The California Southern Railroad was a subsidiary railroad of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in Southern California. It was organized July 10,1880, and chartered on October 23,1880, construction began in National City, just south of San Diego, in 1881, and proceeded northward to the present day city of Oceanside. The line, completed on November 9,1885, formed the end of Santa Fes transcontinental railroad connection to Chicago. Portions of the line are still in use today as some of the busiest rail freight. The California Southern was organized on July 10,1880, as a means to connect San Diego to a connection with the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad at an undetermined point. One of the financial investment companies involved in the Santa Fe. Pratt, George B. Wilbur and Thomas Nickerson who was president of the Santa Fe, the California Southern built its track northward from a point in National City, south of San Diego. In Barstow, then known as Waterman, the California Southern would connect to another Santa Fe subsidiary, from there, the railroad was to continue to the Pacific Ocean following whatever proved to be the best route. The route was scheduled to be completed by July 4,1878, however, the Southern Pacific was able to get a clause favorable to their own interests inserted into the charter. The California segment was leased to the Santa Fe in August 1884, the California Southern began construction in National City on land originally acquired by Frank Kimball. Surveys and construction between National City and San Diego were well underway by March 1881, the railroad reached Fallbrook and opened between there and San Diego in January 1882. In 1881 and 1882, the California Southern received ten locomotive shipments by sea at National City, the railroad, however, didnt understand the nature of Southern Californias dry washes. Local inhabitants warned the railroad of the dangers of building such an area, that it could become a raging torrent of water. Despite the warnings, track work through the canyon proceeded at a quick pace and they completed the line to Fallbrook on January 2,1882, then to Temecula on March 27,1882. Many parts of the canyon had suffered storms, in February 1884, a storm hit. The train was delayed and the canyon walls brought boulders crashing down on the rails, on February 3, the train was unable to get through. A few days later, the wires were down, the train from Colton to San Diego could not get through. Disaster was averted because a resident, Charlie Howell, hurried up the tracks from his family homestead near Willow Glen
California Southern's original station in San Diego. This station was demolished and replaced in 1915 by what has come to be known as Union Station.
The station and yards at San Bernardino in 1915. A year later, the station was destroyed by fire.
A westbound train pauses at Cajon siding to cool its wheels before continuing down the pass in March 1943. The station and facilities are at left.
A Santa Fe train working through Cajon Pass in March 1943.