News Brief Archives

News Brief Archives
February 19 - June 16, 2012.


Chennai shortlists to five (06/16/12)
Chennai, India. The list of potential bidders has been dropped to five. Still in the running are Bombardier, Gammon, Hitachi, IL&FS and Scomi. Metrail, M-Rail and one other have been disqualified. The Chennai Monorail project is being implemented under a Design, Build, Finance, Operate, Transfer basis (DBFOT). The initial 57-kilometer monorail will have nearly three dozen stations. The system will be made up of three intersecting corridors and if built, could surpass Chongqing by having the longest monorail system in the world.

Green signal to 5 monorail bidders. Deccan Chronicle, 06/16/12.



Mumbai opening set for January 2013 (06/13/12)
Mumbai, India. The first segment of Mumbai's Monorail is now projected to open in January next year. Test runs of the first trains have been under way on the nine kilometer, dual guideway segment. Kanesan Velupillai, Scomi Engineering Bhd Country President, stated, "We have a team of 60 personnel already trained in all aspects from operations control, depot, rolling stock maintenance and (we have) the monorail drivers to run the system." The entire system will be 19.5 kilometers when the second phase opens later between Jacob Circle and Wadala.

Scomi Mumbai Monorail Project to Commence Operations In January., 06/14/12.



Dortmund H-Bahn accident (05/15/12)
Dortmund, Germany. The automated, suspended monorail on the Dortmund University campus suffered an accident today. One of the single car vehicles collision with a waste container being lifted onto a truck below the track. There was a total of 27 treated for injuries. Several passengers were transported to nearby hospitals. The driver of the truck, Peter Bogdanski, suffered a head injury. He apologized to all concerned for the incident. The accident could have been worse, as the container was filled with styrofoam. The H-Bahn is closed currently while an investigation is held. Busses are being used while the monorail is closed.

H-Bahn verungluckt: 27 Menschen verletzt., 05/15/12.
Dortmund H-Bahn information



Judge OKs Las Vegas bankruptcy plan (05/10/12)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas Monorail Company expects to emerge from bankruptcy in the next several weeks. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Bruce Markell has found Las Vegas Monorail's latest reorganization plan can work. Markell didn't approve earlier proposals because he thought they would not relieve the system of enough debt and would fail. The non-profit monorail company negotiated a new deal with its lenders to reduce its debt. Bankruptcy law under Chapter 11 requires that the monorail profits in the future. Curtis Myles, general manager of Las Vegas Monorail, issued a statement reminding everyone that "The Las Vegas Monorail has carried well over 50 million rides and will continue providing another transportation option, contributing to reduced congestion and improved air quality in Southern Nevada." Ridership is still a problem however, during the first quarter the monorail carried 994,000, less than one million during a quarter for the first time. This is a 23.9% drop from last year. It is hoped that after emerging from bankruptcy that the company will be able to pursue funding for a county-approved extension from the MGM Resort to Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport. Monorail backers, including many of the resort property owners along the route, believe an airport extension could vastly improve the ridership and importance of the system.

Las Vegas Monorail gets OK to exit bankruptcy. Las Vegas Review-Journal, 05/09/12.
Las Vegas Monorail poised to emerge from bankruptcy. Vegas Inc, 05/09/12.



Delhi Metro to head monorail project (05/05/12)
New Delhi, India. Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has been placed in charge of executing the city's first monorail line. Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit made the announcement to the surprise of Metro officials on Thursday. One senior Metro official said, "It was a pleasant surprise for us. Now we will have to fulfill all formalities required for us to officially become a part of the project." Earlier this year the Delhi government approved a 11.5-kilometer monorail system in East Delhi between Trilokpuri and Shastri Park. The line will feature twelve stations.

Delhi Metro to build city's first monorail. The Indian Express, 05/05/12.
Monorail projection track. The Pioneer, 05/04/12.



Mumbai Phase II alignment secured (04/26/12)
Mumbai, India. As Mumbai Monorail construction continues, the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) says a major alignment issue for Phase II has been resolved. The MMRDA has reportedly reached an agreement with residents of Vakdi Chawl at Currey Road for resettlement. The agreement is the last hurdle to allow construction along the Phase II route, which will run from Wadala to Jacob Circle. Mumbai Monorail's Phase I from Wadala to Bhakti Park is scheduled to open later this year.

