Monorail emerges from EMP.
Seattle, Washington. Monorail supporters are leery
of their City Council with good reason. At many critical points
along the way during efforts for a citywide monorail system,
the council attempted to kill the process and succeeded briefly
at one point. To ease fears of monorailists, City Council members
last week unanimously passed a resolution saying they intend
to put a plan on the November ballot. The resolution also laid
out a number of steps the city would take if voters agree to
tax themselves to build a 14-mile monorail system from West Seattle
to Ballard. Meanwhile, the Elevated
Transportation Company (ETC) has less than a month to choose
a proposed route. Of recent, discussion has focussed on how to
either circle or cut through the Seattle Center. Some Center
officials aren't interested in the monorail crossing through
the grounds, but owners of the Experience Music Project (EMP)
and Paul Allen's Vulcan Inc. have asked ETC representatives to
reconsider running via the Thomas Street alignment through the
Center. Currently the Seattle Center Monorail cuts through the
EMP in a building tunnel that was specially built for it. Museum
creator Paul Allen wants the new monorail to use this
same path, which would result in a cross-Center route. EMP spokeswoman
Paige Prill, says the current monorail "gives 2 million
riders per year a glimpse of our museum. Sixty percent of those
are tourists." Another complication for the ETC has come
in the form of Alweg monorail preservationists. They aren't happy
with the idea of tearing down the original 1962 line to replace
it with the proposed Green Line monorail. Several ideas have
been tossed around to appease this seemingly new-found love of
the old track (no noticeable protest was made when the original
Alweg track was altered, shortened and the downtown station was
demolished just over 10 years ago). Others believe that the importance
of the Green Line precludes any historical importance of the
old concrete. Even monorail's number one longtime proponent,
the Monorail Society's President and Founder Kim Pedersen
said "I'd love to see the old monorail trains preserved,
and I'm sure they will be. As far as preserving the old concrete,
that would be nice too, but I would much rather see the Green
Line get built along the optimal passenger-carrying route. The
ETC has found that Fifth Avenue is the way to go. If that means
taking out the old track, do it." To date the ETC has been
masterful of coming up with solutions to many problems during
the planning process. As usual, many eyes are upon them for this
latest challenge. Whatever they decide on this issue and others,
it looks like a spectacular monorail system will be on the Seattle
ballot coming November 5th.
publicly backs monorail on ballot. Seattle P-I, 7/9/02.
might run through Seattle Center: Passage through EMP back on
the table. Seattle Times, 7/11/02.
destroy monorail to build another. Seattle P-I, 7/12/02.
photo courtesy of Las
||Las Vegas update (7/14/02)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Beam number 200 has been cast.
After it cures at the yard, it will be trucked and lifted into
place in construction section L05, which is between the Chamber
of Commerce and Harrah's. Pylons are being erected and track
is being lifted into place at a furious pace. Within the last
week the "hump" of track over a pedestrian bridge was
lifted into place by the Convention Center. The highest point
of the track is 59' 8", which ensures that future monorail
passengers will be afforded a spectacular view of Las Vegas at
this point. We have just added some wonderful new pictures in
our Construction Gallery. Because
of the generosity of several TMS sources there, we are
able to bring you more pictures of monorail construction in Las
Vegas than any other monorail project in the world. Meanwhile,
over at the Las
Vegas Monorail website, there are also some new images to
enjoy. We're told that the company will be sending a helicopter
up once a month for aerial photography of the progress. Two of
the first helicopter images are on their site now. Also not to
be missed at the LV Monorail website, a first look at a MVI car
interior mock up (small version of the image at left). Now that
the monorail is a real project and everyone can see that it WILL
exist, it seems that the whole town wants a station. Again, looking
at our Construction Gallery, be sure
to see the amazing RTC map showing proposed routes for the Strip.
Just about every resort property now sees the wisdom in having
a monorail station and the map reflects that. Viva Las Vegas
||Reno Monorail group formed (7/14/02)
Reno, Nevada. Reno is a city of approximately 130,000
residents, but add filled hotel rooms and University of Nevada
students and you can have pretty horrendous traffic. As reported
here a couple of years ago, at one point monorail was discussed
amongst officials as part of a regional plan. As of today, however,
the Regional Transportation Commission's (RTC) plan is for more
road lanes, car pool lanes, bus lanes, more buses and more park-n-ride.
