Airport rail link

Airport rail link

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.

While popular solutions in Europe and Japan for decades, only recently have other Asia, North American and Oceanian links been constructed. Advantages for the rider include faster travel time, easy interconnection with other public transport and high comfort, while authorities have gained less highway and parking congestion, pollution reductions and possibilities for extra profits; some systems have turned out not providing sufficient revenue for support the investments. Onwards connection benefit airports by reaching out to greater areas.

Mass transit

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. Travel time is a drawback as the services make many intermediate stops before reaching the city center. A common solutions 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. Other systems prompt for a separate rapid transit line from major mass transit terminal, such as AirTrain JFK.

Mainline rail

Dedicated railway lines to airports have become popular since the 1980s, with airport terminals for airport express, intercity and commuter trains, allowing one-seat travel to the check-in halls. This solution requires the building of new track; a cheaper option being establishing a new station of an existing line connected to the airport by people mover or shuttle bus.

Integration with intercity services has produced alliances where airlines sell connecting service by rail. Central Europe has seen integration of high-speed rail into airports, with TGV and ICE services domestically and internationally operated directed from Charles de Gaulle International Airport and Frankfurt Airport. Because of this many airport stations have received IATA codes.

Other airports have instead chosen to focus on an airport express train dedicated to high-speed transport from the airport to the city centre; a solution often opted for where the airport is located outside the urban area and mass transit system, but where a direct downtown service is required, such as Flytoget serving Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. Other airports are served by both express trains and rapid transit, such as London Heathrow Airport.


Where the train station is not located at the airport, a shuttle system is required on the last part of the journey; either using a (often automated) people mover or a bus. While the former allows low operating costs and higher perceived quality, the latter does not require specialized infrastructure to be built; often becoming the preferred choice at smaller or low-cost airports. Because shuttles remove the one-seat advantage of a rail link, market shares are dominantly lower with these types of system, often requiring passengers intermediate waiting time while transferring and waiting for a new mode of transport.

Some airports have a system where the rail link only serves one terminal or concourse; passengers must instead use an airport circulator to reach the necessary terminal. Circulators typically also serve parking lots, and sometimes airport hotels.

Connection types

One-seat ride via main-line train

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


**Narita International Airport via JR East's Narita Express or Keisei Electric Railway's Skyliner
**Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) via Tokyo Monorail's Haneda Express
*Osaka Kansai International Airport via JR West's Haruka or Nankai Railway's Rapit
*Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport via Nagoya Railroad
*Sapporo Chitose International Airport via JR Hokkaido
*Sendai Airport via Sendai Airport Line
*Seoul Incheon and Gimpo airports via A'REX ("operational between Incheon and Gimpo only, link to Seoul scheduled to open by 2010")
*Hong Kong International Airport via Airport Express
*Beijing Capital International Airport via Airport Express
*Shanghai Pudong International Airport via Shanghai Maglev Train
*Kaohsiung International Airport via Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit Red Line
*Taipei Songshan Airport via Taipei Rapid Transit System Neihu Line("under construction")
*Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport via Israel Railways
*Kuala Lumpur International Airport via KLIA Ekspres
*Bangkok Don Muang International Airport via State Railway of Thailand
*Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport via Suvarnabhumi Airport Link ("under construction")
*Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport via Delhi Airport Express ("under construction")
*Bangalore Bangalore International Airport via Bangalore Airport Express ("under construction")


