Dusseldorf Flughafen, Germany's third largest airport, is a model for O'Hare.
At Dusseldorf, a local train station next to the terminals offers service to downtown, comparable to the CTA Blue Line.
The Airport also has a train station capable of handling many types of service, connected to the terminals and a parking garage with a people-mover. The second station features a commuter train, which connects directly to Dusseldorf and other major German cities like Essen, Duisburg and Bochum at frequent intervals.
The transfer station also supports conventional and high-speed trains from across Northern Europe. Directly from the Airport, a passenger can step on a Thalys high-speed train, and arrive in central Brussels two hours later. The German ICE and Benelux Thalys services also share the station with conventional inter-city trains (like Amtrak) from destinations across Germany.
Beyond serving the airport, the Dusseldorf station allows for quick transfers between the different train services, increasing connectivity for the entire region. In this way, the Dusseldorf area uses the critical mass of airport passengers to build something much bigger — and more useful.
At O'Hare a similar arrangement is possible. In the near future, Amtrak trains from destinations like St. Louis, Milwaukee and Detroit could stop at O'Hare — providing a much-needed service to communities across the region. In the future, high-speed trains could stop at the station, replacing wasteful, inconvenient connecting flights.