News Brief Archives
August 6 - September 23, 2004.
Almaty Monorail development
Almaty, Kazakhstan. As we reported in June, a major
monorail system is being planned for the City of Almaty, Kazakhstan.
E.J. Miller, President of the Almaty Metro-Monorail Corporation
(based in Rockville, Maryland), tells us the system will eventually
have approximately 40 kilometers of track. A supplier for trains
has not been established yet. Retail is planned to be an integral
part of the system.
Almaty Monorail website
Update: 9/27/04. Today we received a communication from E.J.
Miller of Almaty Metro-Monorail requesting that information
on the proposed system be removed from our website. Before we
publicized the monorail via the above News Brief, Mr. Miller
had requested "a page on your website" regarding the
monorail. We saw it as news, and therefore reported it. The story
above is based on press stories and information from their website.
Mr. Miller now states that "No final determination has yet
been made regarding the monorail system and/or metro and/or elevated
rail system to be used in Almaty." We have removed all references
to Severn-Lamb, which had been listed as the supplier for the
Almaty Monorail in a previous press story. Mr. Miller states
that negotiations are still under way for selection of a monorail
supplier. Stay tuned for further information as it becomes available.
study Las Vegas Monorail. (9/23/04)
Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Monorail Company
has hired the management company Exponent, to review the problem-plagued
monorail. Since the system opened in July, a 60-pound steering
wheel and two-pound washer have fallen from trains on two separate
occasions. The system has been closed since the most recent incident
on September 8. The independent experts of Exponent have investigated
major disasters such as the Exxon Valdez, the walkway collapse
at the Kansas City Hyatt, and the Federal Building bombing in
Oklahoma City. However, most of their work consists of helping
clients with day-to-day technical issues or challenges, according
to their website. Monorail spokesman Todd Walker said
"Whether it's $10 or $10,000, we're going to spare no expense
on ensuring this system, when it reopens, is the system we all
anticipated." Before the system can open again, monorail
officials must prove the system is safe to the Clark County Building
Division, which oversees the system's safety.
hired to investigate monorail problems. Las Vegas Sun, 9/22/04.
monorail: A dissent. Las Vegas Mercury, 9/23/04
Sentosa Island Monorail for
Sentosa Island, Singapore. The famous Von Roll
monorail system on Sentosa Island is up for sale. The system
has been shuttling tourists around the island since 1981. The
peoplemover is being removed from the island for a new Hitachi
Small monorail, currently being installed to link the island
to the mainland. Zhuo Suicheng contacted the Monorail
Society and informed us 18 kilometers of track, a full set of
monorail trains and related equipment is available for purchase.
Inquiries may be addressed to Zhuo
Sentosa Island Monorail page
Monorail Malaysia agreement
for Seoul City (9/13/04)
Seoul City, South Korea. Monorail Malaysia Technology
signed a joint-venture agreement with officials of the Gangnam
District, Seoul City, to design and build a 6.7 km monorail system.
The $175 million system will be based on the MTrans monorail
being used for the Kuala Lumpur Monorail System. The Korean monorail
is to be designed to compliment the extensive subway system already
serving Gangnam and Seoul. The Gangnam District will provide
a subsidy of 40% toward the cost of the project. KL Infrastructure
and Monorail Malaysia plan to finance the rest of the project
costs through a combination of external loans and equity. The
agreement is expected to be finalized within nine months.
KL Infrastructure JV To Develop S Korea Monorail. Yahoo News,
Seattle Monorail Recall back
in play. (9/13/04)
Seattle, Washington. A state appeals court has
ruled today that the Monorail Recall Initiative 83 should be
placed on the November ballot. The measure seeks to ban city
permits for the monorail. Today's decision overrules a King County
Superior Court ruling that would have kept the initiative off
the ballot. If the measure goes to the ballot, it is estimated
that it will cost the city $890,000 in election costs. Monorail
activist Peter Sherwin said that money would be wasted
if later court rulings deem the initiative to be illegal. The
Seattle Monorail Project (SMP) has already challenged I-83 with
two lawsuits. SMP argues that 10,000 signatures should be tossed
out because they were collected before a judge rewrote the initiative.
