Australian AirTrain Services

By Scotgoat | May 15, 2019, 05:54 PM
Is it just me or are we being ripped off in Brisbane and Sydney with the so called ‘AirTrain Service’. In fact, they are ordinary commuter trains, operating on commuter lines stopping at all stations. For example, Hong Kong’ Airport Express and London’s Heathrow Express have a proper ‘AirTrain Service’ where there are places to store your luggage and get you to the cities efficiently with minimal stops. Happy to pay a premium, but not for Brisbane and Sydney where there is no luggage storage and a number of times have had to stand due to it being a commuter trains.
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By AsiaBizTraveller | May 15, 2019, 06:20 PM
Yes, every time I visit Sydney it's such an embarrassment. But you do have to remember that the HKG and LHR airport express services are completely different to SYD for example, they're non-stop or few stops, high-speed, covering quite a distance because the airport is so far from the city, unlike SYD.
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By Sparksy | May 15, 2019, 06:24 PM
A few years back there was talk of CityRail changing the way the Sydney Airport Link worked, they would just have the trains running a shuttle service from the international and domestic terminals to Central, back and forth. But I think this was scrapped because everybody would have had to change trains at Central, even if you were on the suburban train coming from the southwest and going to the airport.
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By Rufus1 | May 15, 2019, 08:03 PM
You had me until you mentioned the Heathrow Express - per mile the single most expensive rail journey in the world!

Yes, it's a frequent and reliable service but boy do they know how to charge...
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By Steve987 | May 15, 2019, 08:33 PM
Still better value (cheaper and quicker) than a taxi.
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By hutch | May 15, 2019, 10:19 PM
Is it just me or are we being ripped off in Brisbane and Sydney with the so called ‘AirTrain Service’. In fact, they are ordinary commuter trains, operating on commuter lines stopping at all stations. For example, Hong Kong’ Airport Express and London’s Heathrow Express have a proper ‘AirTrain Service’ where there are places to store your luggage and get you to the cities efficiently with minimal stops. Happy to pay a premium, but not for Brisbane and Sydney where there is no luggage storage and a number of times have had to stand due to it being a commuter trains.

It is too expensive. I expect a surcharge, given its a private company, but the charge is too high.

Having said that, at least the Sydney train is frequent. The Brisbane train is not frequent enough in my opinion.
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By rwSydney | May 15, 2019, 10:20 PM
It will be interesting to see how Crossrail (if it ever opens!) changes things in London. It will be cheaper than the Heathrow Express but will make a small number of stops enroute. They estimate travel time at about half an hour right into the heart of the West End (Tottenham Court Road area).
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By moa999 | May 15, 2019, 11:12 PM
Without the surcharges neither link would have been built at the time.

That said the NSW Govt could reduce the fee (they now get about 85% of it, though subsidise Green Sq and Mascot which previously had a surcharge) but the line is already near capacity, and you can't do much to fix that until 2024 when the Metro SouthWest opens and removes T3 from the city circle.
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By Phil Young | May 16, 2019, 05:00 AM
You had me until you mentioned the Heathrow Express - per mile the single most expensive rail journey in the world!

Yes, it's a frequent and reliable service but boy do they know how to charge...

Whilst everyone moans about the cost of the Heathrow Express, keep in mind that if you are lucky enough to be able to use it on a weekend AND buy your ticket online 90 days ahead, then the price drops to just 5.50 pounds. That price is considerably cheaper that the slower Heathrow Connect service used to charge, for it had a single fixed price.
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By anonymous | May 16, 2019, 07:14 AM
At least Brisbane and Sydney have trains. In Melbourne it's a bus with a $20 fare.
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By ChrisCh | May 16, 2019, 09:50 AM
If I'm not mistaken, in Brisbane, Airtrain actually paid to build the elevated train line that serves the domestic and international terminals right through from the last suburban stop (Eagle Junction), and maintains an arrangement with Queensland Rail whereby the trains are basically chartered by Airtrain between Eagle Junction and the airport (and vice versa), but then continue beyond Eagle Junction as a regular QR service to avoid having trains dedicated to making that two stop journey (as opposed to the service being on a normal suburban line).

