say that in general the subcontractors were not doing very well because they did not know what material was in the yards. They would leave to the truckers own discretion what material to bring to the construction site next. The wrong material was always on hand at the Gorge. Finally, the workmen had made a long holiday of the Fourth of July.85
On 7 September Pontius was finally able to come close with his prediction. In the San Diego Union of that date he said that the road would be in operation before the last of November 1919.86 Ironically the prediction came on the twelfth anniversary on the groundbreaking for the railroad. In October management got it right. After an inspection tour, Pontius “expressed the hope” that service would be opened by 1 December to Imperial Valley and that transcontinental service would be in effect by 1 January 1920.87
The most welcome news any of the principals involved had received in a long time came with Dubbers’ Weekly Report of 31 October 1919. Tunnel eight, the last link in the Gorge and the line, was complete. The contractor was cleaning up inside and it would be “ready for steel”-track laying-on 6 November.88
Road gangs quickly laid the track and on 15 November 1919 Spreckels drove the golden spike just east of tunnel eight . He made a speech in which he said that this was the happiest moment of his life. As he was speaking, Spreckels surveyed a domain in the Gorge that included seventeen tunnels, totaling 13,385 feet (2.57 miles) in length.89 There were also fourteen trestles. The eleven mile section of the road in Carriso Gorge had cost $3,939,000, or an average of $358,000 per mile.90 Measured against the other 128 miles of railway for $14,000,000 or an average of $109,000 per mile, the stretch through the Gorge was very expensive.91
The first eastbound train on the San Diego & Arizona Railway left San Diego for El Centro on 30 November 1919. Its departure received little fanfare because the celebration was planned for 1 December when the it returned to San Diego as the first train from the east. Mayor Louis Wilde was on hand for the occasion to see the arrival of one of very few “smokestacks” that came to San Diego during his tenure.92 San Diego finally had its own railroad to the East. It had been a long wait.
The wait was long because the San Diego & Arizona Railway had been a victim of circumstances. The best route to the desert was through a hot, remote, formidable gorge. The area was arid and the work was hard. World War I attracted workers to the armed forces and higher paying civilian jobs in town where a man could get a beer after a hard days work. The influenza outbreak scared off many workers as did the nature of the work in tunnels. The most reasonable solution would have been higher wages, but they would have driven the price of building the road through the Gorge to unacceptable heights. The SD&AR did the best it could in a difficult situation, but the labor shortages were just too much to overcome. It is doubtful the line through the Gorge could have been completed any faster than it was under the prevailing environment of the time.
1. For a more complete discussion of early railroads in San Diego see Robert M. Hanft, San Diego & Arizona: The Impossible Railroad (Glendale: Transanglo Books, 1984) 1-43; Elizabeth C. MacPhail, The Story of New San Diego and of its Founder Alonzo E. Horton, 2nd. ed. (San Diego: The San Diego Historical Society, 1979), 1-87; and Patrick W. O’Bannon, “Railroad Construction in the Early Twentieth Century: The San Diego and Arizona Railway,” Southern California Quarterly 61 (Fall 1979): 255-290.
2. Memo billing San Diego & Eastern for survey services, Engineering Box 1, File 2, San Diego & Arizona Railway Archives, Research Archives, San Diego Historical Society, San Diego (Hereinafter cited as SD&ARA/SDHC).
3. The Southern Pacific Railroad was a secret partner in the line.
4. Richard V. Dodge, “San Diego’s ‘Impossible’ Railroad,” Dispatcher, 29 June 1956, 1.
5. Slope is computed by dividing elevation loss by the distance covered. To illustrate, a drop of forty feet in one hundred feet would be a forty percent slope.
6. Unaddressed memo, Edmund J. Kallright (Chief Engineer of the San Diego& Arizona Railway), 5 January 1907, Engineering Box 1, File 4, San Diego & Arizona Railway Archives, SD&ARA/SDHC.
7. Dodge, “‘Impossible’ Railroad,” Dispatcher, 29 June 1956, 3.
8. Letter, Kallright to William Clayton (General Counsel of the SD&AR), 22 June 1907, Engineering Box 1, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
9. S.A. Laney, “Speech, 26 February 1953”, Pacific Southwest Railway Museum Association Report, August 1966, 4. Some of the trestles were of the side-hill type which has one rail on firm ground while the other is supported by a trestle.
