The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), in cooperation with the federal government and local officials in Orange, Seminole, Volusia and Osceola counties and the city of Orlando, is advancing SunRail, a commuter rail transit project that will run along a 61-mile stretch of existing rail freight tracks in the four-county area.
The 31-mile first phase of SunRail would serve 12 stations, linking DeBary to Orlando. Phase II would serve 5 additional stations, north to DeLand and south to Poinciana. Service is expected to begin in 2011 - just as FDOT is expected to start a major I-4 reconstruction project through the heart of Central Florida.
Commuter rail transit (CRT) uses steel-wheeled technology similar to a traditional train and is generally powered by a diesel locomotive. Existing CSXT railroad tracks will be utilized for SunRail's planned route. SunRail trains will consist of 1-3 cars and can carry up to 218 passengers. Maximum operating speed is generally between 65-79 mph.
Since Commuter Rail uses existing rail lines, it cannot mix with commuter or bus traffic. Because of this, commuter rail is usually used to connect outlying regions to centralized cities over longer distances (typical travel times can be 45 minutes or longer).
Riders need to follow a schedule because CRT provides long-haul, limited-hour service. That is, it primarily operates during "peak" commuter times - i.e. morning and evening rush hours - to shuttle folks to a downtown or employment center area and then back home.
Federal Transit Administration projections show opening day ridership for the 31-mile initial operating segment of SunRail at about 4,300 passenger trips per day, escalating to 7,400 trips by 2030. But in Charlotte, North Carolina, for example, opening day ridership was projected to be 9,100 passenger trips per day for the city's new light rail project, and the system actually tallied 12,000 passenger trips. So ridership projections are constantly under review, and are subject to change.
Ticket prices haven't been decided yet, but there will be substantial discounts for passengers who buy multi-use passes as well as senior citizen discounts. SunRail riders can probably expect an average fare of $2.50 for travel within one county and $1 per additional county.
• 61-Miles in length along existing CSXT freight tracks
• Phase 1 - DeBary to Sand Lake Road station - 31 miles
• Phase II - Sand Lake Road to Poinciana south of Kissimmee, and north from DeBary to DeLand - 30 miles
• 12 stations planned for Phase I
• 17 stations proposed at build-out
• At-grade stations with pedestrian connections
• Two intermodal centers at Lynx Central Station in downtown Orlando and in the Sand Lake Road area
• Enhanced bus and other transportation services at station stops
• Station amenities designed with input from local government officials
• 12 park-and-ride lots in outlying areas
• Park-and-ride lots no cost to user
• 30-minute peak service in each direction from 5:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
• Two-hour off-peak service in each direction
• Phase I operational in 2011
• Phase II operational in 2013
• Maintenance facilities located in the Sanford area
• Average speed of 45 miles per hour
• Up to 3-car train set
• Rest room facilities on all trains
• Power outlets to all seats
• Luggage and bicycle racks
• Wireless Internet connectivity
• Capacity for 218 seated passengers per car on double-decker trains