jfkaua
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The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 11:58 am

If I remember correctly there is a train that connects all the terminals at ATL.. if this is true what is the secure area of the airport..
 
isitsafenow
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:11 pm

You have to go through security to ride the train between concourses.
The secure areas are the concourses.
safe
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B4REAL
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:15 pm

As safe said it is inside the security zone in ATL. It is below the tarmac level and goes from the terminal to concourse E.

I believe it is a Bombardier tram. There are two of them, going in opposite directions. (There may be operational changes during off hours)
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jfkaua
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:18 pm

Ok so at what point would you go through customs if you are going on an international flight?
 
B4REAL
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:21 pm

Okay, glad you mentioned this, I was going to describe that but thought I'd be huffing and puffing too much.

If you are GOING on an int'l flight, just take it to E (where most, not all Int'l flights depart) for your departure gate. If you are ARRIVING on an Int'l flight you will arrive @ gate E (Except for Canada I believe) and go through customs AND TSA re-screening and then get on the tram.
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jfkaua
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:29 pm

So once I go through security for a domestic flight I can go right up to the gate in any concourse except E? is this correct?
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:32 pm

Nope:
You can go to ALL concourses. Delta actually operates some domestic departures/arrivals into E as well, mainly to reposition aircraft for international departures.

Flights from NAS for one also arrive as domestic arrivals would
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B4REAL
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:34 pm

No. Once you go through any security (that at the terminal or that after customs) screening checkpoint you can go to any concourse.

Terminal TSA checkpoint is for the T-Gates and access to the end of the tram. The tram then goes from the Terminal to A, B, C, D, E concourses. You can exit at any of them if you are in.

Int' Arrivals TSA checkpoint is at the E-Concourse after customs for Int'l arrivals only.

Concourse E is common-use by the way.

If you are thinking of Chicago's train and Int'l terminal, you are thinking too hard. It is not that tough. Nearly 80 million people a year figure this out, you can do it to.
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ScottB
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:34 pm

You can also go up to any gate in Concourse E. When exiting Customs at Concourse E, you must pass through security and re-check your bags to be delivered to you at the terminal. The gate areas in Concourse E are inside security like all the other gate areas.
 
deltairlines
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:35 pm

You can go right up to any gate in ATL once you are past security...I was flying GSO-ATL-BOS last month (with a longer layover), and one of my friends was flying GSO-ATL-PTY. Since the ATL-PTY left from E, I decided that I would walk with her to her gate, and I was able to hang out in the gate area. International arrivals go through a seperate exit from the jetway down to a lower level, where the customs hall is, and then you reclear security (you can see where they reclear security when you go down the escaltor back to the other concourses).

As for only being 2 trains, I would think there are more...I've never had to wait more than a minute for a train, and it takes a good 5 minutes or so to go from T to E...I think there might be maybe 8 trainsets (I'm not sure on this though)...I'm just basing this based on my observations of travelling through ATL.

Jeff
 
jfkaua
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:37 pm

Ok wait so say someone arrives on an international flight at terminal E... what stops then from just walking on the train and not going through customs? does ATL run on the honor system?  Big grin

[Edited 2004-12-18 04:39:02]
 
B4REAL
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:40 pm

Customs stops them from not going through Customs and getting on the train. You must be why there are airport ambassador programs.
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jfkaua
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:44 pm

Hey the last time I traveled international I was 13... gimme a bit of a break lol... This is how I am picturing it in my head.. you said I could walk right up to the international gate once in the secure area... Presumably the same gate where international arrivals are coming in.. So how when I go to get on the train does customs distinguish between me and the people who just came from another country? Do they go on a diffenent level or something? And Oh yea I easily navigated a ORD flight change at age 13 by myself thank you very much Big grin

[Edited 2004-12-18 04:46:33]
 
deltairlines
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:53 pm

There is a seperate exit from the jetway that prevents arriving international passengers from going into the main concourse. Instead, they close off the part of the jetway going to the main concourse, and use an exit off the jetway that goes to the customs area. You go through this exit, go through customs, and then reclear security before being allowed into the concourse area. The way it works in concourse E is essentially there are 3 levels. The uppermost level is where all departures take place from, and where arriving passengers coming off of a flight from the United States or a country where pre-clearence exists (DUB/SNN, BDA, NAS, etc.) go when they exit the plane. The level below that is where the customs facilities are. Arriving international passengers (except for those noted above) get off here (they can't go to the top level, this is closed off on the jetway), and clear customs, etc. The lowest level is where one boards the train, it's below ground level, and all there is is the train station and tunnel to Concourse D.

