News Brief Archives

News Briefs Archives
December 17, 2006 - March 26, 2007.

Malay group to develop Ho Chi Minh City monorail (3/26/07)
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City authorities and Berjaya of Malaysia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop a monorail system in the city once known as Saigon. Berjaya will construct a 24-km system along Highway 50, as well as a 8.5 km route from Quang Trung software park to Nguyen Oanh Road. The Berjaya Group will also research and suggest other possible routes for expansion of the system. No details were released on which technology will be used, but one report said Berjaya could possibly partner with Hitachi or Siemens for technical expertise. Ho Chi Minh City has a population of over 8 million people.

Malay-based Berjaya plans to build light rail system in HCM City. Intellasia.com, 3/26/07.
HCM City to have monorail. Nhan Dan, 3/26/07

Tokyo Monorail halted by wayward crane (3/26/07)
Tokyo, Japan. Service was halted on the Tokyo-Haneda Monorail for five hours on Sunday after one of the trains collided with the arm of a crane. Around 130 passengers were safely evacuated by transfer to another train. A crane truck had been parked under the tracks in the Minato Ward and was being used to install a traffic signal when one of the monorail trains struck the arm. There were no injuries reported and monorail service resumed in the evening.

Crane hits train, halts Haneda monorail line. Japan Times, 3/26/07.

Jakarta construction restarts in April (3/17/07)
Jakarta, Indonesia. It's on again, supposedly. Construction is due to restart next month on the Jakarta Monorail. Governor Sutiyoso says that Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati has issued a letter of guarantee that will enable a foreign loan to build the on-again, off-again project. The minister agreed to issue the letter after the city administration guaranteed it would make up half of any financial shortfalls in the operation of the system. Two routes are proposed for the US $650 million project. Sukmawati Syukur, the director of PT Jakarta Monorail, said, :"I believe the ministry took its time in issuing the letter to ensure it complied with a new regulation on railways, which requires any investor to work together with state railway company PT KA, as the sole train operator in the country." Dubai Islamic Bank will invest US $500 million in the monorail, but demanded a government guarantee to cover losses if ridership falls below 160,000 per day.

Jakarta monorail on again with govt guarantee. The Jakarta Post, 3/17/07.

South Korea to build maglev (3/10/07)
Seoul, South Korea. A seven-kilometer maglev will be built in South Korea, according to officials in the government. The Ministry of Construction and Transportation said that the 450 billion won ($470.5 million) pilot line will be put into commercial operation in 2012. Five local governments and the Incheon International Airport are vying for the system. The government plans to select a location for the line this summer after conducting feasibility studies. South Korea has had a maglev test track operating in Taeduk since 1994. The maximum design speed is 110 km/h and it is capable of gradients of 6%.

Korea to Offer Maglev Train Service in 2012. The Korea Times, 3/9/07.

Bridge monorail for Chesapeake Bay? (3/8/07)
Annapolis, Maryland. Delegate Michael D. Smigiel, R-Cecil, is proposing that the Maryland Department of Transportation study monorail as a transportation mode to run from Annapolis to Kent Island. The idea for monorail comes after Governor Martin O'Malley's decision to put discussion about another bay bridge on hold. Some are advocating a ferry, but Smiegiel stated "The Number 1 thing here is the Bay Bridge, we're going to have to address this eventually and we need to take action now. There is no way ferries will handle the traffic." The monorail would run alongside the 4.3 mile bridge that currently runs to the island. He estimated the system will cost $2 billion. If the monorail is built, he'd like to see it then extended to Salisbury and Ocean City.

Monorail to ease bridge traffic. The Capital, 3/7/07.

