Metrail for Penang! (10/21/03)
Penang, Malaysia. Barely a month since we brought
you news about Metrail, a new hybrid monorail system with a test
track outside Kuala Lumpur, one of the two major partners developing
the system has announced that they have been selected to build
a monorail system for Penang, Malaysia. According to sources
close to the deal, MMC Engineering has a "letter of exclusivity
from the government" for a 1.1 billion ringit ($289 million)
monorail. MMC and its United Kingdom partner, Frazer-Nash, will
start building a starter line sometime early next year. The monorail
system is self-propelled and doesn't have the necessity for a
power source on the guideway. Penang is Malaysia's key manufacturing
hub. The monorail plan calls for a 37 km (23 mile) system.
MMC Eng gets Penang monorail deal-sources. Reuters/Yahoo
Kuala Lumpur profitable by
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Even with limited operating
hours and only six trains on the system, the Kuala Lumpur Monorail
is well on its way to being a financial success story. Currently
the monorail operates from 7 AM to 8 PM, yet daily ridership
is reaching 25,000 on weekdays and around 35,000 on weekends.
Managing Director Patrick Wong says "When we operate
from 6 AM to 12 midnight, we expect the ridership to increase
further, [to 40,000 daily]." The number of trains would
also increase to twelve by next year. Monorail operator KL Infrastructure
Group Bhd expects to be profitable in its financial year ending
April 30, 2007.
to break even operationally early next year. The Edge Daily,
Monorail Nigeria Group formed.
Lagos, Nigeria. The ever-expanding world of monorail
advocacy is now officially on the continent of Africa. The Monorail
Nigeria Group has been formed to advocate systems for their country
of 150 million people and 250 languages. Prime targets for monorail
promotion will be the congested capital City of Abuja, as well
as the City of Lagos. TMS member John Cashin tells us
that Nigeria is "the world's six or fifth largest oil exporter,
exporting 2 million barrels of oil daily." Abuja and Lagos
are in serious need of traffic relief. Cashin along with Twinkle
Oruwarive are co-chairs of the advocacy group. Monorail Nigeria
Group becomes the first to join the Monorail Society's World
Campaign from Africa.
Monorail Nigeria Group
72 Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria
Co-Chair - John Cashin
Co-Chair - Twinkle Oruwariye
Orlando rejects light rail
- again. (10/9/03)
Orlando, Florida. On Tuesday, Orange County residents
defeated a 1/2 cent sales tax increase to fund roads and a light
rail project. While other reasons were cited for the defeat,
one was that a poorly defined "light rail" project
was part of the mix. Whether a monorail proposal instead of light
rail would have made any difference is subject to speculation
at this point. What we do know is Orlando and Orange County residents
do not want a light rail. Currently there are two studies
under way for the Airport to the Convention Center (2nd largest
in the Country after Las Vegas) and I-Drive tourist areas (which
includes SeaWorld and Universal's theme parks) to determine which,
if any, transit system is appropriate. Monorail has been said
to be the preference of tourist-related businesses in the area.
For those of you interested in helping make monorail happen there,
Orlando Monorail is an organization very active in promoting
monorail for those corridors.
kill transportation tax initiative. Orlando Business Journal,
Orlando Monorail Website
Surprise! Metrail econo-mono
test track (9/18/03)
Nilai, Malaysia. Thanks to the sharp eye of Greg
Keleshian of Orlando
Monorail, we have recently become aware of a new monorail
system under development. This one isn't just another pretty
art rendering either, a full-scale test track has been built
in Malaysia. The Metrail consortium, which has Malaysia Mining
Corporation (MMC) of Kuala Lumpur and Frazer-Nash of the United
Kingdom as partners, is now testing their Metrail monorail system
at an MMC facility in Nilai, Malaysia. The monorail is powered
by Frazer-Nash state of the art electric motors, and to keep
costs down it is internally powered. Bus bars, external power
supply, or substations are not required! The projected cost is
around $12-14 million per kilometer. The train can run at low
voltage of 48 V with a peak speed of 80 kph. Metrail shows three
configurations of their system on their information-scarce website.