Jeff
 
B4REAL
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:54 pm

The Int'l Gates have a bi-level entry mechansim where the jetbridge meets the building. Here is a description of the levels:

Top Level: Concourse E Arrivals
Middle Level: Concourse E Departures
Bottom Level: Transportation Entry (Tram)

Note: I may have the middle and top swapped..... There are no windows on the arrivals level, so I have no perception of space.

There is plenty of help available, you will figure it out. But you won't likely be able to circumvent customs or anything.

You can watch an Int'l arrival - but won't see the passengers on the departure level.

Just remember to claim your luggage as you arrive internationally in ATL, when you do the customs thing, you need to have all of your luggage with you for this process - the airline should explain this to you!

Believe me, dude, you are thinking too hard.
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jfkaua
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:55 pm

ahh thankyou for you both for your thorough explanation...

There is plenty of help available, you will figure it out. But you won't likely be able to circumvent customs or anything.

Oh no.. I'm not going on any international flight.. this question was just out of pure curiousity Big grin And I wanted to know if I got bored while waiting for my domestic flight change at the domestic Terminal where I could go poke around...

[Edited 2004-12-18 04:57:53]
 
B4REAL
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 12:57 pm

No problem, since I explained so much, why don't you give me a "Add to Resp. Users" rating  Smile  Smile
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jfkaua
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:00 pm

you got it.. ok now is this the same at ORD?
 
B4REAL
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:02 pm

No, it is not the same as ORD.
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jfkaua
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:07 pm

Oh ok gotcha.. I see how it works at ORD because the international terminal is seperate except for some Lufthansa, Ryanair, and Iberia arrivals. Sorry for so many questions, but only flying once or sometimes twice a year its not every day I get to see an a340 a330 or 777 up close.
 
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litz
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:08 pm

Note that *domestic* arrivals for concourse E are not fed up to the top floor, they deplane onto the normal middle level, where the departures are.

This is because, of course, there's no need for Customs on a domestic flight.

As for the trains themselves, Hartsfield has enough trains to park one at every station during rush hour periods ... look in front of you and behind you -- there's a train stopped in front, and behind. They move in lockstep from station to station.

When the train arrives at Baggage Claim, it reverses through a switchover to pick up passengers at the outbound T-gates station who've just come down from security, and then proceeds out to the concourses.

Out at concourse E, it actually pulls into the tunnels, then switches over to go back the other way (hence the announcement "This train is now out of service - all passengers must disembark") and picks up passengers heading back to baggage claim.

There are, if you look carefully, a couple of sidings alongside the tunnels along the way ... and in offpeak times, you'll see a train parked in that siding tunnel as you zip past.

I have no idea where they do actual maintenance on the trains, or for that matter how they'd get them into or out of the tunnels. I guess there has to be access somewhere, otherwise there's no way to add new rolling stock.

Hartsfield's trains are really a wonder - they were one of the first people mover trains (dating back to the airport's construction) and are largely quite reliable.

The one thing that baffles me, though, is why they NEVER EVER arrive aligned with the doorways. They never have. Other airports with the same Bombardier system, the trains always line up perfectly with the station doors.

- litz
 
B4REAL
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:08 pm

No problema. They don't call us a.nutters for nuttin'
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SLC1
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:53 pm

A response to a few of the posts:

The one thing that baffles me, though, is why they NEVER EVER arrive aligned with the doorways. They never have. Other airports with the same Bombardier system, the trains always line up perfectly with the station doors. .

I was riding the trains at SEA the other day and noticed the same thing.

The International Arrivals Level IS on the top floor, and Departures (Domestic & International) is on the Second to Top. Immigration is on the top floor where you take an escalator down to baggage claim, customs, recheck, and security where you enter into an International Arrivals Lounge.

