Sunday, September 22, 2013

Floridians get their first look inside SunRail train

     WINTER PARK — An excited McGinley family and hundreds of other Central Floridians were given their first up-close look inside an all new SunRail passenger train car on Saturday, Sept. 21.

     “It looks clean and new, and it looks designed to help out commuters with the Wi-Fi, electricity, tables and things like that,” said Patrick McGinley, enjoying the new passenger car built for SunRail with his wife Bernadette and young children. “It's great, and my sons loves trains.”

     SunRail's bi-level commuter train car design is highlighted with sleek sloping sides with a high-gloss white body complemented with waving strips of yellow, orange, light blue and green. Inside the train is a brightly light cabin with large windows positioned between groups of cushioned seats, most of which face inwards at bright yellow tables.

     Those in attendance for this special public viewing event were excited to get their first look inside a commuter rail project that has been years in the making. County commissioners and executives involved with SunRail were also excited to see the train and speak with the public to get their reactions.

     Steve Olson is a spokesmen for the Florida Department of Transportation that is in charge of SunRail. When asked about the potential impact of SunRail in the coming years Olson said “We're confident that SunRail is going to change the face of mass transit here in Central Florida.”

     “Phase One” of SunRail is set to open with pain passenger service on May 1, 2014. This first phase will connect 12 train stations for a 32 mile stretch starting from DeBary in Volusia County going south to a station on Sand Lake Road in Orange County.

     “Phase Two” is planned to begin construction in the spring of 2014 and should be running some time in 2016. This will include a northern extension from DeBary to Deland, and a southern extension connecting Sand Lake Road to Poinciana in Osceola County, with stops in Meadow Wood, Osceola Parkway, and Kissimmee along the way.

     Special features that are provided to SunRail passengers include free wireless internet, power outlets, restrooms, free parking at SunRail stations, wheelchair access, and bicycle and luggage accommodations.

     FDOT ordered 20 SunRail train cars which are designed to offer a 30 percent savings in operational costs compared to single level rail cars and 70 percent more passenger room. Their initial plan is to run seven locomotive sets of 14 passengers cars during peak demand, with a combination of cab cars and coaches.

     “We're going to begin work on I-4, that's going to cause some challenges to traffic,” said Orlando City Commissioner, Robert F. Stuart. “People are going to look for an alternative and SunRail is going to be running right next to it.”

     More information on locations, train hours, and fees can be found at SunRail's website at

By James Tutten

(All photos by James Tutten)

The McGinley family enjoys the view at one of the tables inside the brand new SunRail commuter trail.

Central Floridians are given their first tour the inside of SunRail's new commuter train as it's debut in Winter Park.


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