Airport rail link

Last updated

An airport rail link is a service providing passenger rail transport from an airport to a nearby city by mainline or commuter trains, rapid transit, people mover, or light rail. Direct links operate straight to the airport terminal, while other systems require an intermediate use of people mover or shuttle bus.

Contents

Although airport rail links have been popular solutions in Europe and Japan for decades, only recently have links been constructed in North America, Oceania, and the rest of Asia. Advantages for the rider include faster travel time and easy interconnection with other public transport, while authorities have benefited from less highway and parking congestion, less pollution, and additional business opportunities. Additionally, the links benefit airports by drawing in more passengers via easy access.

Connection types

Mass transit

Capital Airport Express, Beijing Subway Beijing Subway Airport Express 01.jpg
Capital Airport Express, Beijing Subway
Toronto's Union Pearson Express links the city centre with the airport, but also has intermediate stations. This has made it a popular premium alternative for local commuters. Terminal1Station.jpg
Toronto's Union Pearson Express links the city centre with the airport, but also has intermediate stations. This has made it a popular premium alternative for local commuters.

For airports built within or close to the city limits, extending mass transit urban rail systems like rapid transit or light rail to airport terminals allows full integration with other public transport in the city, and seamless transport to all parts of town. Service frequency will be high, although travel time is a drawback as the services make many intermediate stops before reaching the city center and thus there may not be enough space for the baggage commonly carried by airport-bound passengers. Furthermore, luggage stowing facilities are not commonly found on mass transit vehicles as their primary objective is to provide high-capacity transport, as in the Airport & South Line in Sydney, Australia. A common solution involves building a separate people mover from a mass transit station to the airport terminal (see below), often using automated systems, allowing faster travel time and fare discrimination, for instance Orlyval. Because they are solely dedicated to passengers using the airport, luggage stowing facilities are more likely to appear on these systems.

The first rapid transit station to connect an airport with a mass transit system was the Berlin U-Bahn's Paradestraße station which opened in 1927 as Flughafen (Airport) and was built to provide direct access to Berlin Tempelhof Airport. The connection between Tempelhof Airport and the Berlin U-Bahn at Paradestraße was however revoked in 1937 and the preceding station Platz der Luftbrücke was instead granted that connection and remained so until Tempelhof Airport's closure in 2008. Other early examples of mass transit stations located at airports include the MBTA Blue Line's Airport station which is situated at Boston's Logan International Airport and opened for service in 1952 and rebuilt in 2004, and Cleveland RTA Rapid Transit Red Line's Cleveland Hopkins International Airport station which opened in 1968 and rebuilt in 1994, although Cleveland's rapid transit is considered the first direct airport-to-downtown rapid transit system in the Western Hemisphere. Boston's Blue Line requires a short bus transfer from the airport rail station to the airport terminal.

Mainline rail

Frankfurt Airport long-distance station Flughafen-Fernbahnsteig Fahrstuhl-Frankfurt am Main.JPG
Frankfurt Airport long-distance station

Dedicated railway lines to airports have become popular since the 1980s. In many cases, there are stations at the airport terminal(s) for express, intercity and commuter trains, allowing direct travel to the check-in halls. In most cases, this solution requires the building of new track, whether it is a newly built main line or a branch (spur) line from an existing main line.

A cheaper option is to open a new station on an existing line, again connected to the airport by people mover or shuttle bus (see below). While this option is commonly chosen to reduce construction costs, it is only feasible when the station is located within proximity to the airport itself. Some early examples of mainline rail stations built to serve an airport are Don Mueang Station (which opened in 1898 in Don Mueang District and which happens to be located opposite Don Mueang International Airport opened for commercial flights in 1924), Berlin Schönefeld Flughafen station (which opened in 1951 and served Berlin Schönefeld Airport until 2020 and now Terminal 5 of Berlin Brandenburg airport), Gatwick Airport railway station (of which its first incarnation was opened in 1891 to serve a nearby racecourse and was later rebuilt to directly serve Gatwick Airport in 1958), Brussels National Airport railway station (which opened in 1958 and serves Brussels Airport) and Frankfurt Airport regional station (which opened in 1972 and is one of the two railway stations that serve Frankfurt Airport).

