News Brief Archives

News Brief Archives
September 13 - December 21, 2010

Extensive plans for Sao Paulo (12/21/10)
Sao Paulo, Brazil. One city in South America appears to have more serious monorail line plans than any other on the planet. According to one of our Monorail Society members in Brazil, a Director for System Expansion in Companhia do Metropolitano de Sao Paulo-Metrô, Sao Paulo has extensive plans for monorail beyond the current 24-kilometer line being built. The State Government of Sao Paulo plans to build at least three monorail lines in the near future:
1 - Extensão da Linha 2-Verde (Line 2-Green extension)
     Construction: started March 2010
     Operation: 2012 first phase, 2014 total line
     Length: 24 km
     Stations: 17
     Trains: 54 trains with 7 cars
     Train Capacity: 1.000 passengers
     Design Headway: 75 seconds
     Operation Headway: 90 seconds
     Supplier: Bombardier.
2 - Linha 17-Ouro (Line 17-Gold)
     Construction: Beginning February/2011
     Operation: 2013 first phase, 2014 total line
     Length: 18 km
     Stations: 18
     Trains: 24 trains
     Minimal Train Capacity: 400 passengers
     Design headway: 80 seconds
     Operation Headway: 200 seconds
     Supplier: Proposals presented December 3, 2010.
Line 17 would make an arch in the south of Sao Paulo City and connect 4 radials Metro lines, three Bus Corridors and the second most crowded airport in Brazil, the local Congonhas Airport.

3 - Linha 16-Prata (Line 16-Silver)
     Construction: Beginning 2012
     Operation: 2015
     Length: 8.3 km
     Stations: 10
     Trains: around 13 trains
     Train Capacity: around 800 passengers
     Design Headway: not defined yet
     Operation Headway: 200 seconds
     Supplier: Bidding in future.

An additional line is under preliminary study. It would connect Sao Paulo with others cities in Sao Paulo Metropolitan Area with 21 kilometers of dual-lane track. The  Sao Paulo Municipality is also planning a monoral line with around 15 kilomters for 2015. If that isn't enough, an additional 29 kilometer monorail is being considered!

Jakarta airport connector? (12/21/10)
Jakarta, Indonesia. In addition the long-stalled Jakarta Monorail project, there's now an additional plan for a 28-kilometer monorail line between Soekarno-Hatta International Airport and Serpong. The system would feature at least 15 stations, including Rawa Buntu, Griya Loka, BSD Junction, WTC Serpong, Serpong Times Square, Kota Modern, Tangerang, Mekar Wangi, Garuda, and Terminal 1, Terminal 2, and Terminal 3 at Soekarno-Hatta Airport. The monorail is being proposed by the South Tangerang administration. Besides funding the project with regional and state budgets, they hope to attract independent sponsors.

Monorail needs three years to build. eco-business.com, 12/21/10.
S. Tangerang announces monorail ambition. Jakarta Post, 12/21/10.

Philippines to develop own monorail (12/14/10)
Manila, Philippines. The Department of Science and Technology (DoST) plans to develop the first Filipino monorail technology. The technology will be tested with a small system at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. Once operating, the two-kilomter monorail system will shuttle passengers around the campus. The prototype train will consist of two 60-passenger cars. The DoST believes developing their own monorail will lower the cost to one-fifth of the price of importing one. Preliminary engineering and planning is under way.

DoST develops mono-rail. Manila Bulletin, 12/14/10.
DOST develops monorail system for UP Diliman. Philippine Star, 12/15/10.

WDW spur construction (12/10/10)
Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Construction continues on the Walt Disney World Monorail System for a short, 62' spur line. The line is being added to an existing switch on the Epcot line near the Transportation & Ticketing Center (TTC). Disney wants to keep a diesel-powered tractor permanently parked off the Epcot line to allow quicker dispatch in the case of disabled trains or power failures. A power failure last December stranded 300 passengers at 1 AM in the morning. Some of them were not evacuated until 4 AM in the morning. Having the tractor on the Epcot line will also permit earlier inspection of the line when the monorail system cycles down for the night.

