SANFORD, Fla. – A new Amtrak station – seating 600 and four times the size of its predecessor – has opened near Orlando for the more than 244,000 annual Amtrak Auto Train passengers, reports an Amtrak press release.
The $10.5 million to enlarge and improve the station – severely damaged by a 2004 hurricane — was funded with $10.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Since the hurricane, part of the waiting room was sheltered in a tent.
Amtrak’s Auto Train, operating between Lorton, Va., (just outside Washington, D.C.) and Sanford, is said by Amtrak to be “the longest passenger train in the world, with two locomotives and 40-plus passenger rail cars and vehicle carriers operating daily.”
The 855-mile Auto Train route is the only Amtrak service to simultaneously transport passengers and their motor vehicles, including cars, SUVs, vans, trucks and motorcycles. Each year, says Amtrak, the Auto Train draws more than 100,000 vehicles off heavily congested I-95.
Said the Amtrak press release: “A look at the license plates on vehicles being driven to and from the Auto Train shows it draws users from the Eastern Seaboard of the United States and several Canadian provinces, all choosing to ride overnight in sleeping compartments or reclining coach seats for the scheduled 17 ½ hour trip rather than drive the distance.”