*Amsterdam Schiphol Airport via the Thalys and Dutch Railways
*Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport via the Proastiakos suburban railway service
*Berlin-Schönefeld International Airport via regional and InterCity rail.
*Birmingham International Airport via Virgin Trains.
*Brussels Airport via National Railway Company of Belgium
*Cologne Bonn Airport via ICE high-speed, regional and local trains.
*Copenhagen Airport via Kystbanen and InterCity services; direct trains to many cities in Denmark and Sweden.
*Douglas, Isle of Man via Isle of Man Steam Railway
*Düsseldorf International Airport via ICE high-speed, InterCity, regional and local trains.
*Frankfurt International Airport via ICE high-speed, InterCity, regional and local trains.
*Friedrichshafen Airport near Lake Constance by regional train.
*Geneva-Cointrin Airport via Swiss Federal Railways
*Glasgow, Prestwick International Airport via the Ayrshire Coast Line
*Krakow Airport to/from city center via local trains
*Leipzig/Halle Airport via local and InterCity trains.
**Heathrow Airport via Heathrow Express or Heathrow Connect
**Gatwick Airport via Gatwick Express and other Brighton Main Line services
**Stansted Airport via Stansted Express
*Lyon airport via TGV
*Manchester Airport (TransPennine Express, Northern Rail operated as per a normal train service)
*Málaga Airport via Cercanías Málaga service.
*Lübeck Airport via local trains
*Milan Malpensa International Airport via Malpensa Express []
**Domodedovo International Airport
**Vnukovo Airport
**Sheremetyevo International Airport

*Oslo Airport, Gardermoen via the Airport Express Train
**Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport via TGV to many French cities.
*Palermo Airport via local trains
*Pisa Galileo Galilei International Airport: connections to Pisa's central station and Florence
*Rome Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport via Leonardo Express []
*Southampton Airport by South West Trains and CrossCountry
*Stockholm Arlanda via Arlanda Express and InterCity trains
*Vienna International Airport via City Airport Train (CAT) []
*Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport and new Modlin Airport being build for no-frills airlines via Szybka Kolej Miejska (Warsaw) (to be open in 2010)
*Trondheim Airport, Norway, via Nordlandsbanen.
*Zürich-Kloten International Airport via Swiss Federal Railways

North America

*Anchorage International Airport via Alaska Railroad
*Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California (Los Angeles area) via Metrolink or Amtrak
*Philadelphia International Airport via SEPTA Regional Rail
*T.F. Green Airport via MBTA Commuter Rail (under construction)


*Brisbane Airport via Airtrain

One-seat ride via local public transport

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.


*Beijing Capital International Airport via Beijing Subway Airport Line
*Kuala Lumpur International Airport via the KLIA Transit
**Tokyo International Airport (Haneda) via Tokyo Monorail's Local and Rapid services or Keihin Electric Express Railway
**Narita International Airport via JR East's Soubu and Narita Lines or Keisei Electric Railway's Keisei Main Line
*Osaka International Airport (Itami) via Osaka Monorail
*Kobe Airport via Port Liner
*Fukuoka Airport via Fukuoka Subway
*Naha Airport via Okinawa Monorail
*Singapore Changi Airport via SMRT Corporation's East West MRT Line (cross-platform interchange at Tanah Merah MRT Station since 2004, shuttle service only)
*Seoul's Gimpo International Airport via Seoul Subway Line 5
*Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (Taipei) via TRTS (under construction, to be completed by 2012)
*Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport via Airport City Link (Underconstruction)


*Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport via the Athens Metro
*Barcelona International Airport via RENFE commuter train
*Berlin-Schönefeld International Airport via Berlin S-Bahn
*Bremen Airport by Tramway
*Copenhagen Airport via Copenhagen Metro
*Dresden Airport via Dresden S-Bahn
*Frankfurt International Airport via Rhein-Main S-Bahn.
*Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) to Glasgow, to be operating in 2010
*Hamburg Airport via Hamburg S-Bahn, to be operating in December 2008
*Istanbul Atatürk International Airport via Istanbul's Light metro
*Kerry Airport via Iarnród Éireann services to Farranfore from Tralee and Mallow
**Heathrow Airport via the London Underground's Piccadilly Line
**London City Airport via the Docklands Light Railway
*Madrid Barajas International Airport via Madrid Metro Line 8. It used to have check-in facilities in the city center terminus of the line, but right now they are not functional due to works on the line.
* Munich International Airport via Munich S-Bahn
* Newcastle Airport via the Tyne and Wear Metro
* Nuremberg Airport via Nuremberg U-Bahn
* Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport via RER B.
* Stuttgart via Stuttgart S-Bahn
* Turin International airport via local train.
* Vienna International Airport via Vienna S-Bahn

