Seattle Monorail endorsements
numerous, minus one flip flop. (10/10/02)
Seattle, Washington. It's a wacky city and what
happens from moment to moment on the political scene is highly
unpredictable. The League of Women Voters initially heartily
endorsed the Monorail ballot issue, but recently took the unusual
step of retracting the endorsement. The League is now "neutral"
on the 14-mile starter line proposal due to concerns over cost.
Still, as of Sunday KING TV released the latest poll figures,
which show support for the monorail at 62%, monorail opponents
at 31% and undecided at 7%. If these numbers hold until November
5, even if all undecided voters decide to vote against the monorail,
the proposal will pass easily. Despite the topsy-turvy nature
of the League of Women's Voters minds, the monorail initiative
still has many endorsements including:
- King County Labor Council
- King County Democrats
- Metropolitan Democratic Club
- King County Conservation Voters
- Washington State Council of City and County Employees, District
- Sierra Club, Seattle Group
- Capitol Hill Community Council
- 11th District Democrats (Georgetown/Beacon Hill)
- 34th District Democrats (West Seattle)
- 36th District Republicans (Magnolia/Ballard)
- 36th District Democrats (Magnolia/Ballard)
- 37th District Democrats (Beacon Hill/Rainier Valley/Mount
- Aerospace Machinists Industrial District Lodge 751
- Teamsters Local 763
- Seattle/King County Building & Construction Trades Council
- Teamsters District Council
- Mayor Greg Nickels
- City Attorney Tom Carr
- Governor Al Rosellini
- Governor Dan Evans
- Congressman "Baghdad" Jim McDermott
- Seattle Councilmember Judy Nicastro
- Seattle Councilmember Heidi Wills
- Seattle Councilmember Jan Drago
- Seattle Councilmember Nick Licata
- State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles
- State Senator Erik Poulsen
- State Representative Joe McDermott
- State Representative Toni Lysen
- Hon. Phil Talmadge
- House Speaker Frank Chopp
- the Monorail Society (no surprise here!)
Monorail Yes Website
of Women Voters now neutral on monorail. Seattle P-I, 10/10/02
pulls support for monorail proposal. Seattle Times, 10/10/02.
photo courtesy of American Maglev
||Bumpy ride delays
ODU Maglev. (10/10/02)
Norfolk, Virginia. American Maglev built an elevated
guideway and developed a maglev vehicle in a remarkably short
period of time, eighteen months. The one-mile system at Old Dominion
University was originally scheduled to begin shuttling passengers
across the campus in September, becoming the first operational
maglev transit system in the world. An unexpected bumpy ride
is delaying the opening until 2003. Thoms V. Radovich, who coordinates
the project for Lockheed Martin in Orlando, Florida, says ``we
believe we have a way to smooth out the deviations." He
said the train is reacting differently to the elevated guideway
at ODU than it did on the ground at American Maglev's test track
in Florida. Engineers are working to perfect the train's control
system to adapt to the ODU guideway. In a worst-case scenario,
the guideway would need to be stiffened. Because of the glitches,
the project is in need of additional funds. A $7 million loan
from the state and $7 million in private investments are mostly
spent. Lockheed Martin plans to invest more money and backers
are optimistic they'll get a federal appropriation of up to $2
postpone debut of Maglev. The Virginian Pilot, 10/10/02
photo courtesy of the Star
Kuala Lumpur wheel incident
not design flaw. (10/2/02)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In a report to the Malaysian
Transport Ministry, the KL Monorail System company has stated
that the recent wheel incident was not a design flaw. A journalist
walking beneath the tracks was seriously injured when a safety
guide wheel fell from one of the new trains. Minister Datuk Seri
Dr Ling Liong Sik announced the outcome of the company's investigation
at a recent press conference. Sik stated "They carried out
tests with one screw, three screws and six screws, the safety
wheel did not drop. So it is not design failure. So they suspect
it was an act of sabotage." KL Monorail is confident that
there are no technical faults and they are cooperating with police
to determine the actual cause of the incident. The incident resulted
in a delay of the system opening to 2003. The system is currently
undergoing extensive testing.
Believe It Is Sabotage- KL Monorail. Malaysian National News
Wilmington Monorail planners
establish route. (10/2/02)
Wilmington, Delaware. A steering committee made
up of Wilmington Area Planning Council staff, residents and politicians
has selected a 15-mile monorail route between the northern Delaware
communities of Blue Ball and Glasgow as the top pick for a proposed
regional rail system. The system would be the first of its kind
in Delaware. The group chose the route from among about a dozen
other options. The Glasgow route was the best because it would
serve people commuting to work in downtown Wilmington as well
as the suburbs. It would also ease congestion on heavily traveled
roads and cut down on the number of cars contributing to air
pollution. State Representative David H. Ennis said that
the council's commitment to studying a monorail system is due
in large part to the crowded roads and Delaware's urgent need
to meet federal clean air laws. To improve the state's air quality,
Ennis stated that "We can either do it now and get ahead
of the curve, or do it later and play catch-up.
monorail route plan chosen. The News Journal, 10/02/02
Monorail Exploratory Committee.
