Sixties Technology to the Rescue at Dulles

Alarm shuts down new shuttle

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCWashington.com
    The new AeroTrain at Dulles Airport.

    Don’t give up on those old mobile lounges at Dulles International Airport just yet.

    The airport unveiled its new AeroTrain this week.  The $1.5 billion futuristic underground train system is touted as the future of ground transportation for air travelers, but on its second day of operation, it had to be taken out of service for more than half an hour.

    Airports Authority spokesman Robert Yingling said that at about 9:25 p.m. Wednesday, operators detected an open door alarm while the train was in a tunnel.  It turns out the door had been mistakenly left open by a firefighter responding to an unrelated call.

    The delay had a ripple effect; three United Airlines flights were held and six passengers missed their connecting flights.
    While the problem was being fixed, passengers were ferried to their terminals using the mobile lounges first introduced in 1962 when the airport opened.

    While the mobile lounges can’t match the 42 mph efficiency of the new train system, yesterday’s incident proved that they’re not ready for the scrap heap just yet.

    And at least we know the AeroTrain’s alarms work.