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.