SunRail Deland extension construction

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jis

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Work continues apace at Deland for constructing the new SunRail station there. The crossing gates and control boxes have been moved and vegetation cleared making space for the second track and the island platform.

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On the other side of the tracks beyond the station head house a huge area has been cleared of vegetation for the new parking lot. I don;t have photos of that area.

You can probably relate to these better using the plan diagram for the station:

Deland Station Plan diagram (PDF)
 
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Will the new island platform be high level (car floor height)? Or does freight use preclude this?
It will be a SunRail platform like at other SunRail stations. so Low/Medium level close to the Sunrail floor height. Not Amtrak floor height.

The track is owned by SunRail, so they can put whatever they please. They are not beholden to CSX on what platforms they can have.

My understanding is that SunRail will mostly use the new track side of the new platform. The through track will mostly be used by Amtrak, but if needed SunrRail can use it too, sort of like things are at DeBary at present.
 
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Checked on progress today. Platform foundations are in place, grading for second track that Sunrail will use, and new ballast on the main line.

Parking grading also making progress (1st photo). I was there when 98 stopped. In addition to an FRA car behind the engine, there were four coaches (holiday travel?). Standard Viewliner line up: diner, VI sleeper, VII sleeper, baggage. In photo of the front of the train you can see the headlight of the local freight patiently waiting on the siding.
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It's been about 6 months since i posted the photos above. On a sleepy Saturday I checked on progress again. The north end of the new parking lot for SunRail has been completed (first photo) and is in use. According to the Amtrak agent passengers are welcome to use it. Although a bit dicey to get into it as you pass through the south section still under construction as seen in second photo looking towards the station and highway. In that photo you can see the new platform and canopy are almost completed although workers there today were dealing with lots of electrical work and other finishing touches needed. The walkway across the tracks to the parking lot has not been done either. In the third photo the parking area next to the station has been taken out - presumably it will be replaced.

Apparently Amtrak has no intention of improving the narrow and low platform that extends north. It is used occasionally for boarding, but if the wheelchair lift is needed, the train will make two stops and block the crossing. Seems like a missed opportunity to improve ADA access and reduce station dwell time. Today 98, northbound Meteor, was delayed for that reason. Amtrak boarding practices have always baffled me as although there were two coach doors open with attendants, only one was used. Boarding passengers had to wait while the lift was used for a deboarding passnger. The Meteor had its normal consist with one VL1 - next to the diner - and one VL2. About 15 passengers boarded including 3 in the sleeper. Since there are often days without a sleeper passenger, the need for a second stop could be eliminated if the baggage car was next to the coaches, rather than behing the sleepers.

The last photo shows a Herzog ballast regulator and tamper getting some TLC as it sits on the new track about a mile south of the station. While this portion has been ballasted. Nearer the station the unbalasted new rail is in place up to and through the grade crossing but stops just before the station. Presumably they'll wait until the platform construciton is complete before doing that.
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Today’s local newspaper, the West Volusia Beacon, has an article on the transition. While the counties will assume the cost to operate, it’s good to see FDOT will continue to manage operations for maybe three years during a transition period.

SunRail set to change owners


And here is a FDOT rendering of the finished station

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What's the point of providing separate platforms for Amtrak vs Sunrail, when they serve the same track and the platforms have the same height?

Neither platform is access restricted I assume?
 
What's the point of providing separate platforms for Amtrak vs Sunrail, when they serve the same track and the platforms have the same height?

Neither platform is access restricted I assume?
SunRail will normally be using the other track leaving the Main clear. SunRail platform is designed to work with SunRail cars. The current Amtrak platform at Deland (as well as in Kissimmee and Orlando) is lower than the SunRail platform and it is also much longer. A regular Amtrak train would not fit on a standard SunRail platform. Kissimmee and Orlando both have separate platforms for Amtrak and SunRail too, longitudinally in those cases and not laterally as in Deland. Only Winter Park has common platforms since there is not enough space to do anything else. Amtrak had to contribute there to construct those longer platforms. In theory Amtrak is retaining the option to construct high level platforms, at these stations other than Winter Park, in the future perhaps.