Seattle Center Monorail problems
concern campaigners. (10/2/02)
Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Center Monorail
has suffered three shutdowns in the last week, which resulted
in extensive press coverage. Two days in a row last week, passengers
were evacuated by fire truck ladder because one of the trains
stalled. Normally, the sister train is brought up along the other
train and passengers are evacuated to the other train by ramp.
Unfortunately the other train is undergoing maintenance and is
unavailable, which resulted in the need for fire truck ladders.
Then yesterday a four-hour monorail shut down resulted from a
flat tire. This time the train was able to reach a station with
the passengers. One of the evacuation incidents last week was
caused by a fraying tire that sliced an air hose. Operations
manager Matt Abbey said "I'm just wondering if we
got a bad batch of tires." According to Abbey, monorail
flats occur two or three times a year. These incidents have some
campaigners for the monorail ballot issue nervous, as the election
is just a month away. A 14-mile monorail system is being proposed
on the ballot, funded by automobile taxes. While the monorail
plan is evidently popular, a combination of stall incidents on
the Seattle Center Monorail and continuing negative campaigning
by monorail opponents may affect the election results. On the
other hand, a blitz of pro-monorail activities and advertising
is hoped to counter the naysayers before November 5.
Monorail reopens after flat tire fixed. Seattle Times, 10/01/02.
rescue is second this week. Seattle Times, 9/27/02.
again breaks down, stranding 25. Seattle P-I, 9/27/02.
Tom Hawley, KVBC TV
TMS TV coverage during APTA
Expo 2002. (10/2/02)
Las Vegas, Nevada. The Monorail Society received
considerable positive TV coverage during the recent APTA Expo
2002 in Las Vegas. KVBC TV reporter Tom Hawley interviewed
TMS President Kim Pedersen next to the Sahara Station
construction site and did extensive reporting on the happenings
of Expo 2002. Hawley broadcast three separate stories on monorail
and TMS. Several TMS members attended Expo 2002 and were pleased
to see Bombardier, Transrapid and Aerobus on prominently on display.
Still, not all major monorail manufacturers were represented.
Hopefully at future APTA expos, such as the next major one in
Dallas in 2005, other manufacturers such as Intamin, Severn Lamb,
Hitachi, American Maglev, Monorail Malaysia and others will show
their wares. There were approximately 12,000 attendees of Expo
2002, and some of them were shopping for systems. Our thanks
to Tom Hawley for the terrific coverage on KVBC!
coverage on KVBC TV, Las Vegas. (includes streaming video of
one of the stories)
Latest Construction Pictures from
APTA Expo 2002 Photo Diary.
Shanghai Transrapid guideway
in place. (9/16/02)
Shanghai, China. The track girders are now in place
for the Shanghai Maglev. The 30 km route runs from Pudong International
Airport to downtown Shanghai. A total of 2,550 guideway girders
have been installed, each weighs 190 tons and is 24 meters long.
The last guideway girder was hoisted into place recently, eight
months after the first girder had been installed. The maglev,
using German-developed Transrapid technology, will only take
eight minutes to travel between the two stations. Top speed will
be around 400 kmh (248 mph). Test runs are scheduled to begin
in early 2003.
photo courtesy of People's Daily
Top of Page
TMS members head for APTA Expo 2002. (9/8/02)
Las Vegas, Nevada. It only happens once every three
years and over 15,000 transportation professionals attend. The
American Public Transportation Association's (APTA) International
Public Transportation Expo will be held this year in Las Vegas
at the Las Vegas Convention Center from September 23rd through
the 25th. Known as Expo 2002, the event is the largest transportation
exposition in North Amerca. Guess what all attendees will see
right in front of the convention center? Why, the Las Vegas Monorail
under construction of course! For that reason, some TMS
members are planning on descending on Las Vegas for the dual
educational opportunity of attending the Expo and witnessing
firsthand an American urban monorail under construction. To make
attendance even more enticing, anyone can register to attend
Expo 2002 for free at the APTA
Expo 2002 Website. The huge hall will have displays of many
types of transportation vehicles, as well as hundreds of suppliers
displaying their wares. Major manufacturers to date have been
low-key as far as monorail displays, but since Bombardier is
building one right outside the hall this year, there is speculation
that their display may include something related to the project.