A standard two-car Metrail train can carry 5,000-10,000 passengers
per hour for smaller communities. A three-car Metrail Plus, designed
for regular city shuttle services, can carry 10,00020,000
passengers per hour. Metrail Ultra, the top of the line high-volume
Metrail system, can carry 30,00040,000 per hour. Metrail
Ultra also boasts an amazing gradient climbing capability of
18%. Considering the ability to install quickly without electrical
subsystems for the track and the projected low cost, it wouldn't
be surprising to see many communities around the world line up
for a Metrail monorail. We welcome Metrail to the growing community
of monorail suppliers!
Malaysia Mining Corporation
||Kuala Lumpur Monorail popular in first weeks. (9/18/03)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Over 170,000 people rode
the Kuala Lumpur Monorail during the first 15 days of operation.
KL Monorail Systems managing director Bakhtiar Jamilee
said "The volume is very good considering that passenger
services are limited to between 10 AM and 3 PM at the moment.
We are very happy to get such numbers just with the lunch-time
crowd." The busiest stations are where transfers can be
made to other rail systems of the city. KL Central Station is
the busiest with between 2,500 and 3,500 commuters using it each
day. KL Central is served by most major rail lines of the city,
including a new line to the airport. Operating hours will be
expanded to 8 AM to 7 PM next month. Five trains are being used
now, with new trains being tested at night. Eventually the system
will operate from 6 AM to midnight with 12 trains.
170,000 use monorail in first 15 days. The Star, 9/18/03.
art rendering courtesy of
Seattle Monorail Project
Seattle Council amends land-use
code for monorail. (9/16/03)
Seattle, Washington. The Seattle City Council voted
unanimously to let monorail stations and track along the 14-mile
Green Line rise as high as 65 feet. The council also said it
will approve design guidelines for stations and alignment. However,
before the city grants a "transitway agreement" in
2004 to allow construction on city streets, the Seattle Monorail
Project must demonstrate that there will be enough money to complete
the 14-mile Green Line. Revenues in the first months of a new
car-tab tax, established for the monorail, have been below forecasts,
causing concern for backers of the system. Councilman Nick
Licata stated "Ultimately, it's going to be on our shoulders
to decide whether to approve permits for the monorail."
codes to permit monorail. Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce,
Council makes monorail pledge. Seattle P-I, 9/18/03.
to keep tabs on monorail: Project must show solid finances.
Seattle Times, 9/18/03.
||Kuala Lumpur Monorail opens! (8/31/03)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After what has been a very
challenging development period, the Kuala
Lumpur Monorail has finally opened. It is the second major
monorail system to open this month, as Okinawa opened their citywide
system on August 10th. The RM1.18 billion inner-city transit
system was to have been launched last September, but was postponed
after a 13.4 kg safety wheel came off and fell on a reporter
who was walking under the tracks during a trial run on August
16th of last year. The accident was ruled to be sabotage, yet
several design changes have been made to improve safety. Earlier,
the Asian financial crisis of 1997 had totally stopped the project,
which at the time was being built by Hitachi. Newcomer Monorail
Malaysia took over the project and restarted construction in1998.
The official launch by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir
Mohamad was held at the Bukit Bintang station in Jalan Sultan
Ismail. Malaysians coming out for the Merdeka Day celebrations
were given the opportunity to try out the monorail for only RM1
for each journey. This special rate will continue throughout
September. After September, tickets for a ride on the monorail
system, which stretches 8.6 km from Titiwangsa to KL Sentral,
are priced from RM1.20 to RM 2.50. There are 11 stations in the
monorail link. The monorail can travel up to 90 kph with up to
214 passengers. It is estimated that it could reduce inner-city
road traffic by 15 per cent.
Mahathir launches KL Monorail service. Utusan Online, 8/31/03.
proves progress in engineering. Utusan Online, 8/31/03.
to launch KL Monorail today. New Strait Times, 8/30/03.
||Moscow Monorail powers up. (8/31/03)
Moscow, Russia. Our source for information and
photographs from Moscow, Anton A. Chigrai, informs us
that the vast majority of the Moscow Monorail construction is
complete. Currently tests of the power system are under way.