TMS member Don Kirk doesn't think that's enough,
and he's joining Campaign USA
efforts for monorail with a group backing monorail for the Reno
area. We welcome his new Reno
Monorail MSN Discussion Group and Reno
Monorail Yahoo Discussion Group, Kirk states "We are
preparing to begin (about September 1st) a six month research
study on the situation and see if we can't come up with reasons
why they should NOT allow us a franchise to construct and operate
a Reno Monorail System." If you'd like to help, please join
his discussion groups and include yourself on the "List
of Supporters" page. Thanks Don and good luck!
train at sea. (7/14/02)
Shanghai, China. The first Transrapid maglev monorail
vehicle built for use in China by consortium member ThyssenKrupp
Transrapid is on a "cruise" towards China. In June
vehicle sections were loaded onto a ship in Bremerhaven. They
are currently on their way to Shanghai. The trains are being
shipped in pieces. The superstructures are welded into foils
and the levitation units are packed into containers. When they
arrive in in Shanghai, Chinese technicians will assemble the
vehicle sections under the supervision of German engineers in
the Maintenance Center near Pudong Airport. Soon after that,
first trial runs will start on the track between Shanhai airport
and downtown Shanghai. Commissioning of the operation control
system supplied by consortium member Siemens Transportation Systems
has already started. Three vehicles with five sections each will
be used for the airport link. The last Transrapid vehicle sections
will leave Kassel before the end of next year. An aggressive
schedule has been maintained in the development of this first
commercial Transrapid system. Commercial operation of the Transrapid
will start at the beginning of 2004. The train will run at ten-minute
intervals at an operating speed of 430 km/h and reduce the journey
time between Shanghai's center and Pudong International Airport
to just eight minutes.
||Surprise from China! (7/6/02)
Chongqing, China. Every once in a while, one sneaks
up on us! A major new ALWEG-style monorail system is under construction
in Chongqing, China. The system will be 17.4 km long and have
17 stations. The line starts at Jiaochankou in the city's central
district and ends in the industrial area of Xinshancun. Plans
already exist to extend the line another 6.2 km to Fengshouba.
Under construction since January of 2001, the intitial line will
consist of 15.2 km of elevated guideway and 2.2 km of subway
tunnel. Three of the 17 stations will be in the subway portion
of the line. The Japanese Bank for International Cooperation
(JBIC) is providing a loan to finance the development of the
monorail. The Chongqing Monorail will be capable of carrying
30,000 passengers per hour and is scheduled to open in 2005.
Another major system proves again that monorail isn't just for
theme parks and zoos!
Chongqing Metro Website. Mostly
in Chinese, features art renderings and construction pictures.
Embassy page on rail developments in China. Includes details
of Chongqing Monorail.
Photo courtesy of Kuala Lumpur Star
Lumpur makes demo run. (7/2/02)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Kuala Lumpur Monorail
gave journalists a 15-minute first ride yesterday. As the monorail's
first operation with passengers, the demonstration run went from
Bukit Bintang station in the heart of the city's shopping district
to Medan Tuanku and Hang Tuah stations. Between July 18 and July
30, the general public will be able to ride for free on the monorail
between six stations; Hang Tuah, Imbi, Bukit Bintang, Raja Chulan,
Bukit Nanas and Medan Tuanku. The entire 8.6 km system won't
be complete until September, so the initial free ride period
will have two trains running shuttle along a portion of the line.
Once the entire system is open there will be 11 stations. Trains
will depart every five minutes during peak hours. 80% of the
project has been completed. The Kuala Lumpur Monorail is being
built by Monorail Malaysia. The trains bear many similarities
to the 1961-built Seattle Alweg monorails. Reportedly at least
one of the consultants on the Malaysia project at one time worked
for Seattle Monorail, right where original Alweg blueprints still
Kuala Lumpur Monorail crosses monorail-exclusive bridge over
monorail system takes its first passengers. Kuala Lumpur
art rendering courtesy of Project ORB
Monorail organization established. (6/30/02)
Orlando, Florida. Campaign
USA continues to grow. Monorail Society members have
recently established a new group called Project-ORB. David
S. Perkins, Project Director for Project-ORB, developed a
slick looking website in an effort to convince Orlando citizens
of monorail as an alternative to light rail. Lynx, the local
transit authority, has relentlessly been pushing for light rail,
despite the tourist industry's interest in a grade-separated
monorail instead. Along with Perkins, Project-ORB is headed up
by Charles Sullivan (Business Manager), Keith Walls
(Technical Director) and Charles Fernandez (Creative Team
Member). Florida TMS members are encouraged to join the
effort and help make an Orlando Monorail become a reality!
