News Brief Archives

News Brief Archives
November 21, 2012- May 22, 2013


Hamburg Garden Show minirail (05/22/13)
Hamburg, Germany. The April 26 opening of the International Garden Show in Hamburg also marked the opening of Intamin's latest P6 monorail. The three-station system runs through the 'Around the World in 80 Gardens' themed grounds. The trains operate at a sight-seeing speed of 20 kilometers per hour. The Hamburg P6 can carry up to 2,000 passengers per hour on the 3.4 kilometer loop. All eight trains are expected to travel approximately 145,000 kilometers by the end of the show in October. Train design was influenced by the Jules Verne-based theme of the show.

Hamburg Garden Show website
Intamin website Hamburg page

photos courtesy of Intamin Transportation



Falkenbury book on Seattle saga (05/16/13)
Seattle, Washington. Legendary monorail promoter Dick Falkenbury has released his long-awaited book on the Seattle Monorail Project story, 'Rise Above It All.' His book tells the story of the grassroots effort to build a citywide monorail system. Written with liberal doses of Falkenbury's distinctive humor, 'Rise Above It All' chronicles the unique cast of characters involved and their fight for or against the monorail. Covered is the little-known story of how the movement started and how the monorail was eventually defeated, despite four favorable votes of support by Seattle citizens. While the story end is an unhappy one for monorailists, Falkenbury writes that "Someday, it will be time for Seattle to be the future, again."

Rise Above It All -Dick Falkenbury.



Indonesia prototype revealed (05/10/13)
Jakarta, Indonesia.
A prototype vehicle for the proposed greater Jakarta Monorail has been revealed to the public. The state-owned PT INKA built the prototype. On hand at PT INKA's Madiun Diluncurk, East Java plant was the Minister of State Owned Enterprises, Dahlan Iskan. The track appears to be of a classic Alweg design. Details of the bogie design have not been revealed yet. Two monorails are currently proposed for the Jakarta area. One favors the locally designed train, while the other has announced that Chinese firm Changchun Railway Vehicle Co., Ltd. (CNR) as the preferred manufacturer.

Monorel Made in Madiun Diluncurk. Kaskus, 05/10/13.




Shanghai H-Bahn proposal advances (05/09/13)
Shanghai, China. As TMS has reported before, Air Train International is promoting the Siemens H-Bahn monorail system for numerous locations in China. Reports now indicate that a first system may be close to construction. Air Train International's chairman, Chen Changgui, stated, "We are poised to have our first installation completed by 2015, and it's most likely to happen in Shanghai." While H-Bahn was developed in Germany and used at Dortmund University and Dusseldorf International Airport, China will manufacture 95% of the key components for ones built there. Shanghai's Jiading district and Changning district are among the areas likely to get the first line. Shanghai Hongqiao Airport would reportedly be one of the destinations for the monorail.

Monorail to ease Shanghai's congestion. People's Daily, 05/09/13.



Hong Kong tram operator fights monorail (04/29/13)
Hong Kong, China. Veolia Transport, the French operator of the iconic century-old Hong Kong trams, is challenging the government plan to include monorail for the Kai Tak development area. Veolia is suggesting an extension of the tram system can be built for less than a quarter of monorail. Veolia also contends tram would not prevent big ships from passage at one water crossing. Kai Tak is the former international airport sight, now being repurposed as a multi-use district that includes hotels, cruise terminals, a stadium, a central park, a view tower and housing. To connect all the dots, a nine-kilometer, twelve-station monorail system is planned. The system would start at MTR Kowloon Bay Station, stop at Kai Tak Station, run through the development, then terminate at Kwun Tong MTR Station. Two-car trains would operate at two-minute intervals during peak hours. Officials have hailed monorail as the best option for the East Kowloon development plan, citing that trams would take up already-congested road space. District councillor Ngan Man-yu said, "From a tourist point of view it is also nicer to look at the beautiful Kai Tak promenade from a higher level."

Tram may suit Kai Tak better than monorail, operator says. South China Morning Post, 04/29/13.



