GRAPHIC COURTESY FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
WHAT IS TO COME — This graphic shows how the DeLand SunRail station will look once construction on the commuter-rail extension to DeLand is complete. The DeLand SunRail station will be located at 2491 Old New York Ave., where the Amtrak station is currently located.

Nine years after the regional commuter-rail system known as SunRail began operating, construction of the final north segment is scheduled to start within the coming weeks and months. 

The 12-mile piece between DeBary and DeLand will include some double-tracking in the rail corridor the FDOT purchased from CSX, along with the SunRail depot to be built next to the DeLand Amtrak station. When the northernmost phase of the rail line is finished, SunRail will be a 61-mile system spanning between DeLand and Poinciana. 

The contractor for the extension of SunRail to DeLand is Herzog Contracting Corp. 

The FDOT will pay Herzog $34.2 million for the work, which is to begin during the first quarter of 2023. Volusia County has committed to pay one-fourth of that cost. 

The operation of commuter trains to and from the DeLand terminus of SunRail is slated to start “revenue service” in the late spring of 2024, according to SunRail CEO Mike Heffinger. Once the DeBary-to-DeLand segment is finished, the FDOT plans to hand off the ownership of SunRail and its operating costs to the five local partners in the transit venture: Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties and the City of Orlando. 

With the help of a consultant, the local funding partners are studying options for operating SunRail in the future. The future local owners may contract with Lynx, the bus system that serves Greater Orlando.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Volusia’s taxpayers are already heavily invested financially in SunRail with 1/4 of the $34.2 million build cost for the expansion to DeLand and an estimate of up to $9 million a year thereafter for operating cost. Volusia’s citizens should have input on what the end product will be in DeLand. Our County Government got us into SunRail and now our County’s leaders need to step up and allow us, the citizens, to be more involved. The hands off approach by our County’s leaders will not get us the DeLand station we deserve and the DeLand station that will help us prosper.

    The DeLand SunRail Station will be a gateway in and out of Volusia County to and from the rest of the world. I, and others, feel it should represent us well as a community and it should be a showplace that is inviting and safe.

    We must not forget the value Amtrak also brings to the community and the advantages a properly designed DeLand station could bring. Currently the Federal Government is investing billions into Amtrak and as we grow Amtrak, along with SunRail and Brightline, will become more viable travel options that we should capitalize on for Volusia’s businesses and citizens.

    I also feel there should be a museum at the DeLand station that highlights the significance trains and riverboats brought to our county.

    In addition, the DeLand station would be a wonderful place to dry-dock the vintage tugboat that was returned to DeLand.

    Our County’s leaders have, as is often said in County Council meetings, kicked the can down the road long enough on the issue of SunRail. It is time to start moving forward with the public’s input. Just waiting to see what the State and the SunRail commission offers up is wrong.

    To members of the Volusia County Council, please bring the DeLand SunRail project out of the shadows and call for a nighttime workshop that will allow for the public to participate in the process. Enough of the wishy washy BS over SunRail, it is coming so lets make the best of it together!

  2. This all sounds very good. My question to you is, has anyone brought up the subject of expanding the parking lot at the DeLand Station? We definitely will need parking to accommodate everyone that tends to use theirs service. Presently, there is barely enough space for about 20 cars.
    The area by the train station in DeLand, is not the best, and poorly lit.

  3. What is a shame is that this station location precludes getting to the final Volusia county location of Daytona especially the race track.

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