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Train issues fixed at DIA, but travelers should still leave early to catch flights, officials say

DIA train delay_Aug 20 2021
Denver International Airport sets traffic record for January
Posted at 5:46 AM, Aug 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-20 19:47:16-04

DENVER – Emergency repairs at Denver International Airport which reduced capacity at the trains and created hourslong delays for travelers getting from the terminal to the concourses Friday morning are complete, and airport officials said security checkpoints and trains had returned to normal operations by 2:15 p.m.

DIA officials said repairs to the train to the gates were completed at around 10 a.m., nearly 10 hours after a breaker trip caused four train cars filled with approximately 200 people to lose power.

Though repairs were complete, DIA officials said the Friday morning delays have impacted security wait times at the airport, and travelers "may have to wait more than two hours to get through TSA security checkpoints."

A spokesperson for the airport released the following statement following today's delays:

Today, DEN passengers have experienced significant delays due to a mechanical issue with our train to the gates. We recognize how impactful these delays are and we apologize for the frustration this has caused. We strive to provide passengers with a pleasant experience while traveling through DEN, and we fell short this time. We are grateful for passengers’ patience and we look forward to providing them with a better experience next time. In the meantime, we are committed to exploring options to provide alternate ways to move passengers between the terminal and concourses and improving our process when incidents like this occur.

They recommended travelers still give themselves at least an extra hour to get to the concourses and advised those whose flights leave from Concourse A to use the A-Bridge Security checkpoint.

A ground stop issued by the Federal Aviation Administration that went into effect at 7:45 a.m. was also lifted. According to the FAA, planes were held at departure airports to avoid additional congestion in Denver.

A woman who wished to only be called by her first name, Susie, said she waited more than an hour and a half to get to the TSA checkpoint, then another half hour to get through security and down to the train, which she said was packed. Eventually, she left to try to catch another flight on Saturday morning in the hopes she can still make the wedding she is supposed to attend.

"There are so many people that are delayed right now," Susie said. "One of the flight attendants that's been here for 32 years said she's never seen it this bad."

Terry Riccard, who landed from Salt Lake City, could not believe the scene after landing.

"What a tragedy. The wait is just over-the-top astronomical. Everywhere you look, there are lines wrapped around the airport," Riccard said. "Somebody needs to be held accountable. Where is the repair crew when something tragic like this happens?"

Adam Marman said he spent 2 1/2 hours in the TSA Pre-Check line and another half-hour waiting for the train.

"It will bring out someone's true character — that much I can say," he said.

The airport said at 2:15 p.m. security checkpoints and trains returned to normal operations but urged travelers to check with their airlines on delays.

DIA spokesperson Alex Renteria said emergency personnel spent about an hour escorting travelers through the walkways and then swept the tunnels to ensure nobody was still there when the breaker trip occurred about 12:30 a.m. Airport spokesperson Alex Renteria said passengers on the train were stuck for four minutes before they were escorted out.

The airport had busing operations in place to take passengers from Concourses B and C to Concourse A, where they could walk to the terminal.

Renteria said the airport was exploring "all of our options" to give travelers alternate ways alternate routes to get around the airport in the event the trains are not working in the future.

"So that is something we are definitely looking into. these types of incident make it even more important that we push the gas."

She said maintenance would occur overnight "just to make sure everything is going great."

"We recognize how impactful this is. We sincerely apologize for the frustration this has caused," Renteria said. "Our goal is to provide passengers with a great experience while traveling and we fell short."

Denver7 reporter Sloan Dickey said passengers on board reported delays anywhere from one to three hours at security checkpoints before they were able to get on the train to the concourses.