News Briefs for One-Tracked Minds
The latest news added August 31, 2014

News Brief Archives

 

TransrapidDesert

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.

SaoPaulo4

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!

Linha15
image courtesy of imagem.band.com.br

Incheon3

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


TokyoStation

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.

TokyoExtMap
Proposed extension (in red)


CTA

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

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.


WDW2

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.


Monorailex

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

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)


anquish

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

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.

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

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


FjordlandMonorail

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


EWR

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


2017

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.

Turkmenistan1
Olympic Rings featured on one monorail bridge. Images courtesy of Intamin Transportation

Turkmenistan2
Turkmenistan law requires emergency walkways on both sides of the track

Polimeks Olympics complex project page


Bandung

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.


Tokyo10000

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)

TokyoInterior
Renderings courtesy of Tokyo Monorail


/ News Briefs Archives