Proposed downtown extension route
Las Vegas construction complete
Las Vegas, Nevada. U.S. Sen. Harry Reid
and Rep. Shelley Berkley joined officials from the Regional
Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) and the Las
Vegas Monorail on Friday in announcing that construction is complete
on the privately funded first phase of the Robert N. Broadbent
Las Vegas Monorail, with federal funds on the way for its second
phase. At a news conference held at the recently completed Las
Vegas Hilton monorail station, local transportation officials
said the Las Vegas Monorail has completed primary, or so-called
civil, construction of its initial 4-mile route along the Las
Vegas Strip from the MGM Grand to the Sahara hotel-casinos. With
an appropriation of $20 million in Federal Transit Administration
funds for its planned second phase, Reid said the monorail is
well on its way to extending the world's most advanced public
transportation system to downtown Las Vegas by 2008. "For
months now, we've all been watching the construction of the monorail,
and it has been a fascinating project," Reid said. "Now
the first phase is done, and soon we'll all finally get a chance
to ride on it. That's such exciting news. The monorail will help
cut down on traffic congestion and air pollution around the Strip,
and it will also be a lot of fun for tourists and Nevadans
alike. I'm very happy I was able to get matching federal funds
to expand the monorail to downtown, and I'm looking forward to
seeing that part of the project too." The monorail system
is owned and operated by the Las Vegas Monorail Company, a non-profit
corporation whose board is appointed by Nevada's governor. It
is scheduled to open in March.
Las Vegas Monorail website
Group aims to kill Seattle
Monorail Project. (2/10/04)
Seattle, Washington. Despite three votes by Seattle
citizens for a monorail system, a group has been formed to kill
the project. Monorailrecall.com is gathering what it calls "prepetition"
e-mails in an effort to bring the monorail up for yet another
vote. Members of the group are not listed on the site, yet Richard
Borkowski, a well-known light rail supporter and critic of
monorail, is acknowledging that he's part of the effort. Borkowski
told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that others in the group
are reluctant to come forth for fear of being publicly attacked
by monorail supporters. On their website, the group criticizes
the use of one-track sections, the future destruction of the
1962 Alweg monorail track, use of elevators at some stations
instead of escalators and other Seattle Monorail Project (SMP)
decisions that have been controversial. The website is asking
for money to place newspaper ads. SMP spokesman Paul Bergman
said, "The voters have voted three times to build the monorail.
Everything we hear is that they want us to get it done."
trying to stop monorail turns to the Web. Seattle P-I, 2/10/04.
Seattle Monorail Project website
Jakarta, Indonesia. Construction of a major new
monorail system in Jakarta was scheduled to begin in February.
However, planning for the system and ironing out agreements has
taken longer than expected. "The administration and the
Malaysian investor are jointly carrying out several studies on
this project. When they are finished, hopefully by this year,
we can launch," city secretary Ritola Tasmaya said
this week. Malaysian firm MTrans Holding Sdn Bhd director David
Chew agrees. "We are working out all details for the
project along with the Jakarta Administration." Chew predicts
that construction will begin by the end of this year, with a
projected opening date of 2006. MTrans built the new Kuala
Lumpur Monorail and has several prospective customers for
other systems in Malaysia and elsewhere. Their monorail technology
is based directly on the Alweg monorail of Seattle, Washington.
Jakarta's system plan includes two lines totaling 27 kilometers
of dual guideway.
Will drive shaft mishap delay
Las Vegas? (2/1/04)
Las Vegas, Nevada. All transit systems are thoroughly
tested before opening to the public, monorails are no exception.
The Las Vegas Monorail has been running day after day on a schedule
that duplicates the one it will have when it opens. Tests have
been under way for six months. On January 5th an 18-inch drive
shaft disconnected at both ends and fell approximately fifteen
feet to the ground. Fortunately, no one was injured. Since the
incident, all M-VI drive shafts have been removed and tested
by Bombardier Transit Corporation, which is building the trains
and will operate the system. All drive shafts have now been tethered
to the vehicles to prevent any similar incident from occuring.
Will the incident delay the opening of the monorail? The Las Vegas Monorail Website
has recently narrowed down the projected opening date to March,
where before it said "opening 1st quarter of 2004."
As we go to press, March is only a month away! E-mails to the
Monorail Society asking about the opening date have increased
considerably in the last month. Evidently there are many monorailists
interested in attending the grand opening. This is understandable,
as the much-anticipated event will mark the opening of the largest
monorail system in the USA in recent years. Officials at Las
Vegas Monorail and their PR firm have assured us they will let
us know as soon as a decision has been made regarding the opening
date. We'll let you know when we know!
interrupts monorail testing. Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/21/04.
