Sunday, October 9, 2016

#SaturdaySunRail disappointment

What a disappointing Saturday!

Like thousand across Central Florida, we were looking forward to the first run of #SaturdaySunRail train on Oct. 8.

However, in anticipation of Hurricane Matthew reaching land, FDOT cancelled SunRail train service on Friday and Saturday.

The cancellation announcement was very disappointing. However, mentioning the word “hurricane” brings back nightmares for many local residents.

We lived through Hurricane Charley in 2004. The widespread devastation that storm caused across Metro Orlando is difficult to describe to anyone who wasn’t here. It took almost a year to clear much of the damage and debris. Today you can still find scars inflicted by Hurricane Charley if you know where to look.

Turns out Hurricane Matthew’s recent visit had far less impact on Central Florida than anticipated. In fact, Saturday’s weather was mild. It would have been a perfect day to run the train.

Yet there was no way for anyone to know in advance how things would turn out on Saturday. We imagine the disappointment was particularly acute for those planning to attend the massive Come Out With Pride Festival last Saturday in downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola. That event has been postponed until a TBD date in November.

SunRail officials and festival organizers made the difficult – yet right decision -- to cancel. Nothing is more important than public safety.

As for SunRail, once you shut down a railroad it takes time to get it up and running again. Workers need to make sure there’s no debris on the tracks; ensure trains and stations haven’t been damaged, and check that railroad signals and crossing gates are functioning properly.

All is not lost. The business and community partnership sponsoring #SaturdaySunRail promise to offer train service on most Saturdays between now and the beginning of February.

The Saturday service is being offered to make it easier for people to reach leisure events downtown Orlando and along the SunRail corridor. You can help sponsor #SaturdaySunRail by clicking here.

#SaturdaySunRail will roll. When it does, we’ll see you on The Rail.

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