||Hitachi and Jakarta sign MOU. (5/13/04)
Jakarta, Indonesia. Chalk up another big victory
for monorail and monorail proponents! Another major city has
selected monorail for their main rail transit system. Jakarta
government officials are signing a Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) with a consortium to build two lines totaling 27 kilometers.
The PT Jakarta Monorail consortium is made up of Indonesian,
Japanese and Singaporean investors. This is also another big
victory for Hitachi, as they will add another system to their
growing portfolio of monorails built outside Japan. Jakarta's
previous talks with Monorail Malaysia fell through, giving Hitachi
the opportunity to bring their straddle-type monorail to Indonesia.
Jakarta is a city of 11 million people and has some of the worst
traffic in Asia, with resulting pollution causing respiratory
illnesses. Hitachi, through another consortium called the Cascadia Monorail Company,
is vying for a chance to build their first monorail in North
America in the City of Seattle.
opts for monorail to ease traffic congestion. Jakarta Post,
Signs Deal for Monorail. Laksamana.net, 5/14/04.
||30-day test begins in Las Vegas. (5/13/04)
Las Vegas, Nevada. They're giving it another shot.
On Monday, the Las Vegas Monorail began another 30-day test period,
which if successful will lead to the long-anticipated opening.
The test period includes running the entire system as it would
in full service conditions. No passengers are onboard, but all
other aspects of the test will duplicate a normal operation.
Las Vegas Monorail officials stress that this test period does
not guarantee any particular date for the opening. Another glitch
could result in a re-start of the 30-day test. However, they
are confident that "sometime this summer" is a good
bet. During testing earlier this year, a drive shaft fell from
one of the trains, and later operational software problems arose.
The monorail will initially run approximately four miles between
the MGM Resort and the Sahara Resort. A three-mile extension
to downtown Las Vegas is planned to begin construction within
the next few years and open by 2008.
milestone. KVBC TV, 5/11/04.
||Proposal for Hershey. (5/8/04)
Hershey, Pennsylvania. American Idea Network (AIN),
a Harrisburg-based company, is proposing a monorail to serve
Derry Township. If built and it becomes successful, it could
be extended to Harrisburg in the future. Tom Brogan of
the Derry Township General Authority told the Hershey Chronicle
that AIN would like to get the system built without asking for
any money from the township. "We would be interested in
participating in looking at the development of the idea. We said
yes as long as it doesn't cost us any money. If they have a plan,
I'd like to hear it." Heading up AIN's proposal are Del
Riley and Donald Fry. Riley has been in contact with
TMS to gather information on monorails and various aspects
of their development.
||New look for Monorail Society Website. (5/8/04)
Fremont, California. The Monorail Society Website
has had essentially the same look since it premiered in 1998.
KISS has been the philosophy (keep it simple stupid), yet it
was felt that is time has come to improve navigation and the
website look. TMS has recieved some comments that having
a Disney monorail prominently featured on our home page was at
odds with our "not just a ride" theme. The new header
for the home page features the TMS logo, which includes
what some might consider a Disneyesque monorail. However, a new
field has been added to the home page that will allow us to highlight
various features of the website with a marquee photo. Our premier
marquee image steers visitors to the highly-popular Kuala Lumpur
photo essay. Future marquees will encourage site visitors to
explore more areas of the website. TMS President Kim
Pedersen says that "during the re-design of the site
I was amazed to find out we have assembled over 400 pages of
content! Hopefully the new buttonbar (at the the top of every
page), the homepage marquee and the new site
map page will help our site visitors to explore a bit more."
A lot of the content remains the same, but we look forward to
making other improvements as time goes on. Considering the increase
in interest in monorails and new systems under development, many
more pages WILL be added as well! Thanks to TMS members
for the many ideas that are helping improve the site and we continue
to welcome your comments.
rendering courtesy of SMP
Seattle Center northwest route
Seattle, Washington. On Monday the Seattle City
Council voted for the Green Line to cross through the Seattle
Center. The "northwest route" was established as a
result of input from neighbors in the area and the majority of
museum, theatre and business groups at the Center. The Seattle
Times and Seattle Post-Intelligencer also endorsed the northwest
route. This short stretch of track has been one of the most hotly
debated alignment issues since the Green Line was first proposed.
