News Brief Archives

News Brief Archives
June 27 - November 16, 2012


Scomi proposes KL Monorail expansion (11/16/12)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Scomi has made two major proposals to the Malaysian government for the improvement of the Kuala Lumpur Monorail (KL Monorail). The 8.6-kilometer system is currently owned and operated by the government-owned Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd's subsidiary, KL StarRail Sdn Bhd. Scomi is proposing to operate the system privately. Scomi is also proposing a major 22-kilometer extension to the south. That extension would start at KL Sentrail, pass through Mid Valley City, Old Klang Road and terminating at Bandar Sunway. Scomi Engineering president Suhaimi Yaacob told the Business Times, "We hope the government will reinstate the KL monorail extension project which, we believe, may only be realised in 2014. If given the opportunity, we would like to take it private and run the operation, including the line extension. The existing line is already highly stressed, which is why the government is expanding from two-car trains to four-car trains, and extending the line beyond Brickfields." He noted that, "monorail is the only rail system that is able to navigate through limited space, thus alleviating the need to acquire properties and other conventional hurdles to make way for it." If built, the extension will more than triple the length of the system to over 30 kilometers, making it one the longest monorails in the world.

Scomi tracking KL monorail system. Business Times, 11/21/12.


Dusseldorf HBahn

Shanghai plans suspended monorail (11/16/12)
Shanghai, China. In March of 2011 TMS reported on the possibility of Siemens-developed H-Bahn systems being built in China (News Archives 2011). The Global Times stated that Air Train International Group (ATI) had plans for as much as 20 H-Bahn systems in the country. Although it's unclear if this latest plan is for H-Bahn, press reports today state that Shanghai is planning to build China's first 'air train' suspended monorail system in the Hongqiao area. A preliminary study has been completed for a ten-kilometer system connecting metro lines, the high-speed rail station, an exhibition center and two terminals at Hongqiao Airport. If the plan is approved, promoters expect to have the system open by late 2015.

Plan calls for suspension monorail. Shanghai Daily, 11/17/12.



Colorful design wins Line 15 contest (11/08/12)
Sao Paulo, Brazil. 21-year old Joao Paulo Ferreira Possos recently won a design contest that will result in colorful monorail trains. Sao Paulo's Silver Line 15, now under construction, will have at least some of its Bombardier trains wrapped in panels of "an explosive profusion of colors and shapes." Friends told Possos about the contest to design art for trains, and in two hours with crayon on paper he had the design ready. "I always used strong colors. I want to see Sao Paulo more powerful, not gray as it is," he said. Whether the design will be on all car sides or just the end cabs is currently being debated.

Arte em movimento no monotrilho. Epoca Sao Paulo, 11/06/12.



Tokyo Monorail services improved (10/25/12)
Tokyo, Japan. Haneda Airport airline traffic continues to increase and rail services to the airport are improving to compete for passengers. Both Tokyo Monorail and Keikyu Railway serve the airport with stations at the new International terminal, as well as Terminals 1 & 2. While Keikyu has shortened travel time due to new elevated track on the route, Tokyo Monorail is introducing Wi-Fi service on trains. All monorail trains are scheduled to have Wi-Fi by March 2014. Discounted round-trip tickets are also available from now until March 2013.

Airport rail services nip, tuck to attract Haneda passengers. Daily Yomiuri, 10/25/12.



TrensQuebec promotes high-speed monorail (10/03/12)
Quebec City, Canada. Physicist Dr. Pierre Couture and TrensQuebec are evidently making progress with his concept for high-speed monorails. The election of Pauline Marois as Premier of Quebec has reportedly given the project a better standing with the government. The TrensQuebec concept is for suspended monorails using I-beam tracks. The system wouldn't be made up of multi-unit trains, but single-unit vehicles, each with 16 electric wheel motors. Total horsepower for the vehicle would be between 2,400-2,560 horsepower. Couture wants the system to attain speeds of 250 km/h. Each car would be about 3 meters wide by 18 meters long. They would weigh under 20 tons when fully loaded with 75 passengers. Promoters hope to build a 5 to 10 kilometer test track to prove the concept. Efforts are under way to obtain funds to start the project. Estimated costs for developing the test track and testing the system are between $200 and $300 million. A study conducted by the Research Institute on Contemporary Economics (IREC) says that a TrensQuebec monorail between Montreal and Quebec could be up to three times cheaper to implement than a conventional TGV high-speed rail system.