Also, they contend the initiative itself is illegal because it
circumvents state land-use laws. The case is expected to go to
Washington's Supreme Court for a final ruling.
initiative should appear on ballot, appeals court rules.
Seattle Times, 9/13/04.
Seattle Monorail Project contract
negotiations to start. (9/9/04)
Seattle, Washington. Another huge milestone occurred
for the Seattle Monorail Project (SMP) as its governing board
unanimously gave the go ahead to begin negotiations with Cascadia
Monorail Company for the 14-mile system. Cascadia is made up
of a consortium led by Washington Group International, Fluor
and Japanese monorail supplier Hitachi. Cascadia submitted its
bid three weeks ago, and the SMP has determined that the team
is qualified. Their proposal meets the important requirement
of remaining below the voter-approved $1.6 billion cap on construction
debt or the amount available from a citywide car-tab tax. Cascadia
is the sole bidder, as Bombardier's Team Monorail dropped out
only weeks before the due date for bid submission. "The
board is satisfied that Cascadia's proposal meets the criteria
we established at the outset of this process, so we are now ready
to move forward into negotiations," said SMP board chair
Tom Weeks. "This is not an approval to sign a contract,
but an authorization for staff to start negotiations. Before
we will consider a contract, it will have to meet a very high
bar in terms of delivering to taxpayers a high quality system
that Seattle can be proud of for generations to come." The
Ballard-Downtown-West Seattle line is scheduled to open in 2009.
bid low enough; talks given green light. Seattle Times, 9/9/04.
Another part falls from Las
Vegas M-VI. (9/8/04)
Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Monorail has closed...again.
Today, a 6-inch disk weighing one to two pounds hit a bus bar,
caused electrical arcing and then fell from the Bombardier M-VI
to a busy street below. No one was hurt. Las Vegas Monorail spokesman
Todd Walker said a slip disk connected to the drive train
came loose. The monorail will reopen when Clark County inspectors
and monorail officials say it's safe. Does this sound vaguely
familiar? It should, it's what we heard when a 60-pound steering
wheel fell from the monorail on September 1. The system was closed
until yesterday for that incident. The monorail system will now
undergo intense testing, with every train's undercarriage being
completely dismantled and inspected.
Vegas Monorail closes one day after it reopens. Las Vegas
Las Vegas Monorail open again.
Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Monorail opened
for business again today. The system was closed for almost a
week due to a steering guide wheel falling from a train. Transit
Systems Management says testing went well and they resumed their
normal 8 AM to midnight operations today. A Las Vegas Monorail
spokesperson says an investigation into last Wednesday's accident
revealed that the 60-pound steering wheel was installed improperly
at Bombardier's plant in Canada. No one was hurt as a result
of the accident, but it cost the company an estimated $480,000
in lost revenue.
Vegas Monorail to resume service Tuesday morning. KESQ TV,
New Zealand nature monorail
Queenstown, New Zealand. Those of you that were
with us during our newsletter days (1989-1997) may remember a
proposal for a monorail in New Zealand. That monorail project
hasn't gone away, and Riverstone Holdings Ltd director Philip
Phillips will reveal a formal proposal this week to build the system. The $150 million proposal would speed up transportation for tourists from Queenstown to Milford Sound, New Zealand's spectacular fjord. If built, tourists would be able to take a catamaran from Queenstown to Mt. Nicholas Station. From there they would be shuttled to a monorail station. At that point they would board a 35 km monorail line. The monorail would travel through the scenery of the Snowden forest. The final leg of their journey to Milford Sound would be by coach from Te Anau Downs. A 400-page environmental impact report put together by a team of experts over the past 18 months. A rival proposal for a gondola system has met with a great deal of opposition from environmentalists.
Fiord Land Link website.
Includes maps of proposed route and information.
to the scenery. New Zealand Herald, 9/6/04.
moguls in pet project scrap. stuff.co.nz, 9/4/04.
