The 51.5km first phase has 12 stations and runs from DeBarry south via Sandford, Longwood, Altamonte Springs and Winter Park to Orlando. SunRail is operating 16 trains in each direction on Mondays to Fridays with a journey time of 1h 3min.

Journeys will be free of charge from May 1-16 to encourage people to try the new service - Florida's Department of Transportation (FDOT) expects 4300 passengers to use SunRail each day initially.

Bombardier has supplied a fleet of 20 double-deck coaches and was awarded a $195m contract last year to operate and maintain the service.

The complete 98km SunRail right-of-way was purchased by FDOT in 2011 from CSX for $US 150m. Phase 2, on which construction will begin in late 2014, will extend the line north to DeLand and south to Poinciana.