All clear for second phase of monorail. Times of India, 04/26/12.
Mumbai monorail gets right of way. DNA, 04/26/12.



Moscow Monorail coming down? (04/24/12)
Moscow, Russia. According to the Moscow Times, the Moscow Monorail will likely be closed and dismantled after only eight years of operating. Evgeny Mikhailov, Deputy Head of Moscow's transport department, said the system was designed poorly and had underperformed. The Intamin-based line has six stations on a five-kilometer dual-tracked line connecting two Metro stations. Ridership is said to be 10,000 per day. Moscow City Hall vows to provide "corrective measures" for the people who rely on the monorail system.

Monorail to Be Dismantled After Unprofitable 8 Years. Moscow Times, 04/24/12.



A second monorail for Nigeria? (04/14/12)
Onitsha, Nigeria. The Globim Corporation of Canada has signed an agreement with the Anambra State Government for a monorail in the City of Onitsha. The Nigerian city is one of the fastest growing in the world with a population that has doubled since 2001 to over one million enhabitants. Governor Peter Obi said the monorail would provide an alternative to road transportation, which is suffering from traffic congestion. Globim's Chairman Jude Igwemezie said Globim is encouraged to embark on the project thanks to the conducive business environment in the area. Globim wants the Onitsha project to be a model project for similar ventures in Africa. According to Globim's website, the first phase of the Onitsha Monorail is budgeted at US $503 million and will have the equivalent of 36.2 kilometers of single track. No word so far on who the supplier for the trains and infrastructure will be.

Monorail for Onitsha. Vanguard, 04/14/12.
Globim Monorail website



Monorail proposed for Hong Kong (04/13/12)
Hong Kong, China. When the pilot-challenging Kai Tak International Airport closed in 1998, it left an enormous chunk of airport land in Kowloon Bay. The Hong Kong Development Bureau has been working on plans to transform the airport into 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 being proposed. 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. 2023 is the target monorail opening date, if ti is approved.

Extension out for monorail. The Standard, 04-11-12.
Hong Kong's Development Bureau has set out a proposal to build a 9km, 12-station monorail system. The Construction Index, 04-13-12.



Bologna's Marconi Express construction begins (04/10/12)
Bologna, Italy. Construction has begun on Bologna's unique solar-powered monorail which will connect the city's airport with the central rail station. The system provider is Intamin AG. Initial construction is under way at Bologna's central rail station. One mid-route station will be positioned half way at Lazzaretto on the five kilometer line. Lazzaretto will will be where the depot and maitnenance facility will be included. While the system uses Intamin monorail technology, the monorail tracks will be place on a viaduct that includes solar panels on its sun-facing south side. Solar panels will also be installed on the station structures. The Bologna system will feature Intamin's first monorail trains capable of 80 kph. An end to end ride will only take seven minutes.

Marconi Express website (in Italian)
Marconi Express YouTube video

update As of late 2013, this report appears to be based on false information we received from a major player in the project. There are no indications of construction onsite and legal challenges to the project continue.




Sydney-MonoNO, Hobart-MonoYES? (03/27/12)
Hobart, Australia. Just about any monorailist can tell you that a steel beam monorail can be moved from one place to another with relative ease. There have been many examples in the past, including Vancouver's Expo 86 monorail, which was relocated to Alton Towers, England. It turns out there are politicians that have figured this out too, the latest being Deputy Lord Ron Christie of Hobart, Australia. Just days after it has become apparent that Sydney's "hated" monorail is to be removed, Christie stated, "(The monorail) may be too small for Sydney for now, but it's ideal for the pocket capital of Australia." Hobart is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney and is located on the island of Tasmania. Christie suggest an alignment that runs down Federal Street North, Elizabeth Street, and back to North Horbart via Campbell St. Critics of the idea have quickly called the idea 'wacky.' Hobart is just the first to suggest a second home for the Sydney Monorail, others may spring up in the coming months.

