Just as I-4 serves as the backbone of our area’s roadways, a regional rail network could anchor an efficient and effective transit system that includes bus rapid transit and fixed route bus service. One of the most exciting transportation projects under way in Central Florida is SunRail, the commuter line set to open in 2014. SunRail is envisioned as the start of a regional system.
The sunrail Commuter line
Like most commuter rail systems, SunRail will use existing railroad tracks to connect outlying regions to the metropolitan center and will operate most frequently during peak travel times (morning and evening rush hours). SunRail, Central Florida’s first commuter line, will run along a 61-mile stretch of existing rail freight tracks through Volusia, Seminole, Orange, and Osceola counties. SunRail’s first phase will include 12 stations, linking DeBary to Orlando. Service is expected to begin in 2014. Phase two will serve five additional stations, north to DeLand and south to Poinciana. Service on Phase 2 is expected to begin in 2016.
Click here to visit the official SunRail website.
SunRail is the only passenger rail system currently under construction in the area, but proposals for two privately financed rail projects that would serve Central Florida are moving ahead.
PROPOSAL BY AMERICAN MAGLEV TECHNOLOGY
American Maglev Technology (AMT) has proposed to build, operate and maintain a privately financed transit project in the Orlando area. The project is a fully automatic train system powered by magnetic levitation, which lifts the vehicle from the track and propels it.
Phase 1 of the proposed AMT project includes 14.9 miles of track, with stops at Orange County Convention Center, Florida Mall, the Sand Lake Road SunRail station and Orlando International Airport.
More information about American Maglev Technology is available at the company's website.
MetroPlan Orlando conducted a planning review of a rail proposal by AMT, which was approved by the MetroPlan Orlando Board on December 12, 2012. The document below outlines the MetroPlan Orlando staff review and recommendation on the project:
Dec 3, 2012 • 260Kb
The staff report was based, in part, on information from the following resource documents:
- American Maglev Technology / Florida EMMI, Inc. Business Plan
- Maglev Ridership Estimation Report - Dec. 2011
- FDOT Assessment of Maglev Phase 1 - Dec. 2011
- Maglev Proposal Submission to FDOT - Jan. 2012
- Maglev Presentation to Orange County Commission - Jun. 2012
- Letter from American Maglev Technology to MetroPlan Orlando - Nov. 2012
After MetroPlan Orlando's recommendation, the Florida Department of Transportation conducted a technology review of the American Maglev Technology system to review operational capabilities and ability to transport passengers safely. Click here to read the technology assessment, completed in June 2013.
proposal for all aboard Florida
Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) is developing a privately owned, operated and maintained passenger rail service. The project, called All Aboard Florida, would give passengers a new way to travel between South Florida and Central Florida.
The company is currently working out details and could begin service as early as 2015. FECI has presented its proposal to the MetroPlan Orlando Board.
The route will feature passenger service along the existing Florida East Coast Corridor between Miami and the Space Coast and the creation of new tracks into Central Florida. Stations are currently planned for downtown Miami, downtown Fort Lauderdale, downtown West Palm Beach and Orlando.
Most of the 230 miles of Right of Way needed are in place, and the corridor has been used for rail operations for more than a century. FECI would own, operate and manage the passenger rail line
For more information, visit the company's website.
Corridors under study
Several corridors in the region are undergoing studies, called Alternatives Analyses. These studies determine the transportation issues along the corridors and to explore which transportation options might best improve them. Some form of rail transportation could be seen as an option for one or more of these corridors:
Orlando International Airport (OIA) Connector Refresh Alternatives Analysis: This study area includes OIA, Medical City at Lake Nona, International Drive, the Florida Mall, the Orange County Convention Center and various theme parks. For more information, visit the study website.
US 441 Corridor Study: The study area runs from Eustis and Tavares in Lake County through northwest Orange County and the City of Apopka. It terminates at LYNX Central Station in Downtown Orlando, connecting to the SunRail corridor. For more information, visit the study website.
SR 50/UCF Connector Alternatives Analysis: This study area includes the State Road 50 corridor from the University of Central Florida to the western Orange County Line. For more information, visit the study website.
US 192 Alternatives Analysis: The study area includes an east-west corridor, labeled the Osceola Corridor and a north-south corridor, labeled the Kissimmee Corridor. The 23-mile Osceola Corridor is centered on US 192 and begins, on the western side, at an interchange with US 27 in Lake County, just north of the Polk County line. The Corridor continues east until it reaches the interchange with Florida's Turnpike. The Kissimmee Corridor is generally identified as SR 500 (Orange Blossom Trail/US 441/US 17/92) and SR 600 (John Young Parkway) from the planned Osceola Parkway SunRail Station to Pleasant Hill Road. For more information, visit the study website.
Did you know?
Besides commuter rail, like SunRail, there are two other main types of rail systems:
High Speed Rail: As the name suggests, high speed rail travels at high speeds over large distances. This type of rail is best-suited for travel between large cities. In 2009, the federal government unveiled a new national plan for intercity passenger rail, and a route from Orlando to Tampa was considered part of it. This project has been abandoned, however. Read the background on High Speed Rail study in Central Florida here.
Light Rail: Light rail is designed for short commutes and is typically powered by overhead wires. This rail system links a downtown area and offers service every few minutes.