Even if they don't, the construction will no doubt get a lot
of attention! Of note to maglev-monorailists, Transrapid International
will have a booth at the expo and is inviting TMS members
to drop by. For details on a possible gathering of Monorail
Society members at the Expo, please monitor TMS
Discussion Group postings.
to attend Expo 2002 for free!
photo courtesy of Düsseldorf Airport/Andrea
Airport Skytrain open. (8/31/02)
Düsseldorf, Germany. We have another new monorail
system in the world! Düsseldorf Airport opened their SkyTrain
officially on July 1st. The fully automated suspended SkyTrain
monorail operates above the airport grounds at a height of 23
meters along a 2.5 kilometer dual-guideway line. Top speed of
the Siemens-built monorail is 50 km/h. The SkyTrain operates
between a new Düsseldorf Airport Rail Station, where people
coming and going to the airport can connect to local trains and
high-speed ICE trains too. There is one station along the route
at Parking Structure 4 and another at the end of the line is
inside the modern new terminal building. Since it is only the
second of its type in the world, there have been some unfortunate
upstart bugs to work out. During the first two weeks of operation,
trains went out of service six times. On at least one occasion
passengers were stuck in vehicles for up to 40 minutes and a
few even suffered "panic attacks," according to reports
in the German press. Siemens provided replacement bus services
while bugs were worked out. Various problems surfaced during
initial operations. One problem was a defective cable that caused
a break in the data transmission between one vehicle ("cabin")
and the control station. Also a loose connection in an antenna
of the cabin produced problems. Hopefully most of the bugs have
been worked out and this mini-SAFEGE monorail will prove to be
a popular transportation system for airport visitors. The system
is currently back on schedule with operations between 3:45 AM
and 12:45 AM. Some wonderful Düsseldorf SkyTrain images
have just been added to our Special Features
page. Also, more information on the technology behind the Siemens H-Bahn suspended monorail can
be found in the Technical Pages.
Hitachi Monorail website premier
Tokyo, Japan. This week gave us more evidence of
the growing popularity of monorail. We received notice from one
of our friends at Hitachi Ltd. that a new website has premiered,
the Hitachi Monorail Website. The website has interesting information
on the three types of monorail that Hitachi offers, along with
a new classification names of each type. Hitachi Monorail Type
One (Large), Two (Standard) and Three (Small) designations will
make it easier to differentiate the different size systems. Technical
data of each type of system is included on the site. Other pages
are still in development, including pages on monorail cars, switches,
total systems and specifications. Another Japanese monorail website
has been updated recently. Be sure to explore the new Tokyo-Haneda
Hitachi Monorail Website.
Website. Don't miss clicking on the Japanese version for
Nevada Maglev progress (8/24/02)
Las Vegas, Nevada. For years, organizers in Nevada
and California have been working on a plan for a Transrapid Maglev
between Las Vegas and Anaheim, California. That plan may be one
step closer to reality as support may come in the form of money
allocated to important studies. $2 million has been included
for the maglev in a transportation funding package for Nevada
for the 2003 federal budget. The $2 million will go toward an
environmental impact statement for the first stretch of the bi-state
line, a 40-mile stretch from Las Vegas to Primm. Primm is on
the state border between Nevada and California and features several
high-profile casino resorts, visible to thousands of daily motorists
entering Nevada from California on their way to Las Vegas. The
18-month study will begin this year. The transportation bill
still needs to make its way through the full Senate and House
of Representatives before it becomes final. Maglev supporters
believe the line could be built much quicker than others planned
in the USA, as much of the alignment follows freeways through
the desert. Less residents along the route would most likely
result in far less NIMBY opposition. 267 mph zipping through
the desert, ride 'em cowboys!
on track for Southern Nevada train. Las Vegas Business Press,
Seattle Monorail ballot agreement
Seattle, Washington. Grassroots work does it again
in Seattle. Monorail supporters this week filed 6,200 petition
signatures and have now hopefully secured a spot for the proposed
Seattle Monorail 14-mile Green Line on the November 5 ballot.
