SunRail cab car on tracks in town

Big plans for stops to come

SANFORD, Fla. - Six years after it was approved, and a year and a half after construction began, the first Sunrail train car is on the tracks right now in Sanford, and commuter rail is getting ready to roll.

It's due to start next May, from Sand Lake Road in Orlando to Debary. By 2016 it will stretch north to Deland and south to Poinciana.

There are big bets this train could reshape central Florida.

Sky 6 flew over Sanford, where the first Sunrail cab car arrived from New York. Outside of the cab car, you can see what will be a two story ride. Inside, it can seat about 132 people, and fit up to 337 riders.

The cab car will also have the ability the drive the train. Still missing are the locomotives and coach cars.

The progress is not only exciting for the developers, but those who'll be using it everyday.

Jeff Sanchez, who lives in Lake Mary, said, "It'll help people with jobs. People who can't drive can take a train, and then a bus to where they need to be."

As construction starts winding down along the rail line, and each of the eventual 17 stops, the focus now turns to what people will see around the station.

Most likely you've seen the work that's being done at the Sunrail stations, but what may not be as visible are the projects in the works, and in Lake Mary, developers are talking luxury apartments, restaurants and shops.

Across from the Lake Mary stop, there isn't much now.

"200 unit luxury apartment project, shops, retail, restaurants," said Lake Mary Development Director John Omana.

They're even looking at an amphitheater. The idea seems to look good on paper.

"As planners, we have to dream big, and you have to start somewhere," said Omana.

When the Sunrail starts rolling through next year, people will notice their city looking a little different, but some parts will be looking a lot different.

"As we speak, it is happening," said Omana, as he points to the construction already happening.

It's a way to attract people to work, play, and live in Lake Mary. First up is Station House, luxury apartments that could soon come up alongside the Sunrail stop. But, how successful could luxury apartments be next to a rail line?

"If it's by shopping and good restaurants, then that would be great," said Sandra Sigourney, who lives in Lake Mary.

Developers believe it will work, and people say the area, for now, is attractive. Other stops like Winter Park and Maitland are hoping the Sunrail station becomes a catalyst for growth.

"Will it all happen? I'm not going to sit here and tell you that it will, but you have got to start somewhere," said Omana.

Lake Mary even wants to put up a kiosk so residents can drop off their utility bills and hop on the train.

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