San Diego/Santa Fe Train Depot
San Diego, California

San Diego/Santa Fe Train Depot, San Diego, California

The original passenger station in San Diego was a Victorian-style structure built in 1887 for the California Southern Railroad Company.

California Southern’s San Diego passenger terminal in the late 1800s

The Santa Fe Depot was built to replace the California Southern Railroad Company Station.

The Santa Fe Depot was built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway and officially opened on March 8, 1915, to accommodate visitors to the Panama-California Exposition

Out with the Old

The clock tower of the original station was pulled to the ground by a steel cable attached to two-yard locomotives as part of the grand opening celebration on March 7.

The Santa Fe Depot was completed as San Diego was attempting to become the West Coast main terminal for the ATSF transcontinental rail line.  The city of Los Angeles ultimately won that designation.

In the best of times, the facility not only handled Santa Fe traffic but also that of the San Diego and Arizona Railway (SD&A) and San Diego Electric Railway.

The first SD&A through passenger train arrives in San Diego on December 1, 1919 to officially open the line.

The station platforms at the  Santa Fe Depot were a very active place throughout World War II.

The Valley Flyer train, left and the San Diegan, is at the right.

The San Diegan, pulled by a pair of ALCO PA units, reaches the end of the line in San Diego in 1963.

In 1995, The Burlington Northern Railroad and ATSF merged into The Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway (BNSF).

The San Diego Depot (new name after the merger) is still an active transportation center, providing services to Amtrak, the COASTER, the San Diego Trolley, and the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System bus system. Of the 77 California stations served by Amtrak, the Depot is the third busiest in California (behind only Los Angeles Union Station and Sacramento Valley Station) and the 10th busiest in the Amtrak system, accommodating more than 2,130 passengers daily.

Amtrak’s Surfliner is parked in the Station, with a northbound BNSF freight train passing through the station.