It seems that this is a very good connecting situation, as ATL is designed, but I imagine is horrible for any O & D, since, even if you want to get just to the terminal you have to replace your bags onto the belt and go through security with lines that I have experienced to be long ... has it always been like this? will the new International terminal change this?
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FLAIRPORT
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:54 pm

when you do the customs thing, you need to have all of your luggage with you for this process - the airline should explain this to you!
So, why do you have to reclaim your bags over at baggage claim? Claim 3 is just for international flights.

When the train arrives at Baggage Claim, it reverses through a switchover to pick up passengers at the outbound T-gates station who've just come down from security, and then proceeds out to the concourses.
So, thats why it goes the direction it came from! If I stay on, I'd be able to just go back to T, A, B, C, D, or E...awesome! (I think I've seen 1 or 2 people do this, but I don't remember)

Out at concourse E, it actually pulls into the tunnels, then switches over to go back the other way (hence the announcement "This train is now out of service - all passengers must disembark") and picks up passengers heading back to baggage claim.
So, if I stayed on, would anything happen? Like would you be sitting in a tunnel for a while?

I have seen those little holes, but I've never seen a train there. It's really cool to see trains ahead of you from the front of the train, I never understood what the purpose of the lights on them was for, though...since its all automated, so if there was a malfunction, nobody'd be able to see the other trains lights and stop the train. I've always had good luck with allignments, though.

I used to love the train...then one day, they let 1 too many people on after the "Careful, doors are closing" speech...and an alarm went off. I did not ride the train for years...until SEP 2000. I still have a problem riding it when its full, because thats when that alarm went off...people try to cram into there. So, if I'm at T or A gates, I prefer to walk...even if a train is waiting for me. But in Sep 2000, I took the train from B to D and D to B and it was empty... peaceful...then I took it from B-ticketing...crowds+ elderly person with me+ my fear = a disaster...but I survived and I like the train now.

Here is something to throw out there. Why is it that when you walk to the terminal you have to take an escalator up, then walk through this OLD OLD security checkpoint (when was that used? and why is the equipment still there?) and then go up another escalator?(the train goes directly to the exit)
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Dalmd88
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 6:32 am

The T gates used to be the international gates before 'E' was built. That's why the screening area exists. Most of this thread will be moot in about a year when the new international terminal is completed. All O&D international pax will enter the termnial from the East side of the airport and will no longer have to recheck baggage after clearing customs on arrivalback in ATL.
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:38 am

so that screening area used to be for international departures or customs? why is the equipment still there?
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srbmod
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:46 am

Most of this thread will be moot in about a year when the new international terminal is completed.

The Maynard Holbrook Jackson Jr. International Terminal (As if adding his name to the enitre airport name wasn't enough) is scheduled to be completed the second quarter of 2007. They've barely laid any concrete for it at all.
 
BAViscount
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:57 am

I see how it works at ORD because the international terminal is seperate except for some Lufthansa, Ryanair, and Iberia arrivals

Errrmmm, off topic I know, and may be a daft question, but Ryanair at ORD?????
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jfkaua
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 10:04 am

I don't know.. thats just what it says here http://www.ohare.com/ohare/airlines/airlines_international.shtm
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 10:10 am

Wow, thats funny! Wonder if its a sign  Big grin

Seriously, the airport authority should know...not only do they have the name RyanAir (actually on their site its Ryan Air...I'm assuming they mean Ryan International Airlines), but the link is to ryanair.com!
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BAViscount
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 10:14 am

Oh yeah, you're right! Imagine being cooped up in one of O'Leary's 738's all the way STN-ORD...that'd be enough to put you off flying for life...unless of course you could do it for 1p each way excluding taxes!
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FLAIRPORT
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 10:26 am

for $1.93899 USD I'd fly in the cargo bin lol!
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dl021
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 10:41 am

They are talking about the US charter line Ryan International Airlines

One interesting side note to the trains....they originally came with a computer generated voice giving instructions to the passengers..i.e. please step away from the door...etc

It sounded like a Cylon warrior from Battlestar Galactica and was replaced after a couple of years by a more pleasant female voice for purely aesthetic reasons. The voice was changed again to a mans voice because no one was listening to the pleasant female. It has changed again a few times over the years, but the Cylon warrior got people moving on and off and made people think twice before delaying everyone else by stopping the train.
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FLAIRPORT
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 11:28 am

One interesting side note to the trains....they originally came with a computer generated voice giving instructions to the passengers..i.e. please step away from the door...etc

Are you talking about at ATL?

