ORLANDO, Fla. — Starting Monday, you can now take the SunRail train further south, thanks to four newly opened stations stretching into Osceola County.
- Four new SunRail stations open
- Stops link Orange County to Osceola County
- Expansion goes over 17 miles
The expansion goes a bit more than 17 miles.
The first 50 passengers who get on the train at one of the new SunRail stations will ride for free.
Passengers who got a chance to test out the new stations over the weekend say they're looking forward to the convenience the train will provide.
"I think all of us are just really looking forward to it because it will be so much quicker to get to Orlando, Winter Park -- you know, some place exciting. It's a little quiet out here right now," Marie Rohde said.
The new SunRail stations available are:
- Meadow Woods in Orange County, located near the intersection of South Orange Avenue and Fairway Woods.
- The Tupperware Station, located at 3205 Orange Avenue, Kissimmee
- Downtown Kissimmee Station, located at 320 Pleasant St., Kissimmee
- The Poinciana Station in Osceola County, located at 5025 South Rail Ave., Kissimme
The project started a little over two years ago and cost nearly $187 million. With the expanded service, the system added more day trips and trains run later at night.
Franke Santiago and his kids are riding the Sunrail that extends to Osceola for the first time.
“This is an exciting experience,” Santiago said. “You know we finally got a sunrail that goes through the city, so that is pretty amazing.”
For people like Santiago who commute back and forth due to work, this is more than just a convenience.
“I work for Hudson's Furniture, right on South Orange Blossom Trail, but we also have a store in Altamonte,” he explained. “So if I had to conveniently jump on the Sunrail to maybe go to the other store if I needed to maybe, it works out.”
For those who take to the Sunrail to work, County Commissioner Cheryl Grieb said that because there is WiFi on the train, there are employers who will let their employees clock in during their commute time to work and back home.
This is because they can work from their laptops while sitting in the train.
“We already know we have highly congested roads, so this is the start of our true transit,” Grieb said. “Our opportunity to be able to get out of our cars, be able to get on train, and then go to a location, whether it’s for work, it’s for play, it's for dining, it's for entertainment… It's just a great opportunity.”
Santiago says he can’t wait to see Kissimmee grow even more -- mainly for his kids.
“I am glad that we finally made it. We made it, Orlando is finally growing!” he said.
Reporter Deborah Souverain contributed to this report.