News Brief Archives

News Briefs Archives
October 2, 2008 - February 10, 2009

Mumbai project under way (02/10/09)
Mumbai, India. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the Mumbai Monorail on Monday. "I am very happy that the dreams of Mumbaikars are finally turning into reality," said Chavan. Deputy Chief Minister Chagan Bhujbal was also on hand for the event. "The monorail will bridge the gap of all commuting problems in the city. It will ease the pressure on the railways," said Bhujbal. Scomi Engineering Bhd of Malaysia will construct the initial 19.5 kilometer system in an amazingly short 30-month period. Trains will be based on their latest 'Sutra' technology with four cars per train. 2.3 million people be within a kilometer walking distance of one of the eighteen stations planned for the line. If the initial line is a success, many more lines are planned to be built in the city.

CM inaugurates the first Monorail project in Mumbai. India Today, 02/10/09.
Scomi To Earn RM120 Million From Mumbai Monorail O&M. Bernama.com, 02/10/09.
23L people can walk to nearest monorail station. Times of India, 02/10/09.

Boost for Las Vegas Monorail board (02/07/09)
Las Vegas, Nevada. On February 2nd, The Las Vegas Monorail Company's Board of Directors added Former Clark County Commissioner Bruce L. Woodbury to its ranks. “We are pleased and honored to have Bruce Woodbury join our board of directors,” said Curtis Myles, President and CEO of the Las Vegas Monorail Company. “His experience and wealth of knowledge about Southern Nevada and the transportation issues that affect our community will benefit the Las Vegas Monorail Company and our community as we continue our efforts to improve mobility and air quality, and be an ever growing part of the transportation solution within the Resort Corridor.” Woodbury has a rich history of experience and credentials in transportation issues. The monorail company has been trying to secure funds for an extension to McCarran International Airport. The airport link is expected to help grow monorail ridership, which has been far below original projections. Woodbury spoke at the VIP grand opening of the starter monorail line in 1995, which was a two-station, one-mile shuttle between Bally's and MGM resorts. He spoke then of hoping to see extensions to downtown and the airport, and he now has the opportunity to help make it happen.

Bruce L. Woodbury named to Las Vegas Monorail Company Board of Directors. Las Vegas Monorail website, 02/03/09.
Can Bruce Woodbury save the Juice Train? Las Vegas Citylife, 01/29/09.

'Monorail' for Riyadh womens' university (01/31/09)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is building the world's largest women-only university. The Riyadh Women's Universtiy will have 13 colleges, including facilities for nursing, naturopathy, medicine, dentistry, pharmacology and a 700-bed hospital. The campus will accomodate up to 40,000 students. The university is spread over eight million square meters, which presents challenges for transit between different areas. Bids for a $267 million monorail contract are due to be submitted by the end of February. The contract is for a total of 10 kilometers of dual-beam track. The term 'monorail' has been used in press stories on the system, but the technology bids are not yet confirmed to be monorail only.

Women University monorail contract due in February 2009. Steel Guru, 02/01/09.

photo courtesy of Nakheel

Palm Monorail ready for April opening (01/26/09)
Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Palm Monorail has made its first run with officials on board. A group from the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) enjoyed the eight minute run along the 5.45 kilometer line. The system runs along the spine of a series of manmade islands which are shaped in the form of a gigantic palm tree. The monorail has four stations and the system was provided by Hitachi.

Palm Monorail makes its debut. The National, 04/26/09

Metrail proposed for Birmingham, UK (01/20/09)
Birmingham, United Kingdom. The Birmingham Business Focus (BBF), a lobbying group for leading firms in the city, is proposing a Metrail monorail system. The system would connect New Street rail station in the center of the city with Birmingham International Airport to the east of the city. Up to 35,000 passengers could be transported per hour at peak commute hours. A new company has been set up to promote the project under the title Greater Birmingham Monorail. BBF Director Neil Maybury expects that most of the £280 million cost could met by private sector investors. He stated that the monorail could be delivered at a fraction of the cost of Metro rail estensions and much quicker. The 12-kilometer alignment would follow Birmingham's main arterial roads with five stations along the route.

Plans for a monorail between New Street and Birmingham Airport. Birmingham Post, 01/20/09.