Another Moscow monorail? (1/25/04)
Moscow, Russia. As testing continues on the Moscow
Monorail, the prospect of another monorail for the city is being
discussed. A 13-km line is under consideration for a line connecting
the city with Vnukovo Airport. The line would connect with the
southwest terminus of subway line #1. There would be one intermediate
station. Two alternative plans for the airport line are for heavy
rail or an elevated light rail line. Thanks to Anton A. Chigrai
for the news and January 6th photo below of the Moscow
Monorail on a test run.
Proposals and even more proposals
Planet Earth. Since the the
Monorail Society (TMS) was founded on January 1, 1989, TMS
members have noticed a steady increase in the numbers of serious
proposals for monorail. While the vast majority of them do not
result in a system, it is significant to realize that monorails
are being looked at more seriously for transit corridors in more
places. Amusement-oriented monorail proposals continue to dominate,
but the fact that many new urban monorails exist will lead to
the development of new transit monorails. Congratulations monorailists,
you are having an affect! Here are some stories of some of the
most recent proposals:
Melbourne, AU: $50m
monorail plan for Fountain Gate. Melbourne Herald Sun, 1/12/04.
Melbourne, AU: Council
investigates Melbourne Monorail. the Age, 1/12/04.
London, UK: Monorail
linking wharf to Liverpool St examined. The Wharf, 1/8/04.
Erie, PA: Monorail
could connect site, bayfront. Erie Times-News, 1/6/04
Moscow tests in snow. (1/10/04)
Moscow, Russia. Can monorails operate in snow?
That has been the burning question recently in Seattle, Washington.
Winter weather has hit the Northwest USA with a vengeance this
year, crippling transportation infrustructure including the Portland
light rail system. Since Seattle is planning a monorail system,
the question arises about monorails in snow. Thanks to TMS member
Anton A. Chigrai, we have an answer in pictures. The Moscow Monorail has been undergoing testing
and we have exclusive pictures of a train blowing snow off the
track as it passes by. To see Anton's four large images of the
train passing while the temperature is a bone-chilling -12 degrees
Celcius, visit the Moscow construction photos in our Construction
Top of Page
Shanghai Maglev-1st in the
Shanghai, China. And the winner is...Transrapid!
The race to put the first magnetic levitation train into daily
commercial service is over. The Shanghai Maglev began regular
service this Monday. Decades of research and development now
begins to pay off. Proof of capability during regular revenue
operations is now under way. The eight-minute, 30-kilometer ride
costs $9 (75 yuan). The maglev monorail runs at a peak speed
of 430 kph (270 mph). Around the world there are many proposed
maglev systems in which the German-developed Transrapid is the
favored technology. Time will tell if more are built, but Shanghai
may end up being the turning point of maglev history.
maglev train starts. International Herald Tribune, 12/29/03.
Lartigue Monorailway website
Listowel, Ireland. TMS member Frank McNerney
has informed us that the Lartigue Monorailway restoration project
now has a website. The original Listowel-Ballybunion Railway
operated between 1888 and 1924. The website features historic
photographs of the line as well as full coverage of the outstanding
restoration project, which opened to the public this year.
Boston highway monorail proposed.
Boston, Massachusetts. Massachusetts State Representative
David Flynn has proposed a monorail from Boston down the
median of Interstate 93, Route 24, and Route 140. Flynn represents
several suburban communities opposed to a conventional rail commuter
train extension through their areas, including Easton and Raynham.
Flynn stated that monorail would provide a "pioneering,
leading-edge mass transportation carrier" that would be
cheaper, equally as fast and efficient, and less environmentally
destructive than the train. Massachusetts Turnpike Authority
recently set aside funding to study the feasibility of monorail
service from Boston to Springfield and should do the same for
this region according to Flynn. "The Pike wants to build
a monorail. Residents in Raynham and Easton have concerns about
the commuter rail. But Fall River and New Bedford desperately
need commuter help," he said. "Authorizing the building
of a monorail would solve a number of problems at one time."
monorail offered as Plan B to commuter train. Boston Globe,
Tax forecasts improve for
Seattle, Washington. A new report from consulting
firm ECONorthwest indicates that the Seattle Monorail Project
tax collecting under way should grow enough to fund a $1.4 to
$1.6 billion monorail. While this is a reduction from the original
$1.75 billion projection to build the system, there is optimism
amongst planners. The report said car tax income should grow
an average 6.1 percent per year in Seattle. This is expected
to fill in the gap of revenue shortages that appeared when car-tab
tax collecting began. The true cost of the system won't be known
until next year when the Hitachi and Bombardier monorail teams
place their bids to build and operate the system. In other Seattle
Monorail Project news, the latest proposal for a combination
of double and single tracking has recently been posted on their
website. Four miles of the 14-mile line would be single tracked
according to the latest proposal, with bypasses at various stations
on the north and south end on the line.
tax forecast is revised; car tabs expected to be enough.