Push for Hobart monorail. The Mercury, 03/28/12
Hobart wants Sydney's monorail for free. ninemsn, 03/28/12
Hobart wants our hated monorail -so let them have it. The Telegraph, 03/28/12.


Seattle plaque

Seattle celebrates 50 years (03/26/12)
Seattle, Washington. Seattle's iconic Alweg monorail turned 50 years old on Saturday. Seattle Monorail Services, the private contractor that operates the monorail for the City of Seattle, put on a celebration that attracted monorail fans from far and wide. 200 commemorative monorail medallions were handed out free to the first 200 passengers on the anniversary day. The medallions were similar to medals given to inaugural passengers in 1962. Displays with historic photos and memorabilia were on display in the Red Train at Seattle Center Station. A ceremony paid homage to the special event. Monorail Society President Kim Pedersen dedicated the first TMS Historic Landmark plaque and handed it over to Seattle Councilmember Jean Godden and Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams. Monorail Society members were treated to a special behind-the-scenes tour by Eno Yliniemi, the Chief Systems Engineer for the monorail. The tour included a visit to the shop below the trains. Seattle Center Monorail features the only remaining Alweg-built monorail trains in the world. The Monorail Society thanks Seattle Monorail Services for inviting us to participate in this special event.

TMS Historic Landmark plaque presentation video (4:33 - YouTube)
50 years later, Monorail enthusiasts still in awe.
Seattle Times, 3/24/12.
'No two trips are exactly alike': Monorail turns 50. KOMO News, 3/23/12.
Seattle Center Monorail celebrates 50 years of service. King 5, 3/24/12.
Seattle Center Monorail's new website
Seattle Center Monorail Turns 50 - A Photo Essay



New group promotes longer Seattle system (03/26/12)
Seattle, Washington. As Seattle Center Monorail celebrated its 50th year anniversary, it was announced that a new group is seeking a longer monorail system for the city. With plans for a 16-mile line from Ballard to West Seattle, similar to the ill-fated Seattle Monorail Project, the Central Transportation Authority (CenTran) vows to come up with a viable financial plan to construction and operate the new line. The CenTran route proposal avoids downtown and has more emphasis on stations along the waterfront near downtown. CenTran intends to gather 3,600 signatures to place the creation of the new authority on the ballot in August. One aspect in favor of their efforts is legistlation already in place that was set up for the previous efforts for a monorail system from Ballard to West Seattle. CenTran is brainchild of activist Elizabeth Campbell, known for her efforts against the city's 'Big Dig West' Alaskan Way Viaduct tunnel project. CenTran has an aggressive timeline plan to start construction in 2016.

Century Transportation Authority website
New group plans to have Ballard-to-West Seattle monorail running by 2018. KOMO TV, 03/26/12
New company hopes to expand Monorail in Seattle., 03/26/12.



Sydney Monorail doomed (03/23/12)
Sydney, Australia. According to press reports, Sydney's downtown monorail is doomed. The government has bought out the owner, Metro Transport Sydney, and plans to demolish the monorail within two or three years. The government claims the move is to allow for development of a new convention center in the Darling Harbour area. This is curious considering the amazing ability of monorail to cross through, above or even under structures. Premier Barry O'Farrell said "The monorail is reaching the end of its economic life and the NSW Government cannot justify costly upgrades like the purchase of new vehicles required to keep it running." The monorail has been operating since 1988 and is a hit with tourists because it loops its way between numerous hotels, shopping areas, downtown and tourist sites.

NSW monorail to be pulled down - Premier Barry O'Farrell., 03/23/12.



Eight bidders for Chennai (03/21/12)
Chennai, India. The ambitious monorail plan for Chennai has resulted in a large group of bidders to develop the system. Eight companies have submitted bids, according to press accounts. Some names are familiar in the monorail world, some are not. Hitachi is teaming up with Mitsubishi for their bid, Scomi from Malaysia is aiming at another Indian monorail project, unamed firms from China are participating, and Kafe India of Spain is included too. The bids will be shortlisted by a Hyderabad-based consultant, Capital Fortunes Private Limited. Shortlisting is reportedly taking place within two weeks. After shortlisting, a committee chaired by the transport minister will make the final contractor selection. The first phase of the project is currently set at 57 kilometers.

