Seattle Center Monorail turns 50 - a Photo Essay
Another Monorail Society Exclusive!
photos by Shirley Allen, James Horecka, Kim & Carol Pedersen, Rodney Rutherford, Thomas Ditty: copyright The Monorail Society

On March 24, 2012, The Monorail Society participated in the celebration for Seattle's iconic Alweg Monorail. Here are some pictures from that wonderful day.

Two icons of Seattle's Century 21 Exposition of 1962 on the 50 year anniversary
photo by Kim Pedersen

First person we ran into on the day before the event was none other than Seattle Monorail Services Russ Noe`. He was rolling this expensive (and defective) tire down what is sometimes referred to as the 'Elvis ramp.' If you don't know why, see the campy MGM film 'It Happened at the World's Fair.' Note the new 'ALWEG' addition to the monorail sign. Seattle Monorail Services and Seattle Center have done several touch ups like this recently to pay tribute to the monorail's roots.
photo by James Horecka

On the morning of the actual 50th anniversary of the monorail, March 24, 2012, sizeable crowds visited the displays on the ramp and inside the Red Train.
photo by Kim Pedersen

Eighth-grader McKaulay Kolakowski was on hand to let people try out his own monorail game, which can be found at
photo by Kim Pedersen

Einar Svensson, the principle structure engineer for Alweg when the monorail was built, points to his pylon designs from 1961. Numerous large historical photos were on display inside the Red Train.
photo by Kim Pedersen

Many famous people have ridden the monorail over the years, but the King was one of the first big celebrities to ride. Nice of him to come back and sing for us!
photo by James Horecka

Thomas Ditty, General Manager of Seattle Monorail Services, listens to Einar Svensson tell his story about 'The Prince and the Monorail.' (YouTube video)
photo by James Horecka

Monorail Society President Kim Pedersen hands TMS's first Historic Landmark plaque over to Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams and City of Seattle councilmember Jean Godden. (presentation speech on YouTube)
photo by James Horecka

TMS President Kim Pedersen and Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams shortly after the plaque was revealed.
photo by Carol Pedersen

Some TMS members gathered for a brief lunch meeting in the Center House. From left to right are William Popp, Elizabeth Campbell, Kim Pedersen, Carol Pedersen, Joshua Shields, John Urbanski, Dick Falkenbury and James Horecka. Much of the discussion revolved around Elizabeth's Century Transporation Authority monorail system proposal for Seattle. John Urbanski had the honorable destinction of being the TMS member who came furthest for the event (Queens, New York). Joshua Shields is a Rail Supervisor for Sound Transit and once drove the Seattle Monorails. Dick Falkenbury is well-known for his amazing grassroots campaign that got very close to building a 14-mile monorail system built in Seattle. James Horecka is a legendary architect for famous southern California theme park.
photo by Shirley Allen

After lunch, Monorail Society members on hand received a special shop tour by Dr. Eno Yliniemi, Chief Systems Engineer for Seattle Center Monorail.
photo by Kim Pedersen

Same shop for fifty years, yet much cleaner and neater than many of its 'middle' years. Note the 'ALWEG' markings have returned to the front of each train. Nice!
photo by James Horecka

Dr Ylineimi points out some of the fine details regarding power to the trains. And everyone, please remain clear of the bus bar and train zone!
photo by Rodney Rutherford

Service panels were up for a very special look at the trains bogies and hardware. In the past five years both the Red Train and Blue Train have undergone major rehabilitation, under the direct supervision of Dr. Yliniemi.
photo by Rodney Rutherford

James Horecka gets a nice close shot of one of the drive motors.
photo by Kim Pedersen

A nice view from the food court deck of Westlake Mall in downtown.
photo by James Horecka

How much ground space does your urban rail line take up? And what's that about those supposed ugly, giant shadows of monorail? I don't think so!
photo by Kim Pedersen


And finally, a nice look at the spectacular plaque presented that day. Many thanks to James Horecka, artist Ron Williamson and Awards by Paul for helping get it made just in time. A big thank you to Thomas Ditty, Megan Ching, Russ Noe` and Eno Yliniemi of Seattle Monorail Services for inviting The Monorail Society to celebrate with them.
Also, thank you to all the generous Monorail Society members that donated funds to make it possible!

photo by Thomas Ditty, Seattle Monorail Services (10/18/13)

Seattle Center Monorail website
Seattle: Extend the Monorail! (but just a little): an Editorial by Kim Pedersen (April 21, 2012)

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