News Brief Archives




News Briefs Archives
April 2 - September 30, 2014


Monorail proposed for Tirupati-Tirumala (09/30/14)
Tirupati, India. Busses currently make the 45-minute run from the city of Tirupati to the the town of Tirumala, but monorail has been proposed to make the trip quicker and safer. Visitors to the area regularly make the trek to see the Hindu Sri Venkateswara Temple, which receives more visitors than any other spot in India-scenic, religious or otherwise. A feasibility report has been sent by the Tirupati Urban Development Authority to the Union urban development ministry. The 27-kilometer monorail is estimated to cost Rs 9,000 crore. The report was prepared by private consultant Urban Mass Transport Company (UMTC).

Tuda plans monorail from Tirupati to Tirumala. Times of India, 09/30/14.



Sydney Monorail still for sale (09/24/14)
Sydney, Australia. Two years ago we reported that the Sydney Monorail was up for sale, with a bid deadline of October 12, 2012. The monorail closed on June 30, 2013 and was dismantled shortly thereafter. To date no one has purchased what remains of the system, which includes 27 cars. The online ad references a negotiable price of AU$6 million. The Von Roll Type III system looped downtown from 1988 until its closure.

The Sydney Monorail is For Sale. Gumtree



Tokyo Monorail celebrates 50 years (09/17/14)
Tokyo, Japan. Today marks the 50 anniversary of the iconic Tokyo Monorail. The monorail was the first major Alweg urban monorail with more than two stations, opening two years after the Seattle Monorail. Tokyo Monorail opened on September 17, 1964, carrying passengers from Haneda Airport to downtown at Hamamatsucho Station. As of March this year the system had carried over 1.8 billion passengers. In July, Tokyo Monorail debuted its new 10000 series trains. Mahito Kikuchi, an official at Tokyo Monorail Company, stated, "I am deeply moved that we have overcome hard times and marked the 50th anniversary of service without an accident causing injury or death." No street-running light rail system can make that claim in one year, let alone fifty years! As we reported August 22 (below), the Tokyo Monorail Company plans to extend the 17.8-kilometer system to Tokyo Station. The Monorail Society congratulations Tokyo Monorail Company on this special day, and extends congratulations to all those involved with Alweg for the many additional monorail systems that followed around the world.

Monorail serving Tokyo's Haneda airport marks 50th anniversary. Japan Times, 09/17/14.



Walt Disney World automation process continues (09/13/14)
Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Installation of the Thales signalling system continues at Walt Disney World (WDW) on the 23.6-kilometer monorail system. Complicating the process is the necessity to operate seven-days-a-week, carrying thousands of passengers between resorts, parks and parking lots. The new SelTrac CBTC/R-UTO system is an upgrade of WDW's SelTrac ATP system, which went into operation in 1989 along with the then-new Bombardier Mark VI monorail trains. SelTrac is a digital signalling technology which controls movements of rail vehicles. While the monorails will be almost entirely automated once the installation is complete, train attendants will remain onboard to monitor systems. Currently the Teal train is completely retrofitted with the Thales system and is serving as the test train while the rest of the fleet is converted. Thales is a pioneer in transportation technology as one of the world's top suppliers of systems, solutions, equipment and services for mobility on railways. Automation is being added to enhance system efficiency and improve safety.


New Seltrac signalling equipment on Walt Disney World Resorts and Express Loop


Segment of former guest seat is removed for addition of automation equipment.

Thales Transportation



Another chance for CA-NV Maglev? (08/31/14)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Efforts for a high-speed rail between Las Vegas and Southern California have been under way for decades, but none of the proposals have progressed towards construction. The most recent 'favorite' choice has been a conventional rail referred to as XpressWest. Since little progress has been made on XpressWest, proponents see a chance to revive interest in maglev. The door is open to reconsider maglev, according to Bruce Aguilera, former chairman of the California-Nevada Super Speed Train Commission. Maglev lost important support when Senator Harry Reid flip-flopped his support away from maglev after coming under political pressure. With Transrapid's experience in Shanghai, maglev technology has advanced and is not seen as much as pie-in-the-sky any more. Aguilera said, "It's a lot easier to convince people that this is a tried-and-true technology." Unlike conventional rail, maglev could climb steep grades and avoid tunneling. For maglev to progress, proponents realize that political muscle in Nevada would be required to get the project back in play.