||Bangkok amusement monorail fire. (6/26/02)
Bangkok, Thailand. On Sunday fire broke out on
a small amusement park monorail in a Bangkok shopping mall, killing
two girls, aged 6 and 8. Lt. Gen. Jongrak Juthanon, deputy chief
of Bangkok Metropolitan Police, said a short-circuit caused the
fire. He said two other children were injured when they fell
out of their car, while several others who were riding the train
when the fire broke out escaped unharmed. The flames prevented
the two girls from being rescued, and they died before the fire
was extinguished, Juthanon said. Police investigators found that
the ride had no circuit breaker installed, nor was there any
fire-proof insulation between the compartments and the engine.
The monorail is at Fashion Island, a mall on the northeastern
outskirts of Bangkok.
renderings courtesy of Hitachi
to get first small Hitachi Monorail. (6/21/02)
Sentosa, Singapore. Hitachi Asia Ltd. (Hitachi
Asia), a wholly-owned subsidiary and regional Asian headquarters
of Hitachi, Ltd., today announced that it has won a S$78 million
(J¥5.4 billion) contract from Sentosa Development Corporation
(SDC) to build a new monorail system, "Sentosa Express."
The 2.1 km long double track line will link the main island of
Singapore and Sentosa Island, with gateway stations at World
Trade Centre's Harbour Front MRT Station and Central Beach on
Sentosa. The line will improve access to Sentosa Island from
the southernmost tip of Singapore. The monorail route will have
four stations. The Sentosa Express will be the first in the world
to use Hitachi's new small monorail system. The system was originally
developed by Hitachi in Japan as a small, standard and cost-effective
solution to the transportation needs of small to medium-sized
cities. Hitachi states that the new monorail system features:
1. Small and light vehicles with low noise levels
2. Vehicles capable of greater passenger carrying capacity
3. Slim guideway structure and design flexibility of the planned
4. Lower construction costs
Hitachi is optimistic that it will find many customers for
this new smaller monorail, which has been in development for
Wins Contract To Develop "Sentosa Express."
Hitachi News Release, 6/21/02.
photo courtesy of Daytona Beach News-Journal
Maglev on track at ODU. (6/16/02)
Norfolk, Virginia. The first passenger-carrying
maglev in the United States has been lifted onto its track in
Virginia. The vehicle was recently shipped from its test track
in Edgewater, Florida to Old Dominion University (ODU). The ODU
prototype system will operate at 40 mph along an elevated straight
track that is approximately two-thirds of a mile in length. American
Maglev hopes to make 300 mph systems after getting operational
experience with the ODU Maglev. The $14 million project is a
partnership of ODU, American Maglev, Dominion Virginia Power,
Lockheed Martin and other companies. The state State of Virginia
also loaned $7 million, which will be repaid with revenue from
future American Maglev projects. Lifting the train from the truck
that transported it took less than an hour. If all goes well,
the train should be levitating within a week. The system is scheduled
to go into operation in September, carrying up to 100 people
between three stations. The maglev will be totally automated.
Maglev train on track for future. Virginia Pilot, 6/14/02
train on track, local office closes. Daytona Beach News-Journal,
||Kuala Lumpur opening delay/phase in.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Monorail
Malaysia Company has been working feverishly to finish the
Kuala Lumpur Monorail in time for a July opening. Unfortunately,
non-monorail related issues have delayed the opening of entire
8.6 km system. Soh Yeh Bee, General Manager of KL Monorail
System Communications, tells us "we are now planning to
commence trial run on 1st July for two weeks with 6
stations and 2 shuttle trains in operation. By August 31st, which
is our national day, we shall run with all 11 stations in operation.
