How would you feel about riding a train from Downtown Orlando to Miami? Well, you might get your chance in two years.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, four train routes are in the planning stages with one, the SunRail commuter train line, already under construction and will be up an running in 2014. SunRail will follow a route starting in the Volusia County town of Deland and follow a route through Downtown Orlando to the ending point in Poinciana in Osceola County. The Florida Department of Transportation is building the commuter line, but a private company, All Aboard Florida, wants to build a commuter rail line that will connect Orlando International Airport with Miami. According to the Sentinel, the company is negotiating with the state DOT and property owners over the route and plan to have the line up and running by 2015.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
American Maglev, a Georgia based rail company, wants to build a $315 million elevated train line that will connect the airport with the Orange County Convention Center on International Drive. American Maglev told the Sentinel that they want the line up and running no latter then 2015.
Another proposed line call the Orange Blossom Express, which would connect Lake County to Downtown Orlando and SunRail, is in the planning stages to see whether or not passenger train service out of Lake County is possible. According to the Sentinel, Local, state and federal money has been spent to upgrade the old freight line tracks to prepare it for possible commuter rail.
There are reasons for the sudden explosion of train routes in the region. First, the Greater Orlando area now has over 2 million residents and is the third most populous area in the state of Florida. Couple that with Orlando's 50 plus million visitors and it's location right in the middle of the state and you have a natural hub for commuter rail. Gary Huttmann of MetroPlan Orlando, the agency that sets transportation policy for Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties, told the Sentinel on the sudden interest in trains:
It seems to be contagious.
Let’s hope that this does become a reality. All Aboard Orlando!