Supporters of maglev see chance to re-enter game. Las Vegas Review-Journal, 08/31/14.




First major South American monorail opens! (08/30/14)
Sao Paulo, Brazil. Today marks the opening of a short segment of Line 15 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, marking the day as the first of many new monorail openings coming in South America's future. The initial line consists of 2.9 kilometers of dual guideway from Vila Prudente to Oratorio. Meant as an introductory opening to citizens, the line will only operate Saturdays and Sundays. Metro will make adjustments as it learns from the experience, then commercial full-time operations are set to begin in 60 days. The monorail system will open in phases, culminating in 26.6 kilometers and eighteen stations when complete. The eyes of the transit world are carefully watching developments of Line 15, as it is the first in the world to utilize Bombardier Innovia Monorail 300 trains. Bombardier improved on their earlier monorail experience to now include walk-through trains and improved ride quality with bogies independent of the train frames. They are capable of transporting 48,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd). Bombardier is supplying Line 15 with an astonishing number of 54 seven-car trains, most of which are being built in Hortolandia, Brazil. The Monorail Society congratulates Sao Paulo, Bombardier, and all those involved in the development of this spectacular new monorail, Sao Paulo Line 15!

image courtesy of imagem.band.com.br



Incheon Urbanaut to be abandoned (08/28/14)
Incheon, South Korea. After five years of debate, the Urbanaut system built in Incheon, Korea, is evidently going to be abandoned. The so-called Wolmi Galaxy Rail was found to have been the victim of overall poor construction and is unsafe to operate. The building contractor allegedly did not build the system to specifications of Urbanaut, a USA Washington state company. The system was originally scheduled to open to the public in 2009, but that never happened due to technical problems. Track that should be perfectly straight now visibly zigzags. Pylons are crooked and joints were found to be faulty as well. The 6.1-kilometer loop was to be Urbanaut's first system.

Zigzag monorail won't operate. TheHankyoreh, 08/28/14.
TMS Incheon Photo Essay



Tokyo Monorail seeks Tokyo Station extension (08/22/14)
Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo Monorail Company hopes to extend from its current terminal Hamamatsucho Station, north to Tokyo Station. The distance is only three kilometers, but it would be challenging to construct as the alignment follows a narrow corridor along the Shinkansen Bullet Train and Yamanote Loop Lines. The extension would dramatically improve the monorail as many more trains stop at Tokyo Station, including the Shinkansen. Currently passengers must ride local trains to Hamamatsucho Station and transfer to the monorail. The line is estimated to cost almost 110 billion yen and take ten years to complete.

Tokyo Monorail plans quicker link to Haneda Airport. Asahi Shimbun, 08/21/14.
Haneda monorail to extend to Tokyo Station. Japan Times, 08/20/14.

Proposed extension (in red)



Yet again, monorail on ballot in Seattle (07/27/14)
Seattle, Washington. Seattle will have monorail on the ballot again in November. It's been 9 years since monorail opponents were able to kill a contracted system. The problem was not enough revenues from a car license tab fee coupled with overspending by the administration of the monorail project. Monorail, the technology, may get a public flogging in the next few months in Seattle based on sour memories. Still weary over the huge failure of the past attempt to build a system, citizens have already started the Simpson's analogies. Elizabeth Campbell, the ballot's backer, is hopeful that Seattle can still get a Ballard-West Seattle monorail for around $2 billion. "It was too highly politicized the last time, I think," Campbell said. "I look forward to a vigorous debate on the merits of the proposal." If the current ballot measure passes, a planning authority would be created. The Century Transportation Authority (CTA) would the plan a system and come up with a funding mechanism.. Voters would then need to approve CTA's plan at a later date.

New Seattle monorail on ballot this November. Kiro TV, 07/25/14.
Monorail proposition on fall ballot. Seattle Times, 07/25/14.



