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TheCrescent

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How about this for an Amtrak service?

Airport shuttles: trains that would run from cities that are a short distance (at most two hours) from major airports.

They would stop at areas with lots of free parking and would have TSA security screeners to screen passengers and luggage before they board the train. The car with those passengers would be sealed, and the trains would then stop at airport stations, allowing passengers in the sealed cars to go straight to their gates, and luggage would be transferred straight to the airline.

So taking the train would save parking fees, the hassle of driving and time at the airport.

I’m thinking that a route from uptown Charlotte, stopping at the Charlotte airport, Spartanburg, SC, GSP Airport, Greenville, SC, north suburban Atlanta and the Atlanta airport would be one route (if the tracks are already close enough to the Atlanta airport).

These trains could also be used by non-airport passengers but those non-airport passengers couldn’t enter the sealed cars.

American Airlines started bus service like this from two smaller places to the Philadelphia airport. But the Amtrak-United arrangement with Newark airport didn’t last.

Would this work? Or is this something more for a bus route?
 

jis

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True although I’m thinking that a service like this should be added only if it’s profitable.
You know? In the New York area I have imagined for a while that a core service between Newark Airport Station (connection to Newark Airport Airtrain) and Jamaica with stops at Newark Penn, Secaucus Jct. New York Penn Station, a future Sunnyside Station, Woodside and Jamaica (connection to JFK Airtrain) would be a tremendously useful service maybe operating every 15 minutes or 30 mins. Realistically this cannot happen until at least the new Hudson Tubes are in place. Also for practical purposes the turning points of the service probably will need to be at Rahway at the NJ end and somewhere like Hempstead so as not to clog up Jamaica and EWR.

But I would not visualize this to be a service run by Amtrak. It is not in their bailiwick of providing intercity service. I would expect the Port Authority to at least fund it if not run it. It could be run under contract by the likes of MTA and/or NJT jointly.
 

jis

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Is the goal operating airport to airport?
No. Connecting Airport to city center and inner suburban hinterland. In case of New York it can also double as an efficient airport to airport service and provide ease of travel to JFK from NJ and EWR from LI, something that is pretty tough at present. It is strictly a local/suburban service and not an intercity service in this case.
 
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An interesting idea, but likely a logistical nightmare. How does one get from the train to the gate without re-clearing security - even at airports with existing train service (e.g. BWI)? As is, at some airports you can't even change terminals without re-clearing security and it's not like a train would serve every terminal at an airport versus a central station. The AA bus mentioned previously could go gate-to-gate.
 
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You know? In the New York area I have imagined for a while that a core service between Newark Airport Station (connection to Newark Airport Airtrain) and Jamaica with stops at Newark Penn, Secaucus Jct. New York Penn Station, a future Sunnyside Station, Woodside and Jamaica (connection to JFK Airtrain) would be a tremendously useful service maybe operating every 15 minutes or 30 mins. Realistically this cannot happen until at least the new Hudson Tubes are in place. Also for practical purposes the turning points of the service probably will need to be at Rahway at the NJ end and somewhere like Hempstead so as not to clog up Jamaica and EWR.

But I would not visualize this to be a service run by Amtrak. It is not in their bailiwick of providing intercity service. I would expect the Port Authority to at least fund it if not run it. It could be run under contract by the likes of MTA and/or NJT jointly.
There is no place that some kind of fast transit connecting the three major airports would work better than NYC. Having done EWR-JFK or JFK-LGA several times, the relief of not having to deal with traffic in a taxi or on a bus would make the service a success. The two airlines I use most often love to connect through different airports in New York.:rolleyes: I can't really think of another North American situation that's similar - is MDW-ORD ever in play? I've done BUR-LAX a couple of times but never a planned connection. IIRC even the two Washington airports now have a Metro option.
 

TheCrescent

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An interesting idea, but likely a logistical nightmare. How does one get from the train to the gate without re-clearing security - even at airports with existing train service (e.g. BWI)? As is, at some airports you can't even change terminals without re-clearing security and it's not like a train would serve every terminal at an airport versus a central station. The AA bus mentioned previously could go gate-to-gate.
True. At least in Charlotte, the Norfolk Southern line goes across the airport property so I figure that having a train-to-concourse connection is doable. But it does require some adaptations at the airport.
 

WWW

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Might possibly work - "BUT" the complexity of managing a secure car from a TSA controlled zone to another is something else
and obviously would entail an EXPENSE.
The least little interruption or interference could potentially cancel out a condition of sterile security !

Good idea for may be 5 10 years down the tracks.
 

