News Brief Archives

News Brief Archives
January 4 - July 24, 2011.

Singapore Marina system proposed (07/24/11)
Singapore. Hitachi is proposing a 5.8-kilometer monorail system for the spectacular new Marina Bay area of Singapore. The monorail would be made up of Hitachi Small monorails, the same type of system the company built for the nearby Sentosa Express. While presenting their idea to the Singapore Tourism Board, Hitachi Asia's division general manager Jimmy Song said, "There's a misconception that monorail is only good for theme parks. But actually, it's a workable urban-transport solution." The system would link Marina Barrage, Marina Bay Sands resort, a new cruise ship center, a new financial district, future residential areas and the Gardens by the Bay. The system would cost around $200 million to build, but could be operating as soon as 2013. Ridership is expected to be over 3 million in the first year. Other rail proposals are being made for Marina Bay as well.

Monorail in Marina Bay. Asiaone.com, 07/24/11.

Mumbai construction accident kills two (07/02/11)
Mumbai, India. Two workers were killed on the Mumbai Monorail site when a beam fell on them Friday. Three others suffered severe injuries as well. A 65-tonne beam was being lifted into place by crane when it slipped and knocked another beam already in place to the ground. A spokesman for the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) stated, “We regret the unfortunate accident that took place while working for alignment of the beams near the BPCL depot, exactly in front of the DR container. One of the supports failed, because of which the mishap occurred.”

Monorail beam crashes in Chembur, two dead. Mumbai Mirror, 07/02/11.

Kingston M-VI test track
courtesy of Bing Maps

Bombardier to build new test track (06/30/11)
Kingston, Canada. Bombardier is modernizing their Kingston plant and part of the upgrade is a new 1.7-kilometer monorail test track. The $13.8 million project is under way in anticipation of the hardware development of Bombardier's new Innovia Monorail 300 train. The new train will be featured at two new monorail systems, one at the King Abdullah Financial District in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the other for Line 2 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Anchor Concrete has at $2 million contract for its role in the track development, which will have 166 concrete beams, each weighing 30 metric tonnes each. Jeff Bradfield, President and CEO of Anchor Concrete, said, "It makes me very proud to meet the extremely tight tolerances that Bombardier has set for us on this project." The Innovia Monorail 300 will feature walk-through trains and bogies independent of the train framework, which is an improvement over their M-VI monorails (Las Vegas).

Concrete plan. Whig Standard, 06/29/11.
Rapid Transit Leader On A Roll In Eastern Ontario. Ontario.ca, 06/29/11.

Las Vegas debt reduction plan advances (06/22/11)
Las Vegas, Nevada. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Bruce A. Markel has approved the release of a disclosure statement for Las Vegas Monorail's (LVM) reorganization plan. LVM won the court's permission to send its plan to creditors for a vote. If the parties aren't able to work out the tweaks to the disclosure statement, they will return to the court next week. Under the LVM plan, higher-ranking creditors owed $500 million would be given $44.5 million in new debt, while bondholders owed $207.3 million would get nothing. The plan to reduce 90% of the company's debt will also put LVM in a position to add two new stations on the existing line by getting new grants or loans of $12 million. Ridership has been short of predictions made before its opening. LVM has never generated enough revenue to cover operating expenses as well as bond payments, which led to the bankruptcy filing in 2010.

Las Vegas Monorail Wins Permission to Seek Vote on Plan. Bloomberg, 06/21/11.
Monorail plan off to next stop to reduce debt. Las Vegas Review-Journal, 06/21/11.

Las Vegas: Expand or close (06/16/11)
Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Monorail Company has pronounced a stark choice, either the system must expand within eight years or it will be forced to shut down. In court papers filed June 6, they stressed that by 2019 the company must be in a position to get grants, or new loans around $12 million, to build two additional stations on the current four-mile system. The company has been in a battle with a group of bondholders in court since last year over how to reorganize the system following bankruptcy. Bondholders are preparing their own plan, which will seek the approval of U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Bruce A. Markell. Efforts are still under way between the bondholders and monorail company to settle differences before the next court hearing, scheduled for June 20.

Vegas Monorail Says It Must Expand or Close Within 8 Years. Bloomberg, 06/15/11.

