Slowly but surely, a proposal to launch rail service between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley is moving forward.

Earlier this month, the Riverside County Transportation Commission published a draft environmental study for the Coachella Valley rail project, which calls for running two daily round-trip trains between Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles and either the City of Indio or the City of Coachella.  In either alternative, service would include one morning departure and one afternoon departure.

“While passenger rail service is still many years away, completing the draft program level environmental document is a huge milestone,” said RCTC Chair and Palm Desert Mayor Pro Tem Jan Harnik in a prepared statement. “We look forward to the day that train passengers can fully experience the attractions of our beautiful Coachella Valley. I see this as a transformational project – it will truly change how people travel between Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley,” she said.

Los Angeles - Colton segment of the Coachella Valley rail projectRCTC

The first build option under study would serve the full 144 mile corridor between Los Angeles and the City of Coachella.  Within the western section of the project area, trains would make use of existing infrastructure, including stations in the Cities of Fullerton and Riverside.

Colton to Indio alternativesRCTC

East of the City of Colton in San Bernardino County, the project calls for upgrades to existing main line track, including:

  • the construction of up to five new stations;
  • the addition of a third main line track;
  • new crossovers and sidings;
  • a new railroad bridge across the Santa Ana River; and
  • improvements to signals, drainage systems, and grade separation structures.

Potential sites for the five new stations would all be located in Riverside County.  In addition to an existing stop in the City of Palm Springs, new stations could be built:

  1. the Loma Linda/Redlands area;
  2. near the communities of Beaumont, Banning, and Cabazon;
  3. near Cathedral City, Thousand Palms, Agua Caliente Casino, Rancho Mirage, and Palm Desert; and
  4. in the City of Indio;
  5. in the City of Coachella.

Colton - Coachella segmentRCTC

Under the second build alternative, the corridor would be limited to approximately 140 miles, with the eastern terminus to be located in the City of Indio.  Under this option, the proposed improvements to the eastern corridor would remain largely the same, save for the absence of a terminus in Coachella.

RCTC is also studying a third build alternative which would run to Indio, but reduce the amount of main line track construction along the corridor.

The environmental report identifies the first option, with a terminus in Coachella, as the recommended preferred alternative.

The project, which would cost roughly $1 billion to implement, could start construction within 10 years of the completion of the environmental study.

For more information, register for upcoming public meetings regarding the project.

Thursday, June 22 at 6 p.m.
Register here

Saturday, June 26 at 9 a.m.
Register here