WWW

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Think of it on a small scale at an airport where you have passed through the TSA security point and are free to move about
the air side controlled zone. Your flight leaves from a remote satellite location in that airport - your take the shuttle train to
the satellite and board your flight.
Now on a much larger scale - you are at one airport with the train service is available to go to another airport.
These two airports have TSA secure zones - You pass the security checkpoint and go to the big scale shuttle train that takes
you to the other airport arriving in a TSA secure zone - board you flight and on your way - Now about the checked luggage that
creates another issue problem to work out - your carry-on luggage passed muster and is with you - the checked luggage presents
another handling issue.
In any event the shuttle rail travel between airports must go out of a TSA secure sterile zone and creates problems if it is not
non-stop and uninterrupted getting to the other airport security zone.
East coast airports and a few in the west coast could benefit by this - even some Chicago area themes (but certainly not at this time).
Limited times of operation - perhaps (armed) TSA security officials on the train movement while between airports and host of
other things - as previously note - Good idea for may be 5 10 years down the tracks -
AND any of this is going to need DADDY WARBUCKS to pay for it - i.e. you the consumer of such an enterprise !
 

Trogdor

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How about this for an Amtrak service?

Airport shuttles: trains that would run from cities that are a short distance (at most two hours) from major airports.

They would stop at areas with lots of free parking and would have TSA security screeners to screen passengers and luggage before they board the train. The car with those passengers would be sealed, and the trains would then stop at airport stations, allowing passengers in the sealed cars to go straight to their gates, and luggage would be transferred straight to the airline.

So taking the train would save parking fees, the hassle of driving and time at the airport.

I don’t see the overall benefit of investing significant money in the infrastructure and logistics of TSA-sealed railcars and checkpoints at outer rail stations (with associated major staffing costs) just so a handful of motorists can save on parking fees.

Trains connecting to airports…definitely a good idea. From city centers, sure, but that’s the function of a local transit system. And that’s also to provide more direct connectivity to key destinations or areas close to where people live. It’s not to serve as a park & ride (park & rides are actually some of the worst possible investment of transit dollars, but that’s a discussion for another topic). From other areas around the region, would be good for replacing short-haul flights. But a TSA-sealed car on an intercity train would be either a waste of equipment when it’s not taking people to the airport, or would require a ton of extra resources to ensure that it’s sterile before the first airline passenger got on board.

Think of it on a small scale at an airport where you have passed through the TSA security point and are free to move about
the air side controlled zone. Your flight leaves from a remote satellite location in that airport - your take the shuttle train to
the satellite and board your flight.
Now on a much larger scale - you are at one airport with the train service is available to go to another airport.
These two airports have TSA secure zones - You pass the security checkpoint and go to the big scale shuttle train that takes
you to the other airport arriving in a TSA secure zone - board you flight and on your way - Now about the checked luggage that
creates another issue problem to work out - your carry-on luggage passed muster and is with you - the checked luggage presents
another handling issue.
In any event the shuttle rail travel between airports must go out of a TSA secure sterile zone and creates problems if it is not
non-stop and uninterrupted getting to the other airport security zone.
East coast airports and a few in the west coast could benefit by this - even some Chicago area themes (but certainly not at this time).
Limited times of operation - perhaps (armed) TSA security officials on the train movement while between airports and host of
other things - as previously note - Good idea for may be 5 10 years down the tracks -
AND any of this is going to need DADDY WARBUCKS to pay for it - i.e. you the consumer of such an enterprise !

Even in New York, the number of folks transferring between airports would likely not justify having a dedicated, ”airside” train connection between them. Virtually no place else in the US would even come close. There’s simply no reason to book an itinerary that requires an airport change for same-day connecting travel.

Using Chicago as an example, the number of passengers who would have a reason to connect between Midway and O’Hare is extremely low. If the idea is to fly a lower fare flight…the cost of the transfer could easily eliminate any hypothetical savings (Southwest Airlines isn’t *that* cheap these days, and pretty much everybody, including Southwest, also flies to O’Hare).

On the west coast, there’s no place you can’t get to out of LAX that you can get to instead from SNA or Burbank. Similarly, SFO vs. Oakland or San Jose. And if the concern is airport capacity, finally finishing CAHSR will put a huge dent in demand for intra-California flights.
 

jis

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I don’t see the overall benefit of investing significant money in the infrastructure and logistics of TSA-sealed railcars and checkpoints at outer rail stations (with associated major staffing costs) just so a handful of motorists can save on parking fees.

Trains connecting to airports…definitely a good idea. From city centers, sure, but that’s the function of a local transit system. And that’s also to provide more direct connectivity to key destinations or areas close to where people live. It’s not to serve as a park & ride (park & rides are actually some of the worst possible investment of transit dollars, but that’s a discussion for another topic). From other areas around the region, would be good for replacing short-haul flights. But a TSA-sealed car on an intercity train would be either a waste of equipment when it’s not taking people to the airport, or would require a ton of extra resources to ensure that it’s sterile before the first airline passenger got on board.



Even in New York, the number of folks transferring between airports would likely not justify having a dedicated, ”airside” train connection between them. Virtually no place else in the US would even come close. There’s simply no reason to book an itinerary that requires an airport change for same-day connecting travel.

