News Brief Archives

News Briefs Archives
August 31, 2007 - January 25, 2008

1st Middle East monorail on schedule (01/25/08)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This is the year that the Middle East joins the world of monorails. Later this year, the Palm Jumeirah Monorail System will open. Over 90 percent of work has been completed on the 5.4 km dual-lane guideway that runs from the shore and along the trunk of the amazing man-made series of islands. The system will have four stations; Gateway Towers, Trump Tower, a retail center and Atlantis Hotel. Track installation is set to be complete this summer. After that, a six-month test period will verify that the monorail is ready for the public. The monorail will connect with Dubai Metro, a conventional rail line that is also under construction. Aaron Richardson, a senior spokesperson for Palm Jumeirah developer Nakheel, says "The idea is to ensure complete connectivity so that tourists can leave Dubai International Airport on the Metro and continue through to The Palm, where they change over to the monorail system and move onwards to their hotel."

Middle East's first monorail nears completion. Business 24/7, 01/25/08.

photo courtesy of MagneMotion

MagneMotion awarded FTA money (01/15/08)
Norfolk, Virginia. The US Federal Transit Administraition has awarded $6.3 million to MagneMotion Inc. for the continuing development of a maglev system for urban transportation. Unlike the high speed maglevs for city to city travel, such as Transrapid, the MagneMotion monorail maglev is being developed for the 100 mph range, which is ideal for urban/commuter settings. MagneMotion will work with Old Dominion University (ODU) of Norfolk, Virginia on the project. ODU already has a guideway for maglev, but the original vehicle suffered technical and financial problems. Todd Webber, MagneMotion President and COO stated, “We are delighted to work with the FTA and ODU to advance our MagneMotion Maglev (M3™) technology. We made significant breakthroughs with our previous FTA award, and look forward to extending our development efforts to demonstrate multiple test vehicles traveling at operational speeds at our Massachusetts facility and on the ODU campus.”

MagneMotion Awarded $6.3 Million by FTA to Continue Maglev Development. Business Wire, 1/15/08.
Magnemotion website
Magnemotion video

Protests against Shanghai maglev extension (01/14/08)
Shanghai, China. Shanghai residents took to the streets in protest against a planned extension of the Shanghai Transrapid Maglev. Hundreds of people ignored government warnings to not gather in public demonstrations over the weekend and shouted slogans like "Oppose the maglev! Resist radiation! Save the children!" The government spokesman's office stated "City planning and environmental departments are very cautious and take very seriously these concerns," but also warned citizens to not "disrupt social stability." This is the second time in two years that the maglev has generated protests, and as a result the original proposed extension alignment had been altered to include long subway sections.

Shanghai Residents Protest Maglev Train. AP, 1/14/08.

Huge plans for Saudi Arabia (01/13/08)
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. If Dr. Habeeb Zain Al Abidine has his way, Saudi Arabia could build as many as five monorails in the near future. Dr. Abidine is the deputy minister of municipal and rural affairs in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Three million visitors come to Saudi Arabia for Haj each year, and transport is an enormous challenge as a result. Monorail is being proposed and planned to carry many of the pilgrims to the City of Makkah. Abidine said, “It (the project) will solve many problems facing the transportation of pilgrims between the holy sites as a result of overcrowding. Monorails would reduce pressure on roads in the holy sites." The first monorail would transport at least 500,000 pilgrims within a eight hour period, and reduce the number of buses by 25,000 from the current 75,000. If one system is built and found to be successful, Abidine says the technology will be applied on a wider scale at the holy sites.

Saudi plans to build five monorails to link holy cities. Khaleej Times, 1/13/08.

