Currently the only passenger service in the Coachella Valley is a thrice-weekly long distance train operated by Amtrak between Los Angeles and Florida. This train is known as the "Sunset Limited". The Sunset Limited train operates through this area in the very early hours of the morning in both directions and primarily serves the leisure and tourism market.
RCTC and the State of California have been evaluating the feasibility of establishing an intercity passenger rail route between the following cities: Los Angeles, Fullerton, Riverside, Palm Springs, and Indio.
The Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) continues its firm opposition to any new passenger service on its tracks through this area. Notwithstanding this opposition, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) continues to propose such service in the California State Rail Plan.
Caltrans has no unilateral powers to compel the UPRR to permit the operation of this train. Nevertheless, for intercity trains (as opposed to a commuter or Metrolink train), there are certain federal processes in place that can ultimately lead to an order compelling the railroad to operate the service.
The public agencies requesting the intercity service may be required to invest large sums in the physical infrastructure of the railroad. Some estimates place the capital investment requirement at a minimum of $500 million for a new set of tracks.
RCTC is working closely with the Coachella Valley and the Pass Areas on this issue and supports the expansion of rail service to additional areas of Riverside County.