Amtrak begins construction next month on a new $10 million, larger and up-to-date Auto Train passenger station in Sanford, Fla., bringing improved service and more station amenities to Auto Train passengers.
The current 2,500 square foot station configuration of three separate structures will be replaced with a 10,000 square foot facility featuring a passenger waiting area, ticket counter, gift shop, café and restrooms.
The new, larger station will include a waiting area with seating for 600, an increase of 370 over the current waiting area, which is partially housed in a tent. In addition, a new traffic flow will be added, providing easier access for passengers as they drop off their vehicles under a large canopy before boarding the train.
Amtrak began operating Auto Train service in October 1983. In 1995, Amtrak renovated the Sanford station, which was originally built in 1971 when the Auto Train operation was a private enterprise.
With more than 40 passenger rail cars and auto carriers, the Auto Train is the longest passenger train in the world. During fiscal year 2008, 234,839 passengers traveled on the Auto Train, a 7.8-percent increase in passengers over the previous year.
The Sanford station project is being funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Construction is scheduled to begin in mid-June and targeted for fall 2010 completion.