Seattle Center Monorail - a Photo
another Monorail Society
In August of 2001, TMS President Kim Pedersen visited
Seattle for two weeks. What follows are photographs he shot of
the famous Seattle Center Monorail, which has been operating since
the 1962 Century 21 World's Fair. Along with the photographs are
descriptions and commentary by Kim. He came away from Seattle
with a new appreciation for the venerable original ALWEG-design.
As always, photographs are copyrighted by the Monorail Society.
It's only 1.2 miles long in length, but it continues to carry
thousands of passengers from downtown to the Seattle Center day
after day. Even more impressive, the monorail makes a profit with
trains that were first built 40 years ago.
We begin our visit with a look at the downtown Westlake Center
station. In the 1980's the track was altered from a former over-street
station to hugging against the side of this then-new mall/business
Part of that reconstruction included pinching the guideway together
so only one train can be at Westlake at a time. The outside track
is accessed by the most troublesome mechanical devices for the
Seattle Monorail maintenance crew, the retractable ramps. Seattle
Monorail Services has had plans to rebuild the station to a two
ramp station once again and eliminate these ramps, but that process
has dragged on already for years (red tape?).
Here's an unusual case where both trains are near the Westlake
Center at the same time. Note how the track pinches together after
the curve. The "Red Train," in the foreground, is making
non-revenue runs for driver training and is actually stopped here
while trainer and driver walk from one end to the other to go
back to Seattle Center.
Berger/Abam Engineering, the firm hired to plan a future citywide
Seattle monorail system, has a third floor office on Fifth Avenue
overlooking the track. This view from the conference room helps
provide planners inspiration.
Seattle Center Monorail - Photo Essay page One / Two / Three / Four / Five / Six
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