Monorails of Japan

Ueno Zoo

 Opened 1957

 .3 km

 2 stations

While this monorail only serves as a very short transport line within Tokyo's Ueno Zoo, it started out as a serious experiment. The Tokyo Metropolitan government authorized its construction while looking for new ways to ease suburban traffic congestion. The line is an updated version of the Wuppertal Schwebebahn of Germany (see Monorails of Europe). Instead of steel wheels however, the designers used rubber tires. To cut costs, off-the-shelf parts were used as much as possible. It became the first monorail in Japan but no other systems were built based on it. The Japanese would soon adopt foreign technology for their major monorails such as the Swedish/German Alweg system and the French Safege system. Still, with over a million passengers in its first year, the Ueno Monorail proved the popularity of monorail to Japan decision makers.

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