Integration with intercity services has produced alliances where airlines sell air tickets that include the connecting rail service. Central Europe has seen integration of high-speed rail into airports, with domestic and international TGV services from Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 2 TGV in Paris and ICE services from Frankfurt Airport long-distance station. Because of this, many airport railway stations have received IATA codes.

Yet another option for airports is to use a high-speed "airport express" train to the city centre, especially if the airport is outside the urban area and some way from the mass transit system, but a direct downtown service is required, such as Flytoget serving Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. There are various ways this can be done: it may operate on a combination of existing and newly built mainline rail or mass transit track using a dedicated fleet of rolling stock designed for airport service. These solutions often have the drawback of lower frequencies (e.g. twice per hour), and often charge a premium fare higher than other services, but are more likely to have luxury features such as luggage racks, power outlets, Wi-Fi, and washrooms.

Most dedicated railways use mainline trains and trackage, while mass transit "airport express" lines are usually found in Asia, as in the case of the Airport Express Line in Hong Kong. Other airports, such as Heathrow Airport, are served by both express trains and mass transit. This is becoming increasingly popular in China, where several airports now have both high-speed rail and metro connections.

Shuttle

In many cases, there is no train station directly at the airport, usually because the infrastructure on which the service operates makes it impractical to build such a station. When this happens, a shuttle system is required for the last part of the journey; using either a people mover (often automated, such as AirTrain JFK in New York City) or a bus. The former allows low operating costs[ citation needed ] and higher perceived quality; the latter does not require specialized infrastructure to be built, and is often the preferred choice at smaller or low-cost airports. Shuttles do not provide a direct connection, and often involve a wait for a transfer to the next stage of the journey. Thus their market shares are often lower.

In some airports, such as San Francisco International Airport, the rail link may not serve some or all of the terminals or concourses directly; passengers using terminals that lack such connections must use a people mover or airport circulator to access their terminal. These circulators typically also serve parking lots, and sometimes airport hotels and off-site car rental locations.

Current examples

Main-line or commuter rail

Commuter rail-type service directly from a city centre to the airport, without needing to change trains and sometimes without intermediate stops.

Light rail or metro

Many cities also provide a link to their airports through their rapid transit or light rail systems, which, unlike express trains, often make numerous stops on the way to the airport. At some airports, such as O'Hare in Chicago or Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, the rapid transit train only visits one terminal or concourse; passengers must transfer to an airport circulator (people mover system) to reach other terminals or concourses.

Rail to airport people mover

BART Coliseum-Oakland International Airport line in the background BART OAK Ride.jpg
BART Coliseum–Oakland International Airport line in the background

A hybrid solution adopted in some cities is a direct rail connection to an airport train station instead of to the airport itself. At the airport train station, the passenger switches to a people mover or other train that goes to the airport terminals. The same system can also serve passengers moving between different terminals and traveling between the terminals and car rental lots or parking areas. Several very large airports have rail stations near some terminals, but people movers are used by many to get to some other terminals. Examples: Paris Charles de Gaulle and Oakland.

Asia

Europe

North America

South America

Rail to bus to airport

Another common arrangement requires the passenger to take a train (or metro) to a railway station (usually) near the airport and then switch to a bus that goes to the airport terminals. Most medium and large size airports have bus connections from the inner city. This list only contains connections by bus from a railway station strongly associated, by branding or by name, with the airport.

Asia

Europe

North America

Discontinued services

South America

Oceania

See also

Related Research Articles

Transportation in Boston Overview of transportation in Boston, Massachusetts, United States

The Boston transportation system includes roadway, subway, regional rail, air, and sea options for passenger and freight transit in Boston, Massachusetts. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) operates the Port of Boston, which includes a container shipping facility in South Boston, and Logan International Airport, in East Boston. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) operates bus, subway, short-distance rail, and water ferry passenger services throughout the city and region. Amtrak operates passenger rail service to and from major northeastern cities. A major bus terminal at South Station is served by varied intercity bus companies. The city is bisected by major highways I-90 and I-93, the intersection of which has undergone a major renovation, nicknamed the Big Dig.

