Desert Sun

Estimated printed pages: 2

August 8, 2008
Section: The Indio Sun
Page: I3

Amtrak to pull into the station
Xochitl Peņa

By Xochitl Peņa
The Indio Sun

Amtrak officials have agreed to make six stops a week in Indio at the city's new transportation center along Indio Boulevard, tentatively set to break ground in mid-September.

East valley residents who now travel to Palm Springs to catch an Amtrak train will eventually be able to catch one in Indio instead.

Not only will Indio's transportation center provide a hub for people to rent a car or catch a bus, but it also will allow regular passenger train service to resume - something that hasn't happened since the original train depot burned to the ground in 1966.

"This is really wonderful. We've come full circle," said Connie Cowan, a Bermuda Dunes resident who remembers visiting the original train depot as a child.

The proposed stops in Indio will coincide with the six long-distance Sunset Limited train stops that exist in Palm Springs at 6:37 a.m. and 5:06 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Amtrak spokeswoman Vernae Graham said no timeline has been set for when the stops would begin.

"At this point, all we've done is agree to stop," she said.

Amtrak had a very limited stop in Indio years back, but Graham said she did not know when that limited service began or ended.

Located midway between Los Angeles and Yuma, Ariz., Indio evolved as a train town offering a place for weary travelers to rest and eat.

Its original two-story transportation center built in 1880 along Indio Boulevard became the center of social activity, but a fire destroyed it in 1966, putting an end to regular rail service and a historic gathering place.