News Brief Archives

News Brief Archives
January 29 - June 26, 2008

Penang project put on hold (06/26/08)
Penang, Malaysia. Another one bites the dust, at least temporarily. Malaysia's federal government has shelved the Penang Monorail project. It will spend $9 billion more towards rice production and easing poverty instead. The 2 billion ringgit monorail has been the subject of considerable debate of recent, especially after the Penang government was changed to opposition rule. Referring to the monorail and a planned new Penang bridge, State Gerakan secretary Dakuk Dr Teng Hock Nan said “Gerakan is appealing to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, who are both Penangites, to review the decision. Both projects are vital for future economic growth.”

Penang: We'll solve our transport woes ourselves. The Star, 06/26/08.

Beware of robot security monorails (06/17/08)
Bruchsal, Germany. Linceus GmbH has developed a monorail security system, equipped with manueverable cameras, spotlights, high-decibel acoustics and other methods of warning "intruders." The monorail comes with thermal and standard cameras, and a laser rangefinder is optional. The small monorails can be installed wherever security is an issue, such as airports, military bases or country borders. The Linceus system can operate 24 hours a day, no matter what the weather is. If you want to get your security robot to any particular spot along the guideway, it will get there at up to 50 m.p.h. Security is not its only potential mission, it can patrol where safety is an issue, such as vehicle tunnels, underground mines or subways.

Linceus website

Las Vegas-Anaheim Maglev gets study money (06/07/08)
Washington, D.C. Plans for a Transrapid maglev from Las Vegas, Nevada to Anaheim, California got a major boost under a transportation bill signed by President George W. Bush on Friday. $45 million will pay for environmental studies for the first leg of the project, a 40-mile stretch from Las Vegas to Primm, which borders Nevada and California. The money is the largest cash infusion in the proposal's twenty year history. While the huge hurdle of getting money to build the maglev still remains, some believe this maglev proposal has one of the best chances in the USA for development. The route is largely through the desert, and with areas of no people, no NIMBYs.

Levitating train from L.A. to Las Vegas gets boost. AP, 06/06/08

KL visit convinces India's rail minister on monorail (05/17/08)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. India's Railway Minister, Lalu Prasad, came away from a Kuala Lumpur visit totally convinced that monorail would be of great use in India. He suggested that the City of Patna would be a great place to implement the technology, noting that the city suffers from congested roads. "I am impressed with the monorail. It can be emulated in India and we will soon initiate discussions with Malaysia," Lalu said. This was at a ceremony witnessing the signing of the $1 billion (USD) contract between the Indian company IRCON and the Malaysian government to build a system between the Seremban-Gemas sectors. IRCON had previously been asked by Prasad to get all the details about Scomi's monorail product. Scomi is already bidding on the Mumbai Monorail project, along with several other well-known monorail builders.

Lalu wants monorail for Patna. The Hindu, 05/16/08

Transrapid joint-venture to dissolve (05/08/08)
Frankfurt, Germany. In a joint statement, ThyssenKrupp AG and Siemens AG announced they will dessolve their joint-venture for Transrapid Maglev, effective October 1, 2008. The companies still plan to continue development of the technology however. They will continue talks with China and the USA over possible uses for Transrapid in those countries. Transrapid has been proposed and planned for numerous alignments, however only one revenue line now exists in Shanghai, China. Several proposals for Transrapid in Germany have been thwarted, including a recent ending of plans for a 37-kilometer line from Munich International Airport to Munich. Escalating costs were the main factor. Employees of Transrapid will return to the parent companies.

Siemens, ThyssenKrupp to dissolve company making maglev train. m&c, 05/08/08.

Daejeon Maglev open (04/29/08)
Daejeon, South Korea. Maglev service began on Science Day, April 21, at Daejeon Expo Park. The 40-passenger prototype shuttles back and forth along a one kilometer track 16 times a day. It operates between stations at the National Science Museum and Expo Park. Oh Myung, president of Kunkuk University and key player in the development of the line, stated “I am overwhelmed to see the test drive in 20 years since the start of the plan. I hope this achievement can promote introduction of maglev propulsion train in Young-jong do in Incheon, heralding the era of commercialization.”

Maglev propulsion trains are now in service in Daejeon. Korea IT News, 04/22/08.

Penang proposal endangered (04/27/08)
Penang, Malaysia. A monorail that once seemed to be a sure thing is now on the endangered list in Malaysia. The Penang Monorail has been planned for several years, yet recent developments indicate it may be cancelled. Differences between the federal government and the state government are hampering progress. Second Finance Minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said, "So far, we have not received any approvals from the state government. If the state government has other plans with regard to the monorail, we are not doing it. The project is scrapped." The monorail was to be 51.2 kilometers and cost 1.2 billion Ringits.

Government May Scrap Penang Monorail Project For Lack Of State Cooperation. Berita Wilayah, 4/26/08.
After bridge delay, PORR and monorail projects in doubt for Penang. The Star, 04/27/08.