At ATL, they have a mans voice that says at I think 10 seconds prior to doors closing..."Careful, doors are closing and will not reopen, please wait for the next train." To which a bunch of people (desipte the flishing read lights and music) try to squueze on.

I also remember that during the Olympics until I stopped using the train, a computer voice would say.."The next station is Concourse T" as opposed to the plesent voice now that says "The next station is for the T gates."
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TLHFLA
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 11:59 am

It seems like they change the train annoucement voices every once in a while. There was the original computer generated male voice, then the announcer like male voice. Last January, they were using a computer-generated female voice. Last July, it had changed to an actual, human female voice. They can't seem to make up their minds...
Bill in ATL
 
n757kw
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 12:28 pm

The access point for the trains to enter and exit the system is out past concourse E near the control tower. Also, there are a bunch of the old trains parked near the South Cargo Area. In storage I suppose.

The original voice when the airport opened in 1980 was the Cylon like voice. It was very irritating. It has changed many times since.

N757KW
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TVCFlyer
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 12:37 pm

Anybody can "poke" around in the E concourse.

E seems to have better shops and seems like a great place to hang out if you have a longer connection or delay.

 
TLHFLA
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 2:32 pm

E is by far the nicest of the concourses. I actually wound up departing from Concourse E once on a flight to TLH. I am assuming the DL 738 used on that flight must have arrived earlier from an international origin.

On another note, when the new international terminal is complete, it will feature an additional concourse, Concourse F. The train will be extended to Conourse F.
Bill in ATL
 
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usdcaguy
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RE: The Train At ATL

Sun Dec 19, 2004 11:42 pm

Being the nerd I am, I usually end up taking the train to Concourse E between domestic connections just to hang out. I love seeing all the big foreign aircraft and just being in a nicer terminal. I find Atlanta a little boring, though, as its the other concourses are plain, long and packed with people.
 
TLHFLA
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RE: The Train At ATL

Mon Dec 20, 2004 2:06 am

It's too bad there wasn't a way to efficiently reconstruct the concourses to be larger and more open. I think ATL would be a much nicer facility if the concourses were wider and brighter. In theory this could be done, but in reality the loss of part of one concourse would be a loss of a gates that the airport could not presently handle. I wish a concourse could be constructed to with jet bridges for regional jets. I don't see this happening unless part of D or C was reconstructed...

Back on the subject of the train, out of curiosity, has anyone manged to reopen the doors once they have started to close... I have always doubted the annoucement, but never seen anyone prove it wrong...
Bill in ATL
 
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litz
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RE: The Train At ATL

Mon Dec 20, 2004 3:04 am

"have seen those little holes, but I've never seen a train there. It's really cool to see trains ahead of you from the front of the train, I never understood what the purpose of the lights on them was for, though...since its all automated, so if there was a malfunction, nobody'd be able to see the other trains lights and stop the train. I've always had good luck with allignments, though."

The lights are there because it's a train, and as such, even automated, it still has to follow FRA (Federal Railway Administration) rules ...

Of those are that a) you have to have headlights shining bright in the direction you are travelling and b) you have to have red and green signals indicating that you are OK to proceed, or have to stop.

The Hartsfield train system has both of those. Next time you pull in to the T-gates station, look out the nose of the train : you'll see the train ahead of you at Baggage claim. You'll see the Green signal in the tunnel turn Red, then the headlights will switch to the opposite direction, then it'll move off into the switch, to pull into the T-station on the other side.

Then your doors will close, the signal will go Green as the switch switches back to the "mainline", and you pull out and over to Baggage.

"Back on the subject of the train, out of curiosity, has anyone manged to reopen the doors once they have started to close... I have always doubted the annoucement, but never seen anyone prove it wrong..."