Trains are scheduled to be delivered to the depot next week.
Moscow citizens will be looking up above soon after, as the first
test run is scheduled for September 6th. If all goes well, the
Moscow Monorail will begin passenger
operations in November.
Orlando Monorail website debuts.
Orlando, Florida. Campaign
USA has gained yet another group of dedicated monorailists
pursuing monorail for their community. Monorail Society Vice
President Keith Walls and member Greg Keleshian
have proudly announced the debut of their Orlando Monorail website.
Not satisfied with the continuing efforts by officials to build
light rail in Orlando, backers of the Orlando Monorail are going
directly to the citizens with their education efforts. Walls
and Keleshian enlisted the help of Rob Fairman with the
design of the website, which includes slick Flash animations
and computer renderings of what the Orlando Monorail could look
like. If you're in the Orlando area, be sure to visit the site,
join their group and help make it happen!
King County initiative delay
King County, Washington. 90 days to collect 45,000
valid signatures for an initiative is no easy task. Backers of
a proposed King County Monorail Initiative were trying to do
just that, but difficult requirements established by King County
have resulted in a delay in their efforts. The Citizens for King
County Monorail (CKCM), the volunteer group promoting a regional
monorail on the King County ballot, decided to re-file its initiative
and resume efforts in the spring of 2004. If signature gathering
is successful then, the proposal could appear on the November
2004 ballot. According to Steering Committee member Scott
Durham, "We've had such a great response from a wide
range of groups and individuals across the county. We want to
take the next months to build that incredible momentum and let
it carry us into a November 2004 election." Steering Committee
member, and former Bellevue City Councilperson, Nancy Rising
said "Our endorsements have been terrific for an all-volunteer,
grassroots organization! Thus far, we've been endorsed by the
Renton Chamber of Commerce, the 41st, 45th, 47th and 48th District
Democrats, Transportation Choices Coalition, and the Seattle
Building & Construction Trades Council."
initiative hits the brakes until spring. Seattle P-I, 8/30/03.
Petition problems derail monorail supporters. King County
SimCity 4 includes monorail.
Redwood City, California. Monorailist gamers have
gotten their wish. About a year ago, a discussion began on the
Society Discussion Group about the SimCity computer game.
It was suggested that monorailists should write to Electronic
Arts, the company that makes SimCity, and recommend that monorail
be included in their popular simulation game. Recently Electronics
Arts did just that, they have included monorail in the new expansion
pack for SimCity4. The expansion pack is called "Rush Hour,"
and it involves more detailed modeling and control of transportation
infrastructure. Not only will players be able to construct their
monorail systems in their simulated cities, but a first person
driving mode allows players to drive their monorails throughout
their simulated cities!
SimCity 4 website.
4 monorail image
photo by Steve Marcus
Broadbent remembered. (8/14/03)
Las Vegas, Nevada. Bob Broadbent died Saturday
at the age of 77 at Boulder City Hospital. Broadbent was a political
force in Nevada for 40 years. He was Boulder City's first mayor
in 1960 and was best known for his 11-year tenure as Clark County's
director of aviation, where he oversaw a multibillion-dollar
expansion of McCarran International Airport. In recent years
Mr. Broadbent became well known amongst monorailists as the man
who spearheaded the effort to make the Las Vegas Monorail System
come into being. Overcoming enormous political and legal obstacles,
his work will result in the opening of the first leg of the system
in early 2004. Before the system has even opened, an extension
to downtown Las Vegas has also been approved. He envisioned the
system eventually being connected to McCarran International Airport.
County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury has proposed naming
the system for Mr. Broadbent.
Broadbent. Las Vegas In Business, 8/9/03.
public servant Broadbent dies. Las Vegas Sun, 8/11/03
Broadbent, at 77. Las Vegas Review-Journal, 8/11/03.
Monorail Named After Former Southern Nevadan Politician.
KVBC TV, 8/15/03.