People mover Fully automated transit systems, generally serving relatively small areas

A people mover or automated people mover (APM) is a type of small scale automated guideway transit system. The term is generally used only to describe systems serving relatively small areas such as airports, downtown districts or theme parks.

CentrePort/DFW Airport station Commuter rail station in Fort Worth, Texas

CentrePort/DFW Airport station is a Trinity Railway Express (TRE) commuter rail station in Fort Worth, Texas. It is located on Statler Boulevard just south of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. It opened on September 16, 2000, and is a station on the TRE commuter line, serving the CentrePort business park, the headquarters of American Airlines, and all terminals of DFW Airport. Connections to all DFW airport terminals are free but require riding two shuttle buses: first the shuttle to the DFW Remote South lot, then connecting there to the terminal shuttles.

AirTrain JFK People mover system at JFK Airport in New York City

AirTrain JFK is an 8.1-mile-long (13 km) elevated people mover system and airport rail link serving John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. The driverless system operates 24/7 and consists of three lines and ten stations within the New York City borough of Queens. It connects the airport's terminals with the New York City Subway in Howard Beach, Queens, and with the Long Island Rail Road and the subway in Jamaica, Queens. Bombardier Transportation operates AirTrain JFK under contract to the airport's operator, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Elevated railway rapid transit railway with the tracks above street level

An elevated railway or elevated train is a rapid transit railway with the tracks above street level on a viaduct or other elevated structure. The railway may be broad-gauge, standard-gauge or narrow-gauge railway, light rail, monorail, or a suspension railway. Elevated railways are normally found in urban areas where there would otherwise be multiple level crossings. Usually, the tracks of elevated railways that run on steel viaducts can be seen from street level.

Intermodal passenger transport

Intermodal passenger transport, also called mixed-mode commuting, involves using two or more modes of transportation in a journey. Mixed-mode commuting is often used to combine the strengths of various transportation options. A major goal of modern intermodal passenger transport is to reduce dependence on the automobile as the major mode of ground transportation and increase use of public transport. To assist the traveller various intermodal journey planners such as Rome2rio and Google Transit have been devised to help travellers to plan and schedule their journey.

JFK Express Former New York City Subway service

The JFK Express, advertised as The Train to The Plane, was a limited express service of the New York City Subway, connecting Midtown Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport. It operated between 1978 and 1990. Passengers paid extra, premium fares to ride JFK Express trains. Its route bullet was colored turquoise and contained an aircraft symbol.

Link Train Railway system in Ontario, Canada

The Link Train is an automated people mover (APM) at Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. The wheelchair-accessible train runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week and is completely free-of-charge to ride. In 2012, it transported 17,000 passengers daily, 60 to 70% of whom were airport staff.

Luton Airport Parkway railway station

Luton Airport Parkway railway station is on the Midland Main Line in England, serving south Luton and Luton Airport in Bedfordshire. It is situated in Park Town, Luton, and is 29 miles 19 chains (47.1 km) down the line from London St Pancras between Harpenden to the south and Luton to the north. Its three-letter station code is LTN, also the IATA code for the airport.

Aviation/LAX station Los Angeles Metro Rail station

Aviation/LAX is an elevated light rail station on the Los Angeles County Metro Rail on the Metro C Line. It is located on Aviation Boulevard at Imperial Highway, just south of Century Freeway in El Segundo, California. A free shuttle bus connects this station to Los Angeles International Airport; however, when the K Line opens in 2023, this shuttle will instead serve the new Aviation/Century station, which is closer to the airport terminals, and the current Aviation/LAX station will then be renamed Aviation/Imperial. The train platform, currently suitable for two-car trains, may be lengthened to accommodate three-car trains to enable increased capacity of the line.

Transport in Greater Tokyo Overview of the transportation network in Greater Tokyo

The transport network in Greater Tokyo includes public and private rail and highway networks; airports for international, domestic, and general aviation; buses; motorcycle delivery services, walking, bicycling, and commercial shipping. While the nexus is in the central part of Tokyo, every part of the Greater Tokyo Area has rail or road transport services. The sea and air transport is available from a limited number of ports for the general public.