Japan supports Panama City Monorail (04/25/13)
Panama City, Panama. A Japanese consortium made up of Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Nippon Koei and others is proposing a monorail transportation system for Panama City. The city is seeking a rail system around 40 kilometers long. Rival European firms are proposing a much more expensive subway line. Panama has expressed interest in the lower-cost, quicker-to-build alternative, according to a Japanese official. Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli rode the Tokyo-Haneda Monorail in 2012.

Japan pushes monorail technology in Panama. Japan News, 04/25/13.




China's CNR wins Jakarta bid (04/17/13)
Jakarta, Indonesia. Changchun Railway Vehicle Co., Ltd. (CNR) has won its bid to supply trains for the revived Jakarta Monorail project. CNR plans to display a mock-up of the train druing Jakarta's 486th anniversary in June. The company will first supply and operate ten trains, made up of almost 200 individual cars. CNR obtained monorail-building abilities by obtaining technology from Japan's Hitachi. They used their first monorail trains at China's first major monorail system in Chongqing, which is already the largest monorail system in the world. This will be CNR's first monorail sale outside of China. Jakarta Monorail is planned to open in 2016, according to government officials.

Chinese firm wins tender for monorail trains. Jakarta Post, 04/17/13.



Chinese interest in Bali Monorail (03/22/13)
Bali, Indonesia. A plan for a monorail on the tourist destination island of Bali failed a few years ago when a study found the project reportedly unfeasible due to cost and technical issues. Despite this, the local administration has continued to tout the plan through private investment. Now the China Railway Corporation, the operator of railways in China, has shown interest in investing in a Bali Monorail system. Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika said, "China Railway came to me several months ago, requesting information related to the plan to build monorail." Pastika said the monorail would provide quality mass rapid transport to the island and boost equitable development throughout the island. Ketut Ardhana, Head of the Indonesian Tour and Travel Agency Association in Bali, has expressed his support for the monorail plan. Ardhana said, "Many tourists are actually eager to visit other places on the island, besides south Bali. They are even excited to stay in hotels in other parts of Bali, such as north Bali. But the long trip usually makes them cancel their plan. So, the monorail would be very good to manage their time while in Bali."

China Railway interested in building monorail in Bali. Jakarta Post, 03/22/13.



Important agreement in Jakarta (03/20/13)
Jakarta, Indonesia. Two former partners in the long-stalled Jakarta Monorail have made an agreement that may help restart construction. PT Jakarta Monorel and PT Adhi Karya have agreed on a way to settle debts. The deal revolves around pillars built for the monorail, which have stood idle in the streets since construction stopped in 2007. Governor Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo is waiting to see the documents before he gives the go-ahead for the project. Jokowi told reporters, "After I examine the documents, I can approve them and construction work can begin the following day."

Monorail project ready to kick off. Jakarta Post, 03/20/13.



Scomi train plant opens in Rio (03/05/13)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Scomi has opened its first monorail vehicle assembly plant outside of Malaysia. Rio de Janeiro is the location for a 41,000 square meter site, built with $30 million from Scomi, MPE and Quark. The factory will build monorail trains for Sao Paulo Line 17 and the Manaus Monorail. The Rio plant includes three structures for assembly and one for vehicle testing. Rio's state government hopes that the plant will also be used for new monorail systems outside of Brazil.

Official opening for Rio monorail plant., 03/04/13



Troubles at Dallas Zoo (02/26/13)
Dallas, Texas. On Saturday the Dallas Zoo Monorail suffered an electrical short, stranding 93 passengers on one of the trains. Dallas firefighters evacuated the train with the aid of five ladders above the Giants of the Savanna exhibit. The Von Roll-built loop system circles through the zoo at both the ground level and above ground. The stuck train was approximately 20 feet above ground. The evacuation took approximately 30 minutes. In a separate incident, the monorail malfunctioned when a breaker shorted out 18 months ago, trapping 30 passengers for an hour. Yesterday, zoo officials stated they plan to either revamp or replace the monorail. The zoo has been looking into upgrade options for the past two years. Dallas Zoo spokesperson Sean Greene stated, "Like anyone's vehicle at home as it gets older and older and you get more mileage, you start taking it in for a few more things than you did on that new car. It's certainly a reality." The monorail is scheduled to reopen Wednesday.