10. Maps 11, 12 , 13, Maps Volume II, San Diego & Arizona Railway Archives, San Diego Railroad Historical Museum Library, San Diego (hereinafter cited as SD&ARA/SDRHML).
11. See illustrations, Figure 1 for a general map of the route.
12. Memo, William Hood (Chief Engineer of the Southern Pacific Railroad) to Kallright, 23 August 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 5, SD&ARA/SDHC.
13. Contract Twelve, Construction Contract Files, SD&ARA/SDRHML.
14. Weekly Progress Report, 8 September 1917, Engineering Box 8, File 3, SD&ARA/SDHC.
15. Carl M. Eichenlaub, Interview by Kevin B. Hallaran and Karen K. Swope, February 1989, transcript, California Department of Parks and Recreation, Southern District Historian’s Office, San Diego.
16. Weekly Progress Reports, Engineering Box 8, Files 2-4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
17. Memo, Kallright to A. Dubbers (Division Engineer for SD&AR at Carriso Gorge), 16 July 1917, Construction Box 1, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC.
18. Map G 82, SD&ARA/SDRHML. Moving the tunnel ahead one foot was hard work. According to Contract Twelve, each lineal foot of tunnel meant the removal of seventeen and three fourths (17 ¾) cubic yards of dirt.
19. Letter, H.J. Lawler (Utah Construction Company’s foreman in San Diego) to Kallright, 19 July 1917, Construction Box 1, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC.
20. A completion date was not part of Contract 12, instead it read “. . . to be carried on to completion with such rate of progress by the Contractor as the Company may from time to time direct.”
21. A cantonment is a camp, usually of large size, where men are trained for military service. The United States had entered World War I six months before on 6 April 1917.
22. Letter, Kallright to Hood, 5 October 1917, Engineering Box 8, File 3, SD&ARA/SDHC.
23. Letter, Imperial Valley County Council to Kallright, 5 October 1917, Engineering Box 8, File 3, SD&ARA/SDHC.
24. Weekly Progress Report, 22 October 1917, Engineering Box 8, File 3, SD&ARA/SDHC.
25. Tunnel Progress Reports, Construction Box 2, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC.
26. Hanft, San Diego & Arizona, 69.
27. Tunnel Progress Reports, Construction Box 2, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC.
28. Dodge, “‘Impossible’ Railroad,” 4.
29. Letter, Kallright to David W. Pontius (General Manager of the SD&AR), 18 February 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
30. Letter, Kallright to Hood , 14 May 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 17, SD&ARA/SDHC.
31. Memo, Pontius to Kallright, 21 May 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
32. Labor Force Report, May 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC. Some of those lost in transit were due to immigration problems.
33. Telegram, Pontius to D.C. Bitter (Imperial County Manpower Development and Labor Agent), 7 June 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
34. Letter, Bitter to Kallright, 10 June 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC. Rodriguez received a fifteen dollar fine which was suspended because he had not knowingly violated the law.
35. Labor Force Reports, July-October 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 5, SD&ARA/SDHC.
36. Memo, Hood to Kallright, 23 August 1918, Engineering Box 5, SD&ARA/SDHC.
37. Telegram, Hood to Kallright, 29 August 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 17, SD&ARA/SDHC. That Hood’s telegram and several others in the archives were in code suggests that industrial spying is not a recent phenomena.
38. Letter, Kallright to Hood, 30 August 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 17, SD&ARA/SDHC.
39. Letter, Kallright to Hood, 30 January 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
40. Telegram, Pontius to Paul Shoup (Vice President of Southern Pacific Railroad), 4 February 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
