AirTrain

Newark, New Jersey | C.1996

Photo Credit: Sarah Ghesquiere

Opened in 1996, the AirTrain Newark is a three-mile monorail system made up of 18 six-car trains. While the monorail has only been in operation for 24 years, it serves America’s oldest airfield, the Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR).

Opened in 1928, the Newark Liberty International Airport was once the busiest airport in the world, and the only airport to serve the New York metro area. When LaGuardia Airport opened in 1939, air service for New York shifted, but Newark Liberty still remained a vital source for flights to and from New York. During WWII, it was used by the Army Corp for logistics operations.

Decades after WWII, the AirTrain opened and initially operated as an airport circulator for EWR, as a service that transfers passengers between airport terminals or concourses. Within a year, the track was refurbished and extended to include service to the Newark Liberty International Airport Station on the Northeast Corridor – the busiest rail corridor in the Western Hemisphere.

In recent years, EWR has been reported as the fifteenth busiest airport in the U.S. serving over 43 million passengers each year. The AirTrain has transported quite a number of those passengers, with ridership skyrocketing to nearly 25,000 riders daily. Nearly two-thirds riding to the airport, and the remainder traveling from the AirLink station via connections to NJ Transit Rail & Amtrak lines on the Northeast Corridor.

With a projected lifespan of 25 years, the AirTrain is due to be replaced. In 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced completion of the construction in 2024. Until construction starts, the AirTrain Newark will continue to provide shuttle services – perhaps with more temporary closures for maintenance and repair for the time being, but still helping visitors reach their final destination.

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