Dallas Zoo To Revamp Decades-Old Monorail. CBSDFW, 02/26/13.
100 people rescued after being stranded on Dallas Zoo monorail for an hour. Mail Online, 02/26/13.
Monorail Society Dallas Zoo Novelty Page



Another TMS Exclusive...
Automation for Walt Disney World? (02/12/13)
Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Sources tell us that the Walt Disney World Monorail System may be in for major changes. Since opening in 1971, monorail pilots/drivers have operated monorail trains at the resort. Reportedly, Thales Transportation is working on completely automating the entire 23.6-kilometer system over the next two years. Drivers will essentially become attendants, onboard to monitor train systems. The Mark VI trains will be 'launched' from the stations by an operator, who will decide when it is time to close doors and send them on their way. We've been told the budget for the upgrade is around 75 million dollars. Interestingly, direction of travel may be reversed on all lines, in part to improve safety. Circling Seven Seas Lagoon, the Exterior/Express loop will run clockwise through the Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort and Magic Kingdom. The Lagoon/Resort beam will run counter clockwise from TTC (Ticketing and Transportation Center) to the Contemporary Resort, to Magic Kingdom, to the Grand Floridian and Polynesian Resort. The Epcot loop will run counter clockwise from the Epcot Station through the park to the TTC. This will negate the chance of ever having to drive a train backwards through a switch, a situation which led to the 2009 tragic fatality of a 21-year-old driver. Cameras will be added to provide train attendants with live rear-view imagery.



New monorail product by Woojin (02/07/13)
Sari-myeon, South Korea. Since its founding in 1974, Woojin Industrial Systems Co., Ltd. has been focussed on manufacturing rolling stock equipment. Their product line includes conventional rail locomotives, light rail and Automated Guideway Transit (AGT). Recently they have added peoplemover-class monorails to their product line. The straddle beam system, called 'Smart Monorail,' has been tested at one of their manufacturing facilities (see YouTube link below). Maximum design speed is 50 kilometers per hour, and a six-car train can carry 362 passengers. Minimum curve radius performance is 30 meters and trains are capable of a 6% grade. Bogies appear to be similar to Von Roll and Intamin in design, with small guide wheels on the side of the beam. However, the load-bearing tires are larger and trains feature walk-through trains.


Woojin website monorail page
Woojin test track YouTube video



Delhi Monorail construction this year? (02/05/13)
Delhi, India. The long talked about and delayed Delhi Monorail project seems to be moving closer to actual implementation. The Delhi government has deciding on the funding process to build the 2,235 crore first line. Final approval is still needed from the Group of Ministers in the Union Government. The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is funding Delhi Metro projects and has agreed to fund the initial 11-kilometer Shastri Park-Trilokpuri line. Does that tip the hat towards Hitachi to be the supplier? That question will be answered once the tender process is done. The monorail will have twelve stations and completion is projected to be in 2017. As we have reported earlier, the city has grandiose plans for 12-13 monorail lines within ten years.

Monorail construction to begin by year-end after Centre's nod. Hindustan Times, 02/05/13.
Govt gives nod to Metro-type funding for monorail project. The Pioneer, 02/05/13.



Zambia to study Lusaka airport line (01/11/13)
Lusaka, Zambia. The government of Zambia is planning to do a feasibility study for a monorail between Lusaka International Airport and the city. Traffic congestion has become "intolerable" since Zambian growth has been 6% per year since 2006, increasing automobile use. The distance between the city center and airport is approximately 25 kilometers. Officials hope to complete the study and begin construction within three years.