Tire falls from Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada. Yet another mishap for the Las
Vegas Monorail. This morning a tire fell from a northbound train,
and luckily it fell into a parking lot without injuring anyone.
The timing probably couldn't be worse, as this week Las Vegas
has ninety thousand conventioneers in town for Magic, the Men's
Apparel Guild In California show. Huge numbers of conventioneers
were expected to ride the system. A northbound train had just
left Harrah's when it suddenly lost a tire. Passengers were briefly
stranded, but the train was able to slowly make it's way to the
next stop. Small back up wheels are built into the trains for
such events. The monorail will be closed until a cause for the
accident can be determined.
Vegas Monorail Shut Down After Tire Falls Off. KVBC TV, Las
Fictional book on maglevs
and monorails published. (8/22/04)
Santa Rosa, California. Monorail Society member
Robert S. Ruehrdanz recently published his first book,
entitled "Why Phoenix?" The story follows a small consulting
company as it embarks on a pioneering joint venture to bring
maglev and monorail plans to fruition. Editor/author Robert
Gover says of the book, "One of the most fascinating
things about [Why Phoenix?] is that the story is of a
business venture - something found in very few novels."
Ruehrdanz hopes that his book opens some eyes to the possibilities
of maglev and monorail transit here in the USA. In fact, contained
within the fiction are a number of non-fiction website addresses,
including several to the Monorail
Society Website. Thanks Robert, and good luck with the book!
The book is available through Trafford Books and Amazon.com.
Phoenix? page. Trafford Books Website.
Hitachi talks in Ho Chi Minh
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Marubeni-Hitachi Groups
are going to Vietnam in September to prepare a feasibility study
for monorail in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon).
The study will then be submitted to city authorities next February.
Hitachi maintains that a monorail would cost two-thirds of what
a subway line would with the same capacity. The experts estimate
the cost for one kilometer to be around $30 million USD. The
system is proposed to carry 20,000-30,000 passengers per hour
along a 20 kilometer route. Vice Mayor of Ho Chi Minh City Nguyen
Van Dua said the city's public transport service has met
only 5 percent of demands and the city plans to invest in subway
and monorail systems.
helps draft feasibility study on monorail in HCM City. Vietnam
News Agency, 8/22/04.
Cascadia submits bid for Seattle
Monorail Project. (8/16/04)
Seattle, Washington. Hitachi's Cascadia Monorail
Company today made history with the submission of their bid to
be the builder of the Seattle Monorail Project (SMP) Green Line.
A massive amount of documentation was delivered by Cascadia to
SMP, which in coming weeks will carefully be examined to see
if it meets the criteria set forth in the Request for Proposal,
released earlier this year. In September SMP will recommend to
the agency's board whether to negotiate an agreement with the
contractor group. Groundbreaking is scheduled for late this year
with completion of the 14-mile line projected for 2009. Monorail
opponents have decried the fact that only one bid is being submitted.
Monorail Society President Kim Pedersen responded "It
was a marathon between Cascadia Monorail and Team Monorail, it
just so happens that Team Monorail 'pulled a muscle' on the final
stretch. That doesn't mean it wasn't a very competitive race!"
Cascadia Monorail Company's team includes:
- Hitachi, Ltd.
- Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.) Inc.
- HDR Engineering, Inc.
- Howard S. Wright Construction Co.
- Hoffman Construction
- RCI Construction Group
- Other local Seattle and Washington State contractors and
Seattle Monorail Project website
Articles added 8/17/04...
finally has a monorail plan. Seattle Times, 8/17/04.
monorail proposal tendered. Seattle P-I, 8/17/04.
Seattle Alwegs to return to
Seattle, Washington. The historic Seattle Center
Monorail may return to service before the end of the year. Seattle
Mayor Greg Nickels has announced a plan to restore and
upgrade the worlds' last remaining Alweg-built monorail system
in time for the December holiday season. The price to bring the
one-mile system back to life is estimated to be $2.5 million.
Planning work will begin this week, with repair to follow at
an undetermined date. Repairs will include modifying the trains'
electrical systems to eliminate the possibility for the type
of electrical arcing that caused the Blue Train fire. A "hot
body" detector and new grounding system will be installed;
trains floors and walls will be made fire-resistant enough to
allow safe evacuation; and train gearboxes will be insulated.