Speaking as a Brisbane resident though, the train has never made sense for me: unless you live in the city or near the few stops served between the airport and the city, working the train into your travel plans makes the journey considerably longer, and works out to be much more expensive.

For example, adding in the bus connections required, it takes four times as long to get to the airport by public transport than what it takes to drive, and when there's two of you, getting an Uber is generally cheaper than the public transport fare. Logically, I'm not going to pay more for a less convenient journey, so while I can understand the higher fare structure given the way the line was built and is maintained, if they want to increase passenger numbers, the fare needs to be much, much cheaper, to make it worthy of consideration.

Different for tourists, of course, given the train goes from the airport right into the CBD, but for most locals, it's a different story!
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By ForeverSilver | May 16, 2019, 01:26 PM
At least Brisbane and Sydney have trains. In Melbourne it's a bus with a $20 fare.

Which in most cases is more cost-effective than a taxi or ride-share, but there is no guarantee it will get you there quicker. What I'll be interested in is if an Airport-Link train plan ever get's approved, will it be a new or an extension to a commuter line like in Brisbane and Sydney.
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By Grumpyoldman | May 16, 2019, 02:21 PM
Critical for me: leave Sydney cbd office 1 hour before departure, walk to station, go through security, 5-10 mins to boarding. Seems good value to me.

And, if you have opal card and have to use more than twice in a week, normal fares apply. Has saved me a bunch.

On balance: a massive time and cost saver.
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By Husk | May 20, 2019, 05:10 PM
I agree with Chris and grumpy. It has to be convenient to use.I think that the Sydney service would suit a lot of people in terms of cost and time. I use it in Sydney during peak times from home and most other times as well. 8 min walk to station then 25 mins to airport, this includes a change at central. In peak hour, even though it is only about 9 km from home to airport, can take 45 mins and $45++ in a cab.

On Friday night I arrived from MEL - Walked off the plane about 5.10 PM and walked in the door at home before 6 PM. I was going to grab a cab, but looked at the line and thought that plus the traffic it would have been 1 hour +

If coming from or going to the Sydney CBD it is a no brainer for me, very convenient.


Last edited by Husk at May 20, 2019, 06.02 PM.
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By Andrew Barkery | May 21, 2019, 10:37 PM
Talking about airport trains, ... just wait and see what PER/Transperth/the WA government will do, or if they will charge a big surcharge as well, when the rail line starts working under PER Airport.
Passed by there a few weeks ago, and there was fencing around a part of the carpark, not sure if tunnelling has gone past the airport or not.
They probaby would stop the 380 bus and the other one that goes to
T3/T4, like what they did with the 350 bus from Central to Sydney Airport many years ago, direct mind you, not having to go as now via Bondi Junction.
The Vic government also has ideas of taking a train to MEL airport, probably would take away the 478/479 and the 901 buses when that one starts.
They could also in SYD take the tram from Anzac Ave all the way to SYD airport, if they just continued it underground.
After all, they took the rail line all the way from Mascot to the airport by boring tunnels.
Last edited by Andrew Barkery at May 21, 2019, 10.38 PM.
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By CityRail | May 21, 2019, 10:53 PM
At Sydney and Brisbane airports, they do have intra-airport shuttle fare which is significantly cheaper than those who get out of the airport.

For example, $5 only for a child ticket from International to Domestic at Sydney.

Also, Translink Go Card allows you to go negative. So, just keep $3 balance and tap with a negative.

Sydney changed their rules, but gates at airport stations are very slow. Just tailgate another passenger to exit.

If you tapped on, you only pay $6.08 or $8.60 default fare. Much cheaper than paying the airport fee.
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