Scomi wins Penang (01/10/08)
Penang, Malaysia. The Malaysian Resources Corporation Bhd (MRCB) has reportedly been awarded the contract for the Penang Monorail project. Scomi Engineering Bhd is part of the team, and recently revealed a new 'Sutra' train design. The other three bidders were MMC Bhd, Road Build Holdings Bhd and the Melewar Group. According to The Edge Daily, sources said MRCB submitted the "most comprehensive" and "lowest priced" bid amongst the four. The award will likely aid Scomi in attaining more projects in Malaysia and elsewhere. As we go to press, only one publication has reported this story. In other related news, the Edge Daily is also reporting that there are discussions under way between Malaysia and Singapore for a possible monorail link between Singapore and Johor.

MRCB lands monorail job. The Edge Daily, 1/11/08.

Vegas dips into reserves (01/10/08)
Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Monorail Company needed to withdraw $2.3 million from reserves to help pay more than $19 million in principal and interest due for bonds issued in 2000 to construct the 4-mile line. “This was expected,” Ingrid Reisman, vice president of corporate communications for the monorail, said in a statement. “Though it's the first time we've utilized our debt service reserve fund, the budget we prepared last year anticipated this.” Reisman also stated that the monorail company expects to secure new funding this year to pay for an extension to McCarran International Airport and to refinance its existing debt.

Las Vegas Monorail taps into cash reserves for first time. San Dieago Tribune, 1/10/08.

Debate over UK maglev continues (01/08/08)
London, England. The debate over future rail choices for the United Kingdom continues to rage on. Various options on extending northward with the recently completed London-Paris steel-wheel high speed rail are being considered, while advocates of Transrapid Maglev techology continue to suggest a technology jump. Alan James, head of UK Ultraspeed, states “There is now a technology that will enable us to deliver the benefits of high-speed rail and a change in connectivity and economic development as far North as the Tyne and the Clyde and that is Maglev. We welcome anyone taking a look at how to extend the connections that have only just reached London, but if we are looking for a high-speed system that connects London and the cities of the North, then there is only one game in town.”

High-speed rail may be on line. Journal Live, 1/8/08.
UK Ultraspeed website

Environmental approval for Shanghai Maglev extension (01/03/08)
Shanghai, China. The delayed extension project for Shanghai's Transrapid Maglev may get back on track soon. An environmental assessment report has been released by the Shanghai Academy of Environmental Sciences, focussing on the 31.8-km extension from Shanghai to the city's second international airport. Implementation of the extension had been halted due to complaints of residents along the proposed route. The route has now been altered to avoid more residences and include a 150 meter 'green belt' on both sides of the alignment. It's not known if the extension can still be completed in time for the Expo 2010 World's Fair, especially since several kilometers will include subway sections. A station for the expo has been planned for the new line, as well as two other new stations.

Controversial maglev line given environmental green light by Shanghai authorities. Chinaview.cn, 1/03/08.
Maglev costs could more than double. China Daily, 1/03/08.
Skyscraper City Shanghai Maglev discussion thread

Mark VII-2008

Mark V-1980s-present

Mark III-1960s/70s/80s

1st Disneyland Mark VII arrives at park (12/20/07)
Anaheim, California. The first Mark VII vehicle has arrived at Disneyland. The new Monorail Red vehicle was hoisted onto the monorail beam behind the park and rolled into the monorail storage/maintenance barn. The train is very similar to art renderings that have been circulating the Internet (see below). Compared to the current Lear Jet-nosed Mark V trains, the Mark VII nose is very rounded and reminiscent of Mark I, II and IIIs. A driver's bubble above the vehicle isn't possible because the trains are much taller now, so track clearance is tight as it is. Two running lights will illuminate the beam on each lead skirt. The front and side windows appear to be highly tinted as well. Confirmation of the new train in photos can be seen at MousePlanet website. Better pictures to come, as soon as we can take them!

New monorail arrives at Disneyland. OC Register, 12/20/07.

