SANFORD, Fla. – A new Amtrak station is open near Orlando for the more than 244,000 annual Amtrak Auto Train passengers. At about 10,000 square feet, the station in Sanford seats 600 passengers and is about four times larger than its predecessor.
Thomas Carper, chairman of the Amtrak Board of Directors, joined local, state and federal officials for the celebration.
The original depot, constructed in 1971 and renovated in 1995, was not large enough to accommodate growing demand for the Auto Train, which just reported a year-to-year ridership increase of nearly five percent – despite the economic recession, Amtrak said.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Amtrak received $10.5 million to reconstruct the Sanford station, as the original facility sustained extensive damage during the 2004 hurricane season and part of the waiting room had since been sheltered in a tent. Station platforms are receiving $161,000 in Amtrak ARRA funds for accessibility improvements of a wheelchair lift and tactile edges under the railroad’s Mobility First initiative.
“The Auto Train is an example of how good stations, modern equipment and competent operation make good service – we’ve made the investments, and passengers are reaping the benefits,” said Carper, the former mayor of Macomb, Ill.