TrensQuebec website (in French)



Las Vegas looks to future (09/25/12)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Having survived a long, arduous bankruptcy reorganization, officials of the Las Vegas Monorail are now focussing on improving the system for the future. Plans are to work closely with resort owners along the route to boost ridership, and perhaps add a station or two on the existing line. One possible new station would be on a short stretch of straight track on Koval Road, which could serve the Sands Convention & Expo Center, Palazzo, Venetian and Wynn resorts. Monorail leaders hope that ridership will increase when the half-billion dollar Linq complex connects the Strip with the Harrah's monorail station.Looming large over the monorail will be a back-alley, 600-foot high ferris wheel known as the Las Vegas High Roller. To get to the High Roller from the Strip, visitors walk through an elaborate entertainment, dining corridor and under the monorail tracks. Visibility of the monorail will be significantly increased. Project Linq is due to open in 2013. The Sahara Station has suffered because of the resort's closing in 2011, but a new resort is planned for the same location. While extensions to the airport, west side of the Strip and downtown are highly desired, private money is unlikely and federal money would be required.

Las Vegas Monorail officials shift focus to ridership, expansion. Las Vegas Review-Journal, 09/25/12.

update Monorail: Less Debt, More Routes. KXNT, 09/26/12


Sydney Monorail power failure (09/24/12)
Sydney, Australia. It can't get much worse for the poor Sydney Monorail. Passengers needed to be rescued by cherry-picker today after a power outage brought the loop system to a halt. Rescues began over an hour after a fault in a nearby underground cable killed power to the monorail. Some passengers suffered from the heat inside the cabins of the trains, which didn't have air conditioning while they waited. Paramedics assessed over 30 people for heat-related dehydration. Power was lost around 2 p.m. and was completely restored by 4:45 p.m.

Monorail rescue as power cut. Sydney Morning Herald, 09/24/12.



Sydney Monorail for sale (09/19/12)
Sydney, Australia. Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said, "Removing the ugly and intrusive monorail and replacing it with efficient and effective light rail will improve transport access in central Sydney." The NSW Government is inviting bids for the iconic monorail's removal, including 3.6 kilometers of track, columns, stations, trains and maintenance shop. The deadline for bids is October 12, 2012. The Sydney Monorail first opened in 1988 and is scheduled to cease operations June 30, 2013. As of today, no word on when the rest of Sydney's many 'ugly' skyline features will be torn down.

Monorail up for grabs. Alternative Media Group, 09/20/12.



Central Station for Las Vegas? (09/14/12)
Las Vegas, Nevada. The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) would like to see a intermodal central transit center in Las Vegas. It would connect bus, train and monorail in one location. The RTC is working with the Nevada Department of Transportation, Las Vegas Monorail Company, XpressWest high-speed rail project and Western High Speed Rail Alliance. XpressWest officials have identified two potential Las Vegas locations, both just west of I-15. One site is across the highway from Mandalay Bay, the other is near Flamingo Road. If either of those locations become the site for the wished-for central station, the Las Vegas Monorail would need to be extended from the east side of the Strip to the west and across the I-15 freeway.

Officials eye centralized Las Vegas station for buses, trains and monorail. Vegas Inc., 09/14/12.


photo courtesy of NPCA

Bombardier's new test track (09/05/12)
Kingston, Canada. The test track for Bombardier's new Innovia Monorail 300 is in place. Trains for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Sao Paulo, Brazil will undergoe thorough workouts on the new track, which is wider than their M-VI series monorail (Walt Disney World and Las Vegas). Anchor Concrete was awarded the contract to provide beams for the 1.1-mile track. There are 124 straight beams in various lengths, 19 transition beams and 20 super-elevated curved beams. In an effort to improve ride quality, 300 trains will feature independent bogies. The beams had extremely tight tolerances of +/-.08 in. in a 5 ft straight edge, +/-.12 in. in width at any location and +.16/-.31 in. in any 38 ft length. Improved beam production processes are helping achieve the super-smooth track. As with prior Alweg-type monorail track, adjustable forms are used to create the great variety of shapes and lengths of track. Anchor Concrete Products Limited was awarded 1st place in above-ground concrete for the test track by the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA).