Wolmido Monorail ready to operate (06/11/11)
Incheon, South Korea. As we go to press, the Urbanaut website still says 'Operational in 2009' for its groundbreaking Wolmido Monorail in Incheon. Photos and video have shown the monorail in operational tests for over a year. Why the delay? That's the question we posed to Urbanaut this week. According to a spokesperson for Urbanaut, the monorail is ready to carry passengers, yet it is still awaiting clearance over red tape courtesy of government. Hanshin, the main civil contractor on the project, has an engineering report stating the Urbanaut system and related parts meet all stress/force specifications. The monorail is ready to open. The new administration in Incheon believes operational costs of the monorail will exceed ridership income. Incheon's government has asked the South Korean federal government to cover these costs, but they aren't interested in doing that. Meanwhile, the Wolmido Island citizens and business community are anxious for the 5.1 kilometer line to open. They believe it will be good for business in the area. For the time being, the system is under a "stop work" order. Urbanaut believes mounting political pressure to open the monorail will force a lift of that last hurdle and the monorail will open to the public soon.

TMS Wolmido Monorail page
TMS Special Features Wolmido Photo Essay

Chennai Monorail project revived (06/04/11)
Chennai, India. Politics, more times than not, is the cause of monorail project cancellations. Such was the case in Chennai when the DMK regime cancelled monorail in favor of a vastly more expensive metro system. Along comes regime change, and the new AIADMK government announced that Chennai's ambitious monorail project is back on. Ambitious? Yes, the proposal is for no less than eighteen corridors consisting of 300 kilometers of monorail lines throughout the city. A first phase of 111 kilometers is amazing on its own. If the project moves forward, it's likely that the first line will be much shorter. One of the reasons for returning to monorail was not only financial realities, but the fact that the city is earthquake prone. The AIADMK government prefers the hundreds of thousands of projected passengers to be above ground should a major quake hit. The monorail proposal dates back to 2006. As rail history has demonstrated time and time again, nothing is a done deal until trains are carrying passengers on a regular basis, so we'll continue to watch the politics in Chennai (and everywhere else).

Monorail proposal makes a comeback. The Hindu, 06/04/11.
AIADMK revives Chennai Monorail Project. IBN Live, 06/04/011.

Scomi wins second Sao Paulo line! (06/03/11)
Sao Paulo, Brazil. According to Malaysian press reports, Scomi Engineering has won a contract to build Sao Paulo's second monorail line. Line 17, Gold Metro of Sao Paulo, will be 18 kilometers long and feature 18 stations. The line will run from Jabaquara to Sao Paulo-Morumbi. The contract includes 24 train sets, each train featuring three cars. The line is expected to carry as much as 252,000 passengers per day. The city's first monorail line, Line 2, is currently under construction. Bombardier of Canada is supplying the system for that line, the first major monorail system in South America. Sao Paulo will be the first city in the world where Scomi and Bombardier will build and operate monorail lines in proximity. Sao Paulo is currently undergoing a massive expansion of their transit lines, including three monorail lines. The third line is scheduled to begin construction in 2012. Scomi will commence the Line 17 project in July and the system is expected to be complete 42 months later.

Scomi consortium picked for RM2.6b Brazil monorail. Malaysian Insider, 06/03/11.
Scomi Engineering Consortium Wins RM2.6 Billion Monorail Project In Sao Paulo. Bernama.com, 06/03/11.

photo by Rob Alvey

Magic Mountain to Hershey (06/02/11)
Hershey, Pennsylvania. Three monorail trains from Six Flag's Magic Mountain have been trucked from the Valencia, California theme park to Hersheypark, Hershey, Pennsylvania. The trains operated in Magic Mountain starting in its first year, 1971. The loop track at Magic Mountain has sat idle in recent years, and now the trains, spare parts, vehicle molds, some track (including storage/maintenance racks) and a rotary switch have been sold to Hersheypark. Hersheypark has had a similar monorail system since 1969, built by the same manufacturer, Universal Mobility (UM). Most of the Magic Mountain guideway will be removed and not transferred. There is speculation that Hershey might expand their monorail loop, which once brought tourists from the theme park to the chocolate factory for tours. Parts is certainly one reason for the purchase as Universal Mobility no longer exists. Another UM monorail operates at the state fair at Cal Expo, Sacramento, California.

Six Flags Magic Mountain's Metro Monorail Arrives in Hershey, PA. The Coaster Guy, 05/29/11

Manila considers monorail (05/18/11)
Manila, The Philippines. The state-run Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) is planning a monorail to connect existing rail systems in Manila. The city already has an elevated light rail system, but that technology is too wide and imposing for the corridor under consideration. BCDA is referring to the project as the Makati-Taguig-Passy Monorail Alignment. The narrow streets of Makati and Taguig are the areas which only would allow monorail. The monorail would be funded through public/private partnership.

