Sunday, May 31, 2015

1,000 support DeLand SunRail

It took less than a week for more than 1,000 people to sign an online petition to extend SunRail commuter train service to DeLand in Volusia County.

One day this could be reality in DeLand
Specifically, the petition asks U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan to approve a TIGER VII grant that would be used to improve the tracks and other facilities needed to bring SunRail to the DeLand Amtrak train station.

Currently DeBary is the end of the line for SunRail in Volusia County and the county’s only SunRail station. Money for the DeLand extension was not included in President Obama’s 2016 budget and Florida Department of Transportation leaders are pursuing the federal TIGER grant to get the extension done. DeLand’s bid, however, is hurt by a federal study which projects that only about 200 people would use the station.

That projection seemed ridiculously low to us and that’s why we launched the petition. We figured at least 500 people would sign. Boy, was our figure off base as well.

Getting SunRail extended to DeLand is a cause most Central Floridians should support. DeLand (population 28,000) is the Volusia County seat, home of Stetson University and a large regional office of the state Department of Transportation. A SunRail station here would serve Orange City, Deltona, DeLeon Springs, Lake Helen, other west Volusia communities and eastern Lake County.

Besides being environmentally friendly, SunRail provides an alternative to the awful traffic congestion on I-4 as well as opens economic, employment, education, entertainment and cultural opportunities in Central Florida.

Some complain that the DeLand Amtrak station, located 5 miles away in a largely wooded and undeveloped area, is too far from its downtown. We appreciate their concern. It would be great if SunRail stopped in the heart of a downtown community like it does in Winter Park. However, that wasn’t in the cards. The deal to create SunRail required the state to buy a 61-mile railroad track corridor from CSX. Those tracks lead to the DeLand Amtrak station.

This story is far from over as DeLand leaders are considering several strategies – from a trolley to buses – to link downtown DeLand to the train station.

This month FDOT officials will present the TIGER VII grant application to the feds. Despite our 1,000 signatures, it’s too early to rejoice over the possibility of receiving the needed grant funds, If you haven’t added your name, please click here. Signing the petition adds weight to the application and further demonstrates how serious the need for SunRail is to Central Floridians.

See you on The Rail.

(DeLand graphic created by Diane Glassman Kish)

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Why DeLand SunRail is needed

Many people who signed the DeLand SunRail petition included brief notes explaining their support.

The notes were eye opening.

Sign of the times?
For one thing, it made us realize there are many people who either don’t have cars, or can’t drive. Those people are forced depend on our sadly inadequate Votran and Lynx bus service.

In a note from Auckland, New Zealand to support DeLand SunRail Chester Espie wrote: I was a Stetson student and the buses and other forms of transport were the worst.”

While most of the petition signers said they wanted SunRail to commute from DeLand to Orlando, there were a surprising number who said they need SunRail to commute north from DeBary to jobs and other appointments in DeLand. DeBary and DeLand are about 15 miles from each other and traffic on the U.S. 17-92 can be a nightmare during peak travel times.

Selina Price of Eustis wrote: “I work in DeLand and Winter Park. I hate to drive to DeBary to catch the train. I miss it often because of the horrid traffic between the two cities. Multiple people in the doctor’s office I work at use SunRail. It has been a godsend keeping us off I-4. Thank you SunRail, but please come to DeLand.”

“I moved to DeLand from metro D.C. only to find it’s worse here,” wrote Jan Fowler.
Deltona resident Theresa Scanlan wrote: This would help people like me who can’t drive find a job in Orlando. We need this.”

That notion was echoed by Thomas Considine III of Lake Helen, who wrote: “I would use SunRail if it came to DeLand. It would open up many opportunities for people in this area to get better jobs.”

Rachelle Sanford wrote: “Extending SunRail services to DeLand will positively impact not only the people of DeLand, but also people close by in Lake County. It will help multiple communities.”

“As a resident and business owner in DeLand,” Vincent Philip wrote, “”I firmly believe that SunRail is a very important part of the continued growth and development of the city.”

Linda Holder of DeLand wrote: “I travel a great deal for work and often fly out of Orlando International Airport. I rode SunRail from DeBary and then took the bus to the airport. It was great. But the DeBary station is a 30-minute drive away. The Deland station is less than 10-minutes away. I would ride SunRail frequently to go to OIA if we got our own station in DeLand.”

