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AirTrans - DFW's Original People Mover (website)  
User currently offlineLoneStarMike From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 3867 posts, RR: 34
Posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 5128 times:

The original people mover system DFW had when it opened in 1974 was called AirTrans and that was the train that ran around the airport (in one direction only) and whose stations were outside security.

Later, the Airtrans at DFW was split into three separate systems, the regular Airport Train, an employee train, and the American Airlines TrAAin - the one that was inside security. All three utilized the same guideway, and the same type of vehicles; the only major difference being the stations used. The train only ran in one direction and its top speed was 17 mph. It served the airport for 31 years from 1974 until 2005 and transported a quarter of a billion passengers between DFW's four terminals and employee facilities, logging a total of 97 million miles on its fleet. It was decommissioned about a month after Skylink opened.

Here's a great site on the original AirTrans with photos of the cars, the tracks, and signage both in the cars and in the terminal as well as "Sounds of the AirTrans" - some recordings made aboard the train and the recordings you'd hear when the doors were about to close or when you were approaching a station. Also has a recording of the chimes you'd hear when the train was in the station. [edited to add - this website has an hourly bandwidth limit, so you may not be able to view it the first time around.]

The lady's voice that said "Step Back - the doors are closing. The train is about to leave the station" sounded kind of bossy.

Check out the "Arriving at Terminal A Station 1" recording

"Gates A1 through A20 serving American Airlines, American Eagle, Sabena and Swissair."

And the "Arriving at Terminal B, Station 3" recording.

"Serving United Airlines, British Airways, Lufthansa, Korean Air, Japan Airlines and National Airlines."

My how times (and some airlines) have changed.

AirTrans. (Skylink's Grandma.)

And speaking of Skylink, DFW has a Skylink page on it's website that has a pretty cool time-lapse video from November, 2002 to January, 2003 of one of the Skylink stations under construction.

LoneStarMike

[Edited 2008-02-23 02:43:43]

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJustPlaneNutz From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 553 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 5099 times:

So here is a question I have had since Skylink opened: Though all DFW terminals have two-level roadways, check-in and baggage claim are both on the upper level in terminal (with AirTrans on the lower level). Now that AirTrans has been replaced by the elevated SkyLink, what will become of the space under the terminals? Will baggage claim eventually move down, or is that space being saved for a future automated baggage system?

User currently offlineJsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2074 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4997 times:



Quoting JustPlaneNutz (Reply 1):
So here is a question I have had since Skylink opened: Though all DFW terminals have two-level roadways, check-in and baggage claim are both on the upper level in terminal (with AirTrans on the lower level). Now that AirTrans has been replaced by the elevated SkyLink, what will become of the space under the terminals? Will baggage claim eventually move down, or is that space being saved for a future automated baggage system?

Technically the lower roadway is for departures. The skycap stations are all down there, and there are escalators (in the funky 1970s "tubes") that lead up to the ticketing areas. Most of the time I don't bother with skycaps, so I just have my family drop me off upstairs on the arrivals roadway. DFW has so many ticket areas spread out over so many terminals that the arrangement seems to work no matter where you get dropped off.


User currently offlineSocalfive From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4980 times:

We've exceeded this guy's bandwidth limit on his Geocities site for the Airtrans, so Yahoo shut it down. Bummer

User currently offlineCommavia From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 11974 posts, RR: 62
Reply 4, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4975 times:



Quoting JustPlaneNutz (Reply 1):
Now that AirTrans has been replaced by the elevated SkyLink, what will become of the space under the terminals?

There was a plan to actually convert some of the lower-level TrAAin stations in A and C into restaurants, which I actually thought was a pretty cool idea. They have those windows there where the tracks used to be, so they'd get some natural light down there, and the ceilings in those stations have to be at least 40-50 feet high, so that would be cool while you're dining. It popped up at a few DFW board meetings a year or so ago, but I haven't heard anything about it since. I don't think it went anywhere.

Quoting JustPlaneNutz (Reply 1):
Will baggage claim eventually move down, or is that space being saved for a future automated baggage system?

The airport has already sealed off all of those lower-level TrAAin stations in A/C. It's really weird, too, for someone who used to fly in and out of DFW so much - they have sealed up the entrances that used to go down to the stations, and now all you see there is a blank wall. If you didn't know what used to be there, you'd never know that it used to be a TrAAin station, but it's strange after all these years to know its down there but it's just walled in.


User currently offlineZuluLima From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 338 posts, RR: 3
Reply 5, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 4970 times:

I believe there is also a plan to put 2 restaurants into the old under-terminal areas, Pappadeaux and Pappasitos. Not sure which stations these will be in, but I remember other restaurants putting up a fight to have the deal blocked.


I didn't get a 'Harumph' outta that guy!
User currently offlineLegion242 From United States of America, joined Sep 2005, 233 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 4826 times:

I always thought it would be cool if we could ride our bikes on the old tracks. That would be a blast on road bikes as well as mountian bikes.


Don't make me release the monkeys!!
User currently offlineIad51fl From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 354 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 4822 times:

If someone gets to the site when it comes back up, send the webmaster a email and have him/her contact me. I have some space he/she can use to host the site.

Chris
chris.engleman@gmail.com



Enjoying the view of KIAH approach end of 27. 29.9758015, -95.2695694
User currently offlineMikey711MN From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 1403 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (6 years 10 months 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 4688 times:



Quoting Iad51fl (Reply 7):

Might wanna edit your post to get rid of your email address, or at least alter it by removing the @ and putting in an "(at)" or something. Readers will know what it means. Webcrawlers won't.