Seattle Times, 12/19/03
Seattle Monorail Project website
Las Vegas targets March 1,
Las Vegas, Nevada. The Las Vegas Monorail has targeted
March 1, 2004 for the beginning of revenue service! The system
should also be completed $23 million under budget. Cam Walker,
president, CEO and principal of Transit Systems Management, the
management firm for the Las Vegas Monorail Company, relayed this
good news during a meeting Thursday of the Las Vegas Monorail
Company's five-member board of directors. "We're proud to
near completion of a project of this magnitude on time and under
budget, and are happy to report we have no claims outstanding,"
Walker said. "This success is the result of great teamwork
and partnership, and we need to recognize the great work of our
contractors, Bombardier Transportation and Granite Construction,
and also the hard work of our oversight consultants, GC Wallace
and Booz Allen Hamilton." The system will link eight major
Las Vegas resorts with more than 24,000 hotel rooms and nine
convention facilities, including the Las Vegas Convention Center,
the largest single-level facility of its kind in the world. The
4-mile system will connect the MGM Grand and Sahara hotel-casinos
on a route running east of and parallel to the Las Vegas Strip.
Plans call for the monorail to eventually connect downtown Las
Vegas and McCarran International Airport. A one-way trip on the
Las Vegas Monorail will be $3, with a round-trip fare costing
$5.50. The monorail will run 20 hours per day, from 6 a.m. to
2 a.m., 365 days a year.
Las Vegas Monorail
Shanghai Maglev nears regular
Shanghai, China. In January, the world's first
commercially operated maglev will begin regular daily service.
Shanghai Maglev Transportation Development Company Chen Yifan
official said "We are planning to start the line's daily
traffic operation prior to the Spring Festival, which falls on
January 22 next year." Currently the train runs 23 round
trips from Longyang Road Station in Shanghai to Pudong International
Airport during weekends. When regular operations begin, the interval
between trains will be about 20 minutes. The 30-km ride takes
only eight minutes and has a peak speed of 430 kph. Tickets are
75 yuan (US $9) for a one-way trip. Transrapid International
developed the system and has been actively marketing it throughout
announces service expansion. Shanghai Daily, 12/4/03.
Bucks for urban maglev. (12/03/03)
California, Pennsylvania. The California University
of Pennsylvania urban maglev prototype program has received an
unexpected $1 million from federal lawmakers. The project will
receive $2 million from the Omnibus Appropriations Report now
in Congress, which is double what the university anticipated.
The university hopes to eventually obtain $155 million in federal
money for the entire "Sky Shuttle" demonstration project.
If completed, the demonstrator maglev will loop around the campus
and connect it with a football stadium and student housing. The
$2 million will finance the maglev through environmental studies.
A lightweight chassis is under development at General Atomics
in San Diego, California. A test track is also under development
at the San Diego facility.
project gets $2 million. Washington Observer-Reporter, 12/2/03.
Route recommended for Seattle.
Seattle, Washington. This week the staff of the
Seattle Monorail Project went public with their preliminary recommendations
for the route of the 14-mile Green Line. Several firsts for straddle
monorails will be part of the route, including multi-level stations,
"iris" supports and sections of single-lane guideway
which will be shared by trains going both directions. Several
elements of the proposal are sure to result in debate. A path
through the Seattle Center is favored by monorail staff, but
is opposed loudly by some. Single track and iris structures cause
concern to some as well, both because of performance of the system
and resulting aesthetics. The recommendations aren't in stone
however, final recommendations are to be made in January after
intense lobbying for changes in the coming months. The monorail
board is expected to decide the route in March. "I think
this is the most important day since the election (when voters
approved the plan in 2002)," said Seattle Monorail Project
Executive Director Joel Horn. "This begins what we
like to refer to as decision time." The complete 96-page
recommendation report is available on the Seattle Monorail Project
website (see link below).
project rolls out its route; Seattle Center plan controversial.
Seattle Times, 11/19/03.
sends monorail through Seattle Center. Seattle P-I, 11/19/03.
Seattle Monorail Project website
Shanghai Transrapid speed
Shanghai, China. On November12th, a Shanghai Transrapid
train set a new speed record of 501 kilometers/hour (311 mph).
The five-section train travelled the 30-km/19-mile route on the
eastbound Track A heading from Shanghai to the Pudong International
Airport. This breaks previous speed records for Transrapid, surpassing
the record of 450 kph/280 mph set in 1993 by the two-section
TR07 vehicle at the test facility in Emsland, Germany. Larry
Blow, U.S Projects Manager for Transrapid International-USA,
Inc., stated on the Urban
Maglev discussion group that "it was a special test
performed under strict controls by the Shanghai Maglev Technology
Development Company, the group leading the project on the Chinese
side. Only SMTDC personnel were allowed aboard the vehicle and
normal operation parameters (acceleration/braking, ride comfort,
propulsion control, etc.) were modified to allow the Transrapid
to attain this speed within the 30-km/19-mile route." When
the Shanghai line opens next year, speeds will not exceed 430
kph/267 mph in daily operations.