Ann Sagraves summed it up best. “I am a lifetime resident and enjoyed watching DeLand grow into a gem in beautiful Volusia County. It is imperative to continue bringing tourists, new businesses and additional modes of transportation into DeLand. SunRail will have the support of the citizens of DeLand and west Volusia County.”

Show support for DeLand SunRail

A Federal Transit Administration report says that only about 200 people per day would use SunRail to and from DeLand. That low ridership estimate has caused some people to say it’s not worth spending millions to extend SunRail service north from DeBary to DeLand.

We think that DeLand ridership estimate is way too low. We passionately support extending SunRail service north to DeLand and south to Poinciana in Osceola County – as Central Florida’s commuter train service was originally proposed.

Fortunately federal dollars have been allocated to expand SunRail service south to Poinciana. However, federal money to bring SunRail to DeLand remain up in the air.

SunRail may come here 1 day.
The Florida Department of Transportation remains committed to bringing SunRail to DeLand, which currently is served daily by 4 Amtrak trains. FDOT is seeking a TIGER grant – discretionary federal dollars intended for transit projects that help improve an area’s economic, employment and educational opportunities. The grant application will be filed in early June.

These TIGER grants are very competitive and communities all over the nation are hoping to get a slice of the pie. That’s why we’re worried about the pessimistic projection that only 200 people would SunRail in DeLand

We think it’s critically important to show how many people would use SunRail to and from DeLand. We know there are lots of people in DeLand who already use SunRail – boarding at the DeBary station – the only SunRail station in Volusia County.

If you’ve ever ridden SunRail to DeBary you know there’s nothing at that station – just a convenience store and trees. Honestly there’s very little at the DeLand Amtrak station, which is where SunRail would stop. That said, there’s lots of things for day trippers to do in DeLand. There’s also enormous potential to develop underutilized land around the existing DeLand Amtrak station.

Meanwhile local leaders are considering several ideas – ranging from a trolley to buses -- to transport prospective SunRail riders from a future DeLand SunRail station 5 miles to downtown DeLand (Woodland Boulevard) which is very busy and filled with shops, restaurants and offices. In case you didn’t know, DeLand is the county seat for Volusia County and home of Stetson University – Florida’s oldest private university.

Establishing SunRail service in DeLand can become a launching pad to one day extend SunRail to Daytona Beach.

Clearly SunRail service would be a huge win for residents of DeLand and other communities in west Volusia County. The commuter train would make it much easier for west Volusia residents to visit, conduct business and work in other parts of Central Florida.

If you would use SunRail to and from DeLand, we’re asking you to click this link to add your name to a petition asking the federal government to grant the money needed to extend SunRail service to DeLand.

The petition is addressed to U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese W. McMillan.

You don’t have to live in DeLand to support this petition. Anyone who lives in Central Florida can sign. Also, please share this petition link with your neighbors and coworkers.

DeLand is counting on us.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Osceola makes sacrifice to help DeLand SunRail

Lots of people are excited the SunRail is in the pipeline to get money to extend service south to Osceola County, but there are serious concerns that federal dollars have not been allocated to extend the train north to DeLand.
Osceola Commissioner Viviana Janer
However, SunRail bosses are applying for a federal Tiger grant to extend train service to DeLand. Tiger grants were created to connect communities to help improve economic, employment and other opportunities. Those Tiger grants are very competitive, but Deland’s chances have been boosted by Osceola County Commissioner Viviana Janer. Keep in mind, DeLand is in Volusia County, not Osceola County.
There had been plan to seek a Tiger grant for a circulator bus -- similar to the LYMMO bus in Orlando -- with dedicated lanes and priority traffic signals for the busy tourist corridor on U.S. 192 in Osceola County. However, that ask has been put on the shelf by Janer who responsibilities include representing Osceola County on the boards of Lynx and SunRail.
In a note to us, Janer wrote: “In the spirit of being good regional partners, I requested it be removed from Lynx agenda earlier (last) week so that SunRail Phase 2 North (to DeLand) would be the only application from our region, it was approved for removal by the (Lynx) board.
“In addition to removing it from the agenda the Lynx board agreed to giving a letter of support for Phase 2 North.”
It’s not as though the bus circulator isn’t needed on US 192 in Osceola, because it is. But Janer also understands what a big difference SunRail can make for the DeLand area.
Imagine if our elected officials in Washington demonstrated that same big-picture thinking to make life better for all of us.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Weekend service on the horizon

The elected local officials who serve on the SunRail commission usually don’t raise the topic of weekend service. But something truly amazing occurred during the May (5/15) commission meeting.