Realizing the dangers of opposing the people-popular monorail
effort, a majority of City Council members said that they would
not attempt to add their own version of a monorail ordinance
to the ballot, which could confuse voters. Four members of the
council appeared at a monorail-campaign news conference to talk
about it. Councilwoman Jan Drago, said she recently became satisfied
the monorail project is feasible, "I am convinced to the
core that monorail is the only hope for citizens of Seattle to
have control over our future transit destiny. I hope to live
a long and healthy life, and I hope to have a transit system
that moves people around the city in our lifetime," said
Drago, 62. "I don't want to be part of the generation that
punts on this issue." The King County Department of Records
and Elections will likely certify the petitions within a week.
decision eased for voters. Seattle Times, 8/22/02.
proposal appears headed for ballot. Seattle P-I, 8/22/02.
opening delayed to 2003. (8/24/02)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Monorail Malaysia certainly
has had its share of growing pains. First a financial crisis
in 1998 stopped the project. Then Hitachi was dropped as the
lead contractor, as the Malaysians decided they could build the
system themselves for a lot less money. Building something for
the first time is always a challenge, and they have found this
to be the case with the Kuala Lumpur Monorail. One incident occurred
when a stationery test train parked at the temporary staging
yard rolled into a work train.. Recently, a guidance safety wheel
fell from one vehicle, seriously injuring a pedestrian below.
Operations have been suspended while an investigation takes place.
24 of this type of wheel are on the Kuala Lumpur train vehicles.
Only one fell from the train, and each one is attached by six
fastening bolts. The six fastening bolts of the one wheel have
not been found. Either a serious flaw in maintenance procedures
or foul play are the likely cause. None of the other 23 wheels
on the same train showed any unusual traits and were securely
fastened. Because of the recent incident, Monorail Malaysia has
decided to delay the system public opening until all trains are
satisfactorily checked and tested. Extra safety precautions will
be implemented wherever necessary. A new target date for the
opening of the system is now January 2003.
photo courtesy of the Star
Kuala Lumpur wheel incident.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A journalist suffered serious
injuries to his head and body when a back-up guidance wheel from
a monorail on a test run in Jalan Sultan Ismail landed on him. David
Chelliah, 41, was struck by a falling 13.4 kg wheel while
he crossed the road below the tracks. Chelliah suffered a hairline
fracture on his skull and blood clot in his head. Doctors are
closely monitoring him after a lengthy surgery to remove the
clot. The wheel is one of 24 safety wheels attached to Monorail
Malaysia's two-car trains. The wheels are attached to take over
in the unlikely case of punctures or failures of the rubber guide
tires that run along the side of the beamway. Operators of the
system were surprised at the incident because each of the safety
wheels are secured by six fasteners. Initial findings revealed
that the remaining 23 safety wheels on the train were secured
properly. The Kuala Lumpur Monorail was testing between six downtown
stations. The entire 8.6 km system is scheduled to start full
service by next month, yet because of the incident officials
have stopped testing until further notice.
hurt by falling wheel. Kuala Lumpur Star, 8/17/02.
undergoes surgery. Kuala Lumpur Star, 8/18/02.
Top of Page
Petitions again in Seattle.
Seattle, Washington. Monorail supporters have been
burned by the Seattle City Council before, and it seems they
again smell a rat. Yet another petition drive is under way to
ensure that their proposed 14-mile Green Line measure reaches
the November 5th ballot. City Council members have promised to
refer the Elevated Transportation Company (ETC) plan to the voters,
but judging by their anti-monorail efforts in the past, some
monorailists don't trust them. State law allows the petition
drive as an alternative, and only 4,000 valid signatures are
needed this time. Even though the City Council and the ETC have
reached almost total agreement about details that should be in
a ballot measure, pro-monorail people aren't willing to risk
missing the Sept. 20 deadline to file for the ballot. "We
want to make sure the ETC plan is on the ballot. This is the
best way to make sure," said Tom Weeks, who is both a monorail
campaign official and board chairman of the ETC. Peter Sherwin,
co-chairman of the Rise Above It All campaign organization, has
already distributed petitions at many locations throughout the
city. As of last weekend, 2,000 signatures were already collected,
so reaching their goal of 6,000 seems assured. Seattle Mayor
Greg Nickels was approached at Pike Place Market and signed the
petition as well. Meanwhile, Citizens Against Monorail, officially
registered last week to fight the proposal.
still awaits ballot placement. Seattle P-I, 8/13/02.
activists launch petition campaign. Seattle Times, 8/13/02.
ETC adopts Seattle Monorail
Seattle, Washington. The Elevated Transit Co. (ETC)
last night adopted a plan to build a monorail system in the City
of Seattle. The moment was the result of an enormous amount of
work by ETC staff, board members and volunteers. Seven years
ago Dick Falkenbury started the monorail movement in Seattle.
