The aim of TerminalOnRail was to design a rail-based hub feeder service, which by transferring to the train activities set up at the airport such as luggage handling, can provide a significant boost in attractiveness that also allows airlines to replace feeder flights without worrying about passenger losses.

Client: bmvit, Take Off, Tender 2015

Duration: July 2016 to June 2017 (12 months)

Project partners: University of Applied Sciences Joanneum Graz GesmbH; Technical University Vienna, Institute of Transport Sciences; University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria GesmbH; University of Applied Sciences St.Pölten GesmbH; Austrian Airlines AG; Flughafen Wien AG; Siemens AG Österreich; ÖBB Personenverkehr AG; Promotion&Co

LOI partners: DLR – German Aerospace Center; Salzburg Airport AG; Westbahn GesmbH; SBB – Swiss Federal Railways; Association of the Railway Industry; ÖAR- umbrella organization of Austrian associations for the disabled; newrail – Newcastle University

Project description: For ecological and economic reasons, there are cooperations between airlines and railways, often to replace short-haul feeder flights with trains. However, these cooperations do not exploit their full potential as they are often not sufficiently attractive, which is why airlines continue to offer short-haul feeder flights out of concern for passenger losses. For example, at present it is not possible to drop off luggage at a suitable point when arriving at the airport (with the exception of a few urban feeder trains such as the CAT in Vienna). However, for 80% of passengers luggage transport is an important reason not to take the train. The lack of luggage-transport services means that the majority of passengers travel to the airport by auto or prefer shuttle flights.

For two thirds of passengers, the ability to drop off luggage directly in the feeder train would have a corresponding influence on modal split behaviour and would be an important incentive to accept rail as a hub feeder. The aim of TerminalOnRail was to investigate the possibilities for an airport transfer system on the railway taking into account all technical and logistical challenges with regard to possible luggage retrieval on the train and at the interface to the airport. As many of the activities which take place at the airport as possible are to be transferred to the train in order to make efficient use of travel time and increase attractiveness. The aim of the exploratory project was to assess the technical, legal and economic feasibility prior to any implementation.

In the project, all given boundary conditions of the “air travel” and “railway” systems as well as the requirements for a corresponding system were defined in more detail from the perspective of potential users, and based on this a corresponding overall system for hub feeders was designed and evaluated using existing technical excellence within the consortium. The result & added value of TerminalOnRail is after a possible future development and implementation, to have an attractive hub-feeder system using a dense, already existing railway network. The main attraction feature is the time advantage, which consists of the fact that time-consuming processes such as luggage check-in can already be prepared or carried out for air passengers during their arrival. The added value of the exploratory project is to make clear statements about feasibility and to obtain alternative proposals as well as concrete strategies for further necessary research and development activities for all measures that cannot currently be implemented.

Contact: DI Dr. Bernhard Rüger