Tawny Olore, the FDOT engineer who serves as the SunRail project manager, was wrapping up her report on long-range plans to expand SunRail service to Poinciana, DeLand and Orlando International Airport (referred to as Phase 3). 

Just as Olore was about to leave the podium Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who also chairs the Sunrail commission, told Olore that “I think we all agree that when we construct Phase 3 and we’re having service to the airport we’re going to have Saturday and Sunday service.”
Click the hyperlink to see a video of the exchange between Olore and Dyer:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

What SunRail can learn from Philadelphia disaster

Seems like SunRail bosses need to take a cue from safety experts investigating Philadelphia’s deadly train crash.

Federal investigators stressed that the tragedy could have been prevented if a Positive Train Control system, or PTC, had been fully operational on the Amtrak route.

Turns out that a PTC system isn’t operational on Central Florida’s SunRail system.
Typically the PTC is a 2-part system with a unit on the train locomotive and another component that may be on the tracks or in a central location that sends signals to the train to warn the crew of dangers ahead on the track.

If the crew doesn’t respond by manually slowing down or stopping, the PTC can take over. Such a system could have prevented the northbound Amtrak train from entering curving tracks at double the speed limit.

We asked SunRail if it has a PTC system.

What follows is a written response from a Florida Department of Transportation spokesman:
“Our vehicles came from the factory, Positive Train Control (PTC) ready.

“Currently we are developing a plan, including what it might cost to implement PTC on our 61.5 mile corridor. We are also working with CSX and Amtrak while we develop our PTC protocols, and costs.”

To be clear, in our opinion, SunRail has a very good safety records and we have never heard of anyone at SunRail operating a train in a dangerous manner. We hope that never happens. But why take a chance?

Federal officials insist that the PTC systems work. No doubt, full installation of those systems aren’t cheap. But what value would anyone place on the 8 lives lost and dozens injured earlier this week in Philadelphia?

We urge SunRail bosses to quickly work out the details and get PTC installed.

See you on The Rail.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Will SunRail make it to DeLand?

Ever seen a swarm of hornets go on attack?
If not, one lunch time this week drop by a restaurant on Woodland Boulevard in DeLand and tell a server or a fellow diner you heard a rumor that the state decided NOT to extend SunRail to DeLand.
Within hours DeLand residents and leaders would go after state officials like a swarm of furious hornets … and we don’t blame them because we’re passionate supporters of plans to extend SunRail service to DeLand. That SunRail expansion can’t happen soon enough.
Last month there that was an ugly rumor that SunRail service wouldn’t be extended to DeLand because there was not enough ridership to make it worthwhile. Fortunately Florida Department of Transportation officials up took the podium during a public meeting in DeLand and assured residents that SunRail is coming to DeLand. Thank goodness!
No one can afford to rest easy until the first SunRail commuter train arrives at the DeLand train station in 2017. The existing DeLand station, shown in the accompanying photo, currently serves 4 Amtrak trains daily.
DeLand’s existing train station is in the middle of nowhere – miles from downtown. That’s why naysayers insist that few DeLand residents will ride SunRail. We believe the naysayers are wrong because many DeLand residents currently travel miles from home, through Orange City to DeBary to use SunRail. That’s one of the reasons why DeBary is currently one of SunRail’s busiest stations.
Contrary to yapping from naysayers the Old New York Avenue location of the DeLand train station isn’t a curse – it’s an opportunity for Deland and Volusia County. Currently Volusia has only one station in DeBary, which is barely 5 minutes from the Seminole County line.
Expanded SunRail service will give DeLand residents and other neighbors in western Volusia hassle-free access to downtown Orlando – Central Florida’s economic powerhouse.  
There are some long-range planners who are thinking of Deland SunRail service as a possible launching pad to connect commuter train service to Daytona Beach. Wouldn’t that be sweet?
SunRail service to DeLand makes lots of sense for so many reasons, such as greater opportunities for employment, education and entertainment. Let’s not forget that DeLand is also the home of Stetson University. Imagine Stetson students riding the train to attend symposiums with their counterparts at Rollins College in Winter Park and at the University of Central Florida’s downtown campus and vice versa.
DeLand has a robust downtown and we bet that day trippers from Orange, Seminole, and Osceola County would enjoy checking out dining and shopping on Woodland Boulevard.
Woodland Boulevard, hmmm, that’s one of the challenges because Woodland Boulevard in DeLand and Park Avenue in Winter Park are completely different situations. Woodland is far from the DeLand train station. A problem? Yes, but it’s not insurmountable.
Sanford faced a similar situation, and solved it by running a free shuttle van from its SunRail station to its historic downtown business district.
DeLand can go one better. Imagine a vintage streetcar linking the train station to downtown. Now is the time to start lobbying local, state and federal leaders to find money for streetcar service.
It’s also a good bet that developers see future SunRail service as a draw to construct housing and businesses in the corridor between downtown and the train station. The best part is that DeLand has the gift of time – two years to work out thoughtful development and transportation plans to support SunRail service.
We can’t wait to see what DeLand comes up with.

