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News Briefs for One-Tracked Minds
The latest news added Aug 3, 2017

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China's Homemade High-Speed Monorail Imminent(07/28/17)
China. China's independently developed fast suspended monorail train, also known as the sky train, has been produced by Beijing-based CRRC, the world's largest supplier of rail transit equipment with most complete product lines and leading technologies. Production of the new train has entered the pilot phase....The suspended monorail train, a unique means of transport with advantages over subway cars in lower cost, shorter construction period and less influence on ground transportation, has huge market potentials.

China's Homemade High-Speed Suspended Monorail Train Imminent Sputnik International, 7/28/17.

CRRC Sifang rolls out suspension monorail prototype (07/20/17)
Hancheng, China. CRRC Sifang has rolled out a prototype trainset for a suspension monorail that it is building in Hancheng. In November construction began on a 55 km north-south line linking the city centre and the airport. The supplier is offering the trainset in a three- or five-car version, with capacity for 300 or 510 passengers. Permanent magnet motors give a maximum speed of 70 km/h and the ability to climb inclines of up to 10%. CRRC Sifang says that suspension monorails are especially suitable for scenic or hilly areas, as well as cities with heavy road traffic.

CRRC rolls out suspension monorail prototype International Metro Report, 7/25/17.

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BYD

Monorail back on the cards for Cambridge (07/20/17)
Cambridge, England. A monorail for Cambridge could be back on the cards and will be included in a £150,000 transport study alongside light rail and futuristic 120mph rapid buses for consideration. The Greater Cambridge Partnership (formerly City Deal) assembly met yesterday (July 19) and gave their unanimous support to giving £150,000 to a consultant to look into mass transport options for Cambridge and the surrounding area. Light rail will be looked at, as will a monorail. The consultant will also consider a rapid transit bus system and other “affordable very rapid transport”.

Monorail back on the cards for Cambridge Cambridge News, 7/20/17.

BYD

Patent infringements by BYD? (01/08/17)
Shenzhen, China. In September of 2016 News Briefs reported a surprise, a new 5.4-kilometer test track in operation built by BYD Company Ltd.. The company has already signed a preliminery agreement with the City of Shantou to build a 250-kilometer system (not a typo). A monorail factory is being built outside the city. Some in the monorail industry are questioning BYD's quick jump from battery and electric vehicle building to monorails. Marketing General Manager Wang Jung from BYD's competitor CRRC-Bombardier, said, "The whole design of the BYD SkyRail is copied from the CRRC Puzhen Bombardier." Jun pointed out that BYD's SkyRail copied exterior design and technologies such as the motors, bogies and drive system. According to an article in Caixin Global, CRRC Puzhen Bombardier has hired lawyers to collect evidence and legally challenge BYD for patent infringement. As 28 cities in China have launched feasibility studies for monorail, competition between manufacturers will heat up on several levels, both in bidding for system contracts and legal fights over technology.

BYD's Wang Barrels Into Monorails. Caixin Global, 12/22/16.

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Interior comparison, including the unique bogie enclosures between cars

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Wuhu monorail lines approved (01/06/17)
Wuhu, China. A variety of Chinese media outlets are reporting that the Wuhu municipal government has approved two monorail lines across the city. Line 1 will run 30.4 kilometers between Baoshun Road and White Mountain and have 24 stations. Line 2 will be 16.5 kilometers long with 12 stations and run between Maritime Bureau and Education School. The Wuhu government signed a monorail vehicle procurement contract with CRRC Puzhen Bombardier Transportation Systems. CRRC Puzhen Bombardier Transportation Systems is a 50-50 joint venture between Bombardier and CRRC. According to online reports from China, construction has already commenced.

Bombardier: Wins Monorail Order in China. s4-Traders, 12.27/16.

Cebu

Efforts for Monorail in Cebu (12/28/16)
Cebu, Philippines. Cebu, located in the the Philippine Central Visayas region, compromises of Cebu Island and more than 150 smaller surrounding islands and islets. An international group of investors has expressed interest in building a Cebu Monorail System. The unamed investment group is comprised of Canadian, Chinese and Filipino monorail backers. They claim the monorail could be built in three years and serve the cities of Mandaue and Cebu. The investment group has already met with Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena and Mandaue Mayor Gabriel Luis Quisumbing. An investment group representative said the monorail is the long-term solution for the traffic in the whole Metro Cebu since monorail has several advantages over light rail transit (LRT) and metro rail transit (MRT). Efforts for a Memorendum of Understanding with the local government to proceed toward studies are under way. An extension to the airport is also under consideration.

