News Briefs for One-Tracked Minds
The latest news added September 22, 2016

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putra

Putrajaya restart? (09/22/16)
Putrajaya, Malaysia. For years the spectacular new national capital city of Putrajaya has had a monorail station on the main rail line between Kuala Lumpur and the international airport. Track leaves the station then ends. A spectacular monorail-exclusive bridge crosses the river, complete with monorail track ending at each end. Subway tunnels under the main street of the modern capital remain empty. All were built for what would have been a very high profile system; Putrajaya Monorail. The project was shelved in 2004 for federal budget reasons and to wait until ridership would justify the system's completion. Twelve years later, MMC Corporation Berhad (MMC) has told a local newspaper they are interested in rekindling the project. MMC has proposed the restart to the Economic Council, and if approved the system could be complete by 2021, according to the Sun Daily. The original plan was for a 13.6 kilometer line and a connecting 6.8 kilometer line. 25 stations would be served. Four kilometers of underground track and nine kilometers of above ground track were completed before the project was halted.

Putrajaya Monorail back on track? The Sun Daily, 09/22/16.
TMS exclusive two-page photo tour of Putrajaya project in 2005

SkyTrain

China reveals new H-Bahn train (09/12/16)
Nanjing, China. Some years back we reported Sky Train International's announcement to build SAFEGE-like monorails in many Chinese cities, starting with Shanghai. This week China revealed its first prototype train at Nanjing Puzhen Company Limited, which is affiliated with CRRC Corporation Limited (China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation). China's SkyTrain appears to be based on Germany's H-Bahn technology, in use at Dusseldorf International and Dortmund University. Two compartment trains can hold over 200 passengers. Unique to the Nanjing H-Bahn, trains are powered by batteries that last 4 hours. The plan is to switch batteries out at stations in a process that lasts only two minutes. The company stated that SkyTrains will likely make their public debut next year at a variety of "scenic places."

SkyTrain
China's first SAFEGE technology 'SkyTrain' (photos courtesy of China Daily)

China's first sky train rolls off assembly line, will go into operation next year. Shanghaiist, 09/12/16.
China Rolls Out Its First Sky Train.
NDTV, 09/12/16.

temple

Bangkok cabinet approves Gold Line (09/06/16)
Bangkok, Thailand. Proposed in July of 2015, the Gold Line Monorail has been approved by Bangkok's cabinet. The 2.7-kilometer line will run from BTS Green Line's Thonburi Station to Prachathipok. Four stations will dot the line. The Gold Line will also connect with the Purple Line. The cabinet also ordered a study on possible visual impacts of the monorail along the Chao Phraya River. The Gold Line joins plans for at least two other monorail projects, the Pink and Yellow Lines.

trial

Success on 1st trial run: Mumbai Phase II (08/20/16)
Mumbai, India. Great news for the Mumbai Monorail came Friday when Train number 9 completed a successful first trial run on part of the new Phase II track. Starting at 8:31 am, the sleek blue train departed Wadala Depot, the southernmost terminal station of now-open Phase I line. First runs are at a precautionary speed of 15 km/h, as the track/train/busbar interfaces are all being used for the first time. The trial run went as far as Acharya Atre before returning to Wadala at 8:47 am. Officials called the run a complete success. Once Phase II opens, the monorail is expected to enjoy a large increase in ridership. The 10.6 kilometer extension will bring the system to Jacob Circle, stopping at many high-activity areas and transit connections along the way.

Monorail phase II trial run successfully completed. Daily News, 08/19/16.

MumbaiMap
Mumbai Monorail: Phase I in blue (open), Phase II in red (late 2016/early 2017)

evac

Scomi's Mumbai troubles continue (08/01/16)
Mumbai, India. Malaysian monorail supplier Scomi Engineering continues to generate negative headlines in India, all due to troubles with Mumbai Monorail. Mumbai Monorail is the first major monorail system in India, and based on the negative publicity generated during Phase I's operations, it may be the last. Today a train halted along the line early in the morning, before passenger service. However, monorail service was unavailable until 11 am. Power supply problems were reportedly involved. This happened in March as well, which led to an emergency evacuation of passengers. In June parts of fell from the train after a tire failure while rolling. Visibility issues for drivers have occured with the failure of window wipers as well. In recent days, only two trains have been available on the 8.9 kilometer Phase I track between Wadala to Chembur. Instead of trains every 15 minutes, wait times have increased up to a half hour. Officials of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) have claimed that the performance of Scomi has been poor. MMRDA might have to continue taking its help despite the contract ending in 2017 due to 'technical challenges' and 'patent-related issues'. A senior MMRDA official stated "It is a total failure on the part of Scomi Engineering, which had failed to procure spare parts for repairing and maintaining rolling stocks. The rolling stocks are non-functional mainly due to Scomi not procuring spare parts."

