Airport rail link

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"Airport Express Train" redirects here. For other uses, see Airport Express Train (disambiguation).

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.

Although airport rail links have been popular solutions in Europe and Japan for decades, only recently have links been constructed in North America and 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.

Mass transit[edit]

Airport Express Line, Beijing Subway

For airports built within or close to the city limits, extending mass transit 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. A common solution involves building a separate people mover from a mass transit station to the airport terminal, often using automated systems, allowing faster travel time and fare discrimination, for instance Orlyval.

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.

Mainline rail[edit]

Dedicated railway lines to airports have become popular since the 1980s, with airport terminals for airport express, intercity and commuter trains, allowing direct travel to the check-in halls. This solution requires the building of new track; a cheaper option is to open a new station on an existing line, connected to the airport by people mover or shuttle bus. An early example of a mainline rail station station built to serve an airport is Berlin Schönefeld Flughafen station which opened in 1951 and serves Berlin Schönefeld Airport, and another example is 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 the connecting rail service. Central Europe has seen integration of high-speed rail into airports, with domestic and international TGV and ICE services from Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris and Frankfurt Airport. Because of this, many airport railway stations have received IATA codes.

Other airports instead 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. Other airports, such as London Heathrow Airport, are served by both express trains and mass transit.

These solutions often have the drawback of lower frequencies (e.g. twice per hour).

Shuttle[edit]

Where there is no train station at the airport, 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 only serves one terminal or concourse directly; passengers using other terminals must use an airport circulator. Circulators typically also serve parking lots, and sometimes airport hotels and off-site car rental locations.

Connection types[edit]

One-seat ride via main-line train[edit]

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

Africa[edit]

Asia[edit]

Airport Express train, Hong Kong

Europe[edit]

London's Heathrow Express runs non-stop from Paddington Station to Heathrow Airport.
A BM71 Airport Express train of Flytoget at Oslo Central Station.

North America[edit]

Oceania[edit]

One-seat ride via local public transport[edit]

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 to reach other terminals or concourses.

Asia[edit]

KMRT's Kaohsiung International Airport Station

Europe[edit]

Copenhagen Metro has unmanned trains.

North America[edit]

A Baltimore Light Rail vehicle at BWI's international terminal.

Rail to airport people mover[edit]

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-de Gaulle and San Francisco.

Europe[edit]

North America[edit]

Rail to bus to airport[edit]

See also: Airport bus

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[edit]

Europe[edit]

North America[edit]

Passengers board an AirBART bus at Oakland International Airport.

South America[edit]

Oceania[edit]

Proposed airport rail links[edit]

Other cities are considering airport rail link services.

Africa[edit]

Asia[edit]

Europe[edit]

North America[edit]

South America[edit]

Oceania[edit]

  • Melbourne – Planning for a branch line off the Geelong line near Lara Station to Avalon Airport has begun, and design funding provided for in the Victorian state budget.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1][dead link]
  2. ^ [2][dead link]
  3. ^ http://www.hs.fi/english/article/Ring+Rail+Line+to+Helsinki-Vantaa+Airport+will+be+delayed+by+at+least+six+months/1329104754175
  4. ^ "connecting airline". Continental.com. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "(TRE) Travel to DFW Airport". Trinity Railway Express. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "LA Metro Home". Mta.net. 22 April 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Amtrak California[dead link]
  8. ^ http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=Amtrak/am2Route/Vertical_Route_Page&c=am2Route&cid=1081256321481&ssid=133
  9. ^ "Mitchell Airport Railroad Station – Wisconsin Department of Transportation". Dot.wisconsin.gov. 30 September 2010. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Transportation Industry: Egyptian National Railways – Egypt". International Railway Journal (Simmons-Boardman Publishing Corporation). October 2001. Retrieved 13 August 2009. 
  11. ^ Serbian:http://www.aviokarta.net/vesti/603-poboljsanje-prevoza-do-aerodroma-od-juna/
  12. ^ Serbian: http://www.gsp.rs/linija.asp?id=72
  13. ^ http://www.beoland.com/zemljiste/karte/03_plan_saobracaj.jpg
  14. ^ Railway Gazette International July 2008 403.
  15. ^ http://www.routeahead.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/2013-0118StrategyAheadWeb2.pdf
  16. ^ http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2014/03/19/a_revamped_la_guardia_airport_could_look_like_this_in_2021.php
  17. ^ "Feasibility Study of O-Train Extension to Leitrim and Riverside South". Transit Commission, City of Ottawa. 22 February 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  18. ^ "Coalition Government to start planning Avalon rail link". Minister for Public Transport, Victoria. Retrieved 26 November 2011. 

External links[edit]