News Brief Archives
March 30 - October 19, 2015

News Brief Archives






Sri Lanka request for proposal soon (10/19/15)
Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka is planning to make a request for proposals to build a monorail (or other technology) transit system within the next ten days. The system will be for the capital city of Colombo. The project is estimated to cost 1.9 billion USA dollars and would take four years to build. The Japan International Cooperation Agency helped the island develop a transportation master plan, which includes the rail system. The project will be done on a build-operate-transfer basis.

Sri Lanka to call for monorail proposals this month. economynext.com, 10/19/15.



Ranchi Monorail approved (10/10/15)
Ranchi, India. A monorail system for Ranchi City, India has been approved for by the Jharkhand government. The system is seen as part of a comprehensive mobility plan for the next 30 years. Ranchi is the capital of the the state of Jharkhand and its third most populous city with over 11 million residing there. If all goes according to plan, the monorail project will start next year and operate by 2019. Two lines are planned, one 13 kilometers and another at 12 kilometers long. The monorail is planned as a public-private-partnership (PPP) and will be funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The monorail isn't without its critics though. The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) has raised doubts over monorail, citing what they call "high operational costs, low corridor demand and land acquisition hurdles."

Ranchi may take monorail ride by 2019. The Hindustan, 10/10/15.



Catania Monorail approved (10/06/15)
Catania, Italy. The Metropolitan City of Catania has approved the development of a two-line monorail system connecting the towns of Pedara, Mascalucia, San Gregorio Catania Gravina di Catania, Tremestieri Etneo and San Giovanni La Punta to the town of Etna. The system, named EtnaRail, will consist of two lines (Green and Orange). The Green Line, which will be the first, will cost 260 million Euros to build. The winning bidder for the project will cover approximately 20% of the development costs, while public financing will cover the rest. Support for the project is strong, both Sicilian Municipalities and politicians unanimously approved the monorail. A 2016 project start is hoped for with three years projected for construction and testing. If built, EtnaRail will be the first full-sized straddle monorail system to be built in Europe since Alweg's Italia 61 Exposition monorail in Torino, Italy, which only operated for the six-month fair duration. It will also be Europe's first large urban monorail system to use straddle monorail technology.

ETNARAIL/Via libera alla metropolitana leggera dei paesi etnei. mobilita.org, 09/11/15.
EtnaRail, i dubbi sul progetto della monorotaia L'esperto: Rischio che rimanga un'incompiuta. Catania Meridio News, 09/28/15.
FCF SpA (Furno Railway Construction) Supplier of Qom Monorail trains and leading proponent company for EtnaRail.

Catania Monorail as projected in 2014 by manufacturer FCF SpA (Furno Railway Construction)


Photo: AntonA. Chigrai

Moscow Monorail removal? (09/16/15)
Moscow, Russia. Moscow city officials are considering closure of part or all of the city's monorail system. There are several proposals, including shortening it from five kilometers to three or replacing it. The six-station line, based on Intamin technology, has been operating since the early 2000s. An estimated 19,000 passengers use the monorail each weekday, much less than had originally been anticipated. The line costs approximately 1 billion rubles ($14.7 million) to operate each year, and low ridership has not helped pay those costs. Another effort to close the monorail took place in 2012, when it received criticism for problems over capacity, technology and costs. Steel box-beam monorails have had a tougher time surviving than their concrete-beamed cousins in recent years. Sydney's Von Roll monorail was dismantled, numerous other slow, steel-tracked monorails in recreation venues have been closed, and Newark International's Von Roll monorail may be replaced. Moscow Monorail proponents cite its connection of two metro lines in the north end of the city as a reason to keep it. A final decision is said to be coming in 2016.

Why is Moscow considering closing its monorail network? Sputnik News, 09/13/15.

Photo: Wang Jing

Bombardier displays monorail in China (09/08/15)
Jilin, China. Bombardier recently shipped one of their award-winning Innovia Monorail 300 cab units to China for display. The monorail was on display from August 29th to September 5th in Jilin City, the second-largest city and former capital of Jilin province in Northeast China. Jilin is planning an extraordinary 169 kilometers of rail for the city, potentially all monorail. The first line construction is slated to begin in 2016. Bombardier hopes to win the contract and provided the display in that effort. Line 3 will be 20 kilometers long and will cross Songhua River. If built, it will be the second mass transit straddle-beam monorail system in China after Chongqing. The Innovia Monorail 300 was displayed at Jilin City Century Plaza, where citizens unfamiliar with monorail could board the vehicle for a close look. The city is planning monorail because their underground is made up of complex granite and weathered rock, making subway unsuitable and far too expensive. Light rail was rejected as well. Completion of the first Jiling Monorail line is hoped for August of 2018.