The voter-approved 2002 monorail ballot initiative deferred the
route decision to a later date because of the debate. Recently
a monorail advisory panel had recommended a different route that
circled the Center to the north, but it was felt that route would
interfere with traffic and hurt business. The new route will
run directly through the Experience Music Project building, as
the current monorail does, then pass Memorial Stadium and the
International Fountain before stopping at Key Arena. More difficult
decisions are to be made by the Council before monorail bidders
will submit their proposals in mid-June. Opponents to the monorail
are attempting to slow the decision process and kill the project,
but the Center route decision demonstrates that the Council is
stepping up to make important decisions in a timely manner.
route, diagram and map (292 K pdf). Seattle P-I, 04/05/04.
track for monorail route. Seattle P-I, 5/5/04.
Council endorses monorail route through Seattle Center. Seattle
route gets Seattle City Council's OK. Seattle Times, 5/5/04.
best route is through the Center. Seattle Times, 5/4/04.
courtesy of Amerityre
||Will tire revolution help monorail? (4/28/04)
Boulder City, Nevada. A tire revolution may be
coming, and it just might have an affect on hundreds of types
of vehicles and the way we use them. As we have heard over the
years, one of the limiting factors in monorail speed is tire
technology. Perhaps new non-rubber technology for tires can help
monorail break current speed limits set by overheating and weight
limits. Amerityre, of Boulder City, Nevada, has introduced new
closed-cell foam polyurethane flatfree tires for bicycles, wheelchairs
and other small vehicles. They are also engaged in the development
of polyurethane elastomer tires for highway and agricultural
use, based on their proprietary technology relating to the manufacturing
of tires from liquid elastomers. The company claims that their
tires are shock absorbant, have good traction, are flatfree,
have a constant psi, are perfectly balanced, have a longer life,
are100% recyclable and won't dry out or crack. Could this re-invention
of the wheel find its way into monorails? For an NBC News video
story on the company and its technology, visit the Amerityre
Seattle monorail recall 1st
signature drive fails. (4/23/04)
Seattle, Washington. Monorail Recall (MR), a group
trying to stop the Seattle Monorail Project (SMP), failed in
its effort to gather 50,000 signatures for a ballot initiative
for yet another vote on the monorail. Seattle citizens have already
voted for monorail three times. MR Co-Chairwoman Patricia
Stambor told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer the group will
attempt a less ambitious initiative to kill the project by persuading
City Council members to not to allow it to be built on city streets
and property. The new tactic only requires 18,000 valid city
voter signatures within 180 days. According to Stambor, with
those signatures the council could approve the proposal and effectively
kill the monorail project by denying SMP the use of city right
of way. Monorail Chairman Tom Weeks said "The voters
have already spoken on that subject, I eagerly await the opening
of bids because I believe we're going to be able to sign a (construction)
contract and move into construction this fall." Bids are
due from Cascadia Monorail Company and Team Monorail on June
labor agreement signed. Opponents of project now pin hopes on
the City Council. Seattle P-I, 4/22/04
Seattle Monorail Project website
Houston paper blames drivers,
not LRT. (4/20/04)
Houston, Texas. Those who follow transit news know
that the new Houston light rail transit (LRT) system is the poster
child example of why trains in the street is a bad idea. Accidents
occur on a regular basis, bringing traffic and the rail system
to a standstill. Sadly, people are injured and are sometimes
killed also. The Houston Chronicle's editors stated yesterday
that the paper "frequently receives letters from readers
wondering why the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) chose
light rail instead of a more distinctive, futuristic monorail
system. The argument for elevated monorail swelled during a rash
of collisions between Metro trains and private vehicles at grade."
Evidently monorailists aren't the only ones coming to this logical
conclusion. However, the Chronicle defends MTA's decision and
says "Better enforcement of the traffic rules and more conscientious
driving habits, not monorail, are the solution to our transit
safety problem." Yeah, it's those rascal car drivers and
pedestrians getting in the way of trollies again. How many vehicle
vs. train accidents would have happened by now if Houston stuck
with the original 1988 MTA decision for monorail? That plan was
killed by Mayor Bob Lanier after promising to do so during
his election campaign. Incidentally, we haven't seen one safety
program have success in ending light rail/auto/pedestrian accidents
yet, have you?
no monorail. Houston Chronicle, 4/19/04.
