Maglev gets boost. (4/30/03)
Las Vegas, Nevada. One of the last acts of the
Clinton Administration was to narrow down the number of candidates
for Federal funding of a maglev project in the USA. The two finalists
competing for nearly $1 billion for a demonstration project are
Pittsburgh-Pittsburgh Airport and Baltimore-Washington DC. All
has not gone well in the planning process for the finalists as
numerous NIMBY groups have endangered and hampered both projects.
So why not build a demonstration line through the desert instead?
That's what the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission
members have been suggesting all along. U.S. Rep. Don Young,
R-Alaska, chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and
Infrastructure, agrees and has given the CA-NV project a big
boost. Young has said he thinks Southern Nevada's proposed magnetic-levitation
rail project could be built faster and at a lower cost than the
two other. The California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission
has now received a $1.5 million federal grant for a study, which
is scheduled to be completed in 12 to 18 months. The study will
focus on an initial run between Las Vegas and Primm, a 40-mile
section of a proposed 269-mile system that would run from Las
Vegas to Anaheim, California. "The fact that we have a leading
federal agency behind us will make things easier for us in obtaining
federal funding for construction, and puts us on a par with other
Maglev projects around the country," California-Nevada Super
Speed Train Commission chairman Bruce Aguilera said in
a written statement.
of magnetic rail line approved. Las Vegas Review-Journal,
Seattle recommendations released.
Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Monorail Project
continues to move forward at a blistering, record-breaking pace.
This week the Seattle Popular Monorail Authority (SPMA) released
their Preferred Alternatives Recommendations. The report is the
Seattle Monorail Project's current recommendation for the Green
Line's alignment and station locations. A huge amount of public
outreach has been undertaken by the SPMA, as well as enormous
amount of design work to get to this point. The report, which
is available for download on the SPMA website, is full of descriptions
and renderings that explain the current recommendations for routing.
Over the coming months, a number of other alternatives will be
studied along with the Preferred Alternative. Final decisions
will be made later in the year. The SPMA also received a major
boost when an independent firm's report was released stating
that the chances of building the Green Line monorail on budget
have improved significantly since last year. "The work the
monorail board and management have done in the last six months
has significantly reduced the likelihood there is going to be
a major cost problem," said Dwight Sangrey of Golder
Associates, who led the review.
Seattle Monorail Project
Monorail project is on track. Seattle Times, 4/3/03.
says monorail project has 80% chance of making budget. Seattle
Monorail proposed for Lagoon
Farmington, Utah. The owners of historic Lagoon
Amusement Park are talking with developers about building a monorail
system to connect the park to a possible nearby commuter-rail
station. A station is proposed to be open by 2007 for as part
of a high-speed rail system between Ogden and Salt Lake City.
The monorail would serve park visitors as well as many of Lagoon's
1,500 young employees in the summer. The line would only be about
1/4 to 1/2 mile long, but it may also serve an intermediate station
where a complex of movie theatres have been proposed, about two
blocks from the rail station. Park owners are currently investigating
possible sources for funding the monorail.
looking at monorail. Salt Lake Tribune, April 2, 2003.
Pinellas County selects monorail!
another TMS Exclusive!
Pinellas County, Florida. There's no denying it
now, monorail is catching on! The Pinellas County Metropolitan
Planning Organization(MPO) has selected monorail as the preferred
alternative for a fixed guideway system throughout Pinellas County.
Pinellas County is Florida's most densely populated county, with
only 5% of developable land remaining for development. Monorail
won out over elevated light rail, people mover and advanced trolley,
largely because it provides the best combination of automation
capability, minimum at-grade impacts, and aesthetics in Pinellas'
built-up environment. The implementation plan has been examining
the costs of building, and operating and maintaining a system
as well as attempting to identify funding sources to pay for
it. The project will get more attention over the next months
as the capital and operations and maintenance costs are finalized,
and potential funding sources are identified. Once all of these
facts are in, officials will decide the nature and character
of follow-up implementation activities.
Another delay for Kuala Lumpur.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. As of today, the official
Monorail Malaysia website
still shows March 2003 as the opening date for the Kuala Lumpur
Monorail (and interestingly, April 2002 is the date of their
last online press update). However, recent stories in the Malaysian
press refer to another delay for the official opening. Due to
an accident last August when a journalist below the tracks was
seriously injured by a falling safety wheel, the monorail will
not be fully operational until August, 2003. The incident has
been blamed on a act of sabotage, as an investigation showed
there were no technical flaws with the system. The wheel that
fell was missing attachment nuts, and there were no signs of
bolt breakage. All other safety wheels were securely fastened
to the two-car monorail train. Al-Jeffrey Ibrahim, KL
Infrastructure Group Bhd's executive director, said the incident
delayed the launching date of the system's operation but it had
not affected engineering certifications. The system is expected
to have a daily ridership of 85,000.
safety wheel incident has no effect on its certification process.