Big plans for Liverpool (3/3/07)
Liverpool, England. Developer Peel Holdings will soon unveil a major transformation plan for the now-derelict Central Docks of Liverpool. A mini-city of skyscrapers is being proposed to match the extraordinary water-side redevelopment of Liverpool's sister city, Shanghai. A public showing of the plans is coming Tuesday, but City leaders and executives have already been shown details of the proposal. The 150-acre site will include hotels, shops, bars, restaurants, marina facilities and 25,000 apartments. A "futuristic monorail system" will link the city center to Liverpool John Lennon Airport, which is owned by Peel. Peel also owns the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company. Lindsey Ashworth, Peel’s development director, said: “The visionary scheme will see Liverpool become one side of the ocean gateway to the North West, an international waterside destination to rival cities such as Shanghai, Dubai, Vancouver and New York.”

£5.5bn plan to transform city docks. Liverpool.co.uk, 3/3/07.

Irvine considers monorail, again (3/3/07)
Irvine, California. Monorail was the favored technology for an Irvine transit system in the 1980s and 1990s when a forward thinking mayor pushed the idea. A starter line between the airport and downtown almost became a reality. Then government officials decided to put their money towards a county-wide transit system instead, in which light rail was the technology of choice. That system plan died in 2003 at the hands of voters, putting Irvine back at square one. The city is now is planning a new transit line to connect Irvine train station, Spectrum Center, Lennar Corporation's development and Great Park, which will open in 2009. Various options are being looked at, including differing routes for different technologies. PRT has been eliminated (personal rapid transit), leaving light rail or monorail as finalists. The fix appears to be in for light rail however, as an article in the O.C. Register states monorail costs $78 million per mile, vs. light rail supposedly comes in at $29 million per mile. Where the figures came from is unknown. As usual, there is no mention of the huge advantages monorail has in operational costs. Planners are hoping to open the system by 2012.

Great Park transit routes laid out. Orange County Register, 2/28/07.

Johor Bahru monorail plan (2/27/07)
Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Johor Bahru, the southermost city of the Eurasian mainland, is destined to build one of the world's largest monorail systems, according to plans currently being drawn up by the Malaysian government. The Johor government awarded Jalur Mudra Sdn Bhd a letter of exclusivity to build and operate the Johor Bahru Monorail System. The first phase would serve a 13.5 km corridor from the city's central station to AEON Tebrau City along the Tebrau highway. A second phase would include 50 km of monorail serving the Skudai corridor to the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia campus and Nusajaya. Nusajaya is the site of the new Johor state administrative capital. An additional loop line is being considered to operate in the central business district of Johor Bahru. The monorail is part of a massive transportation plan for the area that is scheduled to be complete in three months.

Complete transport system for Iskandar. The New Straits Times, 2/27/07.

Palm Jumeirah update (2/23/07)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Palm Jumeirah Monorail project is moving ahead swiftly, as seen in a recently discovered photo essay on Skyscrapercity.com (see link below). New pictures show the unique Y-shaped monorail supports are now carrying monorail beams in several locations along the 5.4 km route. A major change was recently announced regarding the look of the central trunk of Palm-shaped island. Originally, the monorail would have followed a straight water channel along the "trunk" of the series of islands. The water channel has been removed from plans, and in its place will be a landscaped park. Computer-generated images show how the newly-revised corridor will look. The park will include a wide range of facilities including a large water element with pools and fountains being key features. Not only will it give residents more space to enjoy, but it will be another example to the world of how monorail blends beautifully with the most modern urban settings, including park settings.

Water is out, park is in

SkyscraperCity page with Palm Monorail construction pictures

Bahrain uses M-word (2/23/07)
Manama, Bahrain. Bahrain, officially the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a borderless island country in the Persian Gulf and is the smallest Arab nation. The Khaleej Times is reporting that the island is planning a "state-of-the-art monorail" to open by 2011. The monorail will be a three-phase project to be completed by 2030. A consultant has been appointed to carry out a transportation plan for the island, which includes monorail. Monorail enthusiasts know from past experience that what is often referred to as "monorail" in early planning stages turns out to be something entirely different. However, it certainly appears that the Middle East is embracing monorail by the number of projects under way in several countries, so Bahrain may indeed turn out to be monorail. Time will tell.