Kingston Monorail Test Track. Precast.org



14 lines for Delhi! Really? (08/28/12)
Delhi, India. The Union Urban Development Ministry has asked the Delhi government to build 13 to 14 separate monorail lines across the capital city. Some planned Delhi Metro lines may have planned technology switched from conventional rail to monorail. The first 11-kilometer line linking Shastri Park and Laxmi Nagar received approval this week. It will feature 12 stations. Consultation from experts from Japan, Malaysia and Germany has been sought to prepare a comprehensive report on the proposed monorail project. Invitations for international tenders are expected within a few months.

Capital to get 14 monorail corridors in next 10 years. Hindustan Times, 08/29/12.
Delhi's monorail project gets Union Ministry's nod. Business Standard, 08/27/12.
Delhi govt to work on 14 monorail networks. The Indian Express, 08/28/12.



SkyTran PRT (08/26/12)
Mountain View, California. It's such a spacey concept, with a spacey look, that it makes sense that NASA is involved. A collaborative effort has been under way between NASA and Unimodal Systems, LLC to develop the SkyTran, a suspended maglev-monorail Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system. Their cooperation has resulted in a short test track and vehicle at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. Research sites are also located in Los Angeles, Seattle and at the University of Montana. Simulations of the vehicle and dynamics have been developed using funding from a US DOT grant. The two-passenger pods use Inductrack passive magnetic levition instead of wheels, capable of speeds up to 150 mph. Unimodal hopes to establish a pilot proof-of-concept project under a public-private partnership. The brainchild of Douglas Malewicki, the SkyTran patent was granted in 1992. SkyTran is touted as being economic to build and operate, providing fast point-to-point transportation, it's convenient to use, safe and green.


NASA Partners to Revolutionize Personal Transportation. NASA website
Louisville man promotes monorail for Longmont. Longmont Weekly, 08/26/12
SkyTran offers Detroit new idea for mass transit. Detroit Free Press, 04/17/11.

SkyTran website
SkyTran@NASA YouTube video
SkyTran ABC Channel 7 News-YouTube



Kuala Lumpur evacuation (08/11/12)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A train stalled between Tun Sambanthan and Maharajalela Stations on the Kuala Lumpur Monorail, stranding 183 passengers for an hour. A spokesperson later stated the trouble was with a traction control malfunction, which caused a train motor to fail. The fire department evacuated 63 passengers using cranes. The rest of the passengers remained on board while the stalled train was pushed into Tun Sambanthan by another. The air conditioning had failed onboard the crowded two-car train, one passenger fainted and two others had breathing difficulties. Kuala Lumpur Monorail does not have an emergency walkway.

Stalled monorail train caused 183 passengers to be trapped for an hour. NewStraitTimes, 08/11/12.

Update Overload may have caused monorail to stall, says rescue dept. MYsinchew.com, 08/13/12



Jakarta again? Really? (08/09/12)
Jakarta, Indonesia. Unfinished pylons litter the streets of Jakarta, remnants of a failed attempt to bring a major monorail system years ago. Revival of the project has been talked about on a regular basis, but the pylons still stand as a monument to past failures. But wait a minute, they're trying again? Kiswodarmawan, the president of the Adhi Karya state construction firm, has announced a plan to build a 13-kilometer monorail with about sixteen stations from Tanah Abang's commercial area to Senayan in South Jakarta. The system would serve as a feeder for existing transportation, as well as future transportation in the area. Adhi Karya believes the monorail is within reach and states they have the capacity to finance and build it.

Adhi Karya Plans Revival of Jakarta Monorail Project. Jakarta Globe, 08/09/12.



Bombardier awarded 10-year Newark contract (08/03/12)
Newark, NJ. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) has awarded a 10-year operations and maintenance contract to Bombardier Transportation. The $243 million contract starts today for the 4.7-kilometer monorail system. More than 100 Bombardier operations and maintenance specialists have been providing services to date on the Von Roll-designed system. The system serves three terminals, parking lots, a rental car facility and a connector station on the North East Corridor rail line. It consists of 18 six-car monorail trains.

Bombardier Awarded 10-Year Operations and Maintenance Services Contract for AirTrain at Newark Liberty International Airport. Marketwire, 08/03/12.