Niagara Falls people mover
gets funds. (8/14/03)
Niagara Falls, Ontario. The long-awaited people
mover for Niagara Falls has been given an $18 million (U.S.)
grant from the Canadian government. Mayor Wayne Thomson
said "This is the icing on the cake for us. It will get
rid of the congestion on the roads, and it will encourage visitors
to stay here longer." Congestion in the area has been increasing
in the burgeoning tourist area, 18 million people a year visit
and 30 million a year are expected by 2005. The people mover
may be a monorail, but the technology or supplier has yet to
be selected. The new system will have stops at Marineland, Table
Rock, the Skylon Tower, Maid of the Mist, Clifton Hill, Casino
Niagara and the Butterfly Conservatory. It will also serve a
parking lot away from the congested tourist area. "The new
system ties everything together," Thomson said. It's hoped
to open the system in the Spring of 2006.
Ont., gets funds for proposed monorail. Buffalo News, 8/13/03.
Mishap on Okinawa's 1st day
Naha, Okinawa. On the Okinawa Monorail's first
day of passenger operations, a two-car train lost power about
60 meters out of Furujima Station. Moments earlier a 2-year-old
boy had caught his hand in the doors of the train. A passenger
helped pry the doors open for the boy, but this caused the door
to become misaligned. The door was then closed manually by a
driver, but the automatic door system malfunctioned and the train
lost power upon departure. After a one-hour wait, another train
was coupled to the disabled train and towed it to Omoromachi
Station. Passengers were unloaded at the station. Because of
the incident, monorail service for the entire system was suspended
for about two hours. Company President Hidetomo Kojo apologized
at a press conference, saying, "We're very sorry that we've
caused trouble to monorail users on a day that should otherwise
be about celebrating the opening of the service." The system
is expected to serve about 31,000 users per day. On opening day,
about 62,000 people used the system.
monorail halted on 1st day. Daily Yomiuri, 8/12/03
Okinawa Monorail opens. (8/10/03)
Naha, Okinawa. It's a great day! The "Yui-Rail"
Monorail opened today in the City of Naha, on the southernmost
island of Okinawa, Japan. The rail was first proposed shortly
after Okinawa was returned to Japan's sovereignty from the USA
in 1972. Okinawa Urban Monorail Co. President Hidetomo Kojo
blew a whistle and the first train, driven by Erina Tamashiro,
28, departed from Naha Airport Station at 6 a.m. Yoriyuki
Mori, 44, a national government employee from Hita, Oita
Prefecture, was the first passenger to get on the train. Mori
brought a sleeping bag and had stayed at Naha Airport Station
since Friday afternoon. "I made it. I felt as if I was dreaming,"
he said. He proudly showed off a handmade flag bearing, "Congratulations
on the inauguration of the Okinawa monorail. I'm the first passenger."
This guy belongs in TMS, you think? The Monorail Society congratulates
the many people responsible for the development of this spectacular
monorail system. As well as being a fantastic addition to the
City of Naha, it's another big win for monorailists!
Monorail Society Okinawa Monorail
Monorails of Japan DVD Set
(features entire ride on Okinawa Monorail as seen from front
Okinawa Monorail website
Urban Monorail starts running. Mainichi Daily News, 8/10/03.
Kuala Lumpur fire evacuation.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Don't panic monorailists,
it was only a test! Kuala Lumpur Monorail, in conjunction with
the Fire and Rescue Department, police, and hospital staff conducted
a mock rescue operation this week. The monorail system is nearing
its opening date of August 31, and the exercise was one of the
last major events before revenue operations. Rescuers rushed
to the scene where a monorail train was "on fire."
The exercise took place in the center of the city's Golden Triangle
district. Despite a power supply failure, the train, which was
in mock distress between the Imbi and Bukit Bintang stations,
was brought to Bukit Bintang station where all passengers were
safely unloaded. The station was then evacuated and immediately
cordoned off. According the the Malaysia Star newspaper,
"the emergency response team worked hard during the operation,
despite knowing that the incident was an exercise so that its
members and other staff would know how to handle disasters."
KL Monorail System Sdn Bhd general manager for operations, Larry
Williams, said "although you can never plan a disaster,
the rescue operation was carried out more or less according to
rescue drama a success. The Star, 8/9/03.