After last night's historic vote, Falkenbury stated "It's
time for Seattle to be the future again." The Seattle Center
Monorail and Space Needle were built for the 1962 Seattle Century
21 World's Fair. Many expected the monorail to be expanded soon
after the fair ended. It took a few years longer than expected
and required a determined group of Seattle monorail believers
to get the process to this point. Now it's up to the City Council
to put the monorail on the November ballot. Seattleites will
then vote whether to tax themselves or not to get the system
on November 5. It's campaign time! Good luck Seattle and congratulations
for the amazing accomplishment of so much work in a relatively
short period of time. All aboard the Green Line!
gives final approval to Monorail plan headed for November vote.
Seattle Times, 8/6/02.
OKs monorail plan. Seattle P-I, 8/6/02.
to two bidders. (7/30/02)
Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Ministry of Communications
(Railroads), has narrowed selection for a Dhaka transit rail
system to Transco Holdings with Severn
Lamb monorail technology and Owen
Transit Group, Inc. in combination with a Bangladesh firm,
Associated Resources Management Co. (ARMCO) with HighRoad monobeam
technology. Both teams have offered to obtain financing of the
32-mile transit system, build it, and operate the system for
25-30 years, then transfer it to the government. The Bangladesh
MoC(R) has also invited bidders to submit proposals for a 150+
mile system between Dhaka and Chittagong.
Paris, France. As history has shown, technology
jumps around considerably. Perhaps a new development in aviation
could have repercussions with monorail technology. In July of
2000 an Air France Concorde crashed, killing all passengers and
crew with the aircraft's first fatal accident. It was found that
debris on the runway ruptured a tire during the take off roll,
which started a series of events that brought the plane down.
Now, after a high priority focus on the problem, Michelin is
scheduled to obtain certification for their new Near Zero Growth
tire (NZG). The NZG is very resistant to tire blowouts, even
at extreme speeds. The tire is comprised of two bead wires, four
casing plies, seven crown plies and a crown protection ply. Tire
technology has been called the main limitation to higher monorail
speeds. Top speeds for rubber-tire monorails is said to be around
70 mph, but no monorail currently operates at that speed. 50
mph is the top limit for most transit monorails. However, if
given longer track, the Alweg Monorail in Seattle could easily
obtain higher speeds. The Concorde tires endure speeds up to
225 kt. in less than 60 seconds during take off, and on landing
accelerate from zero to 150 kt.-plus instantaneously. Tire temperature
increases from -50C at cruise flight level to +100C, and 150C
on the crown during the landing roll. Can some of this technology
be translated to monorail tires?
Jacksonville ridership dismal
Jacksonville, Florida. No matter what the technology,
if a system is poorly planned, it probably will fail to live
up to expectations. This appears to be the case for the Jacksonville
Skyway Monorail system. The downtown circulator was built
with some optimistic predictions of 50,000 riders per day. Unfortunately,
the ridership has been very low and and appears to be getting
lower. Ridership is currently around 2,000 passengers per day.
The JTA's 2001-2002 budget shows the Skyway will lose an estimated
$3.34 million this fiscal year, $360,000 more than it lost last
year. In 1986, Skyway advocates predicted the system would produce
a $9 million surplus when the full system was up and running.
A deficit continues to grow because the system doesn't make money.
It cost $4.14 million to run the Skyway this year (up from $3.54
million last year), but the system earned just $803,000 in parking
and passenger fees. JTA funds have been shifted from the bus
system to keep trains running. Monorail opponents have ceased
upon this data to attack monorail as a technology, ignoring the
fact that any technology would have failed along this chosen
corridor. The system doesn't go beyond downtown, and getting
people TO AND FROM downtown is what is needed in most urban areas,
not just around downtown. There are no current plans to extend
the Skyway beyond its present length.
Express. ABC News, 7/29/02.
Okinawa Monorail nears completion
Naha, Okinawa. 2003 will be a big year historically
for the Japanese island, Okinawa. It will mark the opening of
the first rail system on the island since World War II. The 12.8
km system weaves its way from Naha Airport through downtown along
narrow corridors. In several places the track follows waterways
in ways reminiscent of Wuppertal's Schwebebahn in Germany. This
time however, the system is an Alweg-based straddle system and
built by Hitachi. Walk-through two car trains operate on a guideway
that has the same dimensions of the1964 Tokyo-Haneda Monorail.
This is the first time since 1964 that Hitachi has used this
size guideway for an urban application. Kitakyushu, Osaka, Tama
and Tokyo Disney Resort have the larger Japanese Monorail Association
standard track for straddle monorails. Officials expect a ridership
of 150,000 passengers per day. TMS Vice President Keith
Walls today discovered a large amount of excellent online
photographs of the system and the link is below.
Monorail picture page. Okinawa Website.
TMS ALWEG guideway comparison page.
|| / News