SunRail offering extended night hours through December

SunRail riders have asked for weekend service and later hours since the transit system began.

Weekend operation is still up in the air, but riders now have a chance to experience later southbound trains on select December nights.

On Dec. 19, Dec. 26 and Dec. 28, riders will be able to depart Church Street Station in downtown Orlando at 10:30 p.m. heading southbound to six stations, including those in Osceola County. Another train will depart northbound from Church Street at 10:30 p.m., as well.

The special service hours, which began last month, coincide with Orlando Magic games at the nearby Amway Arena on those nights.

SunRail and the Florida Department of Transportation have partnered to offer special train service in the past, including in January during the NFL Pro Bowl.

Ridership on these special trains has ranged from the high 40s to the 60s, according to FDOT District 5 Communications Manager Steve Olsen.

Since southern expansion opened, SunRail’s daily numbers have averaged in the mid to high 5,000s.

The SunRail team is examining other service time opportunities in 2019, according to Olsen.

Hours may be extended for Magic games, but Kissimmee residents looking for a fun night out in downtown Orlando will also find plenty to do within walking distance of the station.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

 The prominent Church Street Tavern, 120 W. Church St., has a wide selection and extensive menu – complete with a throwback 1990s soundtrack.

 Jersey Mike’s Subs, 54 West Church St., and Hamburger Mary’s, 110 W. Church St., are good, affordable quick eats if you’re on a budget and want to explore other parts of downtown.

 Kres Chophouse and Lounge, 17 W. Church St., is a higher-end eatery that’s great for steaks and ribs, though it does offer surprisingly affordable happy hour specials.  

 Lake Eola Park is a little bit of a walk, but the area is said to be beautiful this time of year. The Christmas tree is up through the end of the month and the iconic downtown Orlando fountain is lit in festive red and green lights for the holidays. And, it’s free.