Explore Palm Springs: Sunset Limited Arrives

At one time, eight daily trains carried visitors to the desert city

The Sunset Limited arrives in Palm Springs on March 6, 1955.

Photo Courtesy of Palm Springs Historical Society


Led by the brand new E9, a 2,400 horsepower diesel locomotive built by General Motors’ Electro-Motive Division, the Sunset Limited arrived at the Palm Springs Station on March 6, 1955.

Southern Pacific Railroad has been serving the passenger service needs of the city of Palm Springs since the completion of the westward link between Yuma, Ariz., and Los Angeles in 1883.

At one time, eight daily trains carried visitors to their desert vacation destination, “America’s Winter Playground” from points east and west. A new train station was completed in 1934 in the “Mission Style” with stucco walls, heavy wood windows, beams and a tile roof patterned after the premier resort hotel, The Desert Inn.

The Santa Fe and Union Pacific railroads through their rail connections in Riverside and San Bernardino, joined Southern Pacific and provided a major form of transportation well into the 1950s.

Trains of the railroads’ golden era that stopped in Palm Springs included the Golden State, Super Chief and City of Los Angeles.

There is a multitude of ways to learn more about Palm Springs, which turned 75 in 2013. One of the more intriguing methods is by exploring the city’s history.

The Palm Springs Historical Society will share a weekly story whose time and place corresponds with today.

The Palm Springs Historical is located at 221 S. Palm Canyon Drive. For more information, visit www.pshistoricalsociety.org

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