Bahrain will have monorail by 2011. Khaleej Times, 2/23/07.

5,000! (2/23/07)
Fremont, California. Founder Kim Pedersen set a goal of 30 members way back in 1989 when he founded The Monorail Society. As of today, membership has surpassed 5,000 members! "I'm thrilled with the growth of monorail interest since our organization began. Monorails are popping up in places I wouldn't have imagined eighteen years ago." Pedersen sees even more dramatic monorail projects getting under way in the next ten years. "We've had some major disappointments along the way, but time is on our side and some remarkable monorails are in development. The common sense of monorail will prevail." Thanks to all members for taking the time to join us. As a reminder, members of The Monorail Society are welcome to join our Monorail Society Discussion Group. If you haven't already, you can join The Monorail Society here.

Sentosa Express is open! (2/1/07)
Sentosa, Singapore. The world's first Hitachi Small monorail system opened in January for limited service, according to Channel News Asia. Three stations are currently open on the line, which takes passengers on a four-minute ride from VivoCity station to the island. At VivoCity, passengers can transfer to Singapore's MRT system. One more station will open in 2010 on the north shore of the island when developments in the area are complete. The monorail is open from 7 a.m. to midnight.

Sentosa Express web page
Singapore opens rail link to Sentosa Island. Channel News Asia, 1/15/07.
TMS Sentosa Express Construction Gallery

Amazing milestone for Tokyo-Haneda (1/25/07)
Tokyo, Japan. Masatoshi Kawahara, a graduate student from Sopporo, didn't know what he was in for when he went to ride the famous Tokyo Monorail on Wednesday at Hamamatsucho Station. He was celebrated as the 1.5 billionth passenger of the 42 year-old system, which opened in 1964. Kawahara was treated to a certificate confirming the amazing milestone and given coupons for a two-night, three-day tour package worth around 200,000 yen. Kawahara plans to give the coupons to his parents. The Tokyo Monorail averages around 127,000 passengers per day. Starting this March, the system will be the first monorail in the world to offer a non-stop express service. Passengers will be able to ride between Hamamatsucho and Haneda without stopping at any of the stations in between.

1.5 billionth rides monorail to Haneda. The Japan Times, 1/25/07.

non-passenger test vehicle

art rendering of proposed passenger vehicle

General Atomics Maglev progresses (1/12/07)
San Diego, California. Much progress has been made with the revolutionary maglev system under development by General Atomics. A full-sized 120-meter test track has been in operation at their San Diego facility since 2004, which includes a 50-meter radius curve. What’s new about this maglev is that the vehicle itself creates the levitation and propulsion, while the track is passive. This has the potential to reduce the cost of building maglev systems dramatically. General Atomics is now working towards implementation of a passenger-carrying demonstration project. It will be located at California University of Pennylvania (CUP) in California, Pennsylvania. The demonstration line will provide the needed operational and reliability data prior to revenue system deployment, according to recent paper by system developers at General Atomics. When completed, the CUP system will be 7.4 km in length with four stations and four vehicles. The upper and lower campus will be connected via a 7% grade. The system will be built in three phases. Preliminary engineering is being performed for the first phase. Construction is slated to begin within two years.

General Atomics Urban Maglev Program Status (pdf). Innovative Transportation Technologies website

Final approval for Aerobus in China (1/11/07)
Weihai, China. Final approval has been given by the Shandong Province Ministry of Construction Committee for a spectacular 4.3-km cable suspension monorail system. The Aerobus system will cross a large body of water to connect with Liugong Island. Dennis Stallings, CEO of Aerobus, said, “The approval from Shandong Province officials keeps us on-track for scheduled 2008 completion of the Weihai project, in time for the Beijing Olympics. It is also a confirmation that Aerobus technology provides an economical and environmentally friendly solution for a variety of transportation requirements. In Weihai, we are carrying passengers over water. This system can also be used in dense urban settings and mountainous terrain.” Because Aerobus uses suspension bridge-style supports, pylons can be spaced up to ten times farther than other monorail systems.

