The linked material appearing in the Ocala Star Banner, and prepared by a Staff Reporter, would suggest that SunRail is certainly a "done deal" and with operations set to be "launched" during 2014:
http://www.ocala.com/article/20110727/A ... newsletter
- After years of legislative wrangling and controversy, SunRail, the commuter rail line serving Orlando, has pulled into the station.
That happened last week when U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood formally released almost $179 million in funding for the project.
But SunRail's arrival means additional freight-train traffic through Ocala, beginning two years from now.
However, Ocala Mike, an apparent advocate of Amtrak Long Distance trains writes at another site that while "more positives than negatives overall, and I'm glad it's going through my particular locale (Ocala) is a big loser in all of this. No positives for Amtrak riders in this area during the last (and presumably) next decade at all."
The author continues to note:
1. We lost rail service through Ocala in 2004.
2. We lost service through Lake City E/W on the Sunset Limited in 2005.
3. Now we'll be facing even longer waits at RR crossings in our cars while CSX rakes in more dough."
I too agree that this development makes any restoration of passenger service through Ocala difficult to envision, however I must ask, if SunRail is to move forth, what other alternate routings are there available for CSX freight traffic other than the Seaboard Jax-Coleman? Is it reasonable to expect that an investor owned concern is going (likely forced) to "reserve" track capacity to enable a possible revival of a mode of passenger transportation which, at this time, Florida voters clearly do not want?
Considering that SunRail will do what Tri-Rail does not, namely serve the core Downtown of the largest on line community, as well as serve the perimeter of Mickey and his various consorts' fiefdoms providing at least the 'serfs' with a low-cost means to get to work at such (the "vassals" will continue to "fly and rent"; SunRail or not), I'd like to think the System will have greater presence in the region than Tri-Rail enjoys within its own - and despite this negative, Tri-Rail, if not a "blockbuster", at least "hasn't done that bad".
Disclaimer; this author holds long position CSX