North America

*Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport via MARTA
*Baltimore-Washington International Airport via the Baltimore Light Rail
*Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport via Cleveland Rapid Transit (the first direct rail connection in the United States)
**O'Hare International Airport via the 'L' Blue Line
**Chicago Midway International Airport via the the 'L' Orange Line
*Dallas Love Field via DART (under construction; scheduled to open in late 2010)
*Mexico City International Airport via the Mexico City Metro's Line 5
*Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport via the Hiawatha Line
*Portland International Airport via MAX
*San Francisco International Airport via BART
*Seattle-Tacoma International Airport via Central Link (under construction; scheduled to open in late 2009)
*St. Louis' Lambert-St. Louis International Airport via the St. Louis MetroLink
*Vancouver International Airport in Richmond (near Vancouver) via the Canada Line (under construction; scheduled to open in late 2009)
*Washington, DC's Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia via the Washington Metro


*Brisbane Airport, Brisbane via Airtrain
*Sydney Airport, Sydney via Airport and East Hills railway line, Sydney

Rail to airport people mover

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.


*Paris Orly Airport via Orlyval, a people mover that connects to the RER network at Antony
*Birmingham International Airport via a pair of light-rail vehicles, connects the airport terminal to Birmingham International Railway Station, where the West Coast Main Line runs to Birmingham, Coventry and London.

North America

*John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York) via AirTrain JFK and either the Long Island Rail Road at Jamaica Station or the New York City Subway at Howard Beach (NYCS Rockaway) or Sutphin Boulevard/Archer Avenue (NYCS Archer upper NYCS Archer lower).
*Miami International Airport via an airport People Mover and Miami Central Station, a future stop for the Miami-Dade Metrorail, Amtrak, and Tri-Rail (Under Construction)
*Newark Liberty International Airport via AirTrain Newark and its train station, a stop for Amtrak and NJ Transit (Used by Continental Airlines as if it were a [ connecting airline] .)
*San Francisco International Airport via AirTrain SFO. While the BART station is immediately adjacent to the International terminal and all terminals are physically connected, many people transfer to AirTrain to get to other terminals because of the airport's size.

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.

North America

*Albuquerque International Sunport via a shuttle bus and the Bernalillo County/International Sunport stop for New Mexico Rail Runner Express service.
*Baltimore-Washington International Airport via a shuttle bus and the BWI Rail Station, a stop for Amtrak and MARC Amtrak service.
*Boston's Logan International Airport via either:
** A free shuttle bus and the MBTA Blue Line.
** The Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit service connecting with the MBTA Red Line (a free transfer) and commuter rail at South Station.
*Burbank Airport via the BurbankBus' Airport/Empire-Downtown route and the Downtown Burbank Station.
*Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport via two shuttle buses and the Trinity Railway Express []
*Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport via a shuttle bus to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport Station
*Los Angeles International Airport via a shuttle bus and the Metro Green Line [] or [ Amtrak California]
*Miami International Airport via shuttle bus and Tri-Rail or Metrorail
*Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport via a shuttle bus and Amtrak. [] []
*Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport via AirConnect shuttle bus and VIA Rail or the STM bus #204 and the Dorion-Rigaud Line of the AMT commuter rail system
*Oakland International Airport via AirBART and BART
*San Jose International Airport via a shuttle bus from the Santa Clara Caltrain station or VTA's Metro/Airport Light Rail Station.
*Toronto Pearson International Airport []
*Washington Dulles International Airport via [ Washington Flyer] and the Washington Metro

In the 1980s, New York City Transit had a service called the JFK Express (advertised as the Train To The Plane) that was unpopular and eventually cancelled. It was essentially a premium-fare subway ride to a bus that went to JFK Airport. Afterwards the bus continued to run, serving Howard Beach station until the opening of AirTrain JFK in 2003.


