I "discovered" this place on the site Hidden San Diego, where Jessica Johnson writes about places the average tourist never goes. There's a great articleby Allison Garten on the Jacumba Railway Yard, technically the Carrizo Gorge Railroad.
I went there in mid December 2015. The wind was blowing hard, and there was a distinct chill in the air. On the way, I drove slowly down old Highway 80, looking for old cars and buildings to photograph. I suppose I looked a bit suspicious, driving 25 mph on the 55 mph road. No sooner did I pass a couple of Border Patrol vehicles, and their lights went on and they pulled me over. However, they were very nice, just wanting to know what I was doing there and asking to see what was in my trunk. As soon as they saw all my camera gear, they were satisfied, and sent me on my way.
In the early 1930's, Jacumba was a go-to place, with a nice hotel and spa and plenty of movie stars to look at. The population swelled to over a thousand. Eventually though, Murrieta and Palm Springs gave it competition. The completion of Interstate 8 in 1975, bypassing the town by three miles, was the death knell. However, the Jacumba Hot Springs Spa still operates there, if you want to spend the night.
The railroad yard is appropriately on Railroad Ave.
While I was there, I didn't see a soul, except for one car driving down a road a few blocks away. You're free to roam the premises, though you should take care to leave everything in its place for future visitors.
Some of the cars are still in pretty good shape, though rust and peeling paint are everywhere.
Most of the buildings there have seen better days. But there's an interesting wrinkle here. . . much of the land is now owned by the Institute of Perception. Looking at their Facebook page, it's sort of difficult to figure out what they're all about, beyond being into alternate ways of understanding the world. They do have lots of interesting structures there, and the desert environment coupled with the complete absence of people made them all the more mystical.
This pyramid was a bit to the west of all the other structures. It had a door on it. I went close, but didn't hear anything, and I didn't want to disturb anyone either.
One of the many interesting "art works" on the property.
A few of the old train cars are in pretty bad shape, like this one.
This is a fantastic place to explore. Just remember, this is now private land, andwhile there are no "No Trespassing" signs posted, one should respect the property and everything on it.
I came away with 8 good abstract images from this place, not a bad haul for one day of work!