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Old January 18th, 2008, 03:57 PM   #181
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This is the Keio Sagamihara Line going into to Tama Center station. I'm using the local train here for fairer comparison against its Monorail competitor. Even the local train breaks 100km/h.


Now, this is one of the best railways in Tokyo, the Odakyuu main line. This is also around 100km/h, but an express train. Odakyuu is uniquely smart as it is the only non-JR commuter railway operator to be quad-tracking its trunk line.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 06:50 AM   #182
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This is the Keio Sagamihara Line going into to Tama Center station. I'm using the local train here for fairer comparison against its Monorail competitor. Even the local train breaks 100km/h.
The train is also coming from a stop that is 2.3km away, and is a commuter rail train. I'll be honest that I do not know the station distances on the Tama monorail line, but anything with station spacing like that is gonna be fast. Are you gonna say Toronto's subway is inferior because it is not as fast as its commuter trains? The ALWEG test track saw speeds up to 180km/h, which is plenty fast.

You know, if you don't like monorail, why post here? I really cannot comprehend why you seem to dislike them so much, but please don't continue to spread mis-truths and half-truths about them to destroy their credibility.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 07:49 AM   #183
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One of the reason why monorail is slower than light rail/heavy rail is because of the rolling resistance on the track. Monorail run on rubber tires which has 'more' rolling resistance when more load of the passengers is put on the train which makes it 'slower'. The tires become slightly deformed when you put more load on the tires. Most of the large monorail trains have top speed of 50 mph like the Seattle or Tokyo monorail. It has a different physics to run reliabity in revenue service, too. That's my views in physics. Monorail has one of the advantages...which is traction because rubber tire to a concentre beam is a good match.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 03:48 PM   #184
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The train is also coming from a stop that is 2.3km away, and is a commuter rail train. I'll be honest that I do not know the station distances on the Tama monorail line, but anything with station spacing like that is gonna be fast. Are you gonna say Toronto's subway is inferior because it is not as fast as its commuter trains? The ALWEG test track saw speeds up to 180km/h, which is plenty fast.

You know, if you don't like monorail, why post here? I really cannot comprehend why you seem to dislike them so much, but please don't continue to spread mis-truths and half-truths about them to destroy their credibility.
There's no half-truths or mis-truths here. Look, I've ridden it, I know its performance from a first-hand rider's perspective, you don't. I support the technology where appropriate, the Tokyo Monorail is a good line for example, it performs well. Tama Monorail does not perform well, and LRT would have offered better performance for the route it serves although there would have been higher capital expenses in its construction if you're familiar with the terrain of the Tama Monorail.

Toronto's subway is faster than the Tama Monorail too, although I don't see the point of you comparing those two since they are half way around the world from each other.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 03:50 PM   #185
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Monorail has one of the advantages...which is traction because rubber tire to a concentre beam is a good match.
Which is why it can take some impressive slopes, like the Tama example.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 04:00 PM   #186
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According to the