They do not re-open. They will grab and hold whoever gets stuck in them. If they get stuck long enough the warning message "Someone is blocking the doors" goes off, but they do NOT reopen. The person either has to get out, or squeeze in. They are usually helped by other passengers before there's too long a delay. It's not much pressure, so you wouldn't get injured, so it's pretty easy to work loose.

Note, however, the safety systems WILL prevent the train from actually moving until the door is fully closed and locked (you'll hear a locking pin "snick" into place if you're standing near the doors).

- litz
 
NW7E7
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RE: The Train At ATL

Mon Dec 20, 2004 4:54 am

Personally I prefer NW's tram at DTW. Much nicer and you get a good view of all of the flights. The one at ATL would be good if the had a light show!!

On my BA flight, LGW-ATL, I went downstairs to where customs is at and there were hardly any people!! My flight was about 3 or 4 hours late though. Thunderstorms in ATL made us stay in a circular flight pattern over Atlanta and we must have been up there for about an hour and a half and then we see on our PTV's that our destination had been changed to MCO!! This was before the Captain had even said anything. We then got some fuel in MCO and went back to ATL. I ended up missing my connecting flight(738) and ended up on a flight leaving 45 minutes later to LIT(an old c/s and interior MD-88). I swear it smelled like a nursing home in that thing.

This was my last flight with DL. March 2002. By the way, I was on the plane at LIT and I couldn't wait to get to BHD and the captain said that there was a hydraulic leak(MD-88) and that the flight was cancelled and DL wouldnt re-book me on later flight(this was the 1st flight of the day). But they did get my in f/c on a 738 the next morning!

NW7E7
 
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RE: The Train At ATL

Mon Dec 20, 2004 6:56 am

has anyone manged to reopen the doors once they have started to close... I have always doubted the annoucement, but never seen anyone prove it wrong...

That's what got my fear going. When 1 too many people tried to get on and the doors were closing, there used to be a piercing alarm along with the "Someone is blocking the doors" voice! That's why when the lights go off, I hear the music and "Careful, doors are closing and will not reopen, please wait for the next train" voice, I do as I'm told...wait for the next train. After all, it's only 120 seconds and you get first pick of the door you want! Big grin

I've also been on a train ahead of a stuck train before. That's fun...you go like 10 feet and stop until the train clears! It's a lot of fun to walk through the walkign area and see the doors that lead to the track and see those full trains go by!
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TLHFLA
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RE: The Train At ATL

Mon Dec 20, 2004 11:46 am

The shuttle trains at TPA do the exact opposite. I once got stuck waiting several minutes before one actually moved because people were trying to push their way in. The doors actually do re-open and an announcment goes off telling people to step away from them, but no one listens... The difference being at TPA, if one shuttle train is held up, the whole system isn't delayed as in ATL.
Bill in ATL
 
FlyFL
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RE: The Train At ATL

Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:03 pm

If you ignore the signs and warnings telling you to get off the train at concourse E, you can ride it back into the switching area where it moves over from the eastbound tracks to the westbound. Usually everyone gets off the train at E, so if you're looking for the best quick make-out spot in the airport...
 
Gnomon
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RE: The Train At ATL

Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:40 pm

With regard to the comments above regarding the train's manufacture, it was actually made by Westinghouse. It's a Westinghouse PeopleMover. I don't believe the equipment has changed over the years, although I'm fairly sure they've added new cars, and I'm certain they've updated the interiors. There's also the semi-yearly change in voice, so it seems.

For years in the '80s and most of the '90s the trains featured the same computer-generated male voice. Since the elimination of that voice there has been one humanoid male voice, and two female voices. The second female voice is currently in use.
 
FLAIRPORT
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RE: The Train At ATL

Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:42 pm

FlyFL...and you don't think there are cameras on the train? A couple of years ago FOX5 did a report on that (the cameras, not making out).

Hey, and how long does it take to get to the other end of concourse E  Big grin? And what do you mean USUALLY everyone gets off  Big grin?

Also, isn't that the area where they do service. Imagine, your making out, steaming up the train windows, and a mechanic gets on board! ewwww!
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