Emergency procedures are being revisited by Seattle Monorail
Services, the company that operates the vintage 1961-built monorail.
The monorail is slated for removal if the 14-mile Seattle Monorail
Project Green Line monorail is constructed. Preservationists
are hoping that the Alweg trains are saved for display or possibly
put into service at another location. The Seattle Center Monorail
carries more than 2 million riders annually. Businesses at both
ends of the line have noticed around 30% drop in sales since
the line closed after the fire. The originator of Seattle's monorail
movement, Dick Falkenbury, stated "Are any of the
downtown businesses that oppose the new monorail listening--and
learning? "Monorails bring money"--begin printing the
to get back on track by year's end. Seattle P-I, 8/13/04.
Seattle Center Monorail
Seattle recall initiative. (8/13/04)
Seattle, Washington. Monorailists are celebrating
Friday the 13th, as King County Superior Court Judge Steven
Gonzalez today declared Initiative 83 illegal. I-83, known
as the "Monorail Recall" measure, sought to block construction
of Seattle Monorail Project's Green Line from Ballard to West
Seattle by not allowing permits. Judge Gonzalez declared that
the I-83 campaign was an "end-run" revote effort and
may violate the Washington state's Growth Management Act. The
monorail is considered an "essential public facility"
under other state legislation and is therefore not subject to
cancellation by voter initiative. An appeal is under consideration
by recall proponent attorneys. Chad Maglaque summed up
monorailist's response on one discussion group with a brief posting:
"happy joy joy."
tosses out monorail recall initiative. Seattle P-I, 8/13/04.
declares monorail recall measure illegal. Seattle Times,
Vegas ridership "strong." (8/12/04)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Officials of the Las Vegas Monorail
announced that the system has carried more than a half-million
passengers during its first half-month. "It's exciting to
see the enthusiasm continue to build for the monorail as more
and more passengers experience this new and innovative way of
navigating along the Las Vegas Strip," said James Gibson,
chairman and CEO of Transit Systems Management, the project's
management firm. "Since opening day, our ridership
levels have remained strong, with the monorail averaging 30,811
rides each day. We anticipate an increase in ridership
and revenues in the months ahead as the convention season comes
into full swing and the monorail's hours of operation are expanded
from its current 16-hour day to a 20-hour day." Over
$1.5 million in ticket revenues have been generated by the 523,794
riders that crossed through fare gates from the July 15 opening
to the end of July. Ridership figures will also be released for
August in mid-September. The monorail also generates millions
in revenues from advertising on trains and in stations. The monorail
currently operates daily from 8 AM to Midnight.
One man's money fuels Seattle
Seattle, Washington. While the Seattle Monorail
Project (SMP) is the result of a bottom-up grassroots initiative
process, the current Monorail Recall initiative campaign is largely
attributed to deep pocket contributions of one man. Developer
Martin Selig to date has contributed over $175,000 to
I-83, also known as the Monorail Recall initiative. Selig states
he intends to give more too. The money has paid for professional
signature gatherers services and lodging, as opposed to the volunteer
signature gatherers of several previous pro-monorail campaigns.
Selig has also paid for attorney fees, clerical services and
parking for I-83 volunteers. Initiative 83 seeks to ban permits
for SMP's 14-mile Green Line. How Seattleites will respond to
Selig's campaign remains to be seen. Most voters in Seattle are
on the left side of politics, which usually doesn't respond positively
to wealthy individuals bankrolling causes they perceive will
favor their businesses. Before even making it to the ballot,
I-83 is currently facing a lawsuit made by SMP and its backers.
The suit challenges the use of 9,000 signatures on the initiative
that predate wording changes made by a judge. To get on the ballot,
the measure needs 17,229 valid signatures. If the suit succeeds,
it's unlikely that there are enough signatures for it to qualify
for November's ballot. If that happens, monorail opponents state
they will try for another ballot spot early next year. However,
stopping the project would be much more difficult if contracts
are signed with Cascadia Monorail first, the current sole bidder.
boosts aid for anti-monorail campaign. Seattle Times, 8/12/04.
