2013: The Rollout of the PHX Sky Train in Phoenix

April 8, 2013

The first segment of the PHX Sky Train, a small-scale automated transit system transporting people within and also to and from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Arizona’s capital and largest city, was opened to the public. Construction on this 1.7-mile (2.7-kilometer) segment of the PHX Sky Train had begun in 2008.

This original section of the PHX Sky Train connects Terminal 4, which serves about 80 percent of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport’s passengers and is the location for US Airways and Southwest Airlines flights, with the East Economy parking lots there at the airport and also the Phoenix-based 44th Street/Washington station of the Valley Metro Rail (a light rail line serving that region of the Grand Canyon State).

The PHX Sky Train was inaugurated on the morning of April 8, 2013, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. At noon, the first official ride of the new system took place. Those on board for this ride included Greg Stanton, mayor of Phoenix (and now the U.S. representative from Arizona’s 9th congressional district); and other members of the Phoenix City Council.

“This is an exciting day for the city of Phoenix and Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport,” asserted Stanton at the time. “The PHX Sky Train’s connection to light rail paves the way for convenient, multi-modal transportation to and from the Airport and is a true point of pride for our city.”

In December of the following year, a new segment extending the PHX Sky Train from Terminal 4 to Terminal 3 was opened. The PHX Sky Train operates 24 hours each day. A key feature of this system is a 100-foot (30-meter)-tall bridge over one of the airport’s taxiways (paths at an airport that link runways with hangars, terminals, and other facilities). This transit bridge was the first one in the world to be built over an active taxiway.  

Photo Credit: Tony the Marine (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en)

Additional information on the opening of the PHX Sky Train is available at https://www.skyharbor.com/Media_old/PressReleasess/2013Archives/2015/05/22/phx-sky-train-opens and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDtEHENa0Yw

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