Let's get to work

Many people may not see eye to eye with Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s politics.
Yet what sane person would disagree with Scott’s “Let’s get to work” slogan?
Scott speaks with passion about cultivating an economic environment in Florida to create more jobs.
Despite that great slogan Scott has repeatedly demonstrated that he’s no fan of SunRail. Why doesn’t he understand the linkage between SunRail, economic growth and job creation in Florida?
The accompanying image -- prepared several years ago for a Florida Department of Transportation presentation -- shows what the Sand Lake Road SunRail station in south Orange County could evolve into in a few years. (Click here to see an animated video offering a future view of the Sand Lake Road SunRail station.)
Your eyes are not deceiving you. Planners envision a cluster of first-class office buildings sprouting at the Sand Lake Road SunRail station.
The land at the Sand Lake Road station is currently underutilized and dominated by fast-food restaurants.
The potential for growth – smart growth – is amazing because this SunRail station is just south of downtown Orlando, less than 2 miles from Orlando International Airport, the busyTaft rail yards, the Orlando Central Park business complex and is adjacent to the International Drive tourist zone.  
Office space at the Sand Lake Road SunRail station can easily become the logistics hub for the Orlando region. The All Aboard Florida express train from Miami and the magnetic levitation train to International Drive plan to have stations at OIA.
But we’re never going to reach the real economic potential for the stations at Sand Lake Road and other SunRail stops as long as we’re stuck with a rinky-dink commuter train that doesn’t run on weekends and only offers a couple trains during the middle of the workday. By the way, we wonder if our governor is aware that Orlando area primary and secondary roads are choked to the point of failure. Traffic jams are a real downer in any conversation about cultivating new businesses and jobs in this town..
We need weekend SunRail service, not just to attend an Orlando Magic game or to shop at the Lake Mary farmers market. We need weekend service to get work; to the airport; hospitals, and other destinations. The cost of weekend SunRail service: $5.5 million annually for more crews and maintenance.
We need more service during the Monday to Friday workday. The cost of adding more frequent train service: $19 million. Much of that money is needed for additional locomotives and passenger coaches.
A robust economy requires fast, reliable transportation. We’re never going to be able to build, or afford, enough highway construction to mitigate the traffic congestion that’s strangling our community.
Providing SunRail with the money necessary to reach its full potential is one of the smartest investments Florida can make if our leaders – the governor, Legislature, and business CEOs – are serious about making the state’s economy stronger and helping to grow more jobs.
Let’s get to work!

SunRail to Daytona Beach?

Being able to ride SunRail, or a similar commuter-rail system, to Daytona Beach is not a farfetched idea.
It’s actually one of the ideas being considered as part of a long-range plan to improve mass transit from western Volusia to eastern Volusia (the actual beaches for those who are geographically challenged.)
The idea would be to create a commuter-rail spur coming out of DeLand and headed to the eastern part of the county. But don’t slather on the sunscreen yet, this idea is being considered as one of several transportation options. It could take another 10 years to kick around the ideas. Once a decision is reached, there’s still the matter of finding the money to make it happen.
Click here to see the options for yourself.
Even though a train to the beach isn’t around the corner, it’s still fun to think about. Our great-grandkids will probably enjoy it.

We have to dream big

By Anthony James Tropea
SunRail rider
I'd like to see the southern extension of SunRail continue as planned, but instead of the OIA airport SunRail spur, (which seems to be the logical debate to delay the North to DeLand extension), use that money to invest in SunRail North to DeLand and CONTINUE north to the proposed Daytona Beach Extension.