Jilin Northeast's first proposed monorail. Sina.com, 08/27/15.
Jilin city monorail traffic system to be open around 2018. xwh.com, 08/28/15.


Scomi partnering with Skoda (09/05/15)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Scomi Engineering Bhd will collaborate with Czech transport company, Skoda Transportation, for light rail and mass rapid transit projects around the world. Scomi Engineering to date has specialized in bus and monorail production. The new partnership will move their rail division beyond monorail only. Chief Executive Officer, Kanesan Veluppillai, said, "We anticipate 60 per cent of local contents which will include manufacture of key components in Malaysia. Locally, we will start bidding for LRT3 and MRT2 on federal projects and the coming Penang's LRT), while regionally, we will start tendering for four projects related to LRT, MRT and metro projects in India, three similar projects in Indonesia and one in Bangkok." Whether this move will have a negative or positive affect on Scomi's marketing of monorail systems remains to be seen.

Scomi signs LRT, MRT partnership deal with Skoda. New Strait Times, 09/02/15.


Palembang Monorail for 2018 (08/26/15)
Palembang, Indonesia. There is no contract, yet officials of South Sumatra's provincial administration maintain that the City of Palembang will have "light rail transit or monorail" in time for 2018 when they host the Asian Games. The plans are awaiting approval through a Presidential Regulation. South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin said, "The monorail will be stretch from the Sultan Mahmud Badaruddin II Airport to the Jakabaring integrated sporting areas and will be 25 kilometers long. The construction should be started immediately to facilitate the transportation and mobilization of athletes, organizers, and guests from 40 participating Asian countries." Palembang is one of the oldest cities in Indonesia and is the second-largest city on Sumatra Island after Medan.

South Sumatra to build monorail for 2018 Asian Games. Antara News, 08/25/15.


Monorailex 2015: Las Vegas (08/24/15)
Las Vegas, Nevada. The International Monorail Association will hold its annual gathering this year in Las Vegas. With the title THINK ELEVATED - MOVE WITH MONORAIL, the gathering will take place from Thursday November 12th to the Sunday, November 15th. Numerous informative speeches will be given by experts in the field, including the official opening speech by Curtis Myles, President of the Las Vegas Monorail Company. Presentation topics include KAFD Monorail (Riyadh), Mumbai Monorail and monorail opportunities in China, as well as many other interesting subjects. In conjunction with the release of his new book Monorails: Trains of the Future-Now Arriving, The Monorail Society President Kim Pedersen will offer "observations of a monorailist." An onsite tour of Las Vegas Monorail is scheduled as well. More information can be found via the following links.

International Monorail Association website
Monorailex 2015 Registration page


Another Las Vegas extension proposal (08/18/15)
Las Vegas, Nevada. There have been extension proposals for Las Vegas Fremont Street, McCarran Airport, the Strip West Side and Mandalay Bay. The airport extension was approved, but still no extension project has moved forward since the Las Vegas Monorail System opened in 2004. Yet another extension proposal can be added to the list. University of Nevada, Las Vegas consultants are suggesting an extension to serve a potential UNLV football stadium and further to the Thomas & Mack Center and the UNLV campus. There's no funding and the stadium land has not been purchased yet, but university officials are already thinking about the potential transportation challenges. The potential stadium land is opposite of airport on the north side of East Tropicana Avenue, which would be a short monorail ride from the current MGM Monorail Station.

University officials to look at monorail link to proposed stadium. LVRJ, 08/17/15.



Bangkok seeks land for monorails (08/17/15)
Bangkok, Thailand. Monorail progress in Bangkok hinges on obtaining land. The Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) is awaiting for a decree to be issued by the cabinet. The Transport Ministry needs approval from the cabinet to issue an executive decree for the Pink and Yellow lines. The MRTA hopes to get that approval this year. Once the decree is made, technical studies can be conducted for the monorails. All funds for both monorails will come from the private sector, according to the MRTA. The 35.5-km Pink Line alignment is from Khae Rai to Min Buri and the 30.4-km Yellow Line runs from Lat Phrao to Samrong.

MRTA seeks to expropriate land to build monorails. Coconuts, 08/17/15.



Osaka to add nine more kilometers (07/23/15)
Osaka, Japan. The Government Cabinet and the Higashi-Osaka City are planning to extend Osaka Monorail nine kilometers south of Kadoma-shi, adding four new stations: Kadoma-minami (Subway Nagahori-Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line), Konoikeshinden (JR Tozai Line / Gakkentoshi Line), Aramoto (Kintetsu Keihanna Line), and Uryudo (with a new transfer station on the Kintetsu Nara Line). The line will cost 105 billion Yen and is expected to begin construction in 2018.