BCDA eyes elevated monorail for Metro Manila. BCDA website, 05/18/11.
Elevated monorail to connect Metro Manila rail systems. Manila Standard, 05/18/11

Sydney collision report (05/02/11)
Sydney, Australia. Australia's Office of Transport Safety Investigations (OTSI) has issued its report on last year's monorail collision at Sydney Monorail's Darling Park station. Three people were injured and taken to a hospital. The February 27, 2010 crash was the result of several factors. The train that was hit from behind had not left the station because one of its doors didn't close properly. Trees obscured the view for the train driver of the next train. The driver wasn't able to see the parked train and apply brakes until within 40 meters of the station. The report states that the driver was also probably distracted by another driver in the cab. The train was reportedly travelling above the speed limit for station approach. Worn 'track tape' may have contributed to less traction for braking as well. Veolia, the train owner, has implemented several improvements to prevent such accidents again. They include an Ethernet system to all monorail trains to avoid radio frequency black spots and the installation of a mimic SCADA system (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition Systems), and new traction and control systems.

Monorail accident ruling. Sydney Morning Herald, 05/09/11
Rail Safety Investigation Report-Monorail Collision (2.8 MB pdf). Office of Transport Safety Investigations.

Monorail causes diarrhea? (05/02/11)
Mumbai, India. Over fifty residents around Currey Road Station have been suffering from diarrhea and other stomach-related illnesses over the last three days. They assert that water in their buildings has a yellowish color and a foul smell. Phase II monorail construction is taking place in the area, and the residents suspect those activities led to contamination of the water supply. Monorail Joint Project Director Dilip Kawatkar said, "Officers working on the Jacob Circle-Wadala Monorail route told me that there has been no burst or leakage in the water pipeline during construction. So I don't think that the ongoing work has anything to do with the contaminated water. We will still double check."

Is Monorail giving locals diarrhea? Mid-Day, 05-02-11.

Finally, better connections for Kuala Lumpur (04/06/11)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Since the iconic Kuala Lumpur Monorail opened in 2003, the system has included some serious connectivity flaws. Stations where passengers would switch from one system to another required the crossing of busy boulevards or parcels of open land, out in the sometimes-harsh elements of Malaysian weather. Passengers have complained about it for years. The two monorail terminal stations are currently being greatly improved. A 410 meter walkway has been completed between KL Sentral rail station and southern terminal station of the monorail. A better pedestrian crossing will be completed next year in conjunction with the completion of a new development between the two stations, Nu Sentral Complex. At the other end of the line at Titiwangsa Station, a pedestrian connection is nearing completion that connects with the nearby Ampang LRT line. Both connections will protect passengers from the weather and traffic.

LRT-monorail integration will be completed soon, says Kong. The Star, 04/06/11.
LRT And Monorail Stations Linked For Passenger Convenience. Bernama, 04/06/11.

Ho Chi Minh City signs monorail contract (03/27/11)
Hanoi, Vietnam. Italian-Thai Development (ITD) has signed a cooperation and investment contract with Vietnam's Management Board of Urban Railways to build two monorail lines in Ho Chi Minh City. ITD will construct the monorails on a Build, Operate, Transfer basis (BOT). One 13.75 kilometer line will run between the Sai Gon Bridge and Can Ciuoc bus station. The other line will run 6.65 kilometers between Go Vap Roundabout and Quang Trung Software Park-Tan Thoi Hiep. No word yet on what technology or supplier will be used.

City to build monorail system in 2012. Saigon Daily, 03/27/11.

Tokyo Monorail after quake of 2011

Tokyo monorails after disaster (03/15/11)
Tokyo, Japan. As the consequences of Japan's disastrous 9.0 magnitude earthquake still evolve, initial reports indicate that all but one of the Tokyo area monorails are operating. While immediate shut downs of all rail systems after earthquakes in Japan for inspection is normal, the fact that most monorails are still operating indicates they survived the earthquake without damage. Tokyo Monorail, Tama Monorail, Shonan Monorail and Chiba Monorail are operating. One monorail remains closed, the Tokyo Disney Resort Line. That may not be due to damage however, since the entire resort is currently closed for inspection and repairs. Disney officials plan to reopen the resort in approximately nine days. There were reports of violent shaking for passenger onboard area monorails, but no structures failed and there are no reports of injuries as we go to press. Due to the nuclear power plant issues to the north of Tokyo, some monorails are limiting service due to brown outs. It's unclear how long this will be an issue, since several power plants were disabled by the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

photo courtesy of Düsseldorf Airport/Andrea Wiese

H-Bahn boom in China? (03/01/11)
Beijing, China. According to the Global Times, China might be about to embark upon a massive boom of building monorails. The brief article mentions that a new entity, Air Train International Group (ATI), plans to build and astounding 20 to 30 monorail systems in the country withing five years. The German-based ATI held a press conference in Beijing on Monday. ATI intends to use Siemens H-Bahn technology, currently in use at Dortmund University and Dusseldorf International Airport. Professor Wang Mengshu at the Tunnel and Underground Research Center at Beijing Jiaotong University said that the overhead railways could help ease traffic in some of China's most densely populated cities.