Bombardier contract extended in Las Vegas (01/19/09)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Bombardier Transportation received a five-year extension to operate and maintain the Las Vegas Monorail. The company said the deal is valued at about $58 million. The system is four miles long and includes a fleet of nine four-car M-VI monorail trains. Las Vegas Monorail opened in 2004. Michael Shaman, VP of operations and maintenance at Bombardier Transportations' Systems Division, stated "Essential to reducing traffic congestion and carbon emissions, this driverless transit system has carried more than 33 million passengers, and in 2008 operated at an on-time average performance of over 99 percent.” Las Vegas Monorail is currently attempting to secure financing for an extension of the line to McCarran International Airport.

Will sanctions affect Scomi monorails? (01/16/09)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The United States State Department has placed sanctions on Scomi Chief Executive Officer Shah Hakim. Along with twelve other individuals, Hakim was sanctioned for his alleged involvement in nuclear proliferation. The result of a multi-year review, the sanctions mean that the individuals are banned from doing business with the USA government. Scomi was recently awarded a contract for a major monorail project in the city of Mumbai, India. They are also pursuing numerous other monorail contracts in Asia and the Middle East. Scomi executives have maintained they were never involved in nuclear proliferation. The nuclear smuggling ring was exposed in 2003 when European intelligence officials intercepted Scomi-built centrifuge parts on their way to Libya. Some bankers are saying that the sanctions against Scomi's CEO and main shareholder could hurt the company's efforts to expand its business overseas, including Europe where the smuggling process was discovered.

Sanctions on Scomi chief. Strait Times, 01/16/09.

Pioneer monorail closes at Inuyama (01/05/09)
Inuyama, Japan. Forty six years after its 1962 opening, the Inuyama Monorail is reported to operated for the last time on December 27, 2008. Operated by Meitetsu (Nagoya Railroad), the decision to close the monorail was based on its low ridership. The Inuyama Monorail was the first multi-station Alweg monorail in Japan. The Japanese Hitachi Company had been impressed with the Seattle World's Fair Alweg installation and purchased the technology that same year. Hitachi would go on to install more Alweg-based transit monorails than anyone in the world. The Inuyama Monorail linked the central railway station with a temple station and a popular tourist destination, Japan Monkey Park. The single line includes steep gradients up to 9.7 percent and at one point runs at grade level through a man-made canyon. The fate of the historic trains is unknown at this point.

TMS Inuyama Special Feature Photo Essay


The Monorail Society turns twenty (01/01/09)

Fremont, California. Twenty years ago today, founder Kim Pedersen proclaimed The Monorail Society officially in business. In TMS's first publication, Monorail Newsletter #1, Pedersen stated "In organizing The Monorail Society, I have been surprised at the number of people who agree with me, that there should be many more of these one-tracked wonders gliding down heavy transit corridors." Twenty years later and now with 1,000s of additional members, we continue to hear that people agree... more monorails are needed (or at the very least, should be evaluated fairly when new transit line options are studied). For monorailists, it's been an amazing twenty years, with a good amount of exciting advances and victories, as well as some disappointing defeats. Some of the gains of new monorail systems have been spectacular, and some are still waiting to shine with planned extensions. In many circles of the world, monorail is still associated with theme parks and zoos and shunned by those who should know better (or are financially wedded to other modes of transit). Yet the expanding number of urban monorail examples continue encourage new locales to consider using them. It's a good time to reflect and also think about the future. In that regard, The Monorail Society encourages members to 'put in their two cents' in the TMS Discussion Group. And so we continue, on with more years of exciting monorail growth!

New in Special Features...
The Monorail Society-20 Year Anniversary. Part I-Journal Entries from the beginning.
The Monorail Society-20 Year Anniversary. Part II-Monorail history in TMS's first 20 years.

Collage to left: the monorails that began operating during first 20 years of The Monorail Society. Image does not include numerous approved systems currently in development and/or under construction.

