News Archive

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UK: AccesRail, distributor of seamless air-rail intermodal solutions, has signed an agreement with Virgin Trains. This partnership utilises AccesRail’s expertise to enable Virgin Trains to make its train tickets available on the sales platforms of all major airlines of the world.


To the travel agent, this means that they can now easily book air and rail segments in the airline primary screen display of all important GDSs through carrier code 9B. And to the customer this means that they can now travel with air and rail segments on the same itinerary. For example, passengers landing in Birmingham will already have their Virgin Trains ticket in-hand and can seamlessly board the train en-route to their chosen destination, such as Edinburgh, Lancaster or London Euston.

The deal between AccesRail and Virgin Trains utilises select routes to open up new destinations for airlines flying into Birmingham International Airport or to maximize their load capacities for long haul flights out of Birmingham or London. Transporting passengers onward to all the potential cities served by Virgin Trains, makes it possible for a new array of end destinations for international and intercontinental travel. This, in turn, meets the market demand to broaden the range of tourist and business destinations, while making door to door service possible and more seamless.

Denis Grenier, AccesRail’s Vice President of Business Development and Marketing said “We are thrilled to partner with one of the premier railways in the United Kingdom and with the iconic Virgin brand. In this context, AccesRail is satisfying the need for seamless travel which ultimately benefits the customer, airline and railway.”

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USA: All Aboard Florida, developer of the only privately-owned and operated passenger rail service in the United States, has introduced Brightline, the express train travel service that will connect Orlando International Airport with the major cities of South and Central Florida along a 235-mile route.

At an event held on the construction site for MiamiCentral, the new downtown transportation hub and mixed-use urban development in the heart of Miami, the company revealed the new Brightline brand identity and previewed the innovative trains that are the centerpiece of the new service.

“With the introduction of Brightline, we set out to reinvent what traveling by train can mean in America, making it a forward-leaning solution that is a smarter alternative to more cars on crowded roads,” said Michael Reininger, president of All Aboard Florida. “Brightline is built to be an intuitive transportation option aligned with the emerging preferences of our customers for mass transit solutions and keyed to providing access to the primary destinations of Florida’s residents and visitors alike. With the extraordinary design expertise of Rockwell Group, we’ve blended train travel and hospitality, creating a new and innovative travel experience focused on providing customer service that extends well beyond the trains and stations.”

In developing the brand and product offering, the company tapped award-winning architect David Rockwell and his firm Rockwell Group.

“We’re thrilled to be working with All Aboard Florida on the creation of Brightline,” said David Rockwell, founder and president of Rockwell Group. “The project provided us with a wonderful and rare opportunity to combine deep ethnographic research with our extensive hospitality experience to re-envision train travel.”

The express inter-city Brightline trains are being built in California by Siemens and will each be adorned in a spectrum of five distinct colors: BrightRed, BrightOrange, BrightGreen, BrightBlue and BrightPink, led by BrightYellow locomotives. “Typically, trains have been one color, either gray or silver, and tend to blend into the background,” added Reininger. “As our trains pull into the stations, their colorful entry will be another way that Brightline takes the gray out of travel.”


Making the journey in three hours – faster than by car and comparable to total air-travel time, Brightline will make frequent departures and provide an alternative to Florida’s crowded highways and airports. Brightline will ease that congestion, as well as present amenities such as convenient booking options, roomy and reserved onboard seating, free Wifi, on-board and in-station food and beverage selections and easy local transit connections.

As part of the launch, the company also introduced its consumer website: along with specific social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.


Travel agents and wholesalers will benefit from the ability to provide their customers with customised Brightline promotions and travel packages. “Brightline gives travel partners a smart solution for a multitude of travellers’ needs,” said Julie Edwards, Brightline’s chief marketing officer. “We encourage travel partners both in the U.S. and around the world to work with us well in advance of launch to ensure that they are taking full advantage of this incredible new travel alternative, seamlessly connecting major destinations within Florida.”

Construction has begun on all three stations. The Orlando station will be located adjacent to the Orlando International Airport, where, when completed, will place train travellers steps away from air and local transit connections.


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UK: Metrolink’s Manchester Airport line celebrated its first birthday on 3rd of November with 1.88 million passenger journeys.

The £400m, 15-stop line - one of the largest locally-funded transport projects of its kind in the country - opened more than a year ahead of schedule on 3 November 2014.

Requiring close to 3.5million hours of work to deliver, the line has brought with it economic growth and opportunity for the region.

Metrolink Airport line website

According to Wythenshawe Town Centre Manager, Jeff Jackson, the area has flourished since the line opened, with thousands more people visiting every week.

“Since the line opened we’ve seen footfall increase by between eight and 10 thousand people a week and this has attracted new businesses to the centre.

“With Metrolink and the new interchange people have got accessibility to the Airport and wider Manchester area, offering them increased job and leisure opportunities,” Jackson said.