Using Chicago as an example, the number of passengers who would have a reason to connect between Midway and O’Hare is extremely low. If the idea is to fly a lower fare flight…the cost of the transfer could easily eliminate any hypothetical savings (Southwest Airlines isn’t *that* cheap these days, and pretty much everybody, including Southwest, also flies to O’Hare).

On the west coast, there’s no place you can’t get to out of LAX that you can get to instead from SNA or Burbank. Similarly, SFO vs. Oakland or San Jose. And if the concern is airport capacity, finally finishing CAHSR will put a huge dent in demand for intra-California flights.

What I was suggesting upthread had nothing to do with TSA and sealed cars and what not. I agree that is not worth it and it will be completely unworkable anyway in trains that serve places like Newark and New York Penn Station. The return on the investment will be inadequate to justify it.

Incidentally, when Heathrow Express started they allowed baggage checkin at Paddington, but that was the only thing that was sealed. no sealed train from Paddington to Heathrow other than that. I used it a couple of times. And then came 9/11 and that was the end of even that. It is safe to say that in a post 9/11 world where random small scale terrorism is on the rise this sealed car stuff isn't going to happen unless local terrorism gets so bad that trains have to be sealed in general anyway. But that is a separate discussion.

There was a plan in the early days of revamped Penn Station when United had a checkin counter there, to allow baggage checkin there. But that also went bye bye with 9/11 even before it started.
 
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Willbridge

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Well before 9/11 there was an air check in counter at the San Francisco Hilton for buses to SFO.

When DIA was planned, there was talk of having a check-in at Denver Union Station. That evolved into the rail station level check-in and baggage check at the airport itself.
 
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Another possibility for an airport to airport link is Boston to Providence (TF Green which is actually in Warwick RI). The MBTA commuter rail connects the two but not on weekends and requires bus shuttles at each end, the Boston end being the sort of BRT referred to as the Silver Line. So it would require some beefing up to be a useful airport to airport shuttle.
 

railiner

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Well before 9/11 there was an air check in counter at the San Francisco Hilton for buses to SFO.

When DIA was planned, there was talk of having a check-in at Denver Union Station. That evolved into the rail station level check-in and baggage check at the airport itself.
Back in the fifties, you used to be able to check in, including your bags, at the former East and West Side Airlines Terminals in Manhattan. The bags would be handled on the scheduled Carey Transportation buses.
 

WWW

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Baltimore (BWI) and Milwaukee (MKE/MKA) are examples of Amtrak station stops near the airport terminal.
In both of these cases - still outside the TSA security zone - but certainly convenient for train to air connections or v-v
 

MARC Rider

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Baltimore (BWI) and Milwaukee (MKE/MKA) are examples of Amtrak station stops near the airport terminal.
In both of these cases - still outside the TSA security zone - but certainly convenient for train to air connections or v-v
BWI is good 5 to 10 minute free shuttle bus ride in traffic from the train station to the airport terminal, and the shuttles run on an approximate 10 minute headway. I've done it, but it's not the most seamless connection.
 

jis

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Newark has had a frequent, every 4-5 minutes Airtrain connecting the EWR station to the terminals, but that is on its way out to be replaced by a different higher capacity and faster Airtrain which is little larger than a toy. We'll see how that goes. But until then access from the station to terminals will go through many changes.
 
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Fenway

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Another possibility for an airport to airport link is Boston to Providence (TF Green which is actually in Warwick RI). The MBTA commuter rail connects the two but not on weekends and requires bus shuttles at each end, the Boston end being the sort of BRT referred to as the Silver Line. So it would require some beefing up to be a useful airport to airport shuttle.
I don't know who dropped the ball on this - MassDOT or RIDot

In 10-plus years the station has gotten no traction. Another wasted opportunity.
 

cirdan

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Might possibly work - "BUT" the complexity of managing a secure car from a TSA controlled zone to another is something else
and obviously would entail an EXPENSE.
The least little interruption or interference could potentially cancel out a condition of sterile security !

Good idea for may be 5 10 years down the tracks.

I don't think the security side can be that daunting. There are after all already "sealed" trains such as the Eurostar in which customs and immigration checks have been done pre-boarding, but theoretically it would be possible to board or leave the train if under some special conditions the train stopped in a place that was not anticipated and for some reason somebody managed to open the door.

Not even airport security is 100% sterile but they are probably happy if they can cover certain percentage of cases that approaches 100%. An ex girlfried of mine was staff at an airside shop at a major airport and said there were crafty ways to get around security as far as smuggling in or out non permitted goods was concerned, only I think I should not mention details here on a public forum. I am sure TSA are aware of these but assume the risk is manageable and consider the alternative too costly or disruptive.
 
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I don't know who dropped the ball on this - MassDOT or RIDot

In 10-plus years the station has gotten no traction. Another wasted opportunity.
I assume RIDOT since I believe they are subsidizing the service south of Providence.

Not sure what the current purpose of the TF Green stop is. If it was for people working at the airport they would also need 7 day a week service. I guess for people living in the Warwick area commuting into Providence? There must be at least a dozen of those 🙄
 
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