News Brief Archives

News Brief Archives
April 17 - Sept 10, 2010.

New trains for Wuppertal (09/10/10)
Wuppertal, Germany. After a bevy of good ideas and designs submitted by fans, students and professionals, the Wuppertaler Stadtwerke has revealed a proposed design for new trains. The world-famous Wuppertal Schwebebahn is the longest-operating monorail system in the world. Periodically over 100 years, new trains have been introduced to run along the Wupper River. The latest design is very similar to the current design, but numerous changes are being proposed. Shells will cover the wheels and wheel arms. The driver's window would be slightly angled to improve forward visibility. Seats will feature padding. More space for wheelchairs will be included, and there will be more folding seats, bringing the total per train to 46. The public is being asked for their opinions on the design. Color of the trains will be decided later.

Wuppertal new train design page (in German) high resolution images included

Nigerian monorail project under way (09/08/10)
Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Work has begun on the Rivers Monorail project in Rivers State, Nigeria. Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi's administration has released funds as part of the public private partnership building the monorail. It's hoped that the monorail will help decongest crowded roads within the city, as well as create job opportunities. The Rivers State government is providing 20% of the costs while TSI Holdings Limited will invest 80%. The Rivers Monorail will use Intamin P30 monorail trains. The first phase of the system will be 19.1 kilometers long and take about two years to build. The line will run from Sharks park on Aggrey Road to Eleme Junction. The monorail will be the first of its kind in Africa.

Amaechi forks out N11bn for P/H monorail project. Nigerian Tribune, 09/08/10
Rivers Monorail website

Another major Brazilian project-Manaus (09/06/10)
Manaus, Brazil. While Sao Paulo has gotten much world attention for their proposed monorail, another Brazilian project has been making progress towards implementation. In fact, the City of Manaus may be awarding the contract to the monorail supplier within a matter of weeks. The initial line will 20 kilometers long and have nine stations. Hoping to win the project were Bombardier of Canada, Hitachi of Japan, Intamin of Switzerland and Scomi of Malaysia. According to one news article online, Scomi was the only competitor to qualify. Officials want the monorail to be operating in time for the World Cup of Soccer in 2014, Manaus will be one of the host cities for the event.

Manaus to announce winnder of US$754 mn monorail tender by Sep 15. Business News Americas, 09/06/10.

Will Long Beach plans float? (09/01/10)
Long Beach, California. The website touts some lofty goals: restoring the Queen Mary and S.S. United States to sailing status, a shopping, dining and entertainment district, and a $400 million, 32-mile monorail system throughout Signal Hill and Long Beach. What's this all about? As of now, it's a website and a dream produced by Cairngorm Entertainment Group, a Las Vegas entertainment company. Cairngorm specializes in distributing old TV series for broadcast on cable channels, so the Island of Long Beach proposal is a giant leap in ambition. Reaction in Long Beach has been polite, yet skeptical. So for the time being, it remains just another website with big dreams.

Island of Long Beach website

Beijing Maglev construction soon (08/30/10)
Beijing, China. Construction is due to begin in September on China's second commercial maglev line. The Beijing S1 line will connect Mentougou district in the west with Cishousi Station in the east with 20 kilometers of guideway and 12 stations. The technology will be a Chinese-developed low speed urban maglev system. Evidently the line has caused an uproar amongst some of the residents along the line, with fears of radiation and noise. That echos the protest fever that swept the Shanghai area when officials wanted to extend the Transrapid system in time for this year's Shanghai World's Fair. The protests succeeded in delaying the extension and causing planners to change the extension route. Some see a bit of irony that protests occur against clean-running maglev in highly-polluted cities of China.

Magnetic Train Line S1 to Start Construction Next Month. Crienglish.com, 08/30/10.

Experts suggest monorail to Dhaka (08/27/10)
Dhaka, Bangladesh. A transport expert team from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has suggested that monorail would be a far better choice for Dhaka City than subway. They estimated that a monorail system can be built for one billion dollars, while the same route as subway would be a whopping 2.6 billion dollars. JICA is finalizing a feasibility study for a 22-kilometer line between Uttara and Saidabad. The study will be handed over to the Bangladesh government next February. The proposed monorail would operate at four minute intervals over a sixteen station system. The monorail would take five years to construct, which is much quicker than the construction of a subway line.

Experts prefer monorail instead of metro rail in Dhaka. The New Nation, 08/28/10.

Bangalore Monorail approved...again (08/19/10)
Bangalore, India. In May of 2006 we reported on the approval of a Metrail monorail system for Bangalore, India. Work was to begin in August of that year. It's four years later and the Indian press is now reporting that a monorail has been approved for Bangalore...again. According to one news report (Business Standard), Scomi has 'bagged' the job, but other press outlets report bidding has yet to begin. The line is said to be 15.7 kilometers and will run between Agara Lake and Majestic in Bangalore City.

Bangalore's first monorail will chug between Majestic & Agara. DNA, 08/18/10.
After metro, monorail for Bangalore. Express buzz, 08/19/10.
State approves Phase I of monorail for city. Business Standard, 08/18/10.

