The public transport situation of Dusseldorf Airport (DUS) is a bit more complex than it might feel at first sight. First of all, there are local buses stopping in front of the terminal. Then, there is the terminal station (Düseldorf Flughafen Terminal) right below he building. This one is a normal German rail station and connected to the German rail network, but only served by one train, the commuter rail S-Bahn S11. All other trains, including long-distance and high speed connections, depart from the airport station (Flughafenbahnhof). Instead of walking (which would be some 20 to 30 minutes), there is the SkyTrain, a rather unique overhead track cabin railroad. I introduce you to this public transport vehicle.
SkyTrain Dusseldorf Airport – Network and Tariff
The SkyTrain serves four stops: as said, it departs at the Flughafenbahnhof, where typically the majority of passengers are boarding. Before the terminal, there is one stop, which can be used when you park at the parking garages P4 and P5. This one may be very busy in holiday season as well. The in-fact airport terminal is served by two stops, named Terminal A,B and Terminal C. This frequently leads to confusing among non-locals, as there is just one terminal in Dusseldorf – the naming Gates A&B and Gates C would be more appropriate. The total track length is 2.5 km, which takes some seven minutes.
The SkyTrain is part of the regional public transport network. Thus, you do need a ticket. At the time of writing, a single adult ride is 1.90 EUR, if you really just go from one stop to another and don’t have transfers. However, there are ways to avoid paying:
- If you already have a connecting ticket for the local and German rail services, including the Deutschland-Ticket or a regional day ticket, the trip is included
- If you park in P4 and P5, the ticket is included as well
The train is fully automated and does not have a driver. The times differ with the intensity of passengers expected, but is typically in the range of every three to six minutes, late night times excluded. It does happen that the SkyTrain cannot operate due to technical issues. In that case, the service is replaced by buses, which are then very packed and at least add 15 minutes to your trip (sometimes, significantly more).
SkyTrain Dusseldorf Airport – Technology and Rolling Stock
The SkyTrain is a so called H-Bahn, which is legally rather a tram than a train. It was originally developed and produced by the French engineers SAFEGE. Nowadays, it is also named SIPEM – Siemens People Mover. The construction – the train is in fact hanging on a construction with wheels which are running in the hollow metal track above – has already been developed in the 1970’s. The 9.2 meter long wagons may transport up to 48 passengers each (15 seats). They operate in groups of two wagons in Dusseldorf. The system was initially used in Dortmund and introduced to Dusseldorf Airport (DUS) in 2002. The SkyTrain reaches a maximum speed of 50km/h and is running fully electric.
Due to the special construction, the wagons have to be “fixed” in the stations to avoid swinging during boarding and deboarding. Apart from the train station stop, all stations feature a platform in the middle with one track in each direction. The Flughafenbahnhof station has separate platforms for entering and exiting the tram. All stations apart from the parking garage one feature ticket machines, where you can also buy tickets to connect to the all Rheinland and Ruhrgebiet region.
SkyTrain Dusseldorf Airport – The Ride
The pictures below feature the network from the airport train station to the terminal. The SkyTrain is first passing some budget parking lots and airport service facilities. Nowadays, an additional stop near the Frachtstraße would be very favorable, as there are a few hotels on the opposite side of the motorway. The SkyTrain then follows an S-curve and reaches the Parkhaus 4 stop. You are practically in terminal area already and can see the terminal through the window. Starting with the Terminal A&B stop, the hanging tram reaches Dusseldorf Airport (DUS).
SkyTrain Dusseldorf Airport – Services
There are no toilets or WiFI onboard. The airport train station does feature toilets. However, they are a bit of special in regards of smell and sometimes cleanliness. I would thus rater try to concentrate on the services provided in the terminal building.
SkyTrain Dusseldorf Airport – Alternatives
As said, the key alternatives to the SkyTrain are the bus replacement services or use the S11 rail, e.g. from Dusseldorf Main Station or from Düsseldorf-Unterrath, which is just a stop away from the airport train station. During peak times, an S11 train operates every 20 minutes (weekdays) / 30 minutes (weekends).
SkyTrain Dusseldorf Airport – My View
Actually, I like the SkyTrain. It is a cool automated vehicle of public transport. Unfortunately, it does struggle with the reliability. Even though this has significantly improved during the last years, a non-operating SkyTrain hits the airport operations really hard. This also illustrates how dependent the airport is from this tram. If you are around Dusseldorf and are a transportation geek, a trip with the SkyTrain is definitely worth a try.
Rides on Rail / Germany
Flyctory.com in Dusseldorf
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