In 1933 and '34 when the original plans for the "Trans-Sea Railway"
were being drawn up, it was noticed that approximately halfway along one of the proposed routes was the then named "Diaz Island." Roberts Associates decided that this would be an excellent place for both a set of sidings and a small harbor, the theory being ships travelling up and down the straits could drop their cargos on the island and have them shipped to the mainland or the Isle of California without them needing to either stop both places or have the cargo shipped the full
length of the railway.
In practice, however, few ships have ever used the island as a port. Although filled with much quieter waters than the Pacific on the otherside of the Big Isle, storms do
affect the straits and the exposed wharfs tend to bear the brunt of those storms - hardly an ideal place to dock a ship! Also, in spite of Roberts Associates thoughts on the matter, few shipping companies have seen any reason to choose a halfway point to load or unload cargo, rather rationally taking their cargo to its actual destination instead.
But as a "way-station" along the line, Midway Island has served its purpose well. Most of the railway is single-tracked and Midway's long sidings have been invaluable to maximizing use of the line. Also, many trains, damaged by some of the same storms that make Midway nearly useless as a port, have found the shops on the island a far superior option to limping back the full distance to either coast. Midway maintains several slow but powerful engines whose sole purpose is the "rescue" of crippled trains.
Midway is also the home of "Trans-Sea Railway Control," those people who handle the scheduling and tracking of trains using the causeway.