Monorail work to begin in 6 months.Times of India, 03/21/12.
Eight firms bid for city monorail project. Deccan Chronicle, 03/20/12.


Intamin for 2013 Hamburg garden expo (03/13/12)
Hamburg, Germany. Intamin will provide a newly-styled minirail system for Hamburg's 2013 international garden show. The event opens April 26, 2013. The single lane loop around the expo's grounds will be 3.4-kilometers in length with three stations. Seven trains will permit intervals of only three minutes between departures. Each of the seven trains will have thirteen cars with 78 seats total. Capacity is projected to be 2000 pphd. The installation is planned as temporary for the show, but if it's a success it may be left in place permanently.

art rendering courtesy of Intamin Transportation Ltd.


Kozhikode-another one for India! (02/28/12)
Kozhikode, India. It's not a done deal yet, but it looks promising for monorail to soon be cruising above the city streets of the coastal city of Kozhikode. Former managing director for Delhi Metro, E Sreedharan, is backing the proposed 14.5-kilometer system proposal. Cost is estimated to be around Rs 1,740 crore. Kozhikode was known as the "City of Spices" in the middle ages and now is home to over two million inhabitants. The monorail will include stops at Civil Station, Malaparamba and West Hill. Officials hope to open Kozhikode Monorail in 2015,

Kozhikode likely to have Monorail by 2015. IBN Live, 02/28/12.
Sreedharan to head monorail project. Times of India, 02/28/12.


Melbourne airport connector proposed (02/26/12)
Melbourne, Australia. Government officials are looking for a rail connector solution for Avalon Airport, the second busiest airport serving the Melbourne area. One proposal is for a five-kilometer monorail to connect with a new Avalon Station on Melbourne-Geelong Rail Line. Passengers would be able to check their luggage at the new Avalon station, then enjoy a five-minute monorail ride to the terminals at the airport. The State Government wants a rail connector by 2016, and this is possibile because monorail is cheaper and quicker to build. Monorail also offers flexibility to be changed easily if airport growth warrants adjustments in alignment or station locations. Monorail is backed by the Avalon Airport operator and management, Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Transport Tourism Association. If built, it will be the only Australian airport with monorail and train station with check-in facilities.

Monorails may link new Avalon station to airport. Herald Sun, 02/27/12.


Chennai scales down plans (02/22/12)
Chennai, India. When the City of Chennai hatched plans for a record-breaking 111-kilometer monorail system, it produced a healthy amount of worldwide skepticism. It seems the city is coming to grips with the difficulty in building such huge system right all at once and has cancelled one of four proposed lines. The Vandalur-Puzhal line was slated to be a 54-kilometer line but will not be built, reportedly due to lack of financial viability. The revised Chennai system is still an impressive 57-kilometers long, estimated to cost Rs.8,500 crore. It will consist of three lines; Vandalur to Velachery (23 km); Poonamallee to Kathipara (18 km); and Poonamallee to Vadapalani (16 km). The initial global tender was floated in August of last year, but was nullified after a lack of interest by bidders. The tender process began again on January 25, 2012.

One of the four monorail lines axed. The Hindu, 02/23/12


1st train test run in Mumbai (02/19/12)
Mumbai, India. Scomi's first four-car monorail train for Mumbai made its first significant test run on Saturday. The bright green train made its way between the Wadala and Bhakti Park stations, attracting a crowd of onlookers along the route. Several amatuer cell phone videos were immediately posted online. One video shows excited children running along with the train in the dirt below it. Kanesan Veluppilla, Scomi's representative in India, stated, "With the completion of the track to Bhakti Park and Mysore Colony, we are fully ready to the route and gradually work towards commissioning." The system runs on 750-volts DC and uses a regenerative braking system. 80% of the civil work is complete on the first phase of the monorail. If all goes according to plan, the first segment will be carrying passengers later this year.

Monorail makes partial trial run. The Indian Express, 02/19/12.
Monorail trial begins in Mumbai. YouTube video.


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