Orange County celebrated the opening of the newest SunRail station at the intersection of Sand Lake Road and Orange Avenue last Sunday afternoon, March 30. The Sand Lake Road station preview celebration welcomed community leaders, elected officials and citizens to the historical event.
Festivities began at 1 p.m. with remarks and a proclamation read by District 3 Commissioner Pete Clarke. Representative Linda Stewart praised the arrival of SunRail and is working with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to place suitable markers designating this stop as the Historic Pine Castle Station, upon completion of construction. FDOT District 5 Secretary Noranne Downs touched on the safety and connectivity of the final SunRail route. After the program, guests boarded and toured the SunRail train.
During the preview, engineers and train representatives answered questions and shared the benefits of riding SunRail. Food trucks, local vendors, kid-friendly activities and other community agencies were also part of the community celebration.
The Sand Lake Road station is designed to connect with future rail options to Orlando International Airport to the east, and the Orange County Convention Center and International Drive tourism district to the west. This station also serves the residents of nearby Belle Isle, Edgewood and Taft. Station designs include a park and ride lot as well as bus and passenger drop-off areas.
“Judging by Sunday’s turnout, there seems to be a lot of interest in SunRail and we hope that the people who visited will become passengers and customers,” Commissioner Clarke said. “SunRail will change the way we live as it will stimulate economic growth and development.”
The entire 61-mile system from DeLand to Poinciana will be built in two phases and comprised of 17 stations when complete. Phase I from DeBary to the Sand Lake Road Station will be fully operational on May 1. Double-decker passenger cars will feature wide, comfortable seats with access to rest room facilities, power outlets, and free unlimited wireless Internet connectivity.