The Point: RCTC receives funding for special trains to Coachella, Stagecoach as early as 2020

Traveling to the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals could get a little easier – and a lot more fun – thanks to funding for special trains to Indio, which may start running as early as next year.

The California State Transportation Agency awarded $5.9 million to RCTC to build a 900-foot train station platform at the City of Indio Transit Center, along with improved pedestrian access to Amtrak rail service that operates on adjacent to the tracks. RCTC will contribute an additional $2.7 million to build the $8.6 million project.

Plans call for concert-goers would board the Amtrak train at Los Angeles Union Station to travel to the Indio Transit Center, and then ride a connecting shuttle to the festival grounds.

RCTC and the Los Angeles-San Diego-San Luis Obispo Rail Corridor Agency (LOSSAN) have requested access to run special Amtrak trains to the music festivals. LOSSAN Vice Chair and RCTC Immediate Past Chair Dana Reed credited the late Cathedral City Councilmember Greg Pettis for bringing the service to the area.

“For decades, Greg walked the halls of Sacramento, Washington, DC, and every corner of the Coachella Valley to rally support for bringing rail service to our communities. He got us to this junction and we will continue full steam ahead for him and for the people of the Coachella Valley,” Reed said.

With funding on the way, RCTC will begin coordinating the construction schedule and design details for the station platform, trackwork, drainage and pedestrian access. Construction could begin late this year.

“Finally, we are seeing our train to the Coachella Valley become a reality,” said Jan Harnik, second vice chair of RCTC.  “Our world class region deserves to be accessible by rail, and I am thrilled that today our vision is moving down the tracks.”

The special event trains will provide a great opportunity while efforts continue for development of a long-term San Gorgonio-Coachella Valley Rail Corridor Service.

Environmental and engineering studies are under way now for this project, which proposes two daily round-trips using Amtrak service between Los Angeles and Indio. For information about this project and to register for updates, visit rctc.org/cvrail.

The announcement also followed the launch of RCTC’s #RebootMyCommute campaign last week. The campaign is encouraging Riverside County residents to provide feedback about their transportation challenges and to suggest innovative ideas to improve mobility. Visit RebootMyCommute.org to learn more.