Foreign firm to build monorail in Cebu. Sun Star Cebu, 12/28/16.

Bangkok

Bombardier wins big in Bangkok? (12/23/16)
Bangkok, Thailand. Bombardier appears to be part of a massive two-line monorail contract bid winner in Bangkok. Sources tell us they will supply 308 INNOVIA Monorail 300 train cars for both the planned Pink Line and Yellow Line. PBTS (Puzhen Bombardier Transportation Systems) is a joint venture of Canadian based Bombardier Transportations Systems (50%) and Chinese based CSR Nanjing Puzhen Co., Ltd. (50%). PBTS will be responsible for all train manufacturing for the project. The Pink and Yellow Line 105 billion baht contract was won by BSR Joint Venture, consisting of BTS Group, Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction PCL and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding PCL. They will build the two monorail lines in a public-private partnership with MRTA (Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand). The concession contract is expected to be signed in Spring of 2017, with a completion target date of 2020. The 34-kilometer Pink Line route will run from Nonthaburi Government Center to the eastern district of Min Buri. The 30-kilometer Yellow Line will run from Ratchada-Lat Phrao intersection southeast to the Samrong area of Samut Prakan province. To date, no official announcement from Bombardier has been made. It's likely they will wait for the concession contract signing in 2017.

Pink and Yellow Monorail Lines given 2020 Completion. Khaosod, 12/07/16


Bombardier INNOVIA Monorail 300 train rendering for the Pink Line

 

Chicago

M-word suggested in Chicago (11/15/16)
Chicago, Illinois. Every once in a while someone in the USA gets it right on monorail. The trouble is in convincing others. Kane County board member Philip Lewis considers monorail to be "kind of visionary." He said this at a county Transportation Committee meeting on Tuesday. Chicago is well known for is aging, loud, view-blocking L, but Lewis sees the advantages of monorail for future lines. Lewis is an adjunct professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which hopefully lends credence to his idea. Professor Lewis said monorail can be built above public right of ways and the cost would "be about one quarter of one percent being spent on transportations costs today." The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP) is working on its 'On To 2050' plan which includes transportation.

Monorail as regional transportation 'visionary' says Kane board member. Elgin Courier-News, 11/15/16.

BYD train

BYD surprise in China (09/28/16)
Shenzhen, China. BYD Company Limited, an electric car and rechargeable battery manufacturer, is investing in China's huge monorail market potential in a big way. The monorail world has again been surprised with photographs of yet another Chinese company developing their own monorail technology. A station and sleek train are part of a 4.4 kilometer test track being constructed on the BYD campus in Shenzhen. The prototype train has a three-car configuration. Once the prototype is proven, eight-car trains will be possible for revenue-producing systems. Wang Chuanfu, BYD chairman, has said "Monorail systems are a potential 3 trillion yuan (US $450 billion) market in China, based on an average 70km network in each of an estimated 300 cities, and will become a new major growth area for the company." Wang also pointed out monorails can be built for one-sixth the cost of a subway system and are also far cheaper to maintain. The company is making use of its battery and electric car technology experience in the development of their monorails.

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BYD Monorail; the most streamlined monorail ever built? (photos courtesy of xchuxing.com)

BYD monorail test track photos. xchuxing.com, 09/27/16.
BYD eyes Chinese monorail market. Bloomberg, 06/29/16.

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Putrajaya restart? (09/22/16)
Putrajaya, Malaysia. For years the spectacular new national capital city of Putrajaya has had a monorail station on the main rail line between Kuala Lumpur and the international airport. Track leaves the station then ends. A spectacular monorail-exclusive bridge crosses the river, complete with monorail track ending at each end. Subway tunnels under the main street of the modern capital remain empty. All were built for what would have been a very high profile system; Putrajaya Monorail. The project was shelved in 2004 for federal budget reasons and to wait until ridership would justify the system's completion. Twelve years later, MMC Corporation Berhad (MMC) has told a local newspaper they are interested in rekindling the project. MMC has proposed the restart to the Economic Council, and if approved the system could be complete by 2021, according to the Sun Daily. The original plan was for a 13.6 kilometer line and a connecting 6.8 kilometer line. 25 stations would be served. Four kilometers of underground track and nine kilometers of above ground track were completed before the project was halted.