Iris design; expensive wall of track with two
walkways instead of one, or pretty design for limited space in
downtown? (rendering by ZGF)
Seattle: taxes low, iris views,
no landmark. (8/9/03)
Taxes: A bit of nervousness
has surfaced at the Seattle Monorail Project (SMP), as the new
car-tab tax to pay for the project generated fewer dollars than
expected in June. Officials are saying they will wait for July
figures before they determine whether a major problem is developing.
Joel Horn, who heads up the project, said "I'm confident
we can design a project that can fit our revenue stream, because
we have so much control over the project still." Department
of Licensing (DOL) figures showed June collections at around
$2.6 million, which is one million dollars short of what the
Seattle Monorail Project says it needs each month on average
to build the line. A radio interview of Horn discussing the money
situation is now posted on the SPM
Irises: Art renderings of
proposed Iris structures in the downtown area have been released
to the public. They reveal dual-level tracks that would require
two emergency walkways. Conventional t-supports only need one
walkway between tracks, such as in Las Vegas. The iris design
is being considered where space constraints are an issue and
multi-level stations would be desireable. Art renderings were
done by consultant Zimmer Gunsul Frasca (ZGF). A huge number
of renderings have been added to the Seattle Monorail Project
here to take a look.
Landmark not: On Monday the
City Council dashed hopes of Alweg preservationists by allowing
SMP to demolish the old monorail line. The council will save
the historic Alweg trains, but the 1962 track will be removed
and replaced with new monorail track for the Green Line. What
will become of the Alweg trains is subject of much conversation
and some interesting ideas. Dick Falkenbury, candidate
for City Council and the man that started the Seattle monorail
movement, has some ideas to keep the trains running. He suggests
that instead of building an expensive new streetcar for South
Lake Union as some have proposed, it might be cheaper to connect
the old Alweg system to the Green Line at Fifth Avenue and Bell
Street and have it run in a loop out to the south end of Lake
Union. Other proposals to keep the trains running have been forwarded
as opposed to putting them on static display in a museum setting.
revenue falls short. Seattle P-I, 8/8/03.
Car-tab taxes less than expected. Seattle Times, 8/7/03.
monorail may look like downtown. Seattle Times, 8/6/03.
Monorail idea: save the old one. Seattle P-I, 8/6/03
Pinellas MPO moves project
Pinellas County, Florida. Pinellas County's Metropolitan
Planning Organization (MPO) board today voted to move forward
on a 38-mile monorail system. If built, the system could carry
50,000 people a day from Clearwater Beach to downtown St. Petersburg
and other points. The idea for a monorail system in the county
has been proposed and studied on several occasions, but traffic
has now reached a peak that makes the current proposal have a
better chance of realization. While today's vote was a milestone,
money to build the system remains the biggest challenge ahead.
County Commissioner John Morroni asks "Do we go to
a referendum and ask for it? Or is there a way to pay for it
without going to a referendum?" Federal funds would be sought
to match local funds. Officials will seek public input in the
upcoming months. Tampa-based consultant Grimail-Crawford has
been directed to complete a New Starts analysis for the system.
system at a crossroads. St. Petersburg Times, 7/28/03.
Pinellas Mobility Initiative website
Last Alweg-built monorail
on way out. (7/23/03)
Seattle, Washington. A Seattle City Council committee
recommended that the Seattle Center monorail track not be given
landmark status. Council members on the committee represent a
majority of the council, and it's likely that the full council
will also turn down landmark status for the track. If so, the
Seattle Monorail Project (SMP) will be free to use the same corridor
for the planned 14-mile Green Line monorail. Preservationists
and some monorailists sought to preserve the Alweg monorail as
an operating system. The one-mile dual-lane shuttle features
the world's last remaining monorail trains built by Alweg, the
company that developed the modern straddle type of system in
use all over the world. Along with the Space Needle, the monorail
was a symbol of the 1962 Century 21 World's Fair. Ironically,
the 41-year old track will be torn down to fulfill it's designers
dream of a longer system. The fate of the trains is yet to be
is not a landmark, council says. Seattle P-I, 7/23/03.
tracks, columns can go. Seattle Times, 7/23/03.
Seattle Monorail Project website.
|| / News