Current spur line construction at Walt Disney World

Iran Maglev? (12/10/10)
Tehran, Iran. Press reports from Tehran are reporting that representatives from Iran's public and private sectors will soon sign contract papers in Germany to for a Tehran-Mashhad Transrapid Maglev system. If the reports are correct and the system is built, it would be the second Transrapid system in the world after Shanghai's airport connector. The system would also be the longest maglev in the world at 900 kilometers long. A trip between Tehran and Mashhad would take around two and a half hours travelling at speeds up to 500 kmh.

Germans ready to build Tehran-Mashhad maglev train. Payvand Iran News, 12/10/10.

Scomi wins train contract (12/10/10)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (SPNB) has given Scomi Rail Bhd a letter of intent for monorail fleet expansion of the Kuala Lumpur Monorail. Scomi has accepted the RM494 million contract to supply 48 coach vehicles (12 four-car trains). The Kuala Lumpur Monorail has operated with limited capacity two-car trains since it opened in 2003. During peak commute times the system's two-car trains can be packed, not allowing additional passengers to board along the route. Kuala Lumpur Monorail Stations were built with expansion in mind, the platforms are already long enough to handle the new four-car trains.

Scomi Unit Accepts SPNB's RM494 Million Monorail Expansion Project. Bernama.com, 12/06/10.

Seattle Monorail hose incident (11/28/10)
Seattle, Washington. Human error appears to be the culprit for an unfortunate incident on the Seattle Center Monorail yesterday. Monorail maintenance personnel evidently left an air hose attached to a monorail tire. As the train headed out from Seattle Center towards Westlake Station, the dangling hose whipped around, hit pedestrians and a police vehicle. Luckily no one was seriously injured, but several people along the route were shaken up. Witness Kathy Mattioda said, "All I saw was the monorail coming around the corner and this cable just was slack, just flying everywhere, hitting things."

Tubing flies off Monorail, hits people on ground. Seattle PI, 11/28/10.

Tree troubles in Asia (11/27/10)
Mumbai, India & Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Environmentalists are complaining that the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) may not be adhering to its own rules to replace each tree cut down with two saplings along the Mumbai Monorail route. Some environmentalists are also saying the authority should replace trees with trees instead of saplings. There are 1,180 trees on the 9-kilometerWadala-Chembur monorail alignment. While the tree complaints take place in India, a very large tree at Jalan Sultan Ismail fell on the Kuala Lumpur Monorail tracks in Malaysia. Fortunately no train was in the area when the tree fell, yet service was disrupted for several hours until it could be safely removed without damaging the power supply rails on the track.

Help, Monorail work is killing our trees. Mid-day.com, 11/20/10.
Tree falls on KL Monorail track. The Malay Mail, 11/26/10.

Scomi & EPI join to advance Asian monorails (11/15/10)
New Delhi, India. Engineering Projects India Ltd (EPI) and Scomi Engineering Bhd have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly promote more monorail systems in India and the South Asia region. Scomi's CEO Shah Hakim Zain said, "Together we will look at public transportation projects on the PPP (Private-Public Partnership) model in other Indian cities. Currently we are looking at three India cities. Besides India, EPI is also investing in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh in this sector." EPI is a leading investment arm of the Indian government, while Malaysia-based Scomi is a transportation manufacturer currently building the 19.5-km Mumbai Monorail. Both hope to see at least one new project started by 2011.

Scomi And India's EPI To Jointly Explore New Projects In South Asia. Bernama.com, 11/15/10.

Las Vegas Monorail wins one in court (11/02/10)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Bondholders lost their appeal to halt Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization of the Las Vegas Monorail. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Bruce A. Markell in Las Vegas ruled in April that Monorail isn’t a municipality and entitled to reorganize in Chapter 11. On appeal, U.S. District Judge James Mahan in Reno upheld the bankruptcy judge and refused to stop the Chapter 11 case in an opinion handed down Oct. 29. The Las Vegas Monorail filed a proposed Chapter 11 plan in August. The monorail's senior bondholders, owed $451 million, oppose the plan. Las Vegas Monorail is a non-profit corporation. The 4-mile system began operation in July of 2004. Once bankruptcy reorganization is complete, the corporation hopes to expand the system to McCarran International Airport from the current terminal station at MGM Grand Resort.