Team Monorail loses major companies. (4/20/04)
Seattle, Washington. Bombardier's Team Monorail,
established to bid on the Seattle Monorail Project (SMP), lost
two major construction companies from their team. Peter Kiewit
Sons' Inc. and Granite Construction Company have told Bombardier
that they're withdrawing as prime construction contractors for
the 14-mile Green Line. Kiewit and Granite were two of 19 companies
on the Bombardier team. The companies withdrew because of other
commitments to major projects and a concern over the "risk
of building monorail." Tom Stone, president of the
company that formed the Bombardier team, told the Seattle P-I
that he thinks there's a good chance both contractors eventually
will perform some construction work if the team's bid is accepted.
Bids from Bombardier's Team Monorail and Hitachi's team, Cascadia
Monorail Company, are due June 15. The deadline can be extended
by SMP if contractors ask for it. In other Seattle Monorail Project
news, the City Council approved general guidelines for designing
monorail facilities and changing rights of way to accommodate
the new transit system. Other elements of the project are still
being reviewed by the council, including the alignment.
team hit by firms' pullout. Seattle P-I, 4/20/04.
player quits 1 of 2 teams bidding to build Green Line. Seattle
suffers setback. KOMO TV, 4/20/04.
council approves monorail guidelines. Puget Sound Business
art courtesy of Aerobus
Aerobus announces Weihai bridge
Weihai, China. Aerobus International has announced
that the City of Weihai selected Aerobus for a spectacular suspension
bridge project. A 4.2 km, three-station Aerobus system will be
built entirely over water and will require only 9 spans for the
entire distance. The system will connect Weihai with Liugong
Island. Getting to the island now requires a 20 minute boat ride.
The suspension bridge system will have seven towers of similar
design to other suspension bridge supports. However, one tower
will be called the Weihai Star and be 257 meters high. A station
will be located at the tower, where tourists will be able to
take elevators up to the 208 meter level for an amazing view
of the bridge and region. Initially, the system will have three
suspended Aerobus vehicles, each with three to four modules.
The system is scheduled to open in 2006. Further information
on Aerobus and the Weihai system can be found at the Aerobus
art courtesy of Aerobus
Seattle monorailists fight
Seattle, Washington. As anti-monorail forces are
stepping up their efforts to derail the Seattle Monorail Project
(SMP), ardent supporters of the monorail are once again coming
to the foreground to do battle. The Stranger, a local publication
that has tirelessly gone to bat for the monorail, this week published
a series of informative articles arguing in favor of completing
the project. Joel Horn, head of the SMP, refers to the
Stranger as "an irreverent (and sometimes obscene), hip,
cynical, must read weekly newspaper." TMS President Kim
Pedersen says "the current series of articles is a must-read
for monorailists, especially in Seattle. It would be tragic for
the project to get this far and let a few loud obstructionists
stop what Seattle citizens have voted for three times."
the monorail! The Stranger, 4/1/04.
Special plea to TMS Members from
President Kim Pedersen
Seattle monorail board approves
Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Monorail Project
(SMP) board has given final approval for the 14-mile Green Line.
This comes after 15 months of intense work. Over 925 meetings
have been held and over 5,000 people attended open houses, workshops,
public hearings and community meetings. Hundreds of alternatives
for stations locations along the route have been considered,
along with numerous options for the actual location of the track.
An enormous amount of decisions have been made, most of which
draw praise and criticism at the same time. One would have to
look hard to find any other transit project that moved as fast
or as open to public input as the Seattle Monorail Project. The
next major milestone will be the release of proposals from the
two teams headed by Bombardier and Hitachi.
Milestone in Progress for Seattle Monorail Project Spurs Community
Thank You Event. Business Wire, 3/30/04.
next monorail stop: City council. Seattle P-I, 3/30/04.
board OKs route for Green Line. Seattle Times, 3/30/04.