Proposal for Preston, UK (04/25/08)
Preston, United Kingdom. Preston's city council's chief executive, Jim Carr, is proposing monorail for Preston to deal with traffic congestion. He stated, "Successful cities are trying new ideas and we need to think innovatively about transportation in Preston. We need to be looking long-term and not be limited by what we can do immediately. A monorail works in Sydney and runs around the harbour and through the main shopping areas." Preston's Chamber of Trade welcomed Carr's proposal as innovative.

Preston council chief proposes monorail service. Englandsnorthwest.com, 04/24/08.

Proposal for Christ Church, Barbados (04/25/08)
Christ Church, Barbados. Sherbourne Conference Centre is to be redeveloped, and a local politician is suggesting monorail as a traffic congestion reliever to the project. Stephen Lashley, parliamentary representative for the constituency Christ Church West Central, stated, "monorail has been used very effectively in other countries which have done very well in relation to conference tourism." Lashley asked John Boyce, the Minister of Transport, to consider monorail, not only as an ideal transit system, but a way to solve some of the local employment problems.

Monorail to Sherbourne suggested. Nationnews.com, 04/24/08.

Jakarta Monorail pylons disappear (04/09/08)
Jakarta, Indonesia. As if the stalled Jakarta Monorail project doesn't have enough problems, it seems that numerous pylons built to support monorail track have vanished. Skumawaty Syukur, the Director of monorail developer PT Jakarta Monorail, says she doesn't know what happened to them. "I have already asked officials at (city-owned construction firm) PT Adhi Karya and the city administration if they had dismantled the four missing pillars. They said none of them had," she told The Jakarta Post. She added, "The most likely explanation is someone dismantled the pillars to steal the steel rods inside the concrete." The project is currently stalled while the government reviews its past agreement with the developer, following a request for financial assistance. The monorail's first phase was originally scheduled to open in 2010, but it currently isn't certain that the project will even be revived.

Monorail pillars have gone missing. The Jakarta Post, 04/10/08.

Germany cancels Munich Maglev (03/27/08)
Munich, Germany. After years of planning and efforts to fund it, the Munich Transrapid project to connect the city with Munich International Airport has come to a sudden halt. A crisis meeting was held in Berlin on Thursday due to escalating costs. Federal Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee announced, "The magnetic-levitation railway project in Munich has failed." Financing for the project had been based on a 2002 estimate of 1.85 billion Euros. This week, the companies involved said it would cost over 3 billion Euros to build. And so it appears that one the world leaders in unique rail technology is again rejecting its own advances, as done with Alweg monorail technology in the 1960s. In all likelihood, this will make it very difficult for the Transrapid consortium to convince any other country in the world to adopt the technology. The 40 kilometer Munich Maglev would have been the second commercial use of Transrapid in the world after Shanghai.

Maglev Train Too Expensive, Munich Decides. Der Spiegel, 03/27/08.





Familiar names on shortlist for Mumbai (03/18/08)
Mumbai, India. Now this is the kind of shortlist most monorailists love! It's all monorail folks, and nothing else! Bombardier, Hitachi and Scomi have been shortlisted for the $1.6 billion Mumbai Monorail project. The system will have four corridors in Mumbai and will be capable of carrying 10,000 passenger per hour during peak commuter periods. Final bids must be in by May and amazingly, construction is scheduled to begin in June! The first phase will take two years to build and the contract is for a 30-year build-operate-transfer basis (BOT).

Three groups shortlisted for India monorail - papers. Reuters India, 03/19/08.
Scomi consortium shortlisted for project. The Star, 03/19/08.

photo by K. Ventz.

Moscow Monorail is a hit, expansion planned (02/28/08)
Moscow, Russia. According the Moscow News, the Moscow Monorail has experienced phenomenal ridership increases since it dropped ticket prices and increased frequency of trains. While it was in 'tourist mode,' a ride cost 50 rubles, far above other transit fees in the city. Also, trains were only every 20 minutes, but now they arrive about every five minutes. Deputy Mayor Pyotr Birukov stated the system is set to expand around the city and that the daily ridership has increased sevenfold since the changes. Rider Lyusia Guerassimova said "It's as good as the metro but with a more interesting view than a black tunnel! I just wish it were in a more convenient place for me to use on a daily basis!"

Monorail Expansion. The Moscow News, 2/28/08.

Aerobus wins project in Malaysia (02/28/08)
Melaka, Malaysia. Aerobus has won a major contract to supply their suspension cable-supported monorail system in Melaka. The first 9.5 kilometers are scheduled to be operating in 2010, with a total of ten stations. A later 8.7 kilometer segment will be built as part of Phase II. Groundbreaking has already taken place at the location of one of the future hotel stations. The route will start near Ayer Keroh toll plaza and will have stops at Melaka Zoo, Melaka International Trade Centre, Melaka Mall, Melaka General Hospital, Melaka Sentral, Hang Tuah Mall, after which it will cross the river and end at the Mahkota Medical Centre. Aerobus is also currently building a straight line system in Weihai, China.