Then connect SunRail to Orlando International Airport via the MagLev Train that will already be connecting OIA to Convention Center/I-Drive in 2017, either re-aligning the MagLev route to connect at current Sand Lake Road SunRail station, or moving the Sand Lake Road station less than a mile south where the current MagLev route crosses over SunRail tracks. [It's imperative the stations connect above each other/adjacent to each other] The other option would be to keep both stations open, but seems unwise to have a stop less than a mile from each other.

I realize the cost of the airport spur would be far less than the Daytona Extension, but I think it would garner more support knowing it would connect a substantial more amount of riders, (locals and tourist, both, and including the DeLand stop), plus would be able to use funds that would have been allocated on Airport spur. 

The SunRail needs to be revamped to include EVERYONE, instead of focusing on it as only a 9 to5 I-4 commuter reliever. 

The SunRail, the OIA/OCCC/International Drive MagLev, and the All Aboard Florida train are game changers for Central Florida, from Mount Dora to Poinciana, and from Daytona to Tampa. (With all future extensions realized.) 

Once MagLev and SunRail are linked to the theme parks, shopping centers, convention centers, airports, and even Medical will make Orlando and Central Florida like no other city in the country (Dare I say world?).
It's important to note, that Las Vegas and its Las Vegas Convention Center, (which is the #3 Convention Center behind Orlando #2 and Chicago #1) is poised and considering connecting its Strip Monorail to all 3 Convention Centers (Las Vegas Convention Center, Sands, and Mandalay Bay) to McCarran International airport, connecting it to more combined hotel, entertainment, and convention center space than available anywhere else in the world. Orlando has the opportunity to meet and exceed those expectations, as we connect all of Central Florida.

Hmmmm. Now if we can only get All Aboard Florida to have a Cocoa Beach/Kennedy Space Center stop. PERFECTION!

Bad bet for DeBary SunRail

Anyone who has ever been to SunRail’s DeBary station knows that there’s almost nothing there, with the exception of a well-worn convenience store and a mobile home park.
Now after almost a year of SunRail passenger operations a developer has floated the idea of putting a horse track or a card room (yes gambling) near the train station. Seriously?
What’s worse, in a recent interview with our friends at the Daytona Beach News Journal, DeBary Mayor Clint Johnson said a card room or horse track would be “a unique opportunity for DeBary.”
Unique indeed. When it comes to economic development, the gambling business is a terrible idea. Don’t take our word for it, just take a quick trip to Atlantic City, N.J. where 4 of 12 casinos closed last year. Atlantic City has one of the highest unemployment rates in the city. Let’s not even get into the negative elements (crime, drugs, hookers) that are attracted to gambling establishments.
The good news is that DeBary’s land-development code currently prohibits gambling businesses. That ban needs to be kept in place.
The vacant, and underutilized land near the DeBary SunRail station isn’t a curse, it’s an opportunity to develop something really great to benefit DeBary, Volusia County and SunRail riders.

A horse track or a card room is bad for DeBary, bad for SunRail and bad for Central Florida.

When do we get SunRail every weekend?

Everyone keeps asking us: When will SunRail start running every weekend?
Considering the official tally that 26,000 people rode SunRail on Saturday and Sunday during the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, providing trains every weekend should be a no-brainer. But it’s not.
So back to the basic question: When will SunRail start running trains every weekend?
The answer: No time soon unless we – the riders and Central Florida community – put some serious skin in the game.
The most formidable roadblock to weekend service is money — or lack of it.
Under the existing agreements the state is providing a lion’s share of the money required to offset SunRail operating expenses. The money riders pay at the fare box only covers a fraction of the expenses. Almost every transit system in the world relies on government subsidies to provide train and bus service.
The state of Florida already made it clear that it will not pay for weekend service because SunRail was conceived as a commuter train to provide a rail alternative for  weekday rush-hour commuters during the I-4 Ultimate construction project.
At a recent meeting of the Central Florida Commuter Rail Commission, which oversees SunRail, we were told that adding weekend service would cost $5.5 million.
In the grand scheme of things that’s not an insurmountable amount of money to raise. And a big part of the solution begins in our wallets.
During the Winter Park Art Festival special train operations we spoke with numerous riders who said they would have willingly paid for the free train service that was sponsored by the event organizers and Florida Hospital. It cost those the sponsors $32,000 to run 12 trains over that Saturday and Sunday period.
Check this out: If the 26,000 people who rode SunRail during the art festival weekend had to buy tickets for $4 a head – ticket prices vary depending on where you board the train – that charge would have raised $104,000.
In addition, hundreds of visitors to our Facebook page said they were willing to pay slightly higher ticket prices for weekend SunRail service.
Considering the passion around the issue of weekend SunRail service, we’re confident that Saturday and Sunday ridership would be higher than weekday ridership.
So let’s play with some numbers. If a total of 8,000 people rode SunRail every Saturday and Sunday and paid a roundtrip fare of $6 that would raise nearly $2.5 million over a year.
Surely there’s got to be away to gather a coalition of businesses, government and Central Florida individuals to raise the remaining $3 million needed to offer SunRail service every weekend.
The real question IS NOT: When will SunRail start running trains every weekend?
The real question IS: How bad do we want it?

