If ever you’ve flown to or from Japan via Narita Airport’s Terminal 2, you may have had the chance to ride on the shuttle seen in this photo. But you probably won’t get that chance again. The Yomiuri Shimbun reports via The Japan News that this connection between the main and satellite buildings will be shut down this month, after 20 years of operation. (Read the story here.)
I always enjoyed riding it. It operates something like a funicular railway in that its two separate cars are attached to a loop of cable that shuffles them back and forth between the endpoints of its very short route. But I was amazed to learn from the article that the cars have no wheels. They hover on a cushion of air!
Moreover, according to Wikipedia, “The system is made by Nippon Otis Elevator…It is technically (and legally) not a railway, but a horizontal elevator.”
I’ve gone from thinking of the shuttle as cute to thinking of it as totally awesome. But I have no business at the airport this month, so I’ll never see it again.