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A daily passenger train between LA and the Coachella Valley?

In this 25 October, 2002. file photo, an Amtrak train sits idle at Penn Station in New York.
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
Caltrans is studying the potential for expanding Amtrak's Sunset Limited to a daily schedule. Another proposal would create a state-backed train service between L.A. and Indio that might also be extended to Phoenix.

Caltrans is sponsoring a study in January to explore the possibility of a passenger rail system between L.A. and the Coachella Valley.

Amtrak offers some rail service between the two destinations. But the Sunset Limited is just that — limited. It runs just three days a week between L.A. and Palm Springs. Riverside County and Coachella Valley transportation officials want daily service.

Possibilities include expanding the Sunset Limited to a daily schedule. Another proposal would create a state-backed train service between L.A. and Indio that might also be extended to Phoenix.

January's Caltrans study will help determine details such as how much an expansion of rail service might cost, where additional stations could go, and what estimated ridership might be like. But whatever idea gets approved could get stuck on the tracks without the cooperation of Union Pacific. The railroad operator controls much of the track used by the Amtrak Sunset Limited.

To make way for passenger service, it would have to give up space already used by freight trains hauling goods from the L.A. ports.