Colorado Monorail idea revived (12/23/08)
Denver, Colorado. The idea for a high-speed monorail to connect Denver International Airport (DIA) with Denver and Rocky Mountain resorts has been revived. Muhammad Ali Hasan, a Colorado native, filmaker, teacher, environmental scientist, small businessman and political activist, has touted the idea in local press and recently during an election bid for a seat in House District 56. His run for office was unsuccessful, but his idea for reviving the monorail concept for a mountain connector received much praise from citizens and the press. Hasan would like the monorail to run on I-70, from DIA to Gypsum, and wants to use private funds and municipal bonds approved by state ballot. Hasan is pushing for the monorail as many project dreams are being bandied about as a result of President-elect Barack Obama's call for infrastructure investment. Hasan finishes his recent editorial with "Colorado - it's time to build a monorail."

Ali Hasan: Now's the time to build a monorail. Summit Daily News, 12/22/08.
High Speed Monorail, The Monorail Society Technical Pages

Work begins on Mumbai Monorail (12/04/08)
Mumbai, India. The Mumbai Monorail project is under way! Despite the recent terrorist attacks on the city, Scomi Engineering Bhd and partner Larsen & Toubro Ltd have commenced work on the RM 1.85 million project. A thirty member team of Malaysians and Indians are now drawing up plans for the 19.5 km system. Scomi Senior Vice President of Special Projects, Kanesan Velupillai, said "There was a slow down in work progress over the last few days but now we are in full swing. We can't delay and we are on track." A planned foundation stone laying ceremony with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was called off due to the recent attacks. Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) officials said that getting a new date for the inauguration may have taken months, but an important project like the monorail could not wait. Scomi won the contract partially on their assertion to complete the first line in 30 months.

Scomi's Mumbai Monorail Project On Course. Bernama.com, 12/04/08.
Monorail work takes off sans inauguration. Times of India, 12/04/08.

Kuala Lumpur Monorail strands passengers (11/29/08)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Kuala Lumpur Monorail suffered a major shut down today at 1 p.m. One monorail staff member reportedly stated it was due to a problem with one of the trains' gearbox. Unlike many monorail and conventional rail systems throughout the world, the Kuala Lumpur Monorail has no switches along the route to allow for service to continue around any stuck trains. There are only switches at the end of the 8.6 kilometer line for direction reversal, and one switch to allow trains to leave the line for the maintenance and storage facility. In the event of failed trains, they must be fixed or tugged to the service facility for normal service to resume. Stations with loaded with stranded passengers until the system started operating again at around 4 p.m.

Technical glitch leaves hundreds stranded. The Star, 11/29/08.

Kolkata wants monorail (11/22/08)
Kolkata, India. A 20-kilometer monorail system is being planned for Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta. Kolkata is India's third largest city. Andromeda Technologies Pvt Ltd is spearheading the effort to build the monorail. The company has also gotten inquiries about developing monorails from Bangladesh and other parts of India, including Pune, Delhi, Patna, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati. The West Bengal government has given Andromeda permission to start the project between Budge Budge to Taratala. The technology is said to be hybrid, perhaps using LPG, yet the technology on which the trains are based has not been announced. Partners in the project is Derap AG and Helbing Teknik AG of Switzerland. Derap AG has been involved in other monorail projects, including Shenzhen, Newark International and Moscow. If all goes well, the system could be expanded to 52 kilometers.

India's first monorail to come up in Kolkata. The Financial Express, 11/22/08.

Incheon: New technology, new system! (11/05/08)
Incheon, South Korea. A 6.3 kilometer monorail is being built at South Korea's tourist destination, Wolmido Island. Groundbreaking took place on July 4th, with a targeted opening for only one year later in the Summer of 2009. Joong-Ki Park, Deputy General Manager of Rowin Co., LTD, tells us that his company is building the four-station system utilizing Urbanaut monorail technology. Urbanaut was developed by Einar Svensson, a one-time engineer for the Alweg Company. Svensson helped engineer the iconic Seattle Center Monorail. From the experience he gained with Alweg, he then developed Urbanaut. Urbanaut consists of a concrete or steel box beam with a single rail on top for guidance and power supply. Rowin's monorail cars will have a capacity of 70 passengers. The system cost is 83 billion Korean Won (65 million USD). Developers are aiming to have the monorail fully operational in time for August 2009's Incheon International Festival of World Cities.

