SunRail is a 61.5-mile commuter rail transit (CRT) system being built to connect DeLand and Poinciana through downtown Orlando. It is located in central Florida, in the US.

The project is aimed at providing reliable mobility service during peak travel times by avoiding traffic congestion in central Florida.

The rail line is planned to be completed in two phases by 2017. The first phase was opened for commuters in May 2014. The estimated cost of the project is $1bn.

SunRail project

The $3bn project includes the construction of a 61.5-mile rail line and 17 new stations.

The line will run on the existing rail tracks of CSX Transportation, spanning Seminole, Orange, Osceola and Volusia counties.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) gave the green signal to the SunRail project to go ahead into the final engineering and design phase in March 2007.

"The rail line is planned to be completed in two phases by 2017."

The Supplemental Environmental Assessment for the project was also approved by the FTA in July 2008. The final design was approved in August 2008.

The project was authorised by the Florida State Legislature in December 2009. A $168m design-build contract for laying the track was awarded to a joint venture of Archer Western Contractors and RailWorks Track Systems in 2010. The project received final approval from the Governor of Florida on1 July 2011.

Two-phase construction process

The construction of the SunRail Project is being carried out in two phases. The 31-mile first phase links DeBary in Volusia County to Sand Lake Road in south Orange County through downtown Orlando. The second phase will connect Poinciana in Osceola County to DeLand in Volusia.

The first phase broke ground in July 2011 and was completed in 2014. Major works included the installation of depot foundations, laying of dual tracks, construction of 14mi of new track, and installation of 87 new crossings and a new maintenance facility.

The second phase is expected to come into service in 2017.

New stations of the commuter rail transit (CRT) system

Under the first phase, 12 new stations were constructed between DeBary and Orlando. The stations are DeBary Station, Sanford Station, Lake Mary Station, Longwood Station, Altamonte Springs Station, Maitland Station, Winter Park Station, Florida Hospital Station, LYNX Station, Church Street Station, Orlando Health Station, and Sand Lake Station.

The second phase will include five stations between DeLand and Poinciana. The stations include DeLand Station, Meadow Woods Station, Osceola Parkway Station, Kissimmee Station and Poinciana Station.

Rolling stock

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) placed an order worth $18m with Motive Power in 2010 for providing seven diesel locomotives. It placed another order worth US$41m with Bombardier Transportation in July 2011 for providing 14 BiLevel coaches.

Bombardier was awarded a $195m contract in April 2013 to provide 20 BiLevel cars and operations and maintenance services for the rail fleet.

The BiLevel coaches consist of one to three cars and a locomotive which can carry up to 162 passengers a car. The average speed of the coach is 45 miles an hour.

Financing the project

The project will receive 50% federal, 25% state and 25% local funding. The federal contribution will be $307.5m for capital construction and $85.8m towards maintenance and operational costs. FTA provided $178.6m towards the construction of first phase under its Capital Investment (New Starts) Grant Program.

"The estimated cost of the project is $1bn."

The State of Florida will contribute $585.8m capital costs and $65.9m towards the first seven years of maintenance and operational costs.

The city of Orlando and the counties of Seminole, Orange, Osceola and Volusia will contribute $153.9m towards capital expenses and $82m for the maintenance and operational costs.

Several companies are also contributing to the project, apart from the government funding. Florida Hospital will provide $3.5m and Rida Development will contribute between $175m and $225m.