Seattle Monorail Project website
New service for Seattle Alwegs?
Bremerton, Washington. Yet another proposal is
being made to keep the historic Seattle Center Monorail trains
running, as opposed to being static displays in a museum. Bremerton
City Councilman Mike Shepherd has proposed that the city
look into acquiring the monorail and moving it to Bremerton.
Shepherd believes the monorail would solve the pedestrian-vehicle
problem during ferry arrivals better than the city's preferred
alternative to build a $28 million tunnel for departing traffic.
Others have questioned the need for a tunnel. Shepherd wants
the monorail option to be included in an upcoming environmental
assessment. He also would like the city to begin negotiations
to acquire the two Alweg trains, guideways and related parts.
But wait, there's more! Shepherd sees the monorail as the possible
foundation of a 4-mile circular route that would eventually connect
Manette Bridge, Harrison Hospital, Olympic College and downtown
Bremerton. The current Alweg monorail system is scheduled to
be retired in 2005 when construction is supposed to begin on
a 14-mile, $1.75 billion Green Line monorail.
councilman wants to elevate tunnel debate. The Bremerton
Sun Link, 3/29/04.
Seattle Center Monorail
Seattle project intensifies
with EIS release. (3/21/04)
Seattle, Washington. The Seattle Monorail Project
final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was released March
10th. As businesses and citizens pour over the details of the
plan for a 14-mile system, critics are coming out of the woodwork.
Anti-monorail forces focus in on problems and negativity rules
the day in press reports (as it usually does). For monorailists
however, though some have disagreements with elements of the
plan, a final EIS release is one more step towards a major non-resort
urban monorail system in the United States. The final EIS looks
at alternative alignments, stations, facility locations and other
elements of the system. The EIS is available on the Seattle Monorail
Project website, including numerous illustrations of how the
system could look. Another positive for the project is that the
Seattle Monorail Project committee approved a project labor agreement
(PLA) for the 14-mile Green Line. The PLA was first agreed to
by 36 local unions. With labor standing to gain 2,100 new jobs
in the community for the monorail, the project gains a strong
ally. No lockouts, work stoppages or delays will be allowed under
the agreement, which will help ensure the project stays on schedule
and on budget. Meanwhile, monorailists are fighting a rising
tide of negativity over the project with comments of their own.
Dick Falkenbury, the man who founded the grassroots effort
for monorail in Seattle, recently commented on the TMS
Discussion group: "I would argue that the monorail movement
in Seattle--official and grassroots-- has made a huge mistake
in agreeing that the monorail is a negative intrusion that we
must either mitigate or apologize for. That is wrong. The monorail
is a positive. Even the track, in my opinion, is a graceful,
beautiful addition to the city landscape. It is especially a
positive if placed up against the alternative: more traffic,
more roads, more buses, more pollution and more covering the
earth with concrete and asphalt."
Seattle Monorail Project
stark reality beginning to sink in. Seattle Times, 3/18/04
(written by future word eater).
towards PLA deal. Seattle DJC, 3/17/04.
monorail takes a new turn in Sodo. Seattle P-I, 3/17/04.
Las Vegas: April opening out,
summer in. (3/21/04)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Unofficial opening dates for
the Las Vegas Monorail have so far been January 1st, first quarter
of 2004, and late April. The latest buzz coming from Sin City
is that the monorail won't open until sometime this summer. For
those of you not keeping track of seasons, Spring just started!
According to a report from KLAS TV, "the company managing
the project is still conducting tests on the computer software
that runs the entire rail system." The familiar explanation
is being expressed, "we want it to be safe." So was
the original plan was for an unsafe monorail? Bottom line with
the opening delays is cynicism from the public, which isn't good
for those of us promoting monorail. However, once it's running
and carrying the projected 19-million passengers per year, the
success of the system will certainly help everyone forget misteps
in opening date predictions. Whenever the opening is, the Monorail
Society plans to be there. Stay tuned for details if you would
like to join us!
in opening of monorail could be costly. Las Vegas Sun, 3/22/04.