Elevated trains may ease traffic gridlock, noise. Global Times, 03/01/11.
Beijing to Get Hanging Sky Trains and Maglev Trains. Environment News Service, 03/01/11.

Columns going up in Nigeria (02/23/11)
Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Construction is proceeding and columns are appearing along the Rivers Monorail alignment in Nigeria. Ground was broken in July of 2010 for the 19.1-kilometer system. The first phase is said to be 6.4 kilometers with five stations. Five Intamin P30 monorail trains, with five cars per set, will be used . The line will run from Sharks park on Aggrey Road to Eleme Junction. The monorail will be the first of its kind in Africa. Phase One is slated for opening in 2012.

Rivers Monorail Website - construction photos

Las Vegas bankruptcy deal (02/09/11)
Las Vegas, Nevada. A deal is in the works to deal to settle Las Vegas Monorail's (LVM) bankruptcy. The monorail pays for all its operational expenses with daily receipts, but crushing debt from the construction cost of the system has brought LVM to bankruptcy. Under the current plan, most bondholders of $451.5 million of first-tier revenue bonds are prepared to accept $111 million and release Ambac Assurance Corp. from its exposure to the defaulted bonds. Under the settlement, bondholders would still retain the right to payments LVM could make upon the conclusion of its bankruptcy case. A hearing is scheduled for March 2nd on the proposed settlement.

Deal could bail out bankrupt Monorail. mynews.3.com, 02/09/11.
Las Vegas Monorail Deal Nears. Bond Buyer, 02/07/11.

Tokyo Monorail power failure (02/04/11)
Tokyo, Japan. A small fire at one of the Tokyo Monorail's electrical substations caused a a two-hour stranding of over 1,200 passengers this morning. The fire took place around 9 a.m. at the Shinagawa electric power substation in the Minato Ward. A short circuit is the likely cause, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. One train was scorched by the fire while passing over it. Five monorail trains were immobilized by the power failure. Two were towed to nearby stations but passengers of the remaining three weren't able to disembark until later.

Tokyo monorail power failure traps 1,280 passengers between stations. Mainichi Daily News, 02/04/11.

photo courtesy of SkyRide

SkyRide: another human-powered monorail (01/17/11)
Waconia, Minnesota. Scott Olson, the inventor who 25 years ago gave the world rollerblades, has revealed his latest invention, SkyRide. SkyRide is the newest human-powered monorail system and bears resemblence to New Zealand's Schweeb system. It is a suspended monorail system that gets its power from the human on each single-rider vehicle. The track is like a mini-Safege box beam, with wheels and bogies protected inside. One prototype is propelled in a fashion similar to bicyle peddling, while another moves with a rider making a rowing motion. Olson built a prototype on his farm in Waconia and has been testing it there. On his website, Olson suggests that his SRT (SkyRide Technology) could be used in numerous applications, including sustainable developments, retirement communities, special needs centers, tourist attractions, fitness and sports clubs, ski resort towns and urban environments.

Human-powered vehicles in Masdar proposed. The National, 04/17/11.
Rollerblade inventor becomes high roller with SkyBike. Edmonton Sun, 01/17/11.

Plan to demolish 'ugly' Sydney Monorail (01/04/11)
Sydney, Australia. The Sydney City Council wants to remove everything 'ugly,' according to a new 30-year plan. A report entitled 'Sustainable Sydney 2030,' calls for powerlines, freeways and garbage trucks to be hidden from city streets. The report also identifies the iconic, tourist-popular Sydney Monorail as ugly and wants it demolished in favor of more light rail lines at the street level. One demonstrative art rendering in the report shows bicycle lanes, streetside cafes, no cars, lots of pedestrians and a light rail line running in the middle of all the activity. Curiously, the illustrated tram doesn't have any overhead power lines.

Plan to bury ugly Sydney. Herald Sun, 01/05/11.
Sydney plans to remove 'everything ugly.' UPI.com, 01/04/11.
TMS Sydney Monorail Photo Essay

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