Malaysia Utusan, 3/24/03.
filed in King County. (3/24/03)
King County, Washington. It's spreading! The monorail
movement of Seattle has officially moved to the suburbs. The
Citizens for King County Monorail today filed for an initiative
to ask voters to design a monorail system that could connect
to the Seattle Monorail, currently under design. The initiative
follows the example of Seattle's Initiative 53, which resulted
in the Seattle Monorail Project. The King County Monorail initiative
calls for evaluation of monorail corridors connecting Seattle
with Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Bothell, Kenmore, Shoreline,
Tukwila, Burien, SeaTac, Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, Renton, Newcastle
or Issaquah, with potential links to Pierce and Snohomish Counties.
Cleve Stockmeyer, chairman for the group, states that
current road improvement plans by the state don't focus on the
problem facing commuters. Stockmeyer said "Conceptually,
monorail could carry people from Redmond to Seattle in 23 minutes.
No other proposals provide rapid mobility like that." The
group needs to collect 45,000 signatures within 90 days for the
measure to appear on the November ballot.
Citizens for King
County Monorail website.
supporters file petition. King County Journal, 3/24/03.
backers want more. Seattle P-I, 3/22/03.
Las Vegas train tests to begin.
Las Vegas, Nevada. The builders of the Las Vegas
Monorail state they are ahead of schedule and under budget. How
many rail transit systems can claim that? This week the first
of nine Bombardier M-VI trains will move under its own power
for the first time. Even though much of the system is still under
construction, enough guideway has been completed that trains
will be able to make test runs between the Operations Maintenance
and Storage Facility (OMSF) at the Sahara and a crossover switch
at the Chamber of Commerce. The trains are so striking in design
that there is some concern that some auto drivers below may be
distracted as they get their first look at the slick trains running
alongside and down the center of Paradise Road. The M-VIs will
travel the route at an average of 25 mph, with a top speed of
45 mph. Train cars continue to arrive by truck from Canada at
a rate of one per week.
Vegas Monorail tests to begin. Las Vegas Sun, 3/21/03 (includes
Top of Page
Chongqing Monorail forerunner
of more. (3/18/03)
Chongqing, China. The builders of the Chongqing
Monorail are taking a unique "you start-we'll finish"
approach. Hitachi Ltd. Of Japan will supply the system with two
four-car train sets. The Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd.
will then build 19 additional train sets with technical assistance
provided by Hitachi. The manufacturing of the train's ceiling,
side panels, electrical wiring, and piping has been modularized,
allowing a simpler construction process, greater flexibility
and easier maintenance. In addition, this process requires fewer
weld points and parts than previous methods. The Chongqing Monorail
System will be 13.5 km long, with a total of 14 stations. While
Chongqing will have the first Alweg-based monorail system in
China, the Chinese are not waiting for the mid-2004 opening to
forge ahead with plans for other monorails. Shanghai, Hangzhou
and Hefei are also planning monorail systems. Hitachi Ltd., in
close association with it's partners, is pursuing more monorail
contracts outside of Japan, including in the USA, and has been
awarded contracts in China and Singapore.
Chongqing Monorail website
Monorail suffering financial woes. (3/18/03)
Chiba, Japan. According to publictransit.com,
the Chiba Monorail system is has large operating deficits as
a result of lower ridership than hoped for. A panel may be established
to deal with financial restructuring, cost saving measures, and
as an unlikely last resort, closure and dismantling of the system.
Prior to construction, the 18-station, 15.5 km Safege-type system
was forecast to become profitable after nine years of operation
and pay back all accumulated deficits after 14 years. The first
segment opened in 1988 and the most recent extension opened in
1999. In 2001, passenger traffic was at 44,000 per day, falling
far short of the pre-construction forecast of 174,000 per day
by year 2000. The economy, a declining number of school-age children
and slower-than-anticipated commercial and residential development
in the area are cited as reasons for lower ridership than expected.
H-Bahn expansion. (3/15/03)
Dortmund, Germany. Thanks to a monorail expedition
discovery by tMS member Amaury Jacquot, we have
learned that a major line extension is under construction on
the Dortmund University H-Bahn. The 1.8 kilometer long main route
currently connects two university campuses. A short spur line
connects the line with the urban railway (S-Bahn) and the district
of Eichlinghofen. The spur line is now being extended by 1.2
kilometers to a science park. To see Amaury's pictures of the
line being built, visit our Construction
Gallery. Also, the Dortmund
H-Bahn website has been upgraded to included new images and
videos of the line.