Incheon Monorail, 1st system in the world to use Urbanaut Inverted T monorail technology!
(art renderings courtesy of Rowin Co., LTD)

Monorailex 2009 conference (10/31/08)
Leusden, The Netherlands. Brisk Events of the Netherlands, has announced a dedicated Monorail Conference and Exhibition Event, to be held on May 10-11th, 2009 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Monorail Society (TMS) has been invited to support this event and will not only give support.. MONORAILEX 2009 is a first time meeting dedicated entirely to the fascinating operational and technological aspects of modern monorail. The event is open to all interested parties. The event organizer, Brisk Events from The Netherlands, is prepared to share information with these parties having the same serious and professional interest: “to make this event a world class meeting for visionary public transport specialists.” For more information on the event, along with the call for speakers and papers, please visit the Monorailex website at www.monorailex.com.

The 1st Hitachi train car is now on beam in Dubai. The Palm Jumeirah Monorail is scheduled to be operating when Monorailex 2009 is held.

It's official: Scomi for Mumbai (10/16/08)
Mumbai, India. The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has approved a contract submitted by L&T-Scomi for the first urban monorail in the city. A work order will be issued to the coalition within two months and work is scheduled to begin in January 2009. The first 10-kilometer segment will be built between Jacob Circle and Wadala. The 18-station route is scheduled to open less than 2-1/2 years after construction begins. The full 20 kilometer system will be complete in three years. The monorail is being implemented on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis. Scomi will run the monorail for the first three years.

A monorail ride is 32 months away. Times of India, 10/17/08

Second monorail approved for Mumbai (10/15/08)
Mumbai, India. Before the first approved monorail construction has even begun, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) has approved a plan for a second line at the Bandra-Kurla Complex. The 9.2 kilometer line would cost Rs 1,125 Crore. The system will be made up of two phases, the first being a 4 km run from Kala Nagar to Bharat Diamond Bourse. The second 5 km phase would continue on to Bandra railway station. In other Mumbai monorail news, the MMRDA is expected to award the contract to a bidder on Mumbai's first monorail project between Jacob Circle and Chembur. Both Scomi and Hitachi are represented in teams vying for the contract.

MMRDA nod for BKC monorail plan. Times of India, 10/15/08.
Monorail from BKC to Bandra rly station gets MMRDA nod. Indianexpress.com, 10/15/08

Conflicting stories in Makkah (10/05/08)
Makkah, Saudia Arabia. According to a new article in Arab News, five international companies have been shortlisted from ten for the Makkah Monorail project. A meeting will be held this week, chaired by Prince Miteb, to open their tenders. A feasibility study previously suggested five monorail lines to link holy sites in the area. The winner of the contract to develop the monorail is to be announced "soon after the Haj," according to Dr. Habeeb Zain Al-Abidine, deputy minister of municipal and rural affairs and secretary-general of the Commission for Development of Makkah, Madinah and the Holy Sites. This story conflicts with a press release in August, produced by a 'mono-path' system company, which implied a contract had already been signed for them to supply a system. To date, that 'mono-path' firm has not produced an operating test track with its suspended rail technology. Stay tuned, as this story gets more interesting as time goes on!

Work on SR20bn Makkah monorail to begin after Haj. Arab News, 10/06/08.

Nigeria looks at monorail for Abuja (10/05/08)
Abuja, Nigeria. The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) is working on a monorail plan for the City of Abuja. Abuja is the capital Nigeria and is located in the center of the country. The monorail would serve the city population of approximately 800,000 citizens. A study is taking place and will be completed by December. The FCTA is working with Intamin Transportation Ltd and Ponet Nigeria Ltd to implement the plan. The monorail, if built, will serve Kubwa, Airport Road, Abuja-Keffie Road, Ktampe, Bwari exit, Dei-Dei and Zuba.

TCTA to establish monorail. Daily Triumph, 10/06/08.

Hitachi to build Korea's first urban monorail (10/02/08)
Daegu, South Korea. Hitachi has obtained an order to build a US$333 million monorail system in Daegu, the fourth largest city in South Korea. The 24 kilometer system will connect southeastern and northwestern sections of the city. This will be Hitachi's largest order for monorail outside of Japan, and follows systems sold in China, Singapore and United Arab Emirates. Construction is slated to begin in 2009, and the monorail will open to the public in 2014.

Hitachi wins US$333 Mln order for S. Korea's 1st city monorail. TradingMarkets.com, 10/02/08.

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