Yesterday, Amtrak broke ground on a new Auto Train station in Sanford, Fla., the southern most terminus for the service, which enables passengers to travel with their own vehicles from Lorton, Va., to Sanford.
To be funded through American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars, the $10 million project calls for replacing the current 2,500-square-foot facility — which includes three separate structures — with a 10,00-square-foot station that will feature a passenger waiting area, ticket counter, gift shop, café and restrooms. The waiting room will include seating for 600 customers. The current waiting area, which is partially housed in a tent, seats 370.
In addition, the station will incorporate a new traffic flow to provide easier access for passengers as they drop off their vehicles prior to boarding the train.
During the past decade, Amtrak has worked to improve the service by adding new passenger equipment and car carriers, and building a new station and mechanical facility at the northern end of the route. In fiscal-year 2008, Auto Train ridership totaled 234,839 passengers, a 7.8 percent increase compared with FY2007 data. In addition, the railroad carried 112,188 cars and 1,757 motorcycles.
Amtrak plans to seek other places throughout the country where it can launch other Auto Train services.