General Atomics building test
San Diego, California. A new type of maglev system
is coming. It's a hybrid of the EDS and EMS type of suspension
systems; it uses Halbach Array permanent magnets for suspension
and a Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) for propulsion and additional
suspension. Since there is no active control nor cryogenic magnets,
General Atomics claims a much simpler onboard control system.
The company is in the process of building a 120 meter full-scale
test track with a 50 m radius curve at their facility in San
Diego. They will build a full-scale chassis, power and control
systems. The testing will validate their understanding of the
vehicle dynamics, and when successful, allows them to transition
to building a demonstration system. California University at
PA (South of Pittsburgh) is a potential site for the demonstration
test track site. Actual urban deployment is planned for after
the demonstration testing is complete.
TMS Maglev Monorail Page
TMS Maglev Monorail Technical Page
(includes new paper on General Atomics Maglev)
Seattle Monorail nominated
for landmark status. (2/27/03)
Seattle, Washington. Yesterday the Seattle Landmarks
Board unanimously nominated the historic Seattle Center Monorail
for landmark status. A public hearing and vote are scheduled
April 16th to designate the old line a landmark. The Seattle
Popular Monorail Authority (SPMA) has plans to demolish the old
monorail tracks to make way for part of a new 14-mile "Green
Line" through the city. In fact, it may be that the SPMA
would have to go back to voters yet again if forced to decide
upon another route. Ed Brighton, a leader in the monorail
preservation movement, has suggested moving the alignment back
to the originally-planned Second Avenue alignment through Belltown.
Several Landmarks board members remarked that they consider the
original pylons and track to be every bit as much a landmark
as the 41-year old Alweg trains. "The reality is, it's an
operational system," board member Larry Kreisman
said. "They work well together and have worked well together
for 41 years. It's a prototype, and it's rare Seattle can say
we have a prototype of anything."
tracks? They're a landmark: City board blocks monorail demolition
plans. Seattle Times, 3/6/03.
monorail debate over pillars is 'brutal.' Seattle PI, 3/6/03.
Clarian people mover, Indianapolis
Airport people movers overpriced
and monopolized? (2/27/03)
San Jose, California. Consultant firm Jakes Associates
recently initiated a campaign for more affordable people mover
systems at airports worldwide. The company's business journal,
Forward Thinking, states "since the 1960's, the airport
people mover market has been dominated by a single, high-priced
product and now costs more per mile than many urban subway systems.
Why pay a premium for more of the same, when there are other
proven, cost effective procurement and technology options?"
The most recent example opened this week at San Francisco International
Airport. The $430 million AirTrain system uses the airport-dominated
Bombardier CX-100 technology. It features massive guideways and
columns that dwarf monorail structures, yet the CX-100 system
capabilities could easily be matched by several cheaper monorail
technologies. Jakes Associates, headed by Andrew Jakes,
has been successful implementing low-cost people movers, most
notably in Las Vegas and the Clarian People Mover built by Schwager
Davis Inc. (SDI) in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company has also
been recently awarded contracts with Hong Kong and Oakland International
Airports, so we may see an increasing number of monorail manufacturer
bids breaking into the airport people mover business. As Jakes
states, "the time has come to end market domination by a
single product, supplier, and consultant."
Falkenbury resigns from SPMA
TMS first to publish!
Seattle, Washington. The father of the Seattle Monorail
movement, Dick Falkenbury, shocked supporters today with
the announcement of his resignation from the Seattle Popular
Monorail Authority (SPMA). "It's complicated," Falkenbury
told tMS tonight. Citing that there are multiple reasons
for his departure, he stated that he would continue to be voice
during the development phase of the voter-approved monorail system.
He went on to say that board members have been told that their
opinions aren't sought, that they are only to be "unbiased
judges" in the process. As most monorail supporters know,
Mr. Falkenbury is a man of many opinions and ideas! In fact,
his opinion that monorail would be a good idea for Seattle was
supported three times with yes votes by citizens. One rumor circulating
the industry is that Bombardier of Canada is the pre-ordained
choice as the future supplier for Seattle. Bombardier is supplying
a M-VI monorail system for Las Vegas, but many monorailists in
Seattle would prefer an Alweg-type system that would more closely
mirror the large 41-year old Seattle Center Monorail. Falkenbury
has stated on numerous occasions his preference for "nothing
less than what we have." Now that he is outside the constraints
of the SPMA, he will be more vocal in supporting large scale
monorail trains. Stay tuned, it's getting more interesting by
quits to hunt for job. Seattle Times, 2/ 25/03.