Monorail: Bankruptcy. Bloomberg Businessweek, 11/02/10

Tokyo opens new terminal station (10/21/10)
Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo Monorail has opened its new airport station at Haneda's new International Terminal. For years Haneda Airport was limited primarily to domestic Japan flights, while the Narita International Airport was designated the area's international airport. With limited runway availability at Narita, thanks in part to farmers refusing to give up their land, Haneda gained more and more international traffic. The need for a special international terminal became a priority. While it was built, a new 'detour' segment of track was built for the Tokyo Monorail. It was designed so that altering monorail traffic to the new line would only take a matter of days while a few last beams were switched out. The monorail station opened today on time. The Tokyo Monorailo now features 11 stations.

Inside Tokyo-Haneda's New International Terminal. jaunted.com, 10/21/10.
Tokyo Monorail, Keikyu open stations at new Haneda int'l terminal. Mainichi Daily News, 10/22/10.

Malacca Tourist Monorail opens (10/20/10)
Malacca, Malaysia. A 1.6 kilometer shuttle monorail along the Malacca River has opened. The single track line connects Taman Rempah in Pengkalan Rama to Kampung Bunga Raya Pantai in the central part of the city. One 22-passenger, three car train shuttles back and forth along the winding river. A round trip takes about 30 minutes. There are plans to lengthen the train to six cars.

RM16.5 Million Sungai Melaka Tourist Monorail Launched. Bernama.com, 10/20/10.

Innovia 300 train

New details on Bombardier INNOVIA 300 (10/08/10)
Québec, Canada. New details are emerging on Bombardier's latest technology, the INNOVIA 300 Monorail. The company has released spec sheets with some intriguing information included. The new train is designed to operate at higher capacity over previous generations of Bombardier monorail systems with the modification of the train configuration and the implementation of automated operations.  This will make it very suitable for mass transit type operations, such as the Sao Paulo Expresso Tiradentes line, where it is anticipated that the new system will transport some 40,000 passengers per hour per direction (pphpd). The Las Vegas Monorail, now designated BOMBARDIER INNOVIA Monorail 200, was designed for 8,000 pphpd.   Other comparisons of the INNOVIA Monorail 300 system with the Las Vegas system include:

  • The INNOVIA Monorail 300 system is capable of high capacity by modifying the train configuration (2, 4, 6 or 8 car configurations) and adding the BOMBARDIER CITYFLO 650 automatic train control system to reduce headways (CITYFLO is capable of less than 90 second headways / in some applications, as low as 75 seconds)
    • Dimensions - INNOVIA Monorail 300 is slightly larger:  a 4-car INNOVIA Monorail 300 is 50,110 mm long compared to 4-car Las Vegas at 42,196 mm, the width of INNOVIA Monorail 300 is 3,147 mm compared to 2,635 mm
    • Design capacity per 4-car train - standees + seated (4 pass/m2) - INNOVIA Monorail 300 is designed to carry more passengers
    - INNOVIA Monorail 300 = 356
    - Las Vegas = 224
    Note:  flexible seating arrangements to meet customer specific requirements.  
    • INNOVIA Monorail 300 will be the first Bombardier monorail with walk-through (provides free passenger flow and enhances safety).
    • INNOVIA Monorail 300 has an open visual end to the train which enhances the passenger environment / Las Vegas does not have this feature.

The INNOVIA Monorail 300 has very similar dimensions and features to the so-called 'Seattle Train.' The Seattle Train was what Team Monorail proposed for the now-defunct Seattle Monorail Project.

illustration courtesy of Bombardier Transportation

The Monorail Society Papers Page (now including INNOVIA 200 & 300 data sheets)

Manaus Monorail project stopped (10/01/10)
Manaus, Brazil. Questions over financing and route selection are said to be the reasons for the discontinuation of the Manaus Monorail Project. The 20-kilometer monorail was planned to help alleviate traffic congestion for the 2014 World Cup. Scomi and its partners were the only competitor to be qualified for the monorail. A spokesperson from the state tenders commission say the project has been suspended indefinitely.

Manaus' US$776mn monorail suspended over financing, irregularities. Business News Americas, 10/01/10.