*Cardiff International Airport, Wales via Arriva Trains Wales services and a frequent shuttle bus from Cardiff International Airport Station.
*Liverpool John Lennon Airport via regular shuttle bus services from Liverpool South Parkway
*London Luton Airport via shuttle bus from Luton Airport Parkway railway station
*Moscow Sheremetyevo, minibuses from the metro station Rechnoi Vokzal
*The Moss Airport, Rygge and the Sandefjord Airport, Torp in Norway have introduced free shuttle buses to nearby regional railway stations.
*Glasgow International Airport via shuttle bus from Paisley Gilmour Street railway station (N.B. A Glasgow Airport Rail Link is currently under construction and will open in late 2008/early 2009.)


*Kuala Lumpur International Airport via the KTM Komuter to Nilai station and transfer onto local bus to the airport. Two bus companies - Sepang Omnibus and Airport Coach - provide this link. The Low Cost Carrier terminal can be accessed by [ Skybus] from downtown Kuala Lumpur Sentral rail interchange station.
*Hong Kong International Airport via the Tung Chung Line. Take a bus to the airport from the Tung Chung MTR station


*Melbourne Airport via Skybus Super Shuttle service from Southern Cross Station.


Other cities are considering "train to the plane" services.

* Alexandria, Egypt [ ]
* Dublin Airport in Dublin, Ireland is one of the main destinations of the (in planning) Dublin Metro.
* Diosdado Macapagal International Airport via Airport Railway ("planned")
* Edinburgh Airport will be served by the Edinburgh tram network in 2011 which will link into a new airport railway station on the existing Edinburgh to Aberdeen railway line.

* Glasgow Airport Rail Link (GARL) to Glasgow, is to be operating in 2010

* In Johannesburg, South Africa, the Gautrain system (under construction) will link Johannesburg International Airport to the cities of Johannesburg and to Pretoria and well as Sandton.
* Prague proposed in 2008 [ Railway Gazette International July 2008 403 ]

* Denver has included such service in a massive regional rail plan that was unveiled in 2004. Plans are also in the works to connect the Washington Metro to Dulles.
*From time to time, New York City has proposed extending the subway N/W (Astoria) line to create a connection to LaGuardia Airport.
*Las Vegas has an ongoing discussion about extending the monorail into McCarran International Airport. Also in the Vegas area, the planned Ivanpah Airport is sited on the right of way for the proposed maglev demonstration project.
*T.F. Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island will soon have a MBTA Commuter Rail station that connects to the Terminal, allowing travelers to head up to Providence and Boston.

* None of Canada's major airports currently have railway links today, however there is one currently under construction. Vancouver's TransLink is building the Canada Line, an automated rapid transit line connecting the southern suburb of Richmond with downtown Vancouver. A branch line of the new metro will terminate at Vancouver International Airport; it is scheduled to be in service prior to the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
**In Calgary, plans are being developed to extend the C-Train to Calgary International Airport in the northeast of the city, and in Edmonton, an extension of the LRT is proposed to connect Edmonton International Airport with downtown.
**In Toronto, there are plans for a mainline train called Blue22, running from its downtown Union Station to Toronto Pearson International Airport, though this has plan is controversial.
**Also, in Ottawa, there have been plans to extend the O-Train to the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport,
**and in Montreal, there are discussions of a direct rail link between Gare Centrale and Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport.

* For Gothenburg, Sweden there are plans for a new high-speed railway Gothenburg-Stockholm. One of the first parts would be Gothenburg-Borås with an underground station below the Gothenburg-Landvetter Airport. This station is planned to be finished around 2020-2025.

ee also

*List of IATA-indexed train stations

External links

* [,1,1384692,full.story?coll=la-news-local-wheel LA Times article about taking trains to airports]
* [ Extending the Metro to Dulles]
* [ Airtrain JFK vs. the old "Train To The Plane" in NYC]


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