Monorail services come to a standstill at Wadala. dna.com, 08/01/16.
MMRDA to stick with 'errant' contractor for better or worse. The Asian Age, 08/01/16.
Only 2 monorail rolling stocks running. The Asian Age, 08/01/16.

ChinaMap

Changchun reveals new generation train (07/05/16)
Chongqing, China. Changchung Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd. has revealed a new generation train at the 19th China (Chongqing) International Investment and Global Sourcing Fair. Changchung is known for having built trains for the world's largest monorail system in Chongqing, based on technology purchased from Hitachi of Japan. The train is designed to carry around 70% of that of Chongqing's trains with two to four carriages. Targeted for airports and third-tier cities, it joins a number of technologies being touted for many locations throughout China. Also seeking contracts for numerous proposed monorail systems are Bombardier, CRRC Qingdao Sifang, Intamin and Scomi. Changchun's design is capable of faster acceleration and has been optimized to make passengers more comfortable. Views from the train will be enhanced with the addition of full-door windows. Production of the train is expected to begin before the end of 2016.

Chongqing2
Changchun's new train design revealed (photo courtesy of cqnews.net)

Multiple cities target Chongqing's straddle-type monorail, cqnews.net, 07/05/16.

Freetown

Sierra Leone makes 1st step (07/05/16)
Freetown, Sierra Leone. A small step has been taken towards monorail for Freetown, the capital city of the western African nation of Sierra Leone. Alhaji Ibrahim Kemoh, the Minister of Works, Housing and Infrastructure, announced that a Memorandum of Understanding with China Railway Seventh Group (CRSG) for a variety of projects to improve infrastructure in the country. One of the projects would be what is being called a "Coastal Monorail." No details of the project have been released to date. Freetown is a major port city on the Atlantic Ocean populated with over 950,000 people.

Sierra Leone: Flyovers, Monorail Coming. The Patriotic Vanguard, 07/04/16.

Clyde

Glasgow Monorail proposed (06/09/16)
Glasgow, Scotland. Jim Becket, 78, and brother John, 77, believe they have a better idea than Glasgow's government desire for trams. Beckett was a prominent engineer on the Channel Tunnel project, and now in retirement is trying to improve transport for the city of Glasgow. The brothers spent seven months researching and drawing up the plans they hope will inspire transport officials. Their 12-kilometer 'Clyde Monorail' is estimated to cost £300 million. The monorail would allow passengers to travel from Glasgow to the airport in 18 minutes. The line would also appeal to non-airport passengers such as hospital staff commuting to work and by extending a mass transit line to previously transit-unserved communities such as Renfrew. The brothers came up with the idea in response to a city-driven effort for a street-based, slow tram service. "There is much more traffic generated by this proposal than would ever be generated by the tram-train airport link." Government response was quick and negative, but support has been expressed from the public. (We've seen this before!)

Clyde Monorail website
Channel Tunnel engineer unveils plans for high-speed monorail to Glasgow Airport. Herald Scotland, 05/30/16.
Readers Opinions: Petty politics have hindered progress on Glasgow's infrastructure. Herald Scotland, 05/31/16.

Qingdao

Surprise: new technology from China (06/09/16)
Qingdao, China. Out of the blue, a completely new monorail technology was revealed in China in May. The train, produced by CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd., is the first permanent magnet straddle-type monorail train independently developed by China. The train can connect four, six or eight cars depending on requirements. A 90.8-meter long, six-car train can carry 1,448 passenger. Design speed is 80 kph. Zhong Yuanmu, chief designer of Sifang, said that the train is the first to be driven by permanent magnet synchronous motors, which is superior in energy conservation. The company estimates 10 percent less power than the one using asynchronous motors. The company developed the technology based on the growing opportunities for monorail worldwide, they estimate the potential for more than 50 straddle-monorail routes around in the world.

