CHANTILLY, Va. (WUSA) -- The new train system at Dulles International Airport is finally up and running. Aerotrain starts operation Tuesday, January 26, 2010. It'll whisk passengers from the terminal to their concourse.
Peter Byrd, longtime user of Dulles says, "So this is the thing they've been planning, like, 15 years?"
That's right. The underground tunnel and four mile train track have taken eight years build at a cost of $1.5 billion. The train takes passengers to the A, B and C concourses, replacing those mobile lounges which have been around since Dulles opened in 1962.
Byrd says, "Thirty years ago, it was like a cow pasture out here. A train will be magnificent. I won't have to climb up on those lounges!"
Now, it's just a short walk to the new Aero Train. No climbing, no waiting. The ride from the terminal to your concourse takes under 2 minutes. The mobile lounges take up to 15 minutes.
Airport Authority CEO Jim Bennett says the new train is all about the airport's future. He says the mobile lounges take long because they run on the same tarmac that planes do and must wait. And, "You can't just keep adding mobile lounges and continue to grow."
The D concourse will still use mobile lounges until the train system's entire loop is finished. The last stop on the train goes to a concourse that's not built yet. A walkway back to concourse C is filled with photographs depicting regional scenes and sights.
Jonathan Moore, who is a public affairs consultant for the aviation industry says, "It's very open, light and airy. It's very passenger friendly."
Indeed, with a high ceiling and a large lighted walkway, even 60 feet underground feels open.
Written by Peggy Fox
9NEWS NOW & wusa9.com