By around end September, all our trains should have been completed
and running in the city and our operation control centre in full
operation." A six-month delay occurred as a result of the
process to relocate 150 squatter families and four Indian temples.
Mark IV cab sold to collector. (6/8/02)
Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The news that the Walt
Disney Company was selling one of their Mark IV Monorail Red
driver cabs garnered a good deal of press and public attention.
The twelve-train Mark IV fleet was retired in the early 1990's
when Bombardier Mark VI trains were brought on line at the Florida
resort. A total of 89 bids had been made for Monorail Red when
the auction ended June 6th. An elated Chip Young of Tyrone,
Georgia was the victor with a bid of $20,000. We're pleased to
say that Chip joined the Monorail Society on the same
day of his big eBay win. He tells us that he's received e-mails
from all over the USA from folks wanting to know what his plans
are for the cab. Chip states "I want to restore it and make
an exhibit of it on my property." Congratulations Chip!
You might wonder what happened to all the other Mark IVs. Two
WDW Mark IVs continue to carry passengers in Las Vegas between
Bally's and MGM. That leaves ten other trains. Legend/rumor has
it that these trains were buried. That's a pretty sickening thought
to a monorailist or monorail collector. Let's see now: 10 trains
with 2 cabs each, assuming a sale at $20,000 for cab...they would
have made $400,000 on used equipment! Wonder what will happen
when and if they ever retire the Mark Vs and Mark VIs?
Mark IV eBay listing.
WDW Mark IV junk yard in 1995 (anonymous photographer)
||Major decisions made in Seattle. (6/4/02)
Seattle, Washington. Monday was one of the most
important days for Seattle's monorail project. The
Elevated Transportation Company
(ETC) approved the plan it will take to voters in November.
The plan consists of a 14-mile route between Crown Hill and West
Seattle. The 19-station route will bypass most NIMBY residents
on 2nd Avenue and run from Seattle Center via Fifth Avenue, where
the current one-mile Alweg Monorail operates. The 1962-built
line will likely be dismantled to make way for the new system.
What may be the toughest sell to voters is the financing aspect
of the project, a 1.4% car tab tax. ETC Board Chairman
Tom Weeks says "It's certainly a risk. Raising any
tax is money out of pocket. But what we're hearing from people
is that transportation is the number one problem in Seattle.
And people want time-certain mobility and that's what we deliver
with the Monorail." Good luck ETC and monorail backers,
the upcoming 1/2 year campaign will either make or break monorail's
future in Seattle (and perhaps beyond).
monorail proposal on track. Seattle P-I, 6/4/02.
advocates unveil 19-stop plan. Seattle Times, 6/4/02.
||Austin Light de-Railed, for now. (6/3/02)
Austin, Texas. Light rail, which lost at the ballot
box in Austin in 2000, will not appear on another Austin ballot
for at least two years. Capital Metro's board of directors decided
delay another effort for voter approval, concluding that the
agency is not ready to wage another rail campaign in the six
months before voters head to the polls. Fred Gilliam,
newly elected head of Austins Cap Metro, stated "we must
decide which technologies are best for this region. Public input
is a must and the plan should be fully integrated with other
core transportation services. An overall consensus plan that
the community wants and supports." Reading between the lines,
we say congratulations to the Austin
Monorail group for showing citizens of the area that there
are possibly better rail options for the area. Cap Metro will
now have to either give monorail a fair shake in studies, or
be much more aggressive in convincing the public that trolley
is better than monorail. 2004 is now being bandied about as the
next election opportunity for rail in Austin.
rail debate again. (6/3/02)
Orlando, Florida. Light rail died a bitter death
in Orlando a few years ago, but it turns out that its not quite
dead yet after all. Lynx and their consultants are not giving
up and have identified a possible new route from downtown Orlando
to the Orange County Convention Center for light rail. Problems
still exist for Lynx however, one major one being property and
business owners in the International Drive tourist area don't
want light rail in their neighborhood. They want their own transportation
service most likely some sort of sleek monorail according to
a local newspaper. An International Drive business-proposed monorail,
which hasn't gotten much press, would likely cost $350 million.