I don't think Amtrak will fund a new platform that is not Amtrak floor level on that route. At all three SunRail stations a high level platform on the track normally used by Amtrak can be bypassed by oversize freight on the other SunRail track. I don't know the planned track layout at Deland. It might require a crossover to be added at the North end of the station. Winter Park is the exception where a high level platform is not possible because of the need to share platform and the grade crossing in the middle of the station..
 
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In addition, since this is the terminus for SunRail, a second track is required for the trains to occupy between trips and to eliminate any interference with six Amtrak trains and a CSX local freight. It's on the far side of the new platform. It would be unsafe for SunRail passengers to exit directly from their train onto the live main line track in order to get to the existing platform. The new platform exit is at the north end of the platform that slops gradually to grade level and then crosses the main track directly across from the new parking lot. That crossing has full size crossing gates and lights for the passengers crossing over. There is also a south exit that does the same thing but uses the county road crossing signals for protection.

One thing I do find interesting is that it appears that the small higher level part of the new platform for disabled boarding of Sunrail can be used to acccess trains on the main (Amtrak) track. It doesn't show it very well but on the extreme right of the photo below you can see it. A worker told me it was designed to provide clearance for freight trains, (hence the set back) and a SunRail employee would use a ramp across the gap for wheelchair access. The low section of concrete would be where the employee would stand to accomplish this. Not sure if that's accurate but that was his comment.

From the rendering of the final design, shown in a post above, the walkway would be fenced to prevent crossing over before the road. This of course begs the question - why would it be necessary for disabled access for that side of the platform? Photo is looking south towards the highway crossing. That Hi-rail Herzog truck in the distance is on the new track.

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It appears Herzog has finished the track work. The new signal is operable for the Sunrail track.
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The platform has its new lights installed and according to workers just some trim work, speakers, and signage is left.
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The pedestrian crossing has the lights installed and most of the cross walk.
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Work is progressing on the area next to the station, presumably for pick up/drop off buses /handicap. Station in the distance by the trees.

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98 had normal consist with good crowd, maybe 15 on/off coaches, 4 on sleepers
 
Stopped by the station today and it looks like they're down to some finishing touches: installing mulch, completing the gate at the south end of the new platform, and some sidewalk work. Gotta love the planting in the old baggage cart. Can't imaginen it won't be complete in a week or two, although I don't know what testing SunRail will need to do.

In the photo of 91 arriving, note the extension of Amtrak's platform. It's very low and narrow. This would have been the perfect opportunity for Amtrak to upgrade it to match the rest of the platform dimensions and eliminate double stops that is often required for those unable to handle the big steps. The wheelchair lift can't access this either.

91 had it's usual consist but the two sleepers were Viewliner I's - 62001 and 29. About ten minutes after it left the hour late Auto Train dashed through at track speed. Somehow I caught the heritage sleeper (Union Pacific) Pacific Bend behind the engines which I believe is for executive use. Maybe heading to Sanford to plan a new station there??

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The office car is likely on the Auto Train to support testing efforts of the Siemens Charger locomotives for this route. I think you caught a test with two Genesis and two Chargers in progress.
 
This was my first visit without any sign of contractors working. it looks like the work is complete except for some clean up and the SunRail ticket machines. No word on when service will start, but a nice job.

Looking south from the pedestrian crossing from the parking lot to the SunRail platform. The SunRail track, on the right, ends about 50 yards behind me.

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Looking north from the cross walk next to the highway. The entrance is on the far right.

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The station is behind the nicely restored gazebo in the backround

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And the missing ticket machines

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This was my first visit without any sign of contractors working. it looks like the work is complete except for some clean up and the SunRail ticket machines. No word on when service will start, but a nice job.

Looking south from the pedestrian crossing from the parking lot to the SunRail platform. The SunRail track, on the right, ends about 50 yards behind me.

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Looking north from the cross walk next to the highway. The entrance is on the far right.

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The station is behind the nicely restored gazebo in the backround

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And the missing ticket machines

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Thanks. It looks great. I am planning to take a SunRail trip up there after it is completed (and maybe when the temperature cools off a bit).
 
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