China's first permanent magnet straddle monorail train rolls off assembly line. China Daily, 05/23/16.
Qingdao Monorail Test Track revealed. YouTube

Qingdao500
China's sleek new magnet-propelled monorail system revealed.

Calabar

Calabar Monorail's preview run (04/28/16)
Calabar, Nigeria. Cross River State celebrated its inaugural run of the Calabar Cross River Monorail this week. The 1.1-kilometer, single-track shuttle runs from the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort to the Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC) at Summit Hills. On board the preview ride was the Benedict Ayade, the Governor of Cross River State, and Ahmed Kuru, Managing Director of Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON). The Intamin P8 monorail is made up of a 12-car train, with two cars for equipment and the other ten for 78 seated passengers. Intamin expects one to three months of finetuning before the line opens to the public.

Nigeria: Ayade, Amcon Boss Take Maiden Ride On Calaba Monorailr.AllAfrica.com, 04/28/16.

Changsha

Changsha Maglev opens (04/04/16)
Changsha, China. The Chinese-developed medium-speed Changsha Maglev has opened. Designed for a maximum speed of 120 kph, normal speeds will be limited to 100 kph. The 18.6-kilometer line connects Changsha South main line station with Huanghua International Airport. There is one intermediate station at Langlizhen currently and two additional stations will to be added in the future. Each CRRC-built trainset of three cars is designed to accommodate up to 363 passengers.

Changsha airport maglev opens. IRJ, 04/04/16,

Liuzhou

Liuzhou may build monorail (03/28/16)
Liuzhou, China. Construction may begin this year on another monorail system in China. Liuzhou, a city on the banks of the Liu River, studied a variety of transit systems and reportedly is leaning towards monorail. A "test line" will first be built between Hedong Transportation Hub and LiuDong New District. Eventually the system will become a 47-kilometer city monorail. In late 2015 Liuzhou officials had concluded that subway would cost more that 700 million yuan per kilometer, while monorail would be far less at approximately 150 million per kilometer. The example of Chongqing Monorail, the largest monorail system in the world, had great influence in Liuzhou leaning towards monorail. Details are currently sketchy and require online translation services. As news is revealed, The Monorail Society will make updates if the system is confirmed as monorail.

Rivers

Rivers Monorail to be abandoned? (03/28/16)
Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Politics is once again endangering a monorail. The new Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, has indicated that he will not complete the Rivers Monorail started by his predecessor Rotimi Amaechi. In a TV interview Wike said, "Rivers people have told me not to touch the Monorail left behind by the other government." The monorail has been controversial since the project began. Critics say that over $400 million have been sunk into the three-station, 2.6-kilometer starter line. Intamin started testing their P30 train on the line in 2014. Intamin is also supplying a monorail line for Calabar, Nigeria. The Calabar Monorail is slated to open this year.

I won't touch Amaechi's Rivers Monorail: Wike. The News Nigeria, 3/28/16.

Mumbai

Challenges for Scomi in Mumbai (03/26/16)
Mumbai, India. The opening of the 10.2-kilometer Phase II segment of Mumbai Monorail has been delayed several times since the first segment opened in February of 2014. Reportedly Scomi Engineering has had "financial instability" causing some of the problems. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has decided to help the company by paying vendors directly to help with the completion. One of two switches for the extension have not been delivered yet. According to a senior MMRDA official, "The switching equipment is very crucial for conducting trial runs after which only it can get certificate. In a recently held review meeting among Larsen & Toubro, Scomi and MMRDA officials it was decided that MMRDA will provide a helping hand to Scomi by it directly paying to the vendors Scomi deals with to give a push for Scomi to deliver what it has promised." Phase II will connect Wadala Depot and Jacob Circle on an narrow alignment full of challenging-to-build turns and obstacles to cross. Most of the guideway and stations are already in place.