41. Letter, Pontius to Shoup, 26 February 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
42. Monthly Progress Report, February 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
43. Tunnel Progress Reports, Construction Box 2, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC.
44. Weekly Progress Report, 1 February 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
45. Weekly Progress Report, 7 April 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
46. Weekly Progress Report, 15 May 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
47. Weekly Progress Report, 21 July 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 5, SD&ARA/SDHC.
48. Weekly Progress Report, 8 March 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
49. Weekly Progress Report, 22 June 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 4, SD&ARA/SDHC.
50. San Diego Union, 18 July 1918, 1.
51. Ibid, 21 July 1918, 8.
52. Unadressed memo, Kallright, undated, Engineering Box 8, File 5, SD&ARA/SDHC.
53. Letter, Pontius to Shoup, 2 November 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 5, SD&ARA/SDHC.
54. Letter, Pontius to Shoup, 8 November 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 5, SD&ARA/SDHC.
55. Letter, Kallright to Shoup, 20 December 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 5, SD&ARA/SDHC.
56. San Diego Union, 19 January 1919, 1.
57. Letter, Kallright to Shoup, 30 August 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 5, SD&ARA/SDHC.
58. Revised Contract, 30 November 1918, Engineering Box 8, File 13, SD&ARA/SDHC.
59. Letter, Shoup to J. Kruttschnitt (Chairman of the Board and President of the Southern Pacific Railroad), 1 December 1918, Engineering Box 8, File13, SD&ARA/SDHC.
60. Monthly Progress Report, October 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 5, SD&ARA/SDHC.
61. Letter, Kallright to UCC, 22 April 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
62. Weekly Progress Report, 30 April 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
63. Letter, Dubbers to Kallright, 28 April 1919, Construction Box 1, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC
64. San Diego Union, 10 May 1919, 14.
65. Weekly Progress Report, 7 May 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
66. Letter, Kallright to UCC, 9 May 1919, Construction Box 1, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC.
67. Letter, Kallright to Pontius, 15 May 1919, Construction Box 1, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC.
68. Weekly Progress Report, 15 April 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
69. Weekly Progress Report, 22 May 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
70. Letter, Kallright to UCC, 15 March 1919, Construction Box 1, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC.
71. Letter, Pontius to Shoup, 10 April 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC. Muck is not necessarily what the name implies. In the case of tunnel boring it is the name given to the debris from the drilling or blasting. In tunnel eight the muck consisted of chunks of hard rock as often as anything else
72. Letter, Kallright to UCC, 9 April 1919, Construction Box 1, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC.
73. Weekly Progress Report, 30 April 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
74. San Diego Union, 30 April 1919, 1.
75. Ibid, 10 May 1919, 14.
76. Letter, Kallright to Pontius, 8 May 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
77. Letter, Kallright to U.C.C., 9 May 1919, Construction Box 1, File 1, SD&ARA/SDHC.
78. Telegram, Shoup to Pontius, 24 June 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
79. Telegram, Pontius to Shoup, 25 June 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
80. Letter, Kallright to Pontius, 27 June 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
81. Letter, Lawler to Kallright, 30 June 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 6, SD&ARA/SDHC.
82. Letter, Shoup to Pontius, 2 July 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 7, SD&ARA/SDHC.
83. Memo, Pontius, Kallright, and Lawler, 19 July 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 7, SD&ARA/SDHC.
84. Letter, Kallright to Pontius, 4 August 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 7, SD&ARA/SDHC.
85. Unaddressed Memo, Kallright, 16 July 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 7, SD&ARA/SDHC.
86. San Diego Union, 7 September 1919, 1.
87. Ibid, 17 October 1919, 1.
88. Weekly Progress Report, 31 October 1919, Engineering Box 8, File 7, SD&ARA/SDHC.
89. Hanft, San Diego & Arizona, 76.
90. R.P. Middlebrook and G.M. Best, “The San Diego & Arizona Eastern Railway Company,” The Railway and Locomotive Historical Society Bulletin, 71, (November 1947) : 18.
91. Hanft, San Diego & Arizona, 76.
92. Wilde had been elected Mayor in 1917. He defeated George Marston in the “smokestacks versus geraniums” campaign, with Wilde promising to bring more smokestacks (jobs) to San Diego.
John Wilson acquired his love of history growing up in New England. During a twenty-four year Naval career in electronics the spark stayed alive, and he rekindled the flame after retirement. He earned a B.A. degree in history from San Diego State University in 1994. A long time railfan, his article was a natural outgrowth of his interests. Future plans include the pursuit of twin careers of teaching and writing.