 

Putrajaya Monorail back on track? The Sun Daily, 09/22/16.
TMS exclusive two-page photo tour of Putrajaya project in 2005

SkyTrain

China reveals new H-Bahn train (09/12/16)
Nanjing, China. Some years back we reported Sky Train International's announcement to build SAFEGE-like monorails in many Chinese cities, starting with Shanghai. This week China revealed its first prototype train at Nanjing Puzhen Company Limited, which is affiliated with CRRC Corporation Limited (China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation). China's SkyTrain appears to be based on Germany's H-Bahn technology, in use at Dusseldorf International and Dortmund University. Two compartment trains can hold over 200 passengers. Unique to the Nanjing H-Bahn, trains are powered by batteries that last 4 hours. The plan is to switch batteries out at stations in a process that lasts only two minutes. The company stated that SkyTrains will likely make their public debut next year at a variety of "scenic places."

SkyTrain
China's first SAFEGE technology 'SkyTrain' (photos courtesy of China Daily)

China's first sky train rolls off assembly line, will go into operation next year. Shanghaiist, 09/12/16.
China Rolls Out Its First Sky Train.
NDTV, 09/12/16.

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Bangkok cabinet approves Gold Line (09/06/16)
Bangkok, Thailand. Proposed in July of 2015, the Gold Line Monorail has been approved by Bangkok's cabinet. The 2.7-kilometer line will run from BTS Green Line's Thonburi Station to Prachathipok. Four stations will dot the line. The Gold Line will also connect with the Purple Line. The cabinet also ordered a study on possible visual impacts of the monorail along the Chao Phraya River. The Gold Line joins plans for at least two other monorail projects, the Pink and Yellow Lines.

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Success on 1st trial run: Mumbai Phase II (08/20/16)
Mumbai, India. Great news for the Mumbai Monorail came Friday when Train number 9 completed a successful first trial run on part of the new Phase II track. Starting at 8:31 am, the sleek blue train departed Wadala Depot, the southernmost terminal station of now-open Phase I line. First runs are at a precautionary speed of 15 km/h, as the track/train/busbar interfaces are all being used for the first time. The trial run went as far as Acharya Atre before returning to Wadala at 8:47 am. Officials called the run a complete success. Once Phase II opens, the monorail is expected to enjoy a large increase in ridership. The 10.6 kilometer extension will bring the system to Jacob Circle, stopping at many high-activity areas and transit connections along the way.

Monorail phase II trial run successfully completed. Daily News, 08/19/16.

MumbaiMap
Mumbai Monorail: Phase I in blue (open), Phase II in red (late 2016/early 2017)

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Scomi's Mumbai troubles continue (08/01/16)
Mumbai, India. Malaysian monorail supplier Scomi Engineering continues to generate negative headlines in India, all due to troubles with Mumbai Monorail. Mumbai Monorail is the first major monorail system in India, and based on the negative publicity generated during Phase I's operations, it may be the last. Today a train halted along the line early in the morning, before passenger service. However, monorail service was unavailable until 11 am. Power supply problems were reportedly involved. This happened in March as well, which led to an emergency evacuation of passengers. In June parts of fell from the train after a tire failure while rolling. Visibility issues for drivers have occured with the failure of window wipers as well. In recent days, only two trains have been available on the 8.9 kilometer Phase I track between Wadala to Chembur. Instead of trains every 15 minutes, wait times have increased up to a half hour. Officials of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) have claimed that the performance of Scomi has been poor. MMRDA might have to continue taking its help despite the contract ending in 2017 due to 'technical challenges' and 'patent-related issues'. A senior MMRDA official stated "It is a total failure on the part of Scomi Engineering, which had failed to procure spare parts for repairing and maintaining rolling stocks. The rolling stocks are non-functional mainly due to Scomi not procuring spare parts."

Monorail services come to a standstill at Wadala. dna.com, 08/01/16.
MMRDA to stick with 'errant' contractor for better or worse. The Asian Age, 08/01/16.
Only 2 monorail rolling stocks running. The Asian Age, 08/01/16.

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