Orlando station looking better

What a difference some paint makes.
The historic Orlando Amtrak station -- which doubles as a SunRail stop – has been an eyesore for almost a decade. The terminal, which is owned by the Florida Department of Transportation (which also runs SunRail) was badly in need of exterior and interior paint and other renovation.  We wrote about this problem last summer.
Finally the renovation work was launched, and it’s already making a huge difference at this vintage train terminal that is just down the street from Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Check out the photos showing what the station looked like last summer, and see what it looks like now. There is still much more exterior work to be done, but we’re certainly happy to see the progress.

The scope of the ongoing renovation work only involves the exterior. The station’s interior still is badly in need of upgrades, too.

Going to Winter Park Art Festival

Remember the first time we rode SunRail?
Everybody said: “Wow, it will be great to take this train to go to the Winter Park Art Festival!”
That’s when we got the bad news that SunRail doesn’t run on weekends. (We still need to get that fixed.)
Thankfully we can rejoice that this year SunRail will run this coming weekend on Saturday (March 21) and Sunday (March 22) during the popular Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, thanks to the sponsorship of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival and Florida Hospital.
What makes it even better – we can ride for free!
This will be the first time SunRail will run for an entire weekend. Earlier this month SunRail ran on Sunday, March 8, to support games played by the Orlando City Soccer Club and the Orlando Magic in downtown Orlando. Much has been said and written about that historic special operation – which we declared a complete success.
Yet some riders and would-be riders complained. They said they had to wait too long and that the trains were too crowded.
We don’t work for SunRail, and sometimes we don’t see eye to eye with the train system’s managers, but folks, get a grip. On March 8 SunRail transported nearly 10,000 people in less than a 12-hour period. And it was done safely.
During normal weekday operations – which span almost 18 hours – SunRail transports about 3,600 people. Let’s not forget, SunRail doesn’t have unlimited resources – personnel and equipment. Federal safety rules limit the number of hours train crews can work. SunRail also shares the tracks and two stations during the day with long-distance Amtrak trains.
In our opinion, SunRail did a fantastic job on March 8 and we’re looking forward to more on the same during the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Though you’ll likely experience some crowding when you ride SunRail to the art festival you won’t have to worry about fighting traffic on I-4, US 17-92 and Fairbanks, or paying $10 or $15 to park
This year you can park your car for free at outlying SunRail stations at Sand Lake Road, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, Longwood, Lake Mary, Sanford and DeBary and get off SunRail in the heart of Winter Park – steps from the art festival.
But remember, you’re not going to be alone. In addition to folks heading to the art festival we expect riders headed to other destinations will be riding this coming Saturday and Sunday.
No doubt trains will be so crowded they may be unable to pick up additional riders at some stations. That happened on March 8 and it infuriated many people, but the SunRail bosses added relief trains to pick up the overflow. SunRail operations also did a great job of reassuring everyone that relief trains were on the way.
Just as we did before the March 8 special operation, we urge riders to be patient. It will be crowded and you may have to wait a little bit, but SunRail will get you to and from Winter Park.
For this upcoming weekend we encourage riders to exercise personal responsibility because the trains will not run all day and until late at night – as they do during normal weekday operations.
Pay close attention to the accompanying schedule because on both Saturday and Sunday the last northbound SunRail train is scheduled to leave Winter Park at 4:41 p.m.; the last southbound train departs Winter Park at 3:36 p.m.
Miss those trains, and you’re on your own. (And take the time to figure out if you need a northbound or southbound train to return to the station where you parked your car.)
See you on The Rail.