Almost 60km of rail track was used to construct the line, which uses 670 overhead poles to power the trams. Twenty-eight tramway/highway junctions were either newly installed or modernised; a 337 metre-long viaduct was constructed over the River Mersey and two 580 tonne motorway bridges were installed over some of the busiest sections of urban motorway in the country.

Local residents have also benefited by the so-called ‘Metrolink effect’, which has seen house prices near to the line increase well above the national average.

Peter Cushing, TfGM’s Metrolink Director, said: “The Airport line has been hugely successful, delivering improved public transport and access to employment, business, retail and leisure opportunities, as well as education and healthcare.

“Part of its charm and success stems from the recruitment drive that ensured jobs went to local residents: people with knowledge and passion for their communities as well as the Metrolink network that serves them.

“Our success is ultimately down to our customers and staff.”

Customer Ambassadors1 website

An innovative scheme to recruit staff local to the area by Metrolink’s operator, RATP Dev, was also a success, with 12 employees going on to work as part of the wider customer service team at Metrolink.

Chris Coleman, Managing Director, Metrolink RATP Dev, which operates the network on behalf of TfGM, said: “We were very clear from the start that we wanted to recruit local people from the Wythenshawe area for the new customer service roles on the Airport line.

"We worked with Wythenshawe Community Housing Group as part of their Talent Pool programme which saw interest from 250 local residents for the positions.

“We achieved unprecedented success with the recruitment programme which has not only meant employment for Wythenshawe residents, but has also allowed us to use the local knowledge of our new employees to provide even better customer service to our passengers.

“As a result of the success of the project, our new recruits have now gone on to form part of the bigger customer service team here at the company, including a new customer ambassador project which will see them provide customer service at key city centre stops.”

The Manchester Airport via Wythenshawe line was delivered by the MPT consortium, formed of Laing O’Rourke, VolkerRail and Thales.

Greater Manchester’s Metrolink network carries over 32 million passengers every year. The opening of the Airport line brought the number of Metrolink stops across Greater Manchester to 92, spanning some 60km.

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CHINA: The Third Railway Survey and Design Institute Group Corporation (TSDI) has issued a Beijing New Airport Rail Line full environmental impact report allowing to start the construction of the line in December this year with an estimated finish date in September 2019.

According to the report, the new airport rail line will be 39.05 km long with maximum speed of 160 km/h and designed capacity of 4 minute headway, allowing to run 15 trains an hour, although the initial runs are planned for 12 min headway and 5 trains an hour.

Beijing New Airport Terminal1

The train will run to and from Beijing’s new airport in Daxing which is estimated to handle 45 million passengers in the first years of operation, reaching 70 million in midterm and 100 million passenger capacity in long term.

Beijing New Airport Terminal Building will be the world’s largest airport passenger terminal. Zaha Hadid Architects and ADP Ingeniérie have designed the airport concept which will include integrated multimodal transport centre, featuring direct links to local and national rail services and the Gaotie high speed rail.

According to the report, the rail line will run from Beijing New Airport Terminal North to Caoqiao Station on Beijing Metro Line 10. The airport rail line will run underground for 20.85km and 18.2km over the ground. All three stations will be located underground, including the airport station. The total investment for the projects is estimated to be around 28.17 billion yuan.

Beijing New Airport Rail Line Map2

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GERMANY: All the road, rail and helicopter services that Lufthansa provides to get travellers to and from their airport of departure or arrival are to be operated under a single “Lufthansa Express” brand name.

Lufthansa offers a wide range of travel options to or from the airport working with various transport partners including high speed ICE trains, modern long distance buses, limousines and helicopter services.


By bringing these various services under a single brand name, Lufthansa can offer all these services from a single source that customers can book individually in addition to their Lufthansa flight. So the current AIRail service will now be known as Lufthansa Express Rail, Lufthansa Airport Bus becomes Lufthansa Express Bus and the present Airport Shuttle Service will now be promoted as Lufthansa Express Shuttle. The new brand will further be home to Rail & Fly in collaboration with Lufthansa Express, to Lufthansa Express Helicopter and to

Lufthansa Express Chauffeur. A further new service – Lufthansa Express Carsharing – should also be added soon.

“Our intermodal strategy is designed to provide our customers with a travel process that is as smooth and seamless as possible, from their region of origin right through to their final air destination or vice versa,” says Markus Pauly, Lufthansa’s Director of Infrastructure & Development at its Frankfurt hub. “In doing so, we can tangibly enhance their overall travel experience, by offering them all the mobility options they need within our service portfolio.”

In addition to the planned expansion of the current Lufthansa Express Bus services to and from Munich Airport, Lufthansa also plans to provide inbound travellers with a new Express

Shuttle service to and from alpine ski resorts. And with Lufthansa Express Helicopter, customers can make their onward journey even faster and more individually by air.

All Lufthansa Express services can be booked online at, via the Lufthansa app or with any travel agency.


Want to hear more about Lufthansa's intermodal services? Join our AirRail Italia 2015 event where Markus Pauly will be speaking!

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