PHX Sky Train

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Phoenix-Sky Train 1.JPG
PHX Sky Train
Type People mover
Locale Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport serving Phoenix, Arizona
Termini 44th St/Sky Harbor METRO Light Rail Station
Terminal 4 (April 8, 2013)
Terminals 2 & 3 (2015)
Rental Car Center (2020)
Stations 3 (April 8, 2013)
4 (2015)
5 (2020)
Opening April 8, 2013
Owner City of Phoenix Aviation Department
Operator(s) Bombardier Transportation
Character Serves non-sterile parts of the airport
Rolling stock 18 Bombardier Innovia APM 200 vehicles
Highest elevation 100 feet (30 m)
Route map
Phase 2 (opens 2020):
Rental Car Center
Phase 1A (opens 2015):
Terminal 3(walkway to Terminal 2)
Phase 1 (opened 2013):
Terminal 4
East Economy Parking
METRO Light Rail
44th St/Sky Harbor
METRO Light Rail

The PHX Sky Train is a free, 24-hour electric people mover at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.[1] The first segment opened to the public on April 8, 2013.[2]

The PHX Sky Train is gradually replacing shuttle buses, which is expected to reduce road congestion, pollution, bus noises, diesel soot, and pitting and buckling of roadways caused by the heavy buses. Until construction is complete in 2015, these shuttle buses still connect METRO's light rail Airport station (called "44th Street and Washington") with two terminals (T2, T3).

T4 is served by the PHX Sky Train. A larger system of rental shuttle buses connecting T2, T3, and T4 to the Rental Car Center remains in service. They will ultimately be replaced by the final segment of the PHX Sky Train in 2020.

The PHX Sky Train features a 100-foot-tall (30 m) bridge over Taxiway R, one of three which connect the north and south runways. This is the first location in the world where a rail system of any kind crosses over an active taxiway.[3][4] The bridge is tall enough to accommodate a Boeing 747, but not an Airbus A380.


Phase 1a construction as of May 2013, viewed from Terminal 4 to T3. The concrete guideway, largely complete, dives under Taxiways S and T, then rises to enter the skeleton of the T3 station

Phase 1 (Dec 2008 - Apr 2013) links Terminal 4, the East Economy Parking lot and garages, and the 44th St light rail station. The guideway runs in a new underpass (below the Union Pacific railroad), past the jet-fuel tank farm, and alongside 44th Street.

Estimated cost was just over $1 billion in 2005. The PHX Sky Train Phase 1 was completed April 8, 2013.

Phase 1a (see picture) which connects Terminal 4 and Terminal 3 (and Terminal 2 via an existing covered walkway) is under construction and scheduled to open in early 2015. Since the airport's long term plans call for the closure of Terminal 2, a stop at Terminal 2 will not be built. An artist's concept of the T3 station and walkway can be seen here: As of July 2012, construction is underway on this segment.

The final segment, phase 2 - out to the Rental Car Center - should be complete by 2020.[5]

Passenger Services[edit]

All facilities, from the hotel sidewalks, to the METRO stations, to the terminals are "at grade", which means that baggage, baby buggies, and wheelchairs need not be lifted into and out of vehicles; they are rolled on and rolled off. To get from one level to another, elevators and escalators are provided. Numerous curb cuts are provided at street level for wheelchairs and such. This "at grade" concept continues from the hotels, to the street, to the stations, to the train, and indeed to the boarding gates of the aircraft. Such was never possible with the buses.

Free baggage check-in to one's final destination is available for Southwest and US Airways by personnel at the 44th St Station and the East Economy Garage station. Once checked, the baggage is delivered in locked containers to the internal baggage-handling systems at Terminal 4. Delivery of the baggage is via secured shuttle-trucks that run every 8 minutes or so. This reduces curbside congestion and queuing for baggage check-in on the T4 sidewalks.

Boarding passes can be printed (from self-serve kiosks) at the 44th St Station and the East Economy Station for US Airways, British Airways, Air Canada, and WestJet (others to be added soon).

Passenger drop-off areas are now available at the 44th St Station, as well as a "cellphone lot" for those who are picking up passengers. Passengers for T3 or T2 should not use the PHX Sky Train at this time; they will need to connect to a shuttle bus anyway. This situation will continue until the tracks to T3 are complete in 2015.

A system of air-conditioned escalators and moving walkways connects the 44th St Station to METRO light rail and two Valley Metro city bus lines (the 1-Washington, serving Downtown Phoenix and the Arizona State Capitol; and the 44-44th St/Tatum Blvd, serving points north along 44th Street and eventually the affluent enclave of Paradise Valley and Paradise Valley Mall, located a few miles north).

Two hotels are immediately adjacent (approx. 50 yards) to the 44th St Station. One is an Aloft Hotel, and the other is the Phoenix Airport Plaza Hotel (formerly Coast Hotel, formerly Crowne Plaza).

The Pueblo Grande Museum, a pre-Columbian (Hohokam) archaeological site operated by the City of Phoenix, is located on the southwest corner of 44th Street and Washington.

Bike racks and bike lockers are available at the 44th St Station.

Animals can visit the Park 'n' Play in the northwest corner of the 44th St Station, or they can visit the Park & Bark near the East Economy Garages (as well as T2, T3, and T4).[6]


Three months after opening, the PHX Sky Train is carrying about 70,000 people per week--over 40% higher than the design estimates of about 48,000. The busiest days are Thursday and Friday. The busiest times are 5-8am and noon-3pm [7]

Rolling Stock[edit]

Rolling stock consists of Bombardier Innovia APM 200 vehicles, being Bombardier's second installation in the United States for such model (after the Skylink APM at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport), and third installation worldwide (after DFW's Skylink APM and the Terminal 5 APM at London Heathrow International Airport.)

The new INNOVIA APM system is designed to carry 3,300 passengers per hour per direction. It will operate 24 hours a day with trains running continuously in both directions and arriving as frequently as every three minutes. The average speed of the trains will be 23 mph but speeds up to 38 mph can be achieved. The journey time from the 44th Street Station to Terminal 4 is five minutes plus an additional two minutes to reach Terminal 3.[8]

As of April 2013, there are 18 cars in service, generally operating as six 3-car trainsets, although 2-car trainsets are in use during off-peak times.

Views of the PHX Sky Train[edit]

Different views of the PHX Sky Train and terminal.

Outside view of the main terminal of the PHX Sky Train. 
View of the main terminal of the PHX Sky Train from an approaching train. 
Riders crossing over Washington St. at the PHX Sky Train's main terminal at 44th St. station. 
Inside the PHX Sky Train main terminal. 
Inside view of a PHX Sky Train 
View of the other PHX Sky Trains. 
View #2 of the other PHX Sky Trains. 

External links[edit]


  1. ^ City of Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. "The Automated Train". 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Buchholz, Jan (June 4, 2010). "Phx Sky Train taking flight at Sky Harbor airport". Phoenix Business Journal. Retrieved June 6, 2010. 
  5. ^ Staff writer (June 16, 2011). "PHX Sky Train to be completed six years early". KTAR-FM. Retrieved June 16, 2011. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ The Arizona Republic, July 14, 2013, page B5, "Officials: PHX Sky Train may top use estimates
  8. ^