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CSX, Florida close on SunRail corridor sale

Yesterday, CSX Corp. and state of Florida officials closed on the sale of 61 miles of CSX track along Interstate 4 that will be used for the new SunRail commuter-rail system.

During the next eight years, CSX and its affiliates plan to invest $500 million in Florida’s infrastructure “to support economic growth and job creation,” CSX officials said in a prepared statement. The investment primarily is supported by corridor sale proceeds, they said.

The closing “represents a significant public-private partnership that accommodates central Florida’s need for a transportation alternative to congested highways, while preserving and expanding environmentally friendly and efficient freight rail capacity,” said Louis Renjel, CSX vice president of strategic infrastructure.

The state’s partnership with CSX and the Class I’s infrastructure investment over the next few years will improve freight- and commuter-rail transportation throughout the state, as well as increase the capacity and efficiency of Florida’s ports, said Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Ananth Prasad.

SunRail is expected to begin initial operations in 2014, and will serve the Orlando area as well as Volusia, Seminole, Orange and Osceola counties. Under the agreement, CSX will retain an exclusive freight easement to operate trains on the SunRail line.

The state’s contractors now can begin to manage and maintain the corridor, including signal and track maintenance. Construction of SunRail’s 31-mile first phase — which will include double track, signal improvements, stations and an operations control center — will begin before year’s end, FDOT officials said.

The first 31 miles will include 12 stations; a second phase will serve five additional stations.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/4/2011