Monday, March 4, 2013

Trains to Palm Springs: All aboard the...Union Pacific?

(3/4/13) – IE Transit Talking Points Short

For decades, the Riverside County Transportation Commission and the State of California have been evaluating the feasibility of establishing an intercity Amtrak passenger rail route between Los Angeles and Indio via Orange County. The project has gained much support.

The rail right-of-way that parallels the I-10 freeway between San Bernardino and Indio is operated by the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR). UPRR continues a firm opposition to any new Amtrak service on its tracks through this area.

While many private sector railroad firms including UPRR are reluctant to permit passenger intercity trains along their right-of-way’s, these Class One private railroads have considered reinstating passenger service. Public incentives both at the local and federal level should be considered to offset any losses connected with direct passenger service. In addition, liability protection provisions should be considered. Such business-friendly policies would incline private Class One railroad operators like UPRR to operate or allow passenger trains along their right-of-way corridors and finally bring forth productive intercity rail transit service into the Coachella Valley.

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