Transrapid USA website
TMS Maglev Monorail page
Kuala Lumpur Monorail Livecams
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The Kuala Lumpur Monorail
has already had over one million passengers and is proving to
be very popular. Trains are being added so that hours of operation
can be expanded. If you can't make it to Kuala Lumpur soon, we've
found a place where you can watch the monorail...live! The Kuala
Lumpur City Hall website has cameras pointed at traffic all over
the city, and six of them have the monorail in view. On the website
it is possible to pick a still image or streaming video for each
camera. The first link below is to the website, but we suggest
you print out the guide from the Monorail Society Guide to KL
Monorail Webcams first (second link below). Enjoy!
Kuala Lumpur Livecams-City
Hall Website. Click on Real Time Traffic Information.
Monorail Society Guide to KL Monorail
Lumpur-current time. Make sure to watch when the monorail
team win Las Vegas extension contract. (10/29/03)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Bombardier Transportation and
Granite Construction Company have been awarded $440 million worth
of contracts for the downtown extension of the Las Vegas Monorail.
Bombardier's share of the initial contract is $178 million and
it will net $114 million more for five years of operations. The
contract is being awarded by Transit Systems Development LLC
and is for a 3.6 km extension from the Sahara Station to a station
near the Fremont Street Experience in downtown. It's expected
that the monorail will play a vital role in the revitalization
of the downtown area, which has not done as well financially
as the famous Strip section south of the city's border. The extension
will include four stations and 20 additional monorail cars will
be built. A notice to proceed is expected in the summer of 2004
and completion of the extension is expected by the summer of
2007. The 6.4 km first phase of the 6.4-kilometer (4-mile) monorail
is scheduled to enter service in January of 2004.
wins $292M in contracts to extend Las Vegas monorail system.
wins C$292 mln Las Vegas rail contract. Forbes, 10/28/03.
transportation endorsed at Vegas convention. Las Vegas Sun,
of Las Vegas Monorail with extension.
American Maglev in deep doo-doo.
Norfolk, Virginia. Three companies have sued Old
Dominion University and American Maglev Technology Inc. for failing
to pay for work on the University's dead-before-arrival maglev
line. American Steel, S.B. Ballard Construction and Marine Construction
are all seeking payments for various aspects of the construction
of the incomplete system. ODU had fully expected that the maglev
would be moving students across the campus a year ago. Technical
glitches popped up during testing and the project came to a halt.
$14 million in public and private funds ran out before the problem
could be fixed. If there is a lesson from this story for future
rail technology pioneers, it's that you shouldn't buy or sell
a system that hasn't had everything tested at a full-scale
test track first. Bugs will pop up and sometimes their bite is
company sues ODU, American Maglev. The Virginia-Pilot, 10/28/03
Seattle Monorail controversies
Seattle, Washington. Any major construction project
is bound to go through good days and bad days during the planning
process. Right now it's the Seattle Monorail Project's turn to
be under fire for a number of issues. Seattleites are passionate
about the way their city will be in the future and many are voicing
their concerns about the planned monorail. A lot of press is
being given to the process. Issues include the car tax shortfall,
routing through or around Seattle Center, and concerns over aesthetics.
The Seattle Popular Monorail Authority has shown itself to be
open to innovative ideas to deal with the many issues. One of
those ideas recently resulted in a healthy debate over whether
portions of the guideway should be single or dual guideway. Single
rail sections would reportedly require smaller foundations, allow
easier attachment to bridges and perhaps have less impact visually
on the environment. However, those against single-railing say
that it would seriously limit bi-directional travel and increase
the number of switches along the route. Train breakdowns on single
rail sections could result in the entire system coming to a halt.
Meanwhile, the federal government has approved $500 million grant
for the Sound Transit light rail project, clearing the way for
construction to begin on the agency's 14-mile line from downtown
Seattle to Tukwila. Sound Transit has to this point been the
area's champion of an under-fire project. The story continues.
tax evasion estimated at 7.5 percent. Seattle Times, 10/24/03.
send monorail around Seattle Center. Seattle P-I, 10/23/03.
errors led to shortfall. Seattle Times, 10/23/03.
panel weighs single track for two-way traffic. Seattle Times,
board considering single track between stations. Seattle
planners may have 1-track mind. Seattle P-I, 10/22/03.
Seattle Monorail Project website.
|| / News