Retirees promote Milton Keynes
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. Milton Keynes, compared
to most communities in England, is brand new. Established only
30 years ago, founders wanted to create a modern city. Three
retirees are now trying get city officials to make good on one
of the original goals of founders, to have a modern transit system.
Dennis Brett, Ossie Haywood and Andy Mcgookin
have drawn up extensive plans for a monorail to run from Junction
14 to the Xscape building in the city. They believe their plan
is the answer to traffic congestion and parking problems in the
area. The proposal is being met with much approval by citizens.
However, as we have seen in other cities around the world, if
it isn't invented at City Hall, it's "not worthy of consideration."
Calling the idea "too expensive," Milton Keynes politicians
have turned down the idea outright. Monorail Society President
Kim Pedersen was interviewed today by BBC Three Counties
Radio celebrity "Big George" and asked about
monorails. Pedersen noted that monorails are gaining in popularity
throughout the world. Several questions were in regards to Las
Vegas and Seattle. Milton Keynes monorail proponents are currently
sharing their plans with citizens and recruiting more believers
to help their campaign.
plan 'will cut traffic problems.' Milton Keynes Citizen,
Keynes Monorail website
Bombardier withdraws from
Seattle, Washington. Bombardier's Team Monorail
announced today that it would not compete for the $1.75 billion
Seattle Monorail Project (SMP). The surprise move leaves Hitachi's
Cascadia Monorail Company LLC as the sole bidder for the 14-mile
Green Line system. SMP officials say the process for bidding
on the system will continue. August 16th is the due date for
proposals to be submitted. Tom Horkan, Team Monorail's
project design and construction director, said that the team
as unable to provide performance bonds of more than $500 million
for the project. Monorail Recall proponents will likely to use
the news as more evidence that the SMP project is flawed and
should be canceled. Joel Horn, Executive Director for
SMP, says, "While we had hoped to receive proposals from
two contractor teams, from the outset this process has anticipated
that eventually we'd be dealing with only one team."
Monorail Project press release. 8/6/04. (pdf)
Team Monorail, one of two monorail bidders, withdraws. Seattle
Articles added 8/7/04...
of two monorail bidders drops out. Seattle P-I, 8/7/04.
project down to one bidder. Seattle Times, 8/7/04.
Recommendations for Seattle
Center Monorail (8/6/04)
Seattle, Washington. Engineering consultants SNC-Lavalin
and Hughes Associates have issued a report on the cause of the
Memorial Day fire on the Seattle Center Monorail. The fire trapped
150 passengers inside the Blue Train until the Red Train and
firemen rescued them. The fire was the first in the Monorail's
history. The report focuses on four recommendations for modifications
to the trains as a result of the fire:
- Electrical systems on the trains should be modified; (1)
isolate the car body and structure from the negative power rail
(currently bonded to it); (2) install a "hot body"
detection system; and, (3) install a grounding system for the
car bodies when they are in the stations. These measures will
eliminate the potential for the type of arcing that led to the
Blue Train fire.
- Fire safety analysis; emergency evacuation procedures and
coordination to be expanded and tested with the Fire Department.
- Fire rating of certain train materials to be reviewed.
- Engineering studies to be undertaken to further evaluate
whether additional changes in equipment or systems coordination
"The report provides a solid set of recommendations that
Seattle Center and Seattle Monorail Services are evaluating.
We are working expeditiously on a course of action," said
Tom Albro, Director of Seattle Monorail Services. Cost
of repairs hasn't been determined yet, and a decision whether
to repair the system or not has yet to be made. The 1962 Alweg
one-mile line is to be replaced by the 14-mile Green Line monorail.
On deciding to run again or not, Seattle Center spokesman Perry
Cooper says, "That's what our cost-and-benefit analysis
is going to be in the next couple of weeks."
flaws found on monorail. Seattle Times, 8/5/04.
may never run again. Seattle P-I, 8/6/04.
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