Melaka To Have Aerorail [Aerobus] System. Bernama.com, 2/27/08.
Aerobus website

Indian monorails: one delays another (02/27/08)
Pune, India. An indefinite delay has been placed on monorail planning for the City of Pune. Pune, an industrial city in western India, has a population of 5 million. RITES Ltd, a transport consultant, has dropped out of conducting a feasibility study for Pune. Strangely enough, their reason for backing out is because RITES is overwhelmed with work dealing with a planned monorail for Mumbai. The city will look for other consultants to fill in, but the process may delay Pune Monorail project by six months. Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) official, Praveensinh Pardeshi, says the city favors monorail because "We don’t have to acquire the land for developing roads and tracks. And this will save time and money.” Several Indian cities have expressed interest in monorail in recent years, yet no project has progressed to construction to date.

Setback to Pune monorail, RITES too busy in Mumbai. expressindia.com, 2/26/08.

Massive steel and concrete for Honolulu (02/22/08)
Honolulu, Hawaii. A five member "independent" panel has recommended steel rail technology for Honolulu's transit system. Monorail, maglev and other rubber-tire peoplemovers were eliminated in a 4-1 vote. Mayor Mufi Hannemann wants ground to be broken on the system in 2009.

Steel wheels selected for Honolulu transit system. Honolulu Advertiser, 2/22/08.
Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project website

Anaheim mayor wants monorail (01/30/08)
Anaheim, California. Mayor Curt Pringle is seeking funds from Disney and other area businesses to build a monorail connecting Disneyland to a planned transportation hub. That hub will include a high-speed rail station, if California voters approve the project in November. Pringle is making obtaining funds for the so-called 'Anaheim Monorail Connector' a priority of his administration, as he outlined in his sixth State of the City speech Tuesday. Pringle said the monorail would “symbolically and technologically bring Walt Disney's iconic vision of 50 years ago alive today and bring a physical connection to the various destinations in our city.” The city has already approved a proposal to seek funds from Measure M (voter-approved transit measure), but Pringle says it's unlikely Anaheim will get $250 million needed for the project that way. The system is expected to carry 2.6 million passengers per year, if built.

Anaheim mayor proposes monorail funding. OC Register, 1/29/08.
Mayor Curt Pringle's State of the City of Anaheim speech text

Hitachi bids monorail for Honolulu (01/30/08)
Honolulu, Hawaii. The City of Honolulu has received a dozen bids from transit suppliers hoping to provide the city with a fixed guideway system. The sole monorail bid is being placed by Hitachi America. Though bruised from the painful monorail experience in Seattle, Hitachi is not giving up on getting monorail work for North America. Other suppliers are proposing various forms of light rail, elevated steel rail, rubber-tired peoplemovers, bus rapid transit and maglev (Mitsubishi-Itochu). A five member "independent" panel will recommend the technology to pursue after evaluation of the proposals.

City releases bids for mass transit vehicle. Honolulu Advertiser, 1/29/08.
Honolulu High-Capacity Transit Corridor Project website

Mumbai: let the bidding begin! (01/29/08)
Mumbai, India. The bidding war for Mumbai monorail lines are set to begin. Seven bidders have been prequalified by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA). They include Bombardier Transportation, Anil Ambani-led Reliance Energy with Hitachi, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Engineering with Siemens, Larsen and Toubro with Scomi, KPTL with Intamin, Videocon with Aerospace and Gammon India Ltd. with Metrail. Financial bids for the project are expected to be invited starting next month. Indian press reports suggest the first of the monorails will be ready by 2009, but that seems highly unlikely to those familiar with such projects. The winner is expected to be selected in May.

Mumbai monorail lines expected to be ready by 2009. The Hindu, 01/29/08.
Monorail: MMRDA to kick off bidding. expressindia, 01/29/08.


High Tech Monorails DVD set now available (01/29/08)
Los Angeles, California. The long-awaited High Tech Monorails production is now available on DVD. Rob Kelly, filmmaker and owner of RAK Productions, worked on the project for over two years. Stunning footage is included of Wuppertal's Schwebebahn, Seattle Center Monorail, Bombardier's test track, Shanghai Maglev and Las Vegas Monorail. Through special arrangement with Elegant Harp Productions and TMS, additional footage by TMS's filmmaker David M. Ice of monorails in Japan and Malaysia is included. Kelly, like many monorailists, is frustrated with monorail's history of not being used to its full potential. One segment of High Tech Monorails deals with Kelly's own backyard of Los Angeles, where LA's Worst Transit Decision story is told. This two-disc Directors Select Edition includes the original uncut broadcast version that has aired on major networks around the world plus hours of spectacular never before seen bonus features including the directors and cinematographers commentary, numerous extended and deleted acts, photo galleries, Ride the rails (a cockpit view of 7 featured monorails through there complete routes) and much more. High Tech Monorails is currently available at Amazon.com. Type in 'monorails' and the DVD set should appear. More information is also available at the RAK Productions website. (Note: Hi Tech Monorails is not a Monorail Society production and therefore not available in our Monorail Store)

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