Monorails of the World

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Monorails of Africa

Port Harcourt, Nigeria

The Rivers Monorail is based on Intamin P30 technology, with trains capable of speeds up to 80 km/hr. The Rivers State government is providing 20% of the costs while TSI Holdings Limited will invest 80%. The first phase of the system will be 2.6 kilometers long. It will have t-supports for future expansion, but open as a single lane shuttle with three stations. Phase Two will double the track and extend the system another 3.9 kilometers. Rivers Monorail is actually somewhat of a hybrid tram/monorail system. The track on straight track is made up of two separate beams. If this were the case for the entire alignment, The Monorail Society definition for monorail would not apply. However, all curved track is enclosed, singular guideway. Rivers Monorail is indeed at least partially 'monorail.' Perhaps a more proper term should be mono-duorail. Before completion, a change in government has placed the completion of the monorail in jeopardy. As of Spring 2016 it was said the system was to be abandoned before opening.

opening ?

2.6 km 

3 stations 

First Intamin monorail in Africa

See our Construction Gallery for photos.

Intamin's first P30 monorail train before shipment to Nigeria

Calabar, Nigeria

Photo courtesy of Intamin Transportation

A new real estate project in Calabar, is growing fast. Its name is Summit Hills and soon it will feature a short monorail. Summit Hills consists of a Convention Center, Hotel, Recreational Facilities, Golf Course, Clubhouse, Nature Reserve, Hospital and numerous residential units. Summit Hills will become connected to Tinapa Resort through a shuttle monorail line in 2016. The monorail using an Intamin P8 electric powered passenger shuttle train composed of ten passenger cars and two equipment cars (total of 12 cars per train) with seventy-eight total seats. The train will shuttle passengers between the CICC and the Tinapa complex while allowing access to Studio Tinapa, Tinapa Shopping Center, and the Tinapa waterpark and provides a quick alternative access connecting Tinapa to Summit Hills. Initially, one driver-operated train P8/78 with a maximum capacity of 78 seated passengers will serve altogether three stations. The system should more accurately be called a mono-duorail considering straight segments of track are actually made up of two large I-beams. An extension to Margaret Ekpo International Airport has been suggested by Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade.

opening 2016

1.1 km 

3 stations 

Second Intamin monorail in Africa

Monorails of Oceania

Sea World, Gold Coast, Australia

Australia's first monorail is a Von Roll Type II system that carries park visitors in a single track loop around the park. Stations are near the entrance of park, one is by a water slide park and another is at Nara Resort Hotel at the north end of the Sea World park. The minimum curve radius of this installation is 20 meters and the maximum gradient is 6 percent. There are nine cars per train. Total train capacity is 100 passengers and capacity is 1800 passengers per hour. Top speed of the system is 27 kph. Sea World attendance increased by a staggering 35% in the first four months of the monorail.

 Opened 1988

 2 km

 3 stations

First monorail in Australia.

Oasis-Jupiter, Broadbeach Australia

Four-car monorail trains run between the Grand Mercure Hotel, Oasis Shopping Centre and Jupiter Casino. The Von Roll Type III system is actually a bit of overkill for the needs of the three station system. At one point in the late 1980's it was planned to be part of a much larger 10 km system that was to run up and down the heavily travelled Gold Coast corridor. That was killed by funding problems and resident opposition. The Gold Coast today continues to suffer with the congestion created by well over 2 million visitors to the area each year. A unique aspect of this monorail is that the Oasis Mall it enters was designed with the system in mind. At one point the trains quietly cruise right through a large atrium of the mall. See Environment Friendly for more pictures. In 2001, the owners of the system acquired the trains and track of the short-lived Merry Hill Centre Monorail of Birmingham, England. The trains will be used to upgrade the system and there is a possibility for extending the monorail to a proposed convention center nearby.

Opened 1989 

1.3 km 

 3 stations

Casino-Hotel-shopping center-beach transit.

Monorails of North America

Disneyland, California

Mark VII

From early on in the planning of Disneyland, Walt Disney envisioned a monorail in Tomorrowland. Walt and Disney park designers were not impressed with several suspended systems they looked at. Legend has it that he and Mrs. Disney happened across the Alweg test facility in Germany by accident and monorail history was made. Disney designers modified the Alweg system and installed a smaller-scale Alweg monorail in 1959. At the time it was the park's most popular and talked about attraction. Millions of TV viewers saw the monorail on Walt's Sunday show and became convinced of its future in transit. In 1961 an extension was added to connect to the nearby Disneyland Hotel. While Disney installed the monorail to promote it as a train of the future, the effect it had was just the opposite. Monorails for many years would be type-cast as amusement park rides. Then there are the believers who remember Walt's early TV shows and still dream of beamways running down major transit corridors in the USA. Train designs have been designated Mark I, Mark II, Mark III, Mark V and Mark VII (Mark IVs and Mark VIs were for Walt Disney World in Florida).

 Opened 1959

 3.7 km

 2 stations

Gave fame to monorails in 20th century.

Seattle, Washington

When it opened in conjunction with Seattle's Century 21 World's Fair, the Seattle Alweg Monorail and the Space Needle were the icons of the exhibition. In fact, the monorail adorned two Life Magazine covers that year. For years, talk of extensions remained just that, but the legacy of the Seattle Monorail to this date is how the world took notice of the technology. If you want to see its influence on other monorails, look at the Monorails of Japan section to see how many monorails have been built using Alweg technology. The two four-car trains are the only remaining trains in the world that were built by the Alweg Company. Obviously, they were built to last. In November of 1997, 93,000 Seattle voters passed the Monorail Initiative to build citywide monorail system. On four separate ballots, voters supported the monorail. However, lack of City Hall support and a controversial debt financing plan resulted in the cancellation of the project in November of 2005.

 Opened 1962

 1.5 km

 2 stations

 2.5 million/yr Only Alweg-built trains still running.

Visit our Special Features section for photo essays of Seattle Center Monorail

La Ronde, Canada

Expo 67 had an extensive minirail system. Three separate track loops covered almost all points of the fairgrounds. One loop remains today at the La Ronde amusement park, an outgrowth of a smaller entertainment center of Expo 67. The trains were originally assembled in Switzerland and first operated at the 1964 Swiss International Exhibition in Lauzanne. The picture here shows one of the trains as they appeared in 1967.

 Opened 1967

2.1 km

2 stations 

World's Fair left over.

Walt Disney World, Florida

Using experience gained from three generations of monorail trains in Disneyland, Disney-designed Mark IV trains began transit service at the world's #1 tourist destination in 1971. When a second theme park was added to the resort in 1982, the Epcot loop was added with additional trains. By 1989, most of the Mark IV's had travelled around 67,500 miles each year. Having accomplished nearly ten million miles of travel with a reliability rate of 99.9% in eighteen-hour-a-day operations, it was time for a new set of trains. Bombardier, licensed by the Walt Disney Company to market their monorail design, improved the design and debuted 12 new MVI trains beginning in 1989. Built closer to transit standards, the MVI design has been seriously considered for several transit applications since.

 Opened 1971

 23.6 km

6 stations 


Carries millions at a vacation resort.

See our Links Page to find more WDW monorail information.

Pearlridge, Hawaii

Developers grappled with what to do about the watercress farm field barrier between the two buildings of the Pearlridge Center Mall in Aiea, near Pearl Harbor. A short monorail shuttle by Rohr Industries was installed to carry visitors between the two facilities.


 .5 km

2 stations 

Hawaii's only monorail.

See our Pearlridge Monorail Photo Essay Special for more photos and information.