By Rachel Christian
Interested in trying SunRail when it arrives in Osceola County later this month?
Make sure to be one of the first 50 passengers and that trip is on the house.
In celebration of the July 30 SunRail southern expansion, the commuter train is offering a “First 50 Free” promotion to riders whose trip originates at any of the four new stations beginning July 30
until Aug. 17.
The promotion is easy. Passengers check-in at the designated “First 50 Free” promotional gate at either the Poinciana, downtown Kissimmee, Tupperware or Meadow Woods stations. The first 50 riders at each station will receive a free round-trip fare.
Tickets may still be purchased for any train, but to ensure a free SunRail roundtrip offer, riders should arrive early.
SunRail’s southern expansion adds 17 miles to the route to accommodate its four new stations. This expands the current 32-mile service to 49 miles and 16 stations total.
More trains will be running once the new service begins with 40 trains operating each day, Monday through Friday. About 40 new SunRail staff members have been hired to accommodate additional passengers and train times.
Officials said the four new trains aren’t really new – all three-car train sets will now downsize to two cars, and those leftover single cars will be combined to create four “new” trains.
This will allow SunRail to increase service times from 18 round trips a day to 20 round trips, according to Service Road Foreman Shawn Furniss.
The two-car trains can accommodate about 309 seated passengers with up to another 300 passengers “standing uncomfortably,” Furniss said.
The 3,200-horsepower locomotive will drive the trains at a top speed of 79 mph along the 16 total stops from DeBary to Poinciana. Ninety-five percent of the route is double tracked, Furniss said, allowing SunRail trains to coordinate more efficiently with Amtrak and CFX. Tracks in Osceola County were under construction for over two years to install that double tracking.
The first train will depart Poinciana at 5:45 a.m. and run every half hour until 8:45 a.m. Trains operate less frequently between 10:45 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. before picking back up for evening commuters until about 7 p.m.
The last train of the day will depart the downtown Kissimmee station at 10:03 p.m. heading north to Orange County.
To learn more about stations and train times, visit www.sunrail.com for a complete schedule listing. Note that a new schedule takes effect July 23.