The Plane Train
Concourse A Platform
|Locale||Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport|
|Termini||Domestic Baggage Claim/Ground Transportation
F Gates/Int'l Baggage Claim/Ground Transportation
|Daily ridership||175,000 (in 2002)|
|Opened||September 21, 1980|
|Owner||Atlanta Department of Aviation|
|Character||Serves sterile parts of the airport|
|Rolling stock||59 Bombardier Innovia APM 100 vehicles|
|Line length||2.8 miles (4.5 km)|
The Plane Train is an automated people mover (APM) system at Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The system is the world's most heavily traveled airport APM system, with 64,000,000 riders in 2002. The APM was designed to quickly transport passengers between the terminals and the airside concourses.
Originally not having an official name, on August 10, 2010, the automated people mover was named "The Plane Train".
Layout and operation
The Plane Train is in the secure area of the airport. It operates within two tunnels beneath the centers of the concourse buildings in the airport's Transportation Mall, which also includes a pedestrian tunnel between the train tunnels. The system has eight stations, one at each of Concourses A, B, C, D, E, and F (International Terminal), and two in the Domestic Terminal—one at Concourse T, which is also the station for passengers from the Domestic Terminal heading to Concourses A–F, and one for arriving passengers heading to Domestic Baggage Claim and Ground Transportation.
The Domestic Baggage Claim station, and stations for Concourses T, E, and F station have island platforms between the two tunnels, while stations at Concourses A, B, C, and D each have separate platforms servicing each tunnel. LCD displays announce the destination of the trains arriving at each platform, and the time of arrival for the next train. Each door on the platform also has a set of red lights that flash alternately to warn that the doors are closing.
Inside the trains, LED displays deliver station information in eight languages (English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Arabic, and Korean). The 10 newest vehicles feature visual color LCD displays inside that indicate the next stop on a map. Audio announcements also deliver station information and warns passengers of the train's movements. The messages use the NATO phonetic alphabet to identify each concourse station. For example, the message announcing Concourse B says: "Welcome aboard the Plane Train. The next stop is for B Gates. B, as in Bravo." The one exception to this is Concourse D, which is identified by "David" rather than "Delta" to avoid confusion with Delta Air Lines, which operates its main hub at ATL (for the same reason, the Air Traffic Control Tower at Atlanta regularly uses "Dixie" as the spoken form of the letter D). While Delta does operate some flights on Concourse D, Concourse D is used principally for airlines other than Delta. Audio announcements are provided by voice actress Sharon Feingold.
The Plane Train opened along with the current airport terminal on September 21, 1980. The system was jointly built by Westinghouse Electric and Adtranz, who supplied the system's initial fleet of C-100 vehicles. The initial system consisted of the six stations from the terminal (now the domestic terminal) up to Concourse D.
Concourse E was built in 1994 for international flights in preparation for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The construction of concourse E included a new station and extension of the Plane Train. Trains were also extended from three cars to four at this time.
In 2012, the Maynard Holbrook Jackson, Jr. International Terminal and Concourse F opened along with another extension of the Plane Train. Ten additional vehicles were added to the system to accommodate this expansion, bringing the total number of Innovia APM 100 vehicles in the system's fleet to 59.
The audio announcements on the Plane Train have been delivered by five different voices throughout its history. Originally, the trains featured a computer-generated male voice. The original voice was later replaced with a recorded male voice in conjunction with the extension to Concourse E in 1994; at the same time, sound effects were added. In 2002, the voice was changed when the system's vehicles were replaced, and sound effects were removed. The 2002 recordings were provided by local voice talent Bill Murray (not to be confused with actor/comedian Bill Murray). In 2006, the system's first female voice was introduced. The 2006 recordings were the first to use the phonetic alphabet, and were provided by the voice of Susan Bennett (who continues to be the female voice of Delta Air Lines' gate boarding announcements at the airport, and has since become famous for being the voice of Siri on Apple devices).
The current announcements debuted in March 2012 and are provided by voice actress Sharon Feingold (who also voices the ATL Skytrain). The current recordings are the first not to use the word "concourse", and instead refer to the concourse stations by their gates ("A Gates", "B Gates", etc...). The current voice also announces the name of the train, as well as new announcements and the return of sound effects, including announcements for the International Terminal and Concourse F.
Despite the fact that the on-board voice has been changed throughout the years, the male voice from 1994–2002 continued to be used in the stations (including the Concourse F station when it first opened) to alert passengers when the doors close, by stating, "Careful. Doors are closing and will not reopen. Please wait for the next train," after a chime plays. As of 2016, this message has been updated to the on-board chime with a new male voice.
- ATL Skytrain - An elevated automated people mover completed in 2009 located outside the airport's secure zone.
- "Transportation Mall/People Mover". Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Retrieved 2007-07-06.
- "Hartsfield people mover = The Plane Train". Atlanta Business Chronicle. August 10, 2010. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
- "Sharon Feingold voiceovers". Voiceography. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
- "Airport History". Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Retrieved 2008-08-27.
- Bombardier Transportation - Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport
- Bill Murray Voices, Inc.
- "SUSAN C. BENNETT - VOICES & VOCALS". Retrieved 2012-04-09.