Monorail for Ghana? (07/26/10)
Accra, Ghana. A $1.5 billion monorail system has been proposed for Ghana's capital city of Accra. Intercontinental Commerce Corporation (ICC), a reportedly American corporation (with a one-page 'under construction' website), is touting the sixteen-station, eight-mile system to the Ghanian press. Ron Watson, project manager for ICC, has promoted monorails for decades in various locations around the world, yet The Monorail Society is unaware of any of his proposals resulting in an actual monorail. Watson, once promoting under the name of Transco Holdings Inc., proposed a cheaper monorail for Las Vegas when that city's expensive 4-mile system was being developed. Other Watson monorail proposals included Honolulu, Hawaii; Branson, Missouri; Baotou, Mongolia; and Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 1998 he told the Las Vegas Sun that his company was under contract to build monorails in fourteen cities in China. The proposed Accra Monorail is supposedly a fully-funded private initiative to be financed with loans from American banks, with the balance to be paid for by ICC. Backers say they are awaiting government approval before starting a one-year feasibility study. No word on who is expected to pay for the study.

ICC to invest $1.5bn into Accra Monorail Project. The Ghananian Chronicle, 07/26/10.
Accra To Get First Monorail. PEACE FM Online, 07/26/10.
Isle rancher going full speed with monorail projects. Archived article from Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 01/03/01.
International Commerce Corporation website. (there's no 'there' there)

photo courtesy of Bing

New Spur Track for WDW (07/25/10)
Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Sources tell us that Walt Disney World is about to embark on its first track addition project since the EPCOT loop was added in 1982. A new switch will be added near the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) which will accomodate a new spur line. With that side track, monorail operations will be able to keep a work tractor in a much more central location, ready for events on either the Bay Lake loops or the EPCOT loop. This will save a lot of time if the so-called "Park Rangers" (the electrician and mechanic on duty out on the system) have a tractor close by rather than having to position trains to make way for the work vehicle." Additionally, the spur line will have enough room for a train. As one experienced former WDW monorail pilot tells us, "This will allow them to park 'the fourth' express train during the slow period of the day rather than having to switch it back to shop. That time savings ought to be huge. The space will also be useful for pulling off a train that needs minor maintenance so they can work on it offline, rather than hold up the system while they look it over at Base or Concourse." While the new track is not the massive system expansion plan that was scuttled in the 9/11 aftermath, it may be a useful modern day beam-building experiment that could lead to a 'all points' property-wide system, one similar to what Walt Disney outlined shortly before his death in 1966.

Hitachi Small planned for Philippines (07/12/10)
Manila, Philippines. The general manager of Hitachi in Singapore, Hitoshi Goto, has said Hitachi may build the Philippines first monorail. "We already submitted the proposal to the developer and got it approved," said Goto. The monorail is said to be similar to Sentosa's new monorail, which is the first in the world to use Hitachi Small technology. The monorail would be installed at Fort Bonifacio Global City, a new upscale development in the Manila area.

Hitachi says to built RP's first monorail. Business Mirror, 07/12/10.
Bonifacio Global City website

photo courtesy of The Star

Malacca Minirail nears completion (07/05/10)
Malacca, Malaysia. A 1.6 kilometer shuttle monorail along the Malacca River is nearing completion. The single track line connects Taman Rempah in Pengkalan Rama to Kampung Bunga Raya Pantai in the central part of the city. One 24-passenger, three car train will shuttle back and forth along the winding river. The line was developed by Kumpulan Melaka Berhad and Agibs Engineering and Construction Sdn Bhd. The monorail was developed as part of government efforts to enhance the Malacca River area of the city as a tourist attraction. The system is currently undergoing test runs, yet probably won't open until September. Before carrying passengers developers must complete a licensing and approval process.

Delay in monorail project. The Star, 07/04/10.

art rendering courtesy of TransGlobim International

Najaf Monorail contracted (06/26/10)
Najaf, Iraq. The Iraqi City of Najaf has reportedly awarded a contract to TransGlobim International for a $600 million monorail system. TransGlobim International is a privately-owned Canadian consortium. Najaf hosts hundreds of thousands of pilgrims for rites held several times per year. Anwar al-Haboobi, a member of the Najaf investment committee, said, "This project will ease the transport crisis and the clogged streets in the province, especially during the blessed days of rituals." Sectarian attacks are still a problem in the city, but Iraq continues to seek ways to improve roads, rail, power and other basic infrastructure throughout the country. System specifications call for a guideway design that 'will accommodate blast protection.' The monorail is slated to be complete within three years. No mention has been made of who the supplier is. Whether it turns out to be monorail or some other mode of rail remains to be seen. However, the TransGlobim website only shows art renderings of legitimate monorails.