Is it possible that the International Drive businessmen are on
to something? Some are suggesting "why not kill the light
rail project and make the whole system a monorail?" The
alignment has features that promoters suggest would be perfect
for a monorail. The cost of the light rail segment is expected
to cost nearly $500 million. Orlando area TMS members
and International Drive businessmen interested in backing monorail
for the area should contact TMS Vice President Keith
Walls at email@example.com
route for light rail emerges. Orlando Sentinel, 5/31/02.
||Add Brighton to the list. (5/31/02)
Brighton, England. Add Brighton to the growing
list of United Kingdom cities that are seriously considering
monorail. The Brighton Monorail Company has announced a joint
venture agreement with Ambersham Holdings Ltd. to develop a monorail
for the coastal community. Ambersham Holdings subsidiary CarrWest is also developing
an Intamin-designed monorail system for nearby Portsmouth. Ambersham
is the main United Kingdom agent for the Swiss Manufacturer Intamin
Transportation. Lomax Cassidy and Edwards will be the architects
for the design of the proposed Brighton system. The monorail,
named the Marina City Link, would run from Brighton Marina to
Brighton Pier. David Courtney, Managing Director for Brighton
Monorail, says "The Marina City Link would achieve in bolting
the Marina to the city by creating a fast transport link between
the city's major leisure venues." Courtney tells TMS
that the response from the public has been excellent. The company
will submit plans for the permit process within the next three
months. He hopes that Brighton will be the first city in the
United Kingdom to build an Intamin monorail system.
photo courtesy of American Maglev
Maglev on the move. (5/31/02)
Edgewater, Florida. The United States now a passenger-carrying
maglev-monorail. American Maglev recently ran their 12-ton car
along a test track in Florida. The car will undergo further testing
at the facility, then be transported to Old Dominion University
where it will be the first maglev in the world to go into full
time revenue service. Other maglevs have been under development
around the world for decades, but American Maglev has fast-tracked
their design into a working system in record time. Development
at the remote Florida test track has been underway for only a
year. An elevated guideway, stretching almost two-thirds of a
mile, is already in place on the ODU campus. Metal track will
be delivered and installed in phases over the next month.
a maglev for a test drive. The Virginia Pilot, 5/28/02.
company insists it's on the right track. Orlando Sentinel,
Maglev Website. Downloadable videos of the test can be viewed
at this site.
Mark IV-ultimate collectible. (5/25/02)
Lake Buena Vista, Florida. How much of a monorail
fan do you think you are? What could be considered the ultimate
monorail collectible goes up for auction bidding this Monday,
the pilot cab of Walt Disney World's original Mark IV Monorail
Red. The Martin-Marietta-built train ran from Walt Disney World's
opening year of 1971 and was retired in 1993 when Bombardier's
Mark VI trains had taken over duties at the resort. Bidding will
start $100 to commemorate Walt Disney's 100th birth anniversary.
This item would be terrific for our proposed Monorail Museum,
but Disney is requiring the winning bidder to sign papers agreeing
to use it only as a collectible (besides, we don't have the kind
of money it will take to win!). Bidding begins Monday, May 27th
monorail car zips to eBay auction site Monday. Orlando Sentinel,
||Moscow Monorail construction progresses.
Moscow, Russia. According to Anton A. Chigrai,
the Moscow Monorail will be shorter than originally planned.
Under construction now is a 5 km dual-guideway line with either
four or five stations. While the system is Intamin-designed,
the trains will be build at CNIISM Institute, a company that
specializes in composite materials. See our Construction
Gallery for the first image of the guideway under construction
and a diagram of the train.
study for Southern California (5/25/02)
Santa Maria, California. A Transrapid/Lockheed
Martin/IBI Group constortium has won the competition to provide
a $16 million engineering feasibility study for proposed maglev
monorail routes in Southern California. The Lockheed Martin-led
team will take approximately three years to do the study. The
three-phase study will focus on assessing four potential maglev
corridors. An interesting political dynamic situation exists
in California, in that the California
High Speed Rail Authority has embraced "conventional"
steel-rail for a separate statewide high speed rail system. The
Authority has publicly come out against the efforts of Southern
California Association of Governments (SCAG) for maglev.
SCAG has not been deterred however and the $16 million for the
study backs up their determination to move forward with higher
speed and safer technology. SCAG is a joint powers authority
comprised of 165 cities and six counties with a combined population
of 17 million residents.