Three line system plan for South Korea (12/15/07)
Sokcho, South Korea. A 28-kilometer three-line monorail system is being planned for the Sokcho City area in South Korea. Sokcho is one of Korea's most popular tourist cities, with about 12 million visitors per year. The monorail would connect the city with Mt. Seorak National Park, Naksan Provincial Park, Yeonglang Lake, Hwajinpo Lake in Goseong, Mt. Geumgang in North Korea, Cheoksan Spa, Osaek Spa and the Unification Observatory in Goseong. The $72 million (USD) system is being developed to protect the environment during high tourist seasons and deal with increasing traffic in the area.

Surprise: new monorail in Turkey! (12/07/07)
Ankara, Turkey. Every once in a while, we get a big surprise in the world of monorails. Today it came in the form of an announcement of a new monorail in Ankara, Turkey. Usually we hear about new monorail technology in the form of computer graphics, but the new Tekray Monorail is already hardware! In fact, the test track is 1.5 kilometers long and will become a peoplemover-scaled transit system after testing. It is located on the grounds of the Middle East Technical University. Once the test period is complete, the Tekray Monorail will transport students, academic staff and university work staff. Azmi Seren Kalaycioglu, Tekray's Coordinator or Financial and Administrative Affairs, tells us that the monorail project originated in 2006, using Turkish capital and labor only. This is certainly a startlingly short development period from conception to hardware, another testament for monorail. The Monorail Society welcomes Tekray to world of monorails and wishes them success!

photo courtesy of The Star

Scomi unveils new Sutra train (12/06/07)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Scomi has revealed more information on its new Sutra monorail train on its website. The train features numerous improvements over the original MTrans monorail trains now in use in Kuala Lumpur. Sutra is designed to comply with international standards in quality, reliability and safety. Scomi is aggressively marketing Sutra throughout Asia and the Middle East and Sutra's design can be adapted for use in any international city. Improvements have been made in train weight reduction, passenger comfort, energy efficiency, vehicle management systems, the brake system, bogie design, VVVF drives and propulsion control equipment. Couplers are hidden beneath the futuristic new cab design for connections with other trains. Provisions for automatic train operation have been made in Sutra as well. It's clear that Scomi strongly believes in monorail and will likely export their product beyond the Malaysian borders.

Scomi Monorail page
Scomi Sutra brochure (576 kb pdf)

New Transrapid plan for Holland (12/01/07)
The Hague, Holland. A Dutch consortium is making the third attempt to build a Transrapid maglev line in the Netherlands. Two previous attempts were shelved by the government due to financing, but the new plan won't need government subsidies. A consortium including Siemens AG's Dutch subsidiary are proposing a maglev between Schipol International Airport, Amsterdam and Almere. The line could be extended later to Utrecht, The Hague and Rotterdam. The consortium says its investment would pay off if it gets to operate the maglev for 50 years. A new website has been launched to promote the proposal.

RandstadRapid website

photo courtesy of The Star

Scomi unveils new Sutra train (11/27/07)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After a twelve month development period, Scomi Rail has unveiled a new monorail design called Sutra. Sutra, which stands for Scomi Urban Transit Rail Application, was first shown yesterday at a reveal ceremony in which Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak participated. Najib said that Scomi, being a Malaysian company, has an advantage in consideration of several monorail projects in planning in the country. Scomi is also aggressively pursuing monorail contracts in numerous countries in Asia and the Middle East. 30 Scomi employees worked on the new design, including 23 engineers.

Made-in-Malaysia monorail launched. The Star, 11/27/07.
Scomi Engineering aims big with Sutra. The Star, 11/27/07.
Scomi Rail website

Scomi plan to Hanoi (11/16/07)
Hanoi, Vietnam. Scomi Rail has been given rights by Hanoi City to submit a detailed plan for a 23 kilometer monorail system. Scomi must submit the plan within 60 days, which will include costs, design, engineering and construction plans. The company is in the midst of an aggressive campaign to market their monorail technology to cities in Thailand, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Mauritius, Syria and India. On November 26th they will launch their second-generation monorail vehicle with an event in Kuala Lumpur.

