The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) in the US has bought the 61-mile SunRail commuter rail track from CSX for $150m, allowing first phase construction of the commuter rail system to move forward.

The first phase of construction will include double-tracking, signal improvements, stations and an operations control centre.

Phase one of SunRail will serve 12 stations and will provide links between DeBary and Orlando.

Under the agreement, CSX will retain an exclusive freight easement to operate on the SunRail line and continue all common carrier commuter services.

Phase two will serve five additional stations, north to DeLand and south to Poinciana, and SunRail will also serve the Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties.

CSX is planning to invest $500m in infrastructure in Florida over the next eight years to improve freight and commuter rail, as well as to increase the capacity and efficiency of ports.

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The work on the project is expected to commence this year, and the phase one service is expected to begin in early 2014.