Scomi wins again in Sao Paulo (07/16/14)
Sao Paulo, Brazil. Malaysia's Scomi Engineering Bhd has secured yet another Brazil contract with the contract award for Line 18 (Bronze Line) in Sao Paulo. Scomi CEO Kanesan Veluppillai stated, "We are honoured that Scomi's technology is once again recognised in Brazil after two previous wins in Manaus and Sao Paulo for Line 17. Despite the challenging business environment, our key strategy of continuous improvement on our rail technology is earning us a growing reputation among cities and this announcement reaffirms our capabilities as one of the leading monorail solutions providers worldwide." Line 18 will be 15.5 kilometers long, connecting Sao Caetano do Sul, Sao Bernardo do Campo and Santo Andre with 13 stations. Construction is slated to begin in 2015. When complete, Sao Paulo will have three monorail lines. Monorail Line 15 (Bombardier) and Line 17 (Scomi) are now under construction.

Scomi secures Sao Paulo deal. Yahoo! News Malaysia, 07/15/14.
Scomi gets Brazil job. The Rakyat Post, 07/16/14.



WDW train evacuated (07/13/14)
Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Around 120 monorail passengers were evacuated from their Epcot Line train after the system suffered a power outage. Weather caused the power failure, but WDW officials have not confirmed that a lightning strike was responsible. Since power had disabled the air conditioning, passenger cabins got uncomfortable with 90 degree heat outside. Ceiling evacuation doors were opened to ventilate cabins. Firefighters then evacuated passengers using a lift.

Disney World monorail evacuated after power outage. CNN, 07/13/14.



IMA seminar in Wuppertal (07/13/14)
Wuppertal, Germany. The International Monorail Association will be holding a seminar in Wuppertal, Germany on September 19-22. The gathering will coincide with Innotrans 2014, being held Sept. 23-26 in Berlin. Innotrans is a focused exhibition for transport engineering industry. The IMA seminar will feature a Monorail Tutorial Program for transportation professionals, governmental agencies, policy delegates, consultants and contractor/suppliers. Monorail experts with long term experience in planning, designing, building and operation of monorails will give presentations in the tutorial. Another session will be focussed on performance specifiications. The seminar will end with a special tour of the Wuppertal Schwebebahn. More information can be found via the following links.

International Monorail Association website
Innotrans 2014 website



skyTran test track announced for Israel (06/25/14)
Lod, Israel. Israel Aerospace Industries (ISI) is partnering with skyTran, Inc. of Mountain View, California to build a skyTran test track. The two-person 'jet-like' vehicles use maglev technology for propulsion/levitation with a suspended monorail track. The track is similar in design to the French Safege system on smaller scale. One vehicle on a very short track has already been tested in Mountain View. The new test track will be located on IAI's Lod campus at Ben-Gurion International Airport, near Tel Aviv. If testing is successful, plans are for the first commercial skyTran guideway to be built in Tel Aviv. skyTran claims that first seven-kilometer, four-station commercial system could be completed within 24-months, with construction starting as soon as 2016. Construction cost for the first line is projected at $80 million (58 million Euros). Other skyTran systems are proposed for Toulouse, France; Kerala, India; and the San Francisco Bay Area, California.

skyTran About page With details of skyTran plans for Tel Aviv.
skyTran/ISI agreement (pdf)



Sao Paulo construction accident kills worker (06/09/14)
Sao Paulo, Brazil. Several workers were injured and one lost his life when a support beam fell at the Line 17 monorail construction site. The beam was reportedly being lifted into place. The accident took place close to Congonhas Airport and happened around 5:20 pm local time. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

World Cup 2014: One dead after part of monorail project collapses in Sao Paulo. The Telegraph.



Nashville Monorail Study (06/05/14)
Nashville, Tennessee. State Senator Bill Ketron won approval in March for a study to determine the feasibility of a monorail system. The proposed line would follow the I-24 Nashville Southeast Corridor between Murfreesboro and Nashville. Senate Bill 2515 directs the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) to conduct the study. It includes the study of costs of construction, operation and financing of the monorail system. “This 32-mile strip of interstate is the most congested corridor in the state,” said Senator Ketron. “The current population of Rutherford County is about 290,000. By 2025 it is estimated to be at 600,000 and by 2035 it is estimated that there will be another million residents in the greater middle Tennessee area. This presents a great problem in terms of traffic issues. We have to be forward thinking regarding what we are going to do when we add this many new vehicles to an already congested roadway.” TDOT is required to report its findings and recommendations to the Senate and House Transportation Committees by February 1, 2015.