Martin Awarded $16 Million California Maglev Engineering Study
Contract. Lockheed Martin website, 5/21/02.
prüft mit Lockheed Martin Bahnstrecke in Südkalifornien.
Die Velt, 5/24/02.
California Maglev Website.
monorail is loved. (5/16/02)
Seattle, Washington. Anybody out there trying to
demonstrate the popularity of monorail? Take a look at the results
of a recent poll conducted by Don McDonough of the polling group
- 80% of Seattle voters favor expanding the monorail. After
hearing positive and negative messages, 80% of the people surveyed
said they favor expanding the monorail. Only 19% were opposed.
- 72% of Seattle voters say they will vote 'yes' on a $1.2
billion, 14-mile monorail expansion. Only 26% said they would
vote no; 2% were undecided. Support for the full 14-mile line
was higher than for a shorter monorail line.
- 66% of Seattle voters say they will vote 'yes' on the monorail
plan, even after learning of the cost to them. 31% said they
would vote no, and only 3% were undecided.
- Voters support the monorail because it offers quick and easy
travel. Those surveyed noted quick, easy travel above traffic;
good links to other forms of transportation; and quality of the
environment as reasons they support the monorail.
Pollster Don McDonough says, "I've never seen support
for a spending measure this high in my 14 years of polling."
In other Seattle news, three members of the Elevated
Transportation Company (ETC) have formed Monorail Now!, a
new group that will help promote the expansion of Seattle's monorail.
The build or no build vote is just a little over 1/2 year away!
Numbers. The Stranger, 5/16/02.
group formed to promote monorail says voters support plan.
Seattle P-I, 5/14/02
||Tall columns go up in Las Vegas. (5/4/02)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Work continues at a feverish pace in Las
Vegas. John Flores of G.
C. Wallace, Inc. was kind enough to e-mail us the details.
Ten beams were added this week in the area between the Sahara
and Hilton Resorts. Concrete was added to the crossheads of the
tallest columns of the Las Vegas Monorail (see image). This section
of track will rise to 50 feet to cross over a pedestrian bridge
at the Convention Center. At the precast yard in North Las Vegas
they have been casting one to three beams a day for the LO4 line
segment, which runs from the Convention Center Station along
Paradise Road to Sands Avenue behind the Chamber of Commerce
building. Shafts in front of the Convention Center are being
drilled right now. Some utility relocation work remains in front
of Hilton before the station and guideway constuction can start.
Work is beginning on the switch at the Sahara Station. Shafts
for the Operations Maintenance and Storage Facility (OMSF) building
are complete as well as some work on the perimeter. Subgrade
is being prepared for the building slab. Builders are waiting
for a building permit from Clark County for the remainder of
the structure. See our Construction Gallery
for two pages of new construction pictures from Las Vegas.
ETC promises refund to city. (4/28/02)
Seattle, Washington. Seattle's Elevated Transportation Company
Executive (ETC) Committee this week voted unanimously to return
$150,000 or 5% of the ETC's 2002 budget to the City of Seattle.
The move essentially shouts to the public "we ARE a different
breed of transportation agency." Why the refund? "Because
we are on schedule and under budget to complete the Seattle Monorail
Plan in August for a November vote we wanted to take this action
now," according to Tom Weeks, ETC Chairman. Kristina
Hill, ETC Board Member elaborated, "I view this as a
down payment on a repayment. By September we hope to return significantly
more to the people of Seattle." The ETC continues to come
up with public relations gems, one after the other. Today the
agency announced "The Great Seattle Monorail Column Design
Contest," which will take place May 4th at Westlake Park
from 9AM to 1PM. The event gives an opportunity to Seattle architects,
artists, community activists, engineers and other city residents
to enter into a design contest for the best designs of supportive
columns for the proposed Seattle Monorail. One more public relations
coup for the ETC, as well as a great idea!
planners tout thrift, timeliness. Seattle Times, 4/24/02
agency to return $150,000 to city. Seattle P-I, 4/24/02.
ETC returnd $150 to city. Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce,
Counting on Advertising Dollars. Seattle Stranger, 4/25/02.
|| / back
to current News Briefs