Transport in Delhi Overview of transport in Delhi, India

Delhi has significant reliance on its transport infrastructure. The city seeks to develop a highly efficient public transport system with the introduction of the Delhi Metro, which is undergoing a rapid modernization and expansion as of 2006. There are 16.6 million registered vehicles in the city as of 30 June 2014, which is the highest in the world among all cities, most of which do not follow any pollution emission norm, while the Delhi metropolitan region has 11.2 million vehicles. Delhi and NCR lose nearly 42 crore man-hours every month while commuting between home and office through public transport, due to the traffic congestion. Therefore, serious efforts, including a number of transport infrastructure projects, are under way to encourage usage of public transport in the city.

Taft Avenue station

Taft Avenue station is a station on the Manila Metro Rail Transit System Line 3, and is the line's only station in Pasay. The station is located at the corner of Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, or EDSA, one of Metro Manila's main thoroughfares, and Taft Avenue. The station is named after Taft Avenue, which is named after former U.S. President and U.S. Chief Justice William Howard Taft, who served as Governor-General of the Philippines from 1901 to 1903.

Transportation in the Klang Valley Public transport modes, including buses, rail, taxis, and motor-taxis serving the Klang Valley

Transportation in the Klang Valley, which includes Kuala Lumpur – the capital city of Malaysia – consists of highly-developed intermodal infrastructure. This includes an extensive road network, an integrated railway network, airports, and other modes of public transport. The Klang Valley is an urban conglomeration consisting of the city of Kuala Lumpur, as well as surrounding towns and cities in the state of Selangor. The Klang Valley has the country's largest airport, the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), as well as the country's largest intermodal transport hub and railway station, Kuala Lumpur Sentral.

Dorval station (Exo)

Dorval station is an intermodal bus and commuter rail station in Dorval, Quebec, Canada. The Exo station and the Via Rail station are within walking distance of each other.

İzmir is a transportation hub for western Anatolia. İzmir has an extensive bus system, a developing metro and commuter rail system and a large urban ferry network. The city also has a highway to Çeşme and Aydın as well as a ring around the city. Mass transportation is operated by four separate public agencies all owned by the İzmir Municipality.

Shuttle train

A shuttle train is a train that runs back and forth between two points, especially if it offers a frequent service over a short route. Shuttle trains are used in various ways, in various parts of the world. They commonly operate as a fixed consist, and run non-stop between their termini. They can be used to carry passengers, freight, or both.

Fornebu Line

The Fornebu Line is an under construction rail line which will serve the peninsula of Fornebu in Bærum, Norway. The line is under construction and the transit agency Ruter is working towards connecting it to the Oslo Metro. The line has at various stages been proposed as an automated people mover, tram-train, tramway, light rail, stadtbahn, rapid transit, bus rapid transit and commuter rail, with the rapid transit option being selected as the final proposal. The metro line will start at Majorstuen Station and will run entirely in a tunnel for 8,150 meters (26,740 ft). The line will have six stations, at Skøyen, Vækerø, Lysaker, Telenor Arena, Flytårnet and Fornebu Senter. A depot will be built at Fornebu and the line will connect to the metro's Common Tunnel at Majorstuen.

References

  1. "connecting airline". Continental.com. Archived from the original on 21 April 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  2. "(TRE) Travel to DFW Airport". Trinity Railway Express. Archived from the original on 10 November 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  3. "LA Metro Home". Mta.net. 22 April 2010. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  4. "Rail and Mass Transportation | Caltrans". dot.ca.gov. Archived from the original on 5 March 2005.
  5. "Hiawatha, Milwaukee - Chicago". Amtrak. Archived from the original on 28 August 2005. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  6. "Mitchell Airport Railroad Station – Wisconsin Department of Transportation". Dot.wisconsin.gov. 30 September 2010. Archived from the original on 12 September 2008. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
  7. "Public Transportation". www.san.org. Archived from the original on 3 September 2017. Retrieved 9 August 2017.