Vegas Monorail: testing delays opening. Las Vegas Review-Journal,
April launch pushed out. KLAS TV, 3/19/04.
LA-Ontario maglev study gains
1/2 million. (3/21/04)
Los Angeles, California. The Los Angeles City Council
on Tuesday unanimously approved spending more than $500,000 to
join a regional study of a maglev line from West Los Angeles
to Ontario Airport. The council voted 14-0 in favor of the study.
City councilman Antonio Villaraigosa, chairman of the
council's Transportation Committee, said "We have an opportunity
to exert leadership in the region." Los Angeles is the last
of three regional bodies to support the Southern California Association
of Government's (SCAG) efforts to pursue a first $5.5 billion
segment of a regional maglev system with the 55-mile line. SCAG
sought $1 million from Los Angeles, Ontario and San Bernardino
Associated Governments to match $2.5 million in federal funds
to further study the line's feasibility. The maglev would be
built through a public-private partnership with government loans
to be paid off with ticket revenues. Lockheed Martin wants to
design, build and operate the system.
oks maglev funds. LA Daily News, 3/16/04.
California Maglev Alliance
||Shanghai-Hangzhou maglev studied. (3/10/04)
Shanghai, China. China is considering a major extension
of the new Shanghai Transrapid maglev line. The current 30 km
line connects Shanghai to Pudong International Airport. The proposed
extension would add approximately 200 km to the system and would
allow sustained, higher speeds. It would connect Shanghai to
Hangzhou. Hangzhou is one of the most popular tourist spots in
China. A feasibility study has been under way, but the project
is still waiting for approval from the central government in
Beijing. German news reports have been optimistic, stating that
Transrapid was about to wrap up a deal to build the line. If
the maglev gains approval, construction would tentatively start
next year and completion could be by 2008. The maglev would reduce
the city-to-city travel time from the current two hours to about
mulls second MAGLEV train to neighbouring Hangzhou. Yahoo
considers high-speed train. CNN, 3/9/04.
Munich maglev preview center
Munich, Germany. Visitors to Munich International
Airport are getting a glimpse into the future in a dramatic fashion.
A full-size Transrapid car is on display, complete with an elevated
segment of track. Along with the vehicle, a maglev display room
has pictures, multi-media stations with films and animations
that show visitors many aspects of the project. There is even
a Transrapid simulator for visitors to get an idea of what the
ride will be like once built. Engineering is currently under
way for the dual-track 37.4 km long system. The preview center
is open daily from 10 AM to 8 PM, admission is free.
Munich Transrapid website
Press: Las Vegas opening delayed.
Las Vegas, Nevada. Before the Las Vegas Monorail
can open to the public, the system needs to be tested for 30
days continuously to prove its capabilities. That test hasn't
begun, according to sources in Las Vegas, which means that it
won't open during the targeted first quarter of 2004. The Clark
County building division is still testing aspects of the system.
If the tests are successful, an early April opening is possible.
Terry Murphy, a Las Vegas Monorail Company board member,
said "When it does open we're going to make sure that it
is fully operational and safe. We have to make sure the testing
is done properly."
debut postponed again. Las Vegas Sun, 3/02/04.
Switch to Hitachi in Jakarta?
Jakarta, Indonesia. According to reports in the
Indonesian press, Malaysia's MTrans has been dropped as the supplier
for a proposed monorail in Jakarta. Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso
says the project will proceed instead with Japanese firm Hitachi
as its top investor. "Their (Hitachi) offer costs more but
it will be worth it as the company has good quality monorail
technology," he stated. Hitachi is offering to build the
system for around $600 million, which is higher than MTrans $540
million offer. The governor recently completed a five-day visit
to Japan and praised Hitachi for applying its monorail technology
in Japan for around 40 years without any errors or fatal accidents.
"The monorail in Malaysia is good but has not been proven
in the long-run, unlike the Japanese," he said. If the Hitachi
deal becomes a reality, it could be preceived as sweet revenge
for Hitachi. Hitachi was dropped in the Kuala Lumpur Monorail
project after the Asian financial crisis in favor of the new
monorail builder MTrans.
returns with projects. Jakarta Post, 3/1/04.
|| / News