Re-Urbanization. Saitoshika-west.com
Osaka Monorail 9 km stretch plan. Asahi.com, 07/22/15)

Rendering courtesy of Asahi.com



Mitsubishi sells Shonan Monorail (07/07/15)
Ofuna, Japan. 45 years after opening, the line's builder and current operator is selling Shonan Monorail. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. has built three monorails in Japan, all based on the French Safege technology. The first was a test demonstrator line at Higashiyama Zoo in Nagoya. That line no longer operates, but the weather-worn vehicle remains on display. Next up was Shonan Monorail, with its unique bi-directional system on one track. Chiba Monorail was the third, the largest Safege system in the world. Mitsubishi announced it is selling the Shonan line to focus on its core businesses. The new owner will be Michinori Holdings, Inc., which is currently very active revitalizing five bus and rail lines in eastern Japan. Shonan Monorail turns a profit, a unique capability of many monorail systems (and a virtual impossibility for subways and light rail). Michinori Holdings President Jun Matsumoto said he wants to “position the monorail as an attraction for visitors to the Shonan district.” The company believes it can even increase profits by encouraging more tourists to use the line.

Local transit systems act as faces of regions. Japan News, 07/07/15
TMS exclusive-Shonan Monorail Photo Essay


Alweg's 1957 test track

Reinhard Krischer, founder of Alweg Archives (06/30/15)
Cologne, Germany. We have received the sad news of the June 27th passing of Reinhard Krischer, the founder of the Alweg Archives and author of the book ALWEG-BAHN: das Buch zur Technik, Geschichte und Zukunft der legendären Einschienenbahn (in German language, richly illustrated). Krischer succumbed to cancer, which he had been battling for the last couple of years. In 2000 Krischer uploaded his well-known website, the Alweg Archives. He dedicated the website to his father, Rolf Krischer (1911-2000), who was a mechanical engineer for Alweg from 1953 to 1967. The Seattle Center Monorail was his father's most prominent project. The Krischers lived in Seattle from 1962 to 1966. Reinhard wrote us in 2000, "My father had very conflicting feelings and memories about his long years with Alweg." While Alweg GmbH had a sad ending and failed to build systems on its own, the technology his father helped develop has since become the preeminent monorail technology of the world. Just this year the latest Alweg-type monorail opened in Daegu, South Korea. Later in life Reinhard said he managed to convince his father to still be proud of his work. The Monorail Society President Kim Pedersen said, "we are very sad to hear of the passing of Reinhard. We are extremely grateful to him for his many contributions to the ongoing legacy of Alweg." Krischer is survived by his wife Bärbel.

Alweg Archives website



Baguio City Monorail proposed (06/17/15)
Baguio City, Philippines. A feasibility study has concluded that monorail should be built for Baguio City in the Philippines. The line would run 5.2 kilometers from Beguet Provincial Capitol to the Slaughter House in Magsaysay. The one year study was done by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The study recommends six monorail cars capable of carrying 120 each. DOST plans to start the project in 2016.

Monorail to ease traffic in Baguio City-Study. Rappler, 06



Nigeria Intamin monorails completion on hold (06/04/15)
Port Harcourt & Calabar, Nigeria. Once again politics are interfering with monorail. In this case, presidential elections in Nigeria have resulted in critics of monorail taking power. Even though the Rivers Monorail system has been successfully tested and another monorail in Calabar is near completion, the new governors in the Rivers State (Port Harcourt) and Cross River State (Calabar) say they need time to sort out priorities and will then make decisions about completing the monorails or not. Intamin remains confident that work will resume later this year, considering how close to completion both monorails are.

TMS Calabar Monorail Construction Gallery
TMS Rivers Monorail Construction Gallery



Bombardier may build Cairo Monorail (05/02/15)
Cairo, Egypt. According to Middle Eastern press sources, the Bombardier Company has been chosen to build a monorail system for Cairo. Bombardier is part of an Egyptian-Canadian coalition selected by the Ministry of Housing for the project. Arab Contractors and Orascom Construction Industries are part of the Egyptian side of the team. The USD $1.5 billion system will link the 6th of October City with Giza and Cairo governorates. The seventeen station line will be built in two phases, with the first stage consisting of twelve stations. Construction is due to start in 2016 and the monorail is scheduled to be operational by 2018, a mere 30 months later. The Cairo system will be Bombardier's second monorail in the Middle East, after the KAFD Monorail under construction in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

update 05/04/15. Montreal, Canada. Bombardier has chimed in on all the press about a Cairo Monorail contract being awarded. Spokesman Marc Laforge says no contract has been awarded yet. However, Bombardier states they are finalizing discussions with the Egyptian government for the monorail. Stay tuned!

