• Airport light-rail systems: "people movers"

  • General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.
General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

Moderators: mtuandrew, gprimr1

  by lpetrich
 
The construction of the Los Angeles CA LAX airport light-rail system has inspired me to create this thread. I was especially inspired by some pictures in LAWA Official Site | Construction Photos that show its partially-constructed tracks. Many airports have passenger-rail stations in them. They can be intercity, suburban, or urban ones, but many airports have their own passenger-rail lines, often called people movers or ALRS's.

They have a variety of track configurations, including some odd-looking ones.

Birail: New York City JFK AirTrain, Houston TX IAH Subway, Shanghai CN PVG automated people mover -- I'm using "birail" for the nearly-universal kind of rail line)

Monorail: Newark NJ EWR AirTrain, Bologna IT MLQ Marconi Express

Overhead rail Düsseldorf DE DUS Skytrain -- the Düsseldorf system is called a H-Bahn, short for Hängebahn ("hanging railway").

Cable car Oakland CA OAK BART connector, Miami FL MIA e Train, Minneapolis St Paul MN MSP AIrport Tram, Detroit MI DTW ExpressTram, Cincinnati OH CVG people mover, Toronto ON CA YYZ Link Train, Mexico City MX Aerotrén, Birmingham UK Air-Rail Link, Pisa IT PSA Pisa Mover, Moscow RU SVO interterminal underground passage

Rubber-tired railcars with center guide rails: San Francisco CA SFO AirTrain, Pittsburgh PA PIT people mover, Tampa FL TPA airside lines, Houston TX IAH Skyway, Dallas Fort Worth TX DFW Skylink, Orlando FL MCO people movers, Phoenix AZ PHX Sky Train, Atlanta GA ATL SkyTrain & Plane Train, Sacramento CA SMF people mover, London UK LHR Terminal 5 Transit, London UK LGW Shuttle Transit, London UK STN Transit System, Frankfurt DE FRA SkyLine, Paris FR CDG CDGVAL, Madrid ES MAD people mover, Rome IT FCO SkyBridge, Kuala Lumpur MY KUL Aerotrain, Beijing CN PEK Terminal 3 people mover

The system under construction at LAX looks like it will have this configuration, judging from some construction pictures and artist's conceptions.

Rubber-tired railcars with side guide rails or other guidance systems: Washington DC IAD Aerotrain, Seattle WA SEA Satellite Transit System, Miami FL MIA Skytrain & MIA Mover, Las Vegas NV LAS people movers, Tampa FL TPA Skytrain, Denver CO DIA automated guideway transit system, Chicago IL ORD Airport Transit System, London UK LHR ULTra, Zürich CH ZRH Skymetro, Paris FR ORY Orlyval, Paris FR CDG CDGVAL, Dubai AE DXB automated people mover, Singapore SIN Skytrain, Jakarta ID CGK Skytrain, Taipei TW TPE Skytrain, Seoul KR ICN shuttle train, Osaka JP Wing Shuttle, Hong Kong CN HKG automated people mover

Unknown: Metro-Airport Connection of Porto Alegre, Brazil

An interesting circumstance is the large fraction of systems with rubber-tired vehicles, and about half of them have a center rail for guidance, a rail between the load-bearing wheels.
  by MattW
 
Atlanta has a rubber-tired train both inside and outside of the airport. The one outside connects to a convention center and hotel cluster, and the large, consolidated rental car center. Inside is a pretty standard inter-concourse train.
  by John_Perkowski
 
Road railers are OTR trailers moving directly on rail. Atlanta, Newark, Dallas ad infinitum are busses on guideways, to avoid paying a driver.
  by lpetrich
 
John_Perkowski wrote: Sat Aug 07, 2021 9:45 pm Anything rubber tired is a bus.
Not if its roadway steers it, like what tracks do for a train.

I looked at some non-airport systems:
  • Morgantown WV Personal Rapid Transit: rubber tires, side guidance
  • Miami Metromover: rubber tires, center guide rail
  • Jacksonville Skyway: monorail
  • Detroit People Mover: birail
The Las Colinas TX system does not seem very clear - rubber tires with a central guide rail or side guidance? My sources also mention the Seattle and Las Vegas monorails in this context. People mover - Wikipedia and Personal rapid transit - Wikipedia mention similar systems elsewhere in the world.
  by scratchyX1
 
lpetrich wrote: Sun Aug 08, 2021 9:44 pm
John_Perkowski wrote: Sat Aug 07, 2021 9:45 pm Anything rubber tired is a bus.
Not if its roadway steers it, like what tracks do for a train.