Aerobus website

Jakarta money approval (12/28/06)
Jakarta, Indonesia. Jakarta's City Council has approved a plan to make up any financial shortfall in the operation of the Jakarta Monorail, now under construction. The system is being financed by the Dubai Islamic Bank, but the bank wanted assurances that Indonesia's government covers losses if the passenger count goes below 160,000 per day. The monorail has had an off and on history, with construction starts and stops.

City council approves money to back up monorail project. Jakarta Post, 12/29/06.

Monorail Malaysia for Venezuela? (12/28/06)
Chacao, Venezuela. Monorail promoters in Venezuela have signed letters of intent to pursue the development of monorail systems with MTrans International Limited. MTrans is the parent company of Monorail Malaysia, the company that built the Kuala Lumpur Monorail. Emir J. Machado R., President of Tahemsa, signed the agreement in the presence of officials of the Venezuelan government to develop monorails for Margarita Island, Caracas City and Bogota. If the project progress to construction, a new factory would be built for not only Venezuelan monorails, but perhaps other South American countries as well. Development along routes and next to the stations is being proposed as one method to finance the projects.

Palm Monorail pylons rise (12/26/06)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Pylons have started to appear on the man-made island of Palm Jumeirah near Dubai. Sporting an elegant new Y-shape, the supports are part of a monorail that has the potential of being one of the most visually spectacular transit systems in the world. The island is in the shape of a giant palm tree, easily visible from space. The monorail system will carry visitors from the mainland, along the trunk and to the outer ring known as the Crescent. The track will run over land and water, with eye-popping resort stops along the way. Seen below is a rendering of the planned Trump International Hotel & Tower (note: monorail train is incorrectly rendered). The Hitachi-built monorail system will cruise right under the soaring structure. The 5.4 km system is scheduled to open in 2009.

Trump International & Tower, Palm Jumeirah

Monorail to the Pyramids (12/19/06)
Cairo, Egypt. A major monorail system is being planned for the City of Cairo. The Intercontinental Commerce Corporation (ICC) has received an exclusive mandate from the Government of Egypt to develop the Cairo Area Transit System project (CATS) in the Cairo, 6 October City and Giza. Siemens, Hitachi, Frazer-Nash, Alstom and Bombardier have all been pre-qualified to supply trains for the project, and Arab Contractors will provide civil engineering and construction services. E.J. Miller, president of ICC, stated that, “Monorails are safer, quieter, and better for Cairo’s environment.” The proposed CATS system will start at the intersection of Port Said Road and Rasmis Street, and ending at the world-famous Giza Pyramids. A spur line will proceed north onto Cairo Alexandria Road to loop at the new Museum Hotel. Ridership is expected to be a whopping 1.25 million riders per day. The Cairo system is aiming for instant greatness among monorails with plans for a world-record 52 kilometers of dual-lane monorail guideways with 42 stations. It will transport thousands of workers on their daily commute, as well as tourists staying at resorts near stations, some built specifically with the monorail in mind. It’s expected that one million tourists will use the monorail to get to the Pyramids each year.

Asharq Al Awsat Interviews (ICC) President E.J Miller. Asharq Al Awsat, 12/19/06.

Iran's President pushes monorail (12/17/06)
Tehran, Iran. President Mohmoud Ahmadinejad has again publicly touted monorail for the cities of Iran. The highly-controversial leader is only head of state in the world to consistently speak out for monorail. Speaking at a seminar on public transportation, Ahmadinejad referred to the advantages of monorail, saying they are more safe and economical. He stated that subways would be problematic due to the loose soil beneath the city. The president urged officials to improve the public transportation systems so that there would be no reason to use personal vehicles.

President urges use of public transportation, monorail system. Islamic Republic News Agency, 12/17/06.

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