Will city get phase-2 monorail in 2016? The Asian Age, 03/27/16

DallasZoo

Dallas Zoo Monorail reopens (03/26/16)
Dallas, Texas. Two years of renovations and repairs have been completed on Dallas Zoo’s Wilds of Africa Adventure Safari monorai. The mile-long ride re-opened on Friday. The line was already long when the first train ride departed the station at 10 a.m.. $3 million in upgrades include new air conditioning for Texas summer days. The electrical system went through a major upgrade as well, having caused the monorail to stop working three separate times between 2011 and 2014. Several animal exhibits seen are only visible from the monorail, so they had been out of the eyes of the public for about a year and a half. The first monorail trip received applause at the start and end from appreciative the zoo staff and public. The 20-minute monorail ride cost $5.00.

Dallas Zoo Monorail Re-Opens to Rave Reviews. 5NBCDFW.com, 03/25/16.

150Carnival

Cruise ship to get SkyRide (03/22/16)
Waconia, Minnesota. A SkyRide bicycle monorail system will soon be installed on Carnival Cruise Ship Vista. Said to provide guests the exhilaration of flight through any environment while they benefit from exercise, the peddle-powered, suspended monorail will be located high above the deck. It will provide spectacular ocean views from 150 feet above sea level. Guests will be able to race family and friends around the 800 foot track at up to 25 mph. Scotty Olson, the inventor of Rollerblades, came up with SkyRide. In 2012, he pitched SkyRail on the popular TV show 'Shark Tank.' Olson believes he can sell SkyRide to ski resorts, tourist attractions and amusement parks. None of the Sharks bit, but the bike monorail now has a very high profile customer.

550Carnival
Carnival Cruise's Vista will receive a SkyRide system in the world.

SkyRide Website
SkyRide-Bike Monorail on 'Shark Tank' on Carnival Cruise Ship. 2paragraphs, 03/22/16.
SkyRide on Carnival Vista. YouTube Video

Bologna

Bologna monorail construction under way (03/15/16)
Bologna, Italy. Bologna's Marconi Express monorail project is back on track. Lengthy negotiations had delayed the monorail, but civil work is now under way. Intamin's contract for three P30/50 trains, part of the track and ride control was signed in January. Trains are scheduled to be on site for testing and commissioning in 2017, with a customer public opening planned for early 2019. The Marconi Express monorail will link Bologna Centrale main line rail station with Marconi Airport. P30s are capable of speeds up to 80 km/h. The 5-kilometer line will have one intermediate station at Lazzaretto. At times of increased ridership, two of the trains can be coupled and run as a pair. Unique to the Bologna system will be the application of solar power via panels installed alongside the guideway. The monorail track will be placed on top of a bridge-like superstructure, similar to Jacksonville's monorail. It is estimated that one million passengers would use Marconi Express in its first year of operation.

Bologna People Mover P30 w. Solar Energy Generation. Intamin YouTube video.
Marconi Express official website
Work starts on Bologna Airport monorail
. Railway Gazette, November 10, 2015

Bangkok

Bangkok approves two monorail lines (02/29/16)
Bangkok, Thailand. The Public Private Partnership (PPP) Committee approved construction of two new monorail transit lines. The cost is a combined investment of 110 billion baht. The two lines are the Pink Line between Khae Rai to Min Buri and the Yellow route between Samrown and Lat Phrao. Being built under PPP, the government will be responsible for appropriating land and the private sector will bear the costs of train systems, maintenance and civil works. The PPP Committee has assigned Bangkok Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand to do detailed studies for each line, which will be sent to the cabinet for approval at the end of March.

Pink, Yellow monorails lines get PPP approval. Bangkok Post, 02/20/16

Wuppertal

Wuppertal's new train tested (02/09/16)
Wuppertal, Germany. In the middle of the night the first new generation train left Wuppertaler Stadtwerke on its initial test run. The dark of the night was interrupted with flashes of press cameras as the train successfully rolled down the historic Schwebebahn track, which first opened in 1901. Railfans were also there to witness the event. The new 'Generation 15' trains will replace all twenty seven 1970s-era trains currently operating on the line. Besides a track run, engineers also performed a swing test in one of the stations. More testing will continue in the middle of the night when revenue operations are not under way. The first Generation 15 train is scheduled to start operations in February, with all 31 new trains online by June 2016. Vossloh Keipe Germany won the 122 million Euro contract for the new trains. They are manufactured in Austria.

Die erste Testfahrt der neuen Schebebahn. Westdeutsche Zeitung, 02/09/16.