Anyway, I caught the front page and then it maxed out, but the link provided to contact them was: dfwtransit (at) yahoo . com.

That's a kind gesture on your part. Cheers!

-Mike



I plan on living forever. So far, so good...
User currently offlineJustPlaneNutz From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 553 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4479 times:

I remember that AirTrans (gotta love that 70's moniker--anyone remember SurTran and CitTran?) orginally carried baggage between terminals as well, though that was quickly abandoned. I occurred to me that, with AA now operating out of 4 terminals, they might reserve the tracks for a future automated baggage system.

[Edited 2008-02-24 06:10:55]

User currently offlineJetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1665 posts, RR: 10
Reply 10, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 4405 times:
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I remember back when it first opened that it was so unreliable that DFW kept a few old city passenger buses parked in each terminal and when the system shut down, employees who were trained to drive these buses would rush to them and the passengers had to use these buses to get to the other terminals and the other locations that the AirTrans serve.

Once AA expanded at DFW, going from Terminal C to A on a tight connection often meant either running to A or if you were lucky getting a ride on one of AA’s courtesy carts because the AirTrans only ran one way and is was often slower by taking the AirTrans than walking or riding the cart there.


User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 11, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4338 times:

The trAAm and the AirTrain are related in the same way that a Indy 500 Pace car Ford Mustang GT is related to a 71 Ford Pinto.

The trAAm was broken half the time (and ALWAYS while I was there trying to make tight connection) and actually took longer than walking. On AirTrain you practically need seatbelts - the only thing faster at DFW would a Star Trek transporter! Hang on!!

I'm glad there are fans of the trAAm - more power to you!! But personally, that atrocious piece of broken garbage deserves to be buried and forgotten. I will NOT miss it!!



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineZuluLima From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 338 posts, RR: 3
Reply 12, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4198 times:



Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 11):
The trAAm and the AirTrain are related in the same way that a Indy 500 Pace car Ford Mustang GT is related to a 71 Ford Pinto.

No idea what you mean. No one has mentioned the terms trAAm or AirTrain here. If you mean TrAAin and AirTrans, those were the same thing (different tracks). The new system is SkyLink.



I didn't get a 'Harumph' outta that guy!
User currently offlineCubastar From United States of America, joined Nov 2006, 410 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 4149 times:



Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 11):
But personally, that atrocious piece of broken garbage deserves to be buried and forgotten. I will NOT miss it!!

I totally agree! "Old Jerky" should have been it's name. Sitting sideways (facing the aisle) you could almost get a whiplash while it would constantly accelerate/decelerate while moving.


User currently online1337Delta764 From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 6648 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4136 times:

Who made and mantained the old system? I know the new system is a Bombardier Innovia system.

BTW, are there any other known installations of the Bombardier Innovia? I know there are several Bombardier CX-100 systems operating, including those at ATL, IAH, TPA, DEN, MCO, and SFO.

[Edited 2008-02-24 17:22:14]


The Pink Delta 767-400ER - The most beautiful aircraft in the sky
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21583 posts, RR: 59
Reply 15, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4130 times:



Quoting PanAm747 (Reply 11):
that atrocious piece of broken garbage deserves to be buried and forgotten. I will NOT miss it!!

To actually make a tight connection, it sucked.

But if you had a long connection at DFW, you could kill a lot of time and see a lot of the airport by "riding the railless tired vehicles" and try different routes. As a kid, it was a lot of fun.



Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 16, posted (6 years 10 months 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 4107 times:



Quote:
No idea what you mean. No one has mentioned the terms trAAm or AirTrain here. If you mean TrAAin and AirTrans, those were the same thing (different tracks). The new system is SkyLink.

For clarification, the old system was named trAAm by my American Airlines Timetable from summer, 1998. I am looking at page 12 at the map provided of DFW airport:

Quote:
American's TRAAMs, an automated rail service located inside the security area, may be the quickest way to reach the gate for your next flight. The TRAAM runs every two minutes across from gates 5, 16, 24, and 37. When you get off the plane and enter the terminal, you will find a gate map and directions to the TRAAM. The map will also tell you whether it is quicker to walk or take the TRAAM to your connecting flight.

I did not know the name SkyLink - thank you for that!! THAT system is amazing - and fast!! The old system was pathetic.

Quote:
I totally agree! "Old Jerky" should have been it's name. Sitting sideways (facing the aisle) you could almost get a whiplash while it would constantly accelerate/decelerate while moving.

This is where the Pinto analogy came from - every time it jerked to start and stop, it reminded me of a backfiring Pinto struggling to keep up with traffic that everyone used to point and laughed at. But what other choice was there?

Ironically, I travelled through a brand new DFW in December, 1974, (eight years old!!) and in changing planes from AA (LAX-DFW) to a Frontier CV-580 (DFW-FSM), thought this was the most futuristic system...but this was back when DFW was supposed to be an O&D airport. Years later, when AA started DFW service from my hometown of BFL, my family switched to flying instead of driving, and we experienced "Old Jerky" - when it worked!! One trip in the late 1980's saw me pushing my grandmother in a wheelchair from gate 43 all the way to the chaos at the Eagle "gates" at gate 1.

Those were the days that I couldn't stand DFW - but the new SkyLink has made the airport the most efficient I have seen!! A thirty minute connection from end of the airport to the other barely even breaks a sweat.

That's why I made the comparison between the Pinto (the old system that barely worked) and the Mustang (SkyLink).



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
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