Google awards funding to Shweeb (09/24/10)
Mountain View, California. Shweeb has won one million dollars in funding from Google through Google's Project 10-100. Shweeb is a small suspended monorail system powered by human peddling. Google's award will fund research and development to test Shweeb’s technology for an urban setting.

Shweeb website
Project 10-100 winners page

Innovia 300 train

Bombardier's Riyadh project IS monorail! (09/22/10)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Due to confusion over the recent expansion of Bombardier's use of the term 'Innovia,' a genuine monorail contract for Riyadh was mistaken for Bombardier's Innovia ART system (Advanced Rapid Transit). It turns out that Bombardier has now also applied the name Innovia to their monorail technology as the Bombardier Innovia Monorail 300. In May it was announced that Bombardier will build a 3.6-kilometer monorail system for the King Abdullah Financial District, the new financial and business center under development in Riyadh. The system will feature six stations and six, two-car, driverless monorail trains. The $241 million monorail is scheduled to be completed in 2012.

illustration courtesy of Bombardier Transportation

Bombardier Riyadh announcement
Bombardier Innovia Monorail page

Bombardier wins Sao Paulo! (09/21/10)
Sao Paulo, Brazil. Bombardier has won the lucrative contract for the Sao Paulo Monorail System. Their bid was for 2.46 Billion Reais. This will be Bombardier's first monorail contract in South America. The line will be 24 kilometers in length and include 17 stations. Scomi and Hitachi were competitors in the bidding battle. Sources tell The Monorail Society that the Sao Paulo Bombardier trains will feature technical advances in the trains over prior monorails built for Walt Disney World and Las Vegas. The train reportedly will have bogies entirely independent from the body frame, which has the potential of improving their ride quality.

Sao Paulo Monorail Project Slips Through Hitachi's Fingers. Nikkei.com, 09/21/10.

UPDATE: additional press source...
Consórcio da Queiroz Galvão vence licitação do Expresso Tiradentes. Revista Ferroviaria, 09/15/10 (in Portuguese)

Vegas bondholders seek reorganization control (09/18/10)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas Monorail owes bondholders over $375 million. The bondholder and Wells Fargo Bank NA, their trustee, have filed for exclusive rights to reorganize the nonprofit corporation. They asked a bankruptcy judge to end Las Vegas Monorail's exclusive right to file a plan for reorganization. The creditors have suggested extending payments on the debt over 100 years to 2017, instead of canceling them when the bankruptcy case ends. Las Vegas Monorail filed for bankruptcy in January. According to court documents, the monorail earned just under $27 million from riders last year, yet the debt was $500 million to $1 billion as a result of construction.

Las Vegas Monorail Bondholders Seek Control of Reorganization. Bloomberg, 09/17/10.

Greek city plans monorail (09/15/10)
Piraeus, Greece. Piraeus, a waterfront city near Athens, is planning a monorail system along the perimeter of its port. The monorail has already been unanimously approved by the governmental agencies of the city and the interministerial committee. Seven groups have been announced as finalists in the competition to supply the system. Bidding for the project are Bombardier Transportation, a consortium J & P AVAX SA -Intamin Transportation Ltd, Metrail AG, Scomi Engineering - 2P Technology, Siemens, Union - Archirodon and Urbanaut Company - Rowin Company. Metro SA has been hired by the Piraeus Port Authority (PPA SA) to prepare a final technical study for the six-kilometer long system. The tender process should be complete in March, 2011. Completion of the monorail is slated for 2013.

Monorail in Piraeus (in Greek). forthnet.gr, 08/23/10.

Transsystem develops new minirail (09/13/10)
Chur, Switzerland. A new minirail system has been developed by PPH Transsystem AG of Lancut, Poland. Transystem is a handling systems provider with offices in several European countries as well as one in the USA. Bartholet Maschinenbau AG fabricated the train and track at their facility in Chur, Switzerland. The test train is slated to become a transport system in Taiwan. The minirail technology was also being developed for a proposed seven-kilometer urban transport for Rzeszow, Poland. The Rzeszow project would have featured larger trains, but was cancelled recently in favor of an expanded bus system. The so-called 'Catterpillar' monorail features eight cabins linked together on top of a steel straddle bogie system. Each cabin can carry up to six passengers.

photos courtesy of PPH Transsystem AG

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