Retro look at the 1950s – Cruising the Past – A major element in the development of Palm Springs was the Southern Pacific Railroad. At one time the SP offered passenger service on over eight daily trains.
The SP served Palm Springs from a Spanish style station especially built for the resort in the late 1930s.
SP, at one time, had eight daily trains serving the desert resort for passengers escaping the harsh winters of the USA or wanting the desert climate for their health.
The Santa Fe and Union Pacific, through their rail connections in Riverside and San Bernardino, joined the SP in providing the major form of transportation well into the 1950s.
Passengers arriving aboard the Santa Fe and UP trains where driven in Grey Line limousines from the two major Inland Empire cities to the Palm Springs hotels and resorts.
The SUNSET LIMITED, GOLDEN STATE, SUPER CHIEF and CITY of LOS ANGELES were the “retro” way of getting to the glamorous desert resort. Unlike Amtrak, all these trains provided daily service on a year round basis and operated on time.
Palm Springs Southern Pacific Station located on Tipton Road, off 111, on the way to Whitewater – early 1950s.
In 1877, as an incentive to complete a railroad to the Pacific, the US government gave Southern Pacific Railroad title to the odd-numbered parcels of land for 10 miles on either side of the tracks running through the Southern California desert around Palm Springs. The even-numbered parcels of land were given to the Agua Calientes. In 1884, Judge John Guthrie McCallum of San Francisco arrived in Palm Springs with his family, seeking health for his tubercular son. The first permanent non-Indian settler, McCallum purchased land from Southern Pacific and built an elaborate aqueduct. In 1909 Nellie Coffman’s Desert Inn opened.
Rock Island and Southern Pacific operated the GOLDEN STATE LIMITED and the APACHE. Both were daily trains from Chicago with through Pullmans from Minneapolis – St. Paul, St. Louis and Kansas City. This is ad is from the 1930s.
The Sunset Limited arriving at West Palm Springs Station from New Orleans enroute to Los Angeles in 1940. Passengers and visitors are on the platform. Station wagons and limos are waiting to take passengers to hotels in Palm Springs.