Patna Map

Patna advances plan (08/01/12)
Patna, India. In northeastern India, last year the City of Patna had its soil tested in four locations and the ground was surveyed as part of a monorail study. RITES, the consultancy arm of Indian Railways, conducted the study. The Bihar capital has been preparing for a monorail system since 2008, when then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad announced the proposal. Lalu was impressed with monorails he toured in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. The RITES studies are being evaluated currently, and the Bihar government will then decide whether to proceed with inviting tenders. India remains the world's most active country in monorail proposals, but to date only the Mumbai Monorail is being constructed.

Bihar mulls proposal to run monorail service. moneycontrol.com, 08/01/12.



Jakarta Airport monorail plan (07/28/12)
Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesia's Banten administration intends to build a monorail between Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatto International Airport with the neighboring city of South Tangerang. State train supplier Industri Kereta Api would provide trains and Banten Global Development would be involved in property developments along the route. A total of 14 stations are planned. Planners are optimistic that construction could begin in 2013, and the system would be ready for testing in 2014. No mention of specific technology has been made yet, so the term 'monorail' still needs to be demonstrated. Abandoned monorail pylons still line some streets of Jakarta from an earlier Indonesian monorail effort.

Banten to Spen Rp 6.5t for Soekarno-Hatta Airport Monorail. Jakarta Globe, 07/28/12.


Atlantic City
photo courtesy of
Ozcan Yesiloglu

New minirail in Ankara (07/15/12)
Ankara, Turkey. A new minirail now shuttles between Ankara Metro station and Atlantis City, a condominium/shopping center development in Western Ankara. The line operates primarily at ground level, except for a road crossing at the mid-point turn between the complex and Metro station. The track surface has a unique 'diamond plate' metal floor texture. As we go to print, the identity of the system manufacturer is unknown, but appears to be one-of-a-kind.

update 11/02/12: The manufacturer is Beijing Shibaolai Amusement Equipment Co. Ltd. of China. The system is supplied with 380v which is rectified to 500v. Track dimensions are 450mm x 350mm steel. Trains have a 64-passenger capacity. Speed is a blazing 15km/h.

Atlantis City website




American Maglev offers system to Orlando (06/27/12)
Orlando, Florida. American Maglev Technology, Inc. is proposing a privately-funded maglev system for Orlando. If built, the 15-kilometer system would connect Orlando International Airport with Orange County Convention Center, International Drive Resort area, Lake Nona's Medical City and the 61-mile Central Florida commuter rail SunRail station. Eventually the system could be extended to the Disney resort area. Tony Morris, principal of American Maglev, presented his plan to Orange County commissioners this week. The company has been testing their technology in Powder Springs, Georgia since 2006. They claim maglev would cost about $20 million per mile. Morris also claims that the first 15 kilometers could be operating by 2014, even though the company to date has not produced a successful public system. $16 million in federal, state and private funds went into an unsuccessful attempt at a maglev line for Old Dominion University in Virginia in 2001. The track remains at the university but has been abandoned. Morris claims the problems of that maglev have been solved. American Maglev has an agreement with Grupo ACS, one of the largest construction companies in the world to facilitate construction. Trains would run at 10-minute intervals and a ticket would cost $12. Orange County would only have to provide right of way for the maglev.

Privately-funded $315.2M Maglev system to create 60 high-wage jobs. Orlando Business Journal, 06/26/12.
Orange leaders like idea of paying nothing for $315 million train. Orlando Sentinel, 06/26/12.
American Maglev Technology website



Anaheim ends monorail plan (06/27/12)
Anaheim, California. Mayor Tom Tait says Anaheim has abandoned the idea for a monorail to transport tourists between Disneyland, train stations and other city locations. Wait says the system was "way too expensive." How expensive? Well, according to Tait the monorail was going to be $700 million. Who supplied this figure is not clear, but it's not a surprise that light rail in the crowded streets is now being looked at as 'more sensible.' Of course the figures for light rail are coming in considerably lower than monorail. Again, it's not clear who is supplying the costs, but it's evident that monorail prices of systems like Scomi and Metrail have not been considered.

Anaheim Gives Up On Monorail. Voice of OC, 06/25/12.


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