By Brittany Anas / NewsBreak Denver
(Denver, Colo) Denver International Airport plans to put more trains on its tracks to shuttle passengers between concourses, making those rides less congested and more frequent as travel returns to pre-pandemic levels. However, global supply chain problems are delaying the delivery of the new train cars, which probably won’t arrive until 2023, according to estimates from airport officials.
DIA, the third busiest airport globally, currently has 31 train cars in its inventory, 16 of which are 29 years old and ready to retire after logging more than 1.4 million miles. DIA plans to replace those 16 cars plus add 10 more. Some older train cars have air conditioning units that don’t perform well due to their age.
The airport operates six of its four-car trains but can increase to seven four-car trains during peak travel times. With the additional cars, DIA will be able to run up to eight four-car trains, and the design of the new cars will allow the airport to eventually expand to six-car trains in the future. DIA is bracing for passenger traffic to reach 100 million annually within the next decade.
Airport officials ordered the new cars in 2018, with expected delivery in May 2022. Supply chain disruptions, though, are pushing the delivery date of the first four new train cars to Feb. 2023. All 26 new train cars should arrive at DIA by Oct. 2023.
“This delay was not welcome news,” said Phil Washington, DIA’s CEO, in a news release. “We are aware of the issues that our aging train cars are having and our crews are doing the best they can to keep these cars and associated systems in working condition for the comfort of passengers.”
Until the new trains arrive, airport officials are vetting proposals from private companies to determine alternative methods to move passengers between the concourses and the Jeppesen Terminal.