The first day of full testing for SunRail's first locomotive got underway Saturday and is expected to continue Sunday, as SunRail commuter rail gears up for passenger service in the spring of 2014.
Officials said the testing Saturday occurred between Sanford and DeLand.
It got underway at 8:30 a.m. and is expected to continue until about 4 p.m., officials said.
Top speed for the testing is 30 miles-per-hour and the first SunRail locomotive needs to have a 2,500 mile burn-in, or testing miles, before being put into service, officials said.
All other subsequent locomotives will need 500 miles, officials said.
In all, SunRail will have 10 locomotives—seven for Phase I and three more for Phase II. There will be 20 passenger vehicles—14 for Phase I and six for Phase II.
Phase I of SunRail starts next spring and will run from DeBary in Volusia County to Sand Lake Road in Orange County, covering 32 miles. Phase II is expected to be in operation in 2016, expanding the system to 61.5 miles, running from DeLand in Volusia County to Poinciana in Osceola County, officials said.
During testing, the locomotive will be forward/pulling, while the train is heading northbound. While traveling southbound, it may appear the train is going backwards, but actually the engineer is controlling/driving from the cab car—which has a full set of controls on board—while the locomotive pushes. This push-pull configuration is an industry standard in commuter rail.