Niland to Araz Junction

The Inter-California Line

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Old roadbed of Southern Pacific Inter-California line at Union Pacific mainline (formerly Southern Pacific Sunset Route) at Araz Junction, CA, just west of Yuma, AZ. The cantilever signal bridge that diverted traffic from the number 2 track onto the Inter-Cal line can be seen in the background. The tracks were removed in the 1950s. Photo by Paul McGuffin, April 2009.

The Southern Pacific "Inter-Cal" line branched from the SP's Sunset Route at Niland, CA, ran southwards and entered Old Mexico at Calexico, CA/Mexicali, MX. It ran for some 50 miles east and re-entered the U.S./California at Algondones, MX, connecting with the SP Sunset Route at Araz Junction, about 5 miles west of Yuma, AZ. It was this railroad that the SP used to block the flood of water into the Imperial Valley that formed the Salton Sea (253' below sea level) in 1911.

A majority of the line was removed in the 1950s, especially south of the border in Mexico. The line from Niland to the border is still in use by Union Pacific.

It is said that train orders for the line were issued in both Spanish and English.

Thanks to Paul McGuffin for contributing information about this route.

Historic ICC Abandonment Filings

SOUTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD
Docket Number: 20408 Date: 11/17/1958 Section: 1(18)
App. for auth. to abandon its line between M. P. 760.693 at the Internat'l, Boundary Line between the Rep. of Mex. and the U.S.A., at or near Cantu, and M. P. 763.388 at or near Araz Junction, a distance of 2.695 mi., together with all sidings, spur tracks and appurtenances, located in Imperial County, Calif.
Length: 2.695 miles Citation: 307 ICC 805  

A special "Thanks" to Paul McGuffin for providing these photos and the information for them. I had traveled over parts of these areas for the last 30 years, but was not sure where these were located exactly, until now.

Keith Johns
San Diego, CA
5/14/2009

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I can remember in the summer of 1959 we took our first vacation to California (from Tucson). I distinctly remember Old U.S. 80 passing through a dip under a strange looking viaduct under this line just west of Winterhaven, CA. There was a white State Highway sign that said SUBWAY on it. The next year we went that way again but the viaduct had been removed (but the tracks remained in place for a while). The dip with the subway sign remained in place on Old U.S. 80 until it got replaced by I-8 in the 1970s.

Fred M. Cain
Topeka, IN
1/18/2012

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