Pinellas County workshops
Pinellas County, Florida. Planners for a countywide
monorail system are seeking input from local citizens in March.
Five public workshops will give residents a chance to see what
the proposed system may look like and give them an opportunity
to voice their opinions on the project. "I think the ridership
numbers are good and show the project is feasible," said
Brian Smith, county planning director. "Now the question
is . . . is this what we want to do?" The county's transportation
planning board hired Tampa consultant, Grimail Crawford Inc.,
to help prepare for the possible bid for federal funding. Grimail
Crawford estimates that the system will cost between $20-million
to $45-million per mile. The Pinellas County proposal is for
an eventual 37 miles of rail. 21,000 to 54,000 people are expected
to ride the system each day, depending on technology and routes
selected. The County will seek Federal and local funds to build
the county support a rail? St. Petersburg Times, 2/23/03.
Station rendering courtesy of Pinellas Mobility Initiative and
extends bid period. (2/24/03)
Karachi, Pakistan. Only two bids have been submitted
to Karachi Mass Transit Program officials for a proposed city
rail system. As a result of the low number of bids, the date
of submission for bids has been extended to mid-March. The city
government had issued international tenders for six proposed
corridors of rail-based mass transit system in Karachi on Build
Operate Transfer (BOT). MTrans of Malaysia and a consortium of
German, Arab, Swiss company named InterGlobe Euro-Arab group
have submitted their proposals. Mtrans is currently completing
construction of a 8.5 km monorail system in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Interglobe is offering maglev technology.
Seattle Monorail Project backs
landmark status. (2/23/03)
Seattle, Washington. During the planning process
for the Seattle Monorail Project, the Elevated Transportation
Company selected an alignment believed to guarantee the largest
ridership possible. Part of that 14-mile "Green Line"
included the same route down Fifth Avenue that the current 41-year
old Alweg monorail runs on. This raised concerns amongst those
in favor of preserving the historic monorail. This week the Seattle
Popular Monorail Authority (SPMA) has eased some of those concerns
by endorsing landmark status for the existing monorail. The SPMA
states on its website that "the Seattle Monorail Project
is committed to preserving the historic Alweg trains either in
active service as part of the new monorail, on a new monorail
guideway, or on display in a museum or other setting." tMS
President Kim Pedersen said "ideally the Alwegs would
be capable of running on the new 14-mile guideway. Wouldn't it
be fantastic if these original trains would run from Ballard
to West Seattle? It would fulfill the Alweg Company's hopes for
a citywide monorail system and would also virtually guarantee
that the new system isn't a lesser capable sub-scale monorail
technology." A final decision for the Green Line's alignment
and station locations is anticipated in late November 2003.
Seattle Monorail Project
M-VI cars arrive in Las Vegas. (2/19/03)
Las Vegas, Nevada. When it opens early next year,
the Las Vegas Monorail System will consist of nine Bombardier
M-VI monorail trains. The first cars arrived this week after
a four day flatbed truck journey from Kingston, Canada. The first
two to arrive were center cars. A few days later two end cars
arrived. All were lifted via crane onto the beam, then pushed
into the Operations Storage Maintenance Facility (OSMF) using
the new MRV (Monorail Recovery Vehicle). The four-car trains
will be capable of carrying 224 passengers, 72 seated and 152
standing. Initial testing will begin on the northernmost segment
of the system within the next couple of months. Anticipation
for the system will certainly be raised a notch once people see
one of the sleak M-VI trains cruising up and down Paradise Road!
We'll be there to get pictures for all monorailists to enjoy.
money for ODU Maglev. (2/17/03)
Norfolk, Virginia. Dominion University's magnetic
levitation train has been sitting idle since the fall due to
lack of money to fix a bumpy ride. Congress has set aside $2
million in a compromise budget plan that will finish the maglev
project. "I'm wearing a large smile," said Robert
L. Fenning, ODU vice president for administration and finance.
"We're so pleased we have the opportunity now to advance
the project." ODU is partnered with American Maglev Technology
Inc., of Marietta, GA, to develop and build the nation's first
passenger-carrying maglev on its campus. Unforseen problems ate
up the original $16 million budgeted for the project. American
Maglev president Tony Morris and Fenning say that the
$2 million should be enough to finish the project. Efforts will
focus on building and installing new computer controls developed
by Lockheed Martin, with the advice of ODU professors, to smooth
out the ride.
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