Zambia Wants Lusaka Airport Monorail to Curb Traffic Congestion. Business Week, 01/11/13



First look at Daegu train (12/29/12)
Daegu, South Korea. Hitachi has rolled out its first train for South Korea's first major urban monorail in the city of Daegu. The Hitachi Large train features a style and color scheme picked by the polling of Daegu citizens. The system has been under construction since 2009 and is projected to open by October of 2014. The Daegu system will be the first in the world to feature an on-board fire fighting system (with application of a water mist), an emergency egress spiral chute, vehicle side windows will be "Mist Glasses" with liquid crystal screens which will automatically change between 'Blind' and 'Transparent' mode for theprivacy of the residents along the monorail system route alignment, and
a 'Digital ATP System' (a field proven and state-of-the-art Distance-To-Go signalling system which was developed by Hitachi, allows trains to operate at shorter intervals than existing monorail systems). The contract for Daegu is Hitachi's largest order for a monorail system outside of Japan, following orders from China, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates. Construction photos of the monorail alignment are visible on the Daegu Monorail website (link below).

photos courtesy of Hitachi Transportation Systems


Daegu Monorail website
Daegu Monorail blog (features outstanding art renderings of completed monorail)



Chongqing opens Line 3 extension (12/28/12)
Chongqing, China. Line 3 opens its extension to the Yudong district today, which further ensures that the system will remain the largest monorail system in the world for the foreseeable future. Line 3 now has 39 stations and is 55.5 kilometers long. Line 3 has the two highest river crossings in the world. The next-longest monorail line in the world is Osaka at 28 kilometers. In 2013 Line 3 will be connected with Line 2 in the southern regions of Chongqing, which will make the system an astounding 80 kilometers long. That's quite an accomplishment considering the first line opened in 2005.

Chongqing Monorail website
Chongqing Monorail website - extension information



FCF train

Another TMS Exclusive...
New Italian monorail manufacturer! (12/24/12)
Catania, Italy. Yet another straddle-beam monorail train manufacturer has been added to The Monorail Society Monorail Manufacturer List. Furno Costruzioni Ferroviarie SpA (FCF) of Italy was founded in 2009 with the intent to develop and implement innovative transport systems. FCF advertises its ability to produce both conventional rail locomotives and monorail trains. Their monorail offerings include a freight container carrying monorail. The company has already been contracted for the Qom Monorail in Iran. Qom Monorail plans to initially operate five trains. A full-scale prototype has been fabricated at their Catania plant. FCF's website also states that the company, along with other international rail firms, has submitted a proposal for a three-line monorail system in Catania, Italy.

FCF prototype
FCF monorail train prototype (images courtesy of FCF SpA)

Art rendering shows two vehicles with their unique curved car connectors

FCF website



Orlando Maglev tentative approval (12/12/12)
Orlando, Florida. Metro Orlando's planning agency voted 17-0 to tentatively approve a $315-million maglev. The 15-mile system would link Orlando's convention center with Orlando International Airport. There are still hurdles for American Maglev Technology to accomplish, including approval from the Florida Department of Transportation, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Orange County, Orlando Orange County Expressway Authority and FDOT. Some are skeptical that American Maglev Technology can accomplish the goal, as they have no revenue systems in operation to date, only a low-speed test track outside Atlanta. The company's president, Tony Morris, still believes the Orlando system could be operating by 2014.


MetroPlan approves maglev train for south Orange. Orlando Sentinel, 12/12/12.
American Maglev Technology website



Singapore's Jurong monorail for sale (11/21/12)
Singapore. Jurong Birdpark's signature 'Panorail' monorail system has been closed and is for sale. The Von Roll monorail was installed in 1991 and has been one of the most popular attractions in the park, with spectacular views of the rainforest-themed park. Environ Projects Pte Ltd has been assigned by the owner to identify a potential buyer for the system. For sale is 1.8-kilometers of track and pylons, one 4-car Von Roll train and spare parts. Environ Projects tells us the system is in excellent condition. The monorail has been replaced with a surface-based tram that one TMS member said looks like an "airport baggage tractor pulling 2 wagons on wheels."



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