Okinawa Monorail
another Monorail Society Exclusive!
Page Four of Six

Here's a close up look at what every major transit rail system should have, a passageway from car to car.

We're off and running. Drivers were undergoing extensive training and we had the privilege of riding along for a full circuit of the entire system. From the inside, the driver's cab is reminiscent of the rounded features of the Seattle Center Monorail. Incidently, wearing white gloves is commonplace for transportation drivers in Japan.

While drivers would take turns "at the helm," other trainees would time and take notes of the current driver's performance. Precision of stop locations in stations was also watched closely.

Talk about peer pressure! The ladies and gentlemen driving our brand new monorail train were being carefully watched by trainers, fellow drivers and a couple of tourists from the USA. The Okinawa Monorail is the first in Japan to have female drivers.

A great workstation that comes with a view.

Every transit monorail in Japan has this, a door at each end complete with a ramp for emergency train-to-train evacuation. Like walk-through trains, all transit monorails should have this feature. For further information, see "Make Mine Walk-Through" in our Editorial Pages.

Accompanying us all the way from Tokyo to Okinawa and with us throughout the day, our gracious host was Kentatsu Ito, from the Hitachi Transportation Systems Sales Division, Overseas Marketing Department. Mr. Ito not only helped David and I get from point to point, he also took on the challenging task of translating for us when talking to officials at Okinawa. As you can see, Mr. Ito also had to become an Okinawa Intercity Engineering System JV staff member for the ride.

This man is smiling for a good reason. Videographer David M. Ice was allowed to shoot footage with his super-duper mini-DV camera from the driver's cab along the entire route. This should make you happy too, because currently in production is a fabulous David M. Ice DVD, Monorails of Japan 2003 (now available!). The footage David will be including is just incredible. In Hollywood, David established an excellent reputation for his skills (known as Mr. Fixit). Next Page...

Okinawa Monorail - Photo Essay page ONE / TWO / THREE / FOUR / FIVE / SIX

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