Scomi Rail to send final plan for Hanoi project. The Star, 11/16/07.

Istanbul plans monorail (10/17/07)
Istanbul, Turkey. The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality is planning a monorail system on the European side of the city. The line is reported to be 3.4 kilometers long and will run along the SiShane-Kulaksiz-Cemal Kamaci Sports Center line between Bakirkoy and Incirli. The government plans a project start in 2008 with completion in 2010.

Istanbul to be introduced to monorail system. Today's Zaman, 10/10/07.

Bangalore progress made (10/6/07)
Bangalore, India. Numerous cities in India continue to talk the talk of monorail, yet no system has been implemented to date. Bangalore took a step forward towards monorail recently when the H D Kumaraswamy Cabinet approved technical and commercial proposals for a system on Friday. The proposal for a 84-kilometer system was submitted by Asia Infrastructure Consortium (ASC). This is an increase in trackage over a previously suggested 51 kilometers of track. ASC consists of Scomi Rail BHD (formerly MTrans) and Hansutta Finance Limited. The system would consist of six alignments, all as feeder lines to the Namma Metro project. Costs are quoted as around Rs 80 crore per kilometer. The Bangalore Monorail proposal has been an on-again, off-again project as a result of political wrangling.

Govt. puts monorail back on track. Deccan Herald, 10/6/07.

Munich Transrapid financing agreed upon (9/28/07)
Munich, Germany. A major boost for Transrapid maglev monorail technology has come in the form of governmental approval for an airport connector line. A 40-kilometer system between Munich and Munich International Airport is now scheduled for completion by 2014. An implementation agreement for the Transrapid project in Munich was recently signed by Edmund Stoiber, Minister President of Bavaria, Erwin Huber, Bavarian Minister of State, the CEO of the German Railways (Deutsche Bahn AG) and the CEOs of the manufacturing consortium. The maglev will cut the journey from a current 40 minutes down to ten minutes. The Munich system will be the first for Germany, and only the second Transrapid commercial line in the world after Shanghai. Opposition still remains strong however, as Social Democrats and Greens vow continue to fight its implementation. German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee defended the project stating, "It uses less energy, is quieter and faster."

Germany to Build High-Speed Transrapid Train. Spiegel, 9/27/07.
Transrapid website

Maglev pitched for Sonoma-Marin (9/15/07)
Novato, California. Because of the efforts of Marin County Supervisor Judy Arnold, maglev is being discussed as a possible technology for a proposed rail line between Marin County and Sonoma County. Marin County includes the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, while Sonoma County features some of the world's most famous wine country. To this point, a conventional rail line has been suggested for the 12-mile Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District's commuter train (SMART). While fellow supervisors are intrigued by maglev, the $40 million to $50 million per mile price tag and elevated structure troubles them. The most recent presentation was by Dick Wilson and William Alich of the Maglev Transit Group in Novato. "People will pass through the county without leaving the pollution behind," Wilson said. The possibility of obtaining federal funds may be an enticement for maglev as well.

Novato hears pitch for pricey, but speedy train. Marin Independent Journal, 9/14/07.

Moscow extensions unlikely (8/31/07)
Moscow, Russia. What do you get when you open a monorail where the ticket prices dwarf other forms of transit and you can only board at two terminal stations? A failed transit system, that's what. That's the view of Dmitry Gayev, head of the Moscow subway and monorail. The system was reportedly supposed to pay for itself in five to ten years, but the limitations of station boarding capability and high ticket prices have evidently made that impossible. A ticket price is 50 rubles, where other rail transit tickets in the city are around 17 rubles. Gayev stated that "the further development of the monorail in the capital's northeast is inexpedient." However, he went on to say "Undoubtedly, monorails will be extended in Moscow, we just have to rethink where and when."

End of Line for City Monorail. Moscow News, 8/31/07.

9/15/07 Reportedly, all stations are now open on the Moscow Monorail.

/ News Briefs Archives