HbahnRussia

H-Bahn for Moscow (02/07/16)
Moscow, Russia. A group of companies under the name Morton has received permission to build the first section of a system that looks similar to the Siemens H-Bahn. The technology is referred to as 'Arrow.' The initial one-kilometer will be built in the Krasnogorsk district of Moscow. Preliminary site work has already begun with foundations for pylons being poured and track segments being delivered. The system will be part of a modern new neighborhood. Testing could begin as soon as this summer. (edited 02/27/16)

Press Release (in Russian)

Incheon

Incheon Maglev opens (02/02/16)
Incheon, South Korea. After years of testing, South Korea is opening the Incheon International Airport Maglev. The automated 6.1-kilometer system begins carrying passengers on Wednesday. The service is free and operates between 9 am and 6 pm. Four two-car trains run every 15 minutes, with up to seven trains available for operation. Trains can carry up to 230 passengers and run at speeds up to 80 kph. The technology is designed to operate at speeds up to 110 kph. South Korea began efforts to commercialize maglev transit in 2006. Korea Institute of Machinery and Materials, Korea Rail Network Authority and Hyundai Rotem were some of the twenty agencies and companies involved in the development.

S. Korea launches maglev train service at main airport. Korea Times, 02/02/16.

150Panam

Panama City signs MOU with Hitachi (01/14/16)
Panama City, Panama. Today Japan and Panama will sign a memorandum of understanding to use Hitachi technology for a $2 billion monorail, a first for the company in the Americas. The 27-kilometer system will span the Central American nation's trans-oceanic canal and ease traffic congestion. The agreement includes financing via the Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The project could start as early as this year and be complete in 2022. Hitachi Ltd. participated in a feasibility study. Panamanian President Juan Carlos Verela plans to visit Japan in April to sign a final agreement on the monorail project. The monorail would run from the suburbs of Panama City to the city center in 45 minutes. By car the trip now takes three hours due to traffic.

Panama Picks Japanese Technology for New $2 Billion Monorail. Bloomberg, 01/14/16.
Metro de Panama Monorail YouTube Video

550Panama
Rendering of Hitachi train for Panama City.

DanNang1

Da Nang: New Year, New Monorail (01/01/16)
Da Nang, Vietnam. A new monorail system was be put into operation at Da Nang's Asia Park today, the first new monorail of the new year! It is also the most modern monorail to date in Vietnam. At 3 kilometres in length, the new system has eight monorail trains with 11 cabins each. The single-lane loop serves as transport between three stations and provides sightseeing views of the new park. The designed capacity of the system is for more than 2,000 passengers per hour. The eight P6/66 trains and its hybrid monorail/tram track are designed by the Intamin Transportation of Switzerland. Asia Park is still not complete and as a result the monorail currently cruises through areas of barren landscape. However, once the park is complete, it is expected to welcome about 2.5 million visitors each year. Asia Park includes a culture park, an amusement park and a multi-functional center. The culture park will highlight replicas of famous architectural works and typical landscapes from nine Asian countries including Japan, India, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, South Korea, China, Nepal and Vietnam.

DaNang2
Main entrance station of Asia Park's new Intamin Monorail system.

Changsha

Changsha Maglev trials begin (12/30/15)
Changsha, China. Trial runs began December 28th of the Chinese-developed medium-speed maglev line at the city's Huanghua Airport. The system has been designed for a maximum speed of 120 kmh, yet normal speeds will be limited to 100 kmh. The line connects at Changsha Nan with the national rail network and Line 2 of the Changsha Metro. There is one intermediate station at Langlizhen currently and two additional stations will to be added in the future. Each trainset of three cars is designed to accommodate up to 363 passengers. After the commissioning and test phase is complete, revenue service is expected to begin in early 2016.

Baguio

Baguio City finds potential backer (12/26/15)
Baguio City, Philippines. As we reported earlier this year, a feasibility study concluded that monorail should be built for Baguio City in the Philippines. The line would run 5.2 kilometers from the Central Business District to La Trinidad. San Miguel Holdings Corporation (SHMC) is reportedly interested in the proposed system, according to executive director Mila Rimando of the National Economic and Development Authority-Cordillera (NEDA-CAR). The monorail would help boost the local tourism industry and address traffic and air pollution in the area.The project may cost as much as P5 billion, according to the study.

Baguio-La Trinidad monorail system finds backer. Rappler, 12/26/15.

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