I looked at some non-airport systems:
  • Morgantown WV Personal Rapid Transit: rubber tires, side guidance
  • Miami Metromover: rubber tires, center guide rail
  • Jacksonville Skyway: monorail
  • Detroit People Mover: birail
The Las Colinas TX system does not seem very clear - rubber tires with a central guide rail or side guidance? My sources also mention the Seattle and Las Vegas monorails in this context. People mover - Wikipedia and Personal rapid transit - Wikipedia mention similar systems elsewhere in the world.
IIRC, there was additional government funds for on airport people movers, which is why they are so popular.
Some of these have reached end of life, like the Indiana Hospital systems, and I thought jacksonville was looking at using theirs as guideway for AVs.
It's also worth pointing out that a much discussed underground AV system (which has a driver) in a western casino city... is just a people mover.
  by eolesen
 
Fort Worth had a people mover from the Tandy Center to their parking lot several blocks away.

The Disney monorails have rubber tires on top of the guide way. I don't consider those buses.

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  by R36 Combine Coach
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 11:17 am IIRC, there was additional government funds for on airport people movers, which is why they are
so popular.
Westinghouse (AdTranz/Bombardier) is the pioneer in the field, dating back to the Skybus demonstrator in
Pittsburgh in 1965, which led to their first APMs for airport use in 1971.

On a related note, since PHL does not have an APM or transit system, is it possible to ride Regional Rail between
terminals?
  by STrRedWolf
 
R36 Combine Coach wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 4:30 pm On a related note, since PHL does not have an APM or transit system, is it possible to ride Regional Rail between
terminals?
No, there's no documentation for free rides between terminals. Even then, if you're going to Terminal F, you need to ether go through Security twice or hit the Terminal F Shuttle (which I've done before when I ended up going Pittsburgh-Philly-Baltimore, and before I started flying Southwest).
  by RRspatch
 
eolesen wrote: Mon Aug 09, 2021 12:38 pm Fort Worth had a people mover from the Tandy Center to their parking lot several blocks away.

The Disney monorails have rubber tires on top of the guide way. I don't consider those buses.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk
The Fort Worth line could probably be called a (short) light rail line. It used heavily modified former DC Transit PCC cars operating on a line that was just short of one mile. Cars were double ended with an operator. Stations featured high level platforms. The downtown station was underground while the stations in the parking lots were at ground level.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tandy_Center_Subway


I rode the line when I first moved to this area in 1996 and again on August 30th, 2002 which was it's last day. The city of Fort Worth agreed to allow Tandy Corporation to close the line and build a new headquarters on the site of the parking lot with the tunnel being sealed up. Tandy Corporation is of course better known as Radio Shack and we know how well that worked out. The line could have been extended west past the Fort Worth Zoo towards the museum district and out Camp Bowie BLVD. But of course this being Texas mass transit isn't something we do very well (out side of Dallas).
  by CLamb
 
Any thoughts on why there is so little standardization? I'd think airport operators could benefit from economy of scale if there were standardization.
  by kitchin
 
CLamb wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:55 pm Any thoughts on why there is so little standardization? I'd think airport operators could benefit from economy of scale if there were standardization.
You could say that about a lot of infrastructure in the U.S. Aside from the big slow prelimary task of moving dirt around and setting up drainage, it does seem more prefab that is currently used would be in order. But you know, lots of consulting; lots of regulations layered on regulations, leading to voluminous reports paying lip-service to ancient layers of law that never got consolidated; a public sector that is not fully professionalized to deal with the private sector (contrast the English-speaking industrial countries to Europe and Japan - exclude English-speaking Singapore of course).

Airport projects are funded by the ticket tax, and independent funding makes any agency a different beast. See also: state booze agencies in VA, PA, NC; and the the great cascade of money and politics, the Port Authority of NY and NJ. By contrast single airports are simple: figure out a way to spend the money. I think the medium and smaller airports have more of a surplus to deal with, because of how the US Congress sees this system, but I'm not sure. Most of them do little to support transit, to the point of not even having local bus service for the workers. And maybe federal regulation makes that hard. If it really has to be in-airport transit only then you get the people-mover, linear induction motor or otherwise. Evidently PANYNJ has figured out a way to fund PATH as almost in-airport transit. Using ticket tax? Maybe not.
  by kitchin
 
CLamb wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:55 pm Any thoughts on why there is so little standardization? I'd think airport operators could benefit from economy of scale if there were standardization.
For non-airport systems, Morgantown seems to be the oddball. The Wikipedia article on Detroit says "opened in 1987 using the same technology as Vancouver's SkyTrain and Toronto's Scarborough RT line."
  by STrRedWolf
 
CLamb wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 11:55 pm Any thoughts on why there is so little standardization? I'd think airport operators could benefit from economy of scale if there were standardization.
Most every airport is different, and thus there's only so much standardization you can go for. Some systems would need a tighter turning radius than what regular standard gauge track can allow. Some may have to go monorail due to space constraints.

And this is just inside the airport grounds and some connected related areas.