Iraq awards $600 million monorail contract. TradeArabia.com, 06/26/10.
TransGlobim International website

Stalled Jakarta Monorail hope lives on (06/22/10)
Jakarta, Indonesia. Governor Fauzi Bowo hasn't given up on completion of Jakarta's long-stalled monorail project. Pillars and rebar are the only result of the project so far, and they've sat idle for years in the center of Jakarta's major roadways. The pylons were first built in 2004. A two-year probe has been completed. It delves into problems with financing and agreements with PT Jakarta Monorail, the private entity in charge of building the system. The company is asking for compensation to cover its losses. Bowo hopes to restart the project once a compensation agreement is made.

Fauzi Bowo Again States Aim to Proceed with Monorail. Jakarta Globe, 06/22/10.

Hanoi monorail plan submitted (06/22/10)
Hanoi, Vietnam. Vinaconex (Vietnam Construction Import-Export Corporation) has submitted a Hanoi Monorail plan to the Prime Minister. The plan is for a 14-station system running 38 kilometers in the western region of the city. Dang Hoang Huy, the General Director of Vinaconex Xuan Main, said that ticket prices will be low to encourage ridership by large numbers of citizens. The system is predicted to carry approximately 60,000 passengers per day. The government has asked the Ministry of Transport to prepare a feasibility report on the proposal.

Proposed monorail aims at reducing gridlocks in Hanoi. Vietnam.net, 06/22/10.

Scomi completes 1st Mumbai train (06/22/10)
Mumbai, India. Scomi has completed its first four-car monorail train using Sutra technology, the latest generation of Alweg-type monorails from Malaysia. The train is destined to run on Mumbai Monorail, a 20-kilometer line which is slated for completion next year. Scomi intends to complete one new monorail train for Mumbai each month until all fifteen sets are done. The 600-passenger trains are being built at Scomi's Rawang factory near Kuala Lumpur. The Mumbai Monorail project is advertised as being 'green,' as it will reportedly save 200 tons of CO2 per day. The Mumbai Monorail train is Scomi's first four-car train, the Kuala Lumpur Monorail uses relatively short two-car trains.

MMRDA inaugurates Scomi's first 4 car Monorail for Mumbai in Malaysia. India Infoline Limited, 06/22/10.
Scomi To Complete One Train Every Month For Mumbai Monorail Project. Bernama.com, 06/21/10.

Monorails or the World book (06/22/10)
Brora, Scotland. Author David Voice, who has written many tramway and rail-related books, has completed 'Monorails or the World,' a paperback book with many photographs and illustrations (many in color). The book covers monorail history, tracks the growth of transport monorail vs. leisure monorails, features a list of the worlds monorails (with some that are not monorails by our definition) and covers safety with rare photos of various accidents that have occurred. Voice challenges several of The Monorail Society's list of advantages of monorail, but generously gives TMS credit for information gained in the writing of his book. 'Monorails of the World' is available online at Adam Gordon Books.

Adam Gordon Books website

Putrajaya rumblings again (05/27/10)
Putrajaya, Malaysia. Government officials are looking at a new method of financing the long-stalled Putrajaya Monorail System. Construction of the system began years ago but ceased due to the Asian financial crisis. Putrajaya is the spectacular, new capitol city of Malaysia. Raja Nong Chik, Federal Territories and Urban Well-Being Minsiter, says the monorail may be built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Chik said, "There is no definite timeframe. We'll wait for the suitable time. We're now focused on improving the economy first." Putrajaya Holdings Chief Azian Abdul Karim says the monorail is crucial for Putrajaya to evolve into an environment-friendly city. Azian said, "It's up to the government or the Economic Planning Unit to make the decision. We're really hoping. It's good for Putrajaya." He hopes that the project will be considered for the 2011 Budget.

Monorail In Putrajaya May Be Developed Under PFI, Says Raja Nong Chik. Bernama.com, 05/27/10.

Monorailex 2010 program (05/22/10)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Monorailex 2010 is fast approaching, the event will take place June 2-4, a week earlier than originally scheduled. The International Monorail Association (IMA) has released its 'final program' through the Monorailex website. Kuala Lumpur's famous monorail will be a focal point, complete with a tour of the Control Center and Maintenance facility. Scomi will have presentations on their new Sutra train, and on the Mumbai Monorail, which currently is at the peak of construction. Speakers involved with the Qom Monorail in Iran (under construction) and Sao Paulo Monorail in Brazil (bid process) are tentatively scheduled to make presentations. Registrations are still being accepted at the Monorailex website.

Monorailex website

2nd major Indian monorail advances (04/17/10)
Pune, India. Even before the first passenger run of the Mumbai Monorail has occurred, the City of Pune has decided to follow Mumbai's example. This week the BOT committee of the Pune Muncipal Corporation (PMC) approved a 52 kilometer monorail system for the city. 30 kilometers will follow an inner ring road, while another 22 kilometers line will run between Warje and Kharadi. The project is being proposed on a design-build-operate-own-transfer basis (DBOOT). It is hoped that the inner ring road monorail will be developed at the same time as the actual road is built. While PMC and the press is using the term monorail, as we know from past experience, it's not a monorail until a monorail builder actually wins the bid.

Civic body not for 30-km inner ring road, 52-km monorail. Indianexpress.com, 04/15/10.

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