In 2014, Orange County celebrated a transportation milestone with transformational impact — the opening of SunRail, Central Florida’s historic commuter rail service!
Regional celebrations began in the spring with the grand opening of the new SunRail train station in the City of Winter Park. Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs joined Congressman John Mica and Winter Park Mayor Ken Bradley at the event and spoke about how this extraordinary, high-capacity transportation system is creating thousands of jobs and bringing billions of dollars in economic benefit to our region. The charming station on Park Avenue at Morse Boulevard will serve Amtrak and SunRail passengers, as well as the nearby Lynx “hub” stop.
Later in March, residents and area business owners and operators were invited to the Sand Lake Road Station Preview Celebration. Attendees toured trains and became familiar with the ticketing system, technology and platform features, as well as routes and parking at the Historic Pine Castle Station.
Central Floridians, community partners and elected officials from throughout the region celebrated the official grand opening of the new commuter rail system with a historic day-long celebration in May. The free “Whistle Stop Tour,” which was open to the public, began in Debary and ended at the Sand Lake Road Station. Mayor Jacobs was the keynote speaker and host of the historic bell ringing ceremony, which commemorated SunRail’s grand opening. Mayor Jacobs was joined by District 3 Commissioner Pete Clarke, District 4 Commissioner Jennifer Thompson, District 5 Commissioner Ted Edwards and former District 6 Commissioner Tiffany Moore Russell, along with regional elected officials and distinguished community leaders. Free ridership for the first two weeks drew an average of 11,200 riders a day to SunRail, shattering predictions!
SunRail will connect Deland in Volusia County to Poinciana in Osceola County when it is fully completed in 2016. Phase 1, which spans 32 miles and comprises 12 stations, connects Debary with Sand Lake Road, near the Orlando International Airport. Construction will begin on Phase 2 next summer and will extend the route north to Deland and south into Poinciana.
SunRail runs along a 61-mile system of existing rail freight tracks in a four-county area. It is funded and supported by the Florida Department of Transportation in cooperation with the federal government and Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties, and the City of Orlando.