Nashville Plans to Solve Its Traffic Woes With ... a Monorail. Wired.com, 03/31/14.

Monorail proposal comes off track. The Tennessean, 06/06/14.

Monorail to Mursfreesboro: TDOT will study. Nashville Public Radio, 06/09/14.



Fiordland Monorail rejected (05/31/14)
Queenstown, New Zealand. After years of debate between proponents and naysayers, the Fiordland Monorail has been rejected by Conservation Minister Nick Smith. Smith stated, "There would be a significant impact on the area's flora, fauna and natural heritage." Evidently the ongoing steady stream of automobiles and motor coaches, spewing fumes into the atmosphere on their way to and from Milford Sound, are better for the environment than electric monorail. The monorail pathway would have taken riders through territory rarely seen by human eyes. It was part of a Fiordland Link Experience that included a 20-kilometer boat excursion across Lake Wakatipu to Mt Nicholas Station, a 45-kilometer all-terrain vehicle ride to Kiwi Burn, a 43.8-kilometer monorail ride to Te Anau Downs and a 90-kilometer coach journey to Milford Sound. Riverstone Holdings managing director Bob Robertson said Minister Smith had followed flawed process in making his decision.

Fiordland monorail plan rejected by Govt. New Zealand Herald, 05/29/14.
Monorail could be worth $80m to NZ economy. New Zealand Herald, 12/13/13
Fiordland Monorail website



AirTrain Newark closed until July 15 (05/02/14)
Newark, New Jersey. The AirTrain Newark International Airport monorail has closed for a 75-day rehabilitation period. Shuttle buses will temporarily take on the same duties as the monorail, albeit at much slower speeds. People planning to use trains to get to the airport are being told to allow 30 to 45 minutes of extra travel time. Sections of the 4.8-kilometer system are in need of a $20-million replacement, due to conditions similar to potholes on roadways. 25,000 to 30,000 passengers use AirTrain Newark on a daily basis.

Newark Airport AirTrain monorail closed until July 15. AMNewYork, 05/01/14.
Newark International website AirtTrain suspension page



Another TMS Exclusive...
Intamin contract for 2017 Asian Indoor Games (04/08/14)
Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. Monorails have been proposed for sporting events for decades, but Turkmenistan will be the first to actually get one built. The 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2017 will feature a circulator loop monorail system provided by Intamin Transportation. A massive multi-purpose sports facility will be built in Turkmenistan's capital for the games and years beyond. The complex will feature 30 venues for world class sporting events and all will be connected by the eight-station, single-lane loop system. The system will feature 5.2-kilometers of track with a 550-meter depot/maintenance spur line. The 'Olympic Monorail' will have three Intamin P30 trains. The system will be capable of carrying up to 1,200 passengers and atheletes per hour. P30 trains are capable of speeds up to 80 kph, which matches the top speeds of most of the world's monorails. The system should be completed in 2016, well in advance of the 2017 games.

Olympic Rings featured on one monorail bridge. Images courtesy of Intamin Transportation

Turkmenistan law requires emergency walkways on both sides of the track

Polimeks Olympics complex project page



Monorail for Indonesia's Bandung? (04/04/14)
Bandung, Indonesia. The Panghegar Group is planning an extensive monorail network for the City of Bandung. The business group will work with China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation on the project. The plan includes five monorail corriodors criss-crossing the city with 84 kilometers of track. The project is in the feasibility study stage currently.

Indonesia's Panghegar to Build Five-Line Monorail in Bandung. Jakarta Globe, 04/02/14.




New trains for Tokyo Monorail (04/02/14)
Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo Monorail will be introducing new train vehicles starting in July. The Tokyo 10000 vehicle design will aid passengers moving to and from Haneda International Airport. The cars have more space for suitcases and will include TV monitors. Information will be displayed in four languages. Trains will also feature Wi-Fi connectivity with fast internet access. Tokyo Monorail is celebrating its 50th year, it opened in 1964 in conjunction with the Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo Monorail launches new cars for the 1st time in 17 years in its 50th anniversary. Akihabara News, 03/03/14.
Tokyo Monorail press release (pdf in Japanese)

Renderings courtesy of Tokyo Monorail


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