San Diego Railroad

The San Diego Railroad (SDRR) was incorporated in 1859 to “provide rail service for the communities of San Diego County". San Diego has great port facilities, but lacks enough water, arable land, and timber to grow to a major city – this railroad is considered the best way to make their town competative with the growing communities in Aliso (Los Angeles) and Santa Barbara.

The 1859 mini-game determined that the SDRR was able to obtain funding necessary to begin construction.

Proposed Route

The founders envision a line running along the mission road from San Diego north paralleling the coast (i.e. I-5) as far San Juan Capistrano with spur lines leading to the communities of Temecula and San Pasqual, and a southern extension beyond San Arquello to the border with Tijuana.

But the details are vague – and every investor wants to make sure their ranch is on the line, and every ranchero wants to be an investor. Each mile of track built from favors and horse-trading, not engineering decisions.

The route will include a large number of ravines and grades to be considered along every mile of track. The water crossings themselves are not of significant additional concern with only the San Diego and San Louis Rivers posing challenges.


Current Operations

By the end of 1859, the company has completed the following tracks.

  • Starting from New Town (present day Embarcadero) on the east side of San Diego Bay
  • 4 mi northwest to Old Town at the river
  • 4 mi north to DeAnzo Cove – crossing the San Diego River and running along the strip between Mission Bay & Tecolte Canyon

Service is provided for passengers and freight multiple times per day. The line runs a single small engine along these tracks.

These eight miles are the only thing that the investors agreed on.

  • The president wants the railroad to immediately build west to a terminus at La Jolla (where he owns a large ranch).
  • The treasurer wants the line extended northeast to San Pasqual valley some 20 miles northeast (where he owns a timber concession).
  • The chief engineer wants to extend the line south along flatter ground to give the crews and foremen experience before tackling the harder terrain of the main line.
  • The remaining major investors are coastal ranchers and want the line extended north through their property toward San Louis Rey.

Management and Funding

The SDRR is owned by a consortium of southern California rancheros and businessmen. Cave Couts serves as president.

There is little detail available on the funding. The as-proposed railroad would cost over two million dollars, assuming the engineering and political challenges can be resolved and right-of-way obtained.

San Diego Railroad

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