Bombardier Transportation says consortium finalizing Cairo monorail contract. Brandon Sun, 05/04/15.
Monorail to be established in Egypt by 2018. Cairo Post, 05/02/15.
Egyptian-Canadian alliance to establish monorail train. Egypt State Information Service, 05/02/15.



Newark AirTrain removal announced (04/27/15)
Newark, New Jersey. Yet another Von Roll-built monorail is about to bite the dust, and it was their biggest and final system. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has announced plans to replace the 19-year old Newark International AirTrain monorail system. The three-mile system cost $345 million to build and carries roughly 30,000 passengers per day between parking lots, a rental car lot, terminals A, B and C, and the nearby NJ Transit/Amtrak station. A report by the Regional Plan Association in 2011 suggested replacing the monorail system. The report said the AirTrain is slow and not suitable to accommodate growth. The Von Roll system has suffered numerous service interruptions because of accidents, maintenance issues and power failures. In 2014, the AirTrain was closed for two months for track repairs. Bombardier purchased Von Roll Monorail after AirTrain was already in place and took over a contract to operate the monorail with the Port Authority through 2022. After Bombardier purchased Von Roll Monorail, no more monorails of its type were built. Bombardier shelved the Von Roll technology in favor of selling their own similar small monorail technologies, which have had a much better operating records. The big question remains, what technology will replace AirTrain?

Newark airport monorail targeted for scrap heap, cost $354M to build. NJ.com, 04/27/15.



Korea's first major monorail opens (04/23/15)
Daegu, South Korea. The long-anticipated first major monorail of South Korea has opened in Daegu. The city is the fourth largest city in South Korea, and the 24-kilometer system connects the southeastern and northwestern sections of the city. Per a contract signed in 2008, Hitachi designed a US $333-million monorail system in Daegu. This is Hitachi's largest order for monorail outside of Japan, and follows systems sold in China, Singapore and United Arab Emirates. Daegu's train design is arguably Hitachi's best to date, and was selected with the input of Daegu citizens from three design choices given. The monorail features three spectacular bridges, two over water and one over an intersection (photo below). The alignment has been enhanced environmentally with a generous amount of landscaping (photos below). The Monorail Society congratulates both Hitachi and Daegu on this fantastic new system. The Daegu Monorail will no doubt be a shining example to many cities on the many advantages of monorail for transit!

Daegu Metro page
TMS Daegu page (more to come in following months!)
TMS Daegu Construction Gallery pages

One of three spectacular bridge features of Daegu Monorail

This image demonstrates the extraordinary landscaping added with Daegu Monorail

The very-green Daegu Monorail



Ecozip: fun monorail in the trees (04/16/15)
Australia. Monorails come in all shapes and sizes. They serve mostly unnoticed in industrial settings. The Monorail Society mostly touts them for transportation. There's no denying monorail riding is fun, no matter what configuration they take on. Ecoline Pty Ltd. has developed a rideable monorail that is perhaps the most fun of them all. The guideway may be the smallest rideable monorail track in the world. A flexible, mostly tubular guideway is suspended from and between trees using a spiderweb of steel cables. Riders are suspended from a very simple monorail 'vehicle' that zips down the track as any roller coaster would, with the use of gravity. Ecoline has focussed their business on the protection of the natural environment at all stages: design, construction and operation. Their structures are designed to allow trees to grow unrestricted. Several installations have enjoyed success in Australia, including a track in Wyong Creek that is one-kilometer long. Ecoline has won several tourism and business awards. More Ecozips are in the works.

Ecoline website
Ecozip page (Ecoline website)
YouTube video

ecozip car



Kuala Lumpur fire (03/30/15)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A two-car monorail train fire caught fire at Titiwangsa Station. The fire was extingquished with the aid of 22 firemen and three engines dispatched to the location. Passengers had been ordered to evacuate upon arrival at the station. The incident began when one of the tires caught fire, similar to a near-catastrophy monorail tire fire thirty years ago in Florida. Just last week TMS President Kim A. Pedersen posted an editorial strongly suggesting monorail operators improve their emergency procedures for just such events. Fire does not wait for emergency personnel.

Monorail service delayed as coach tyre catches fire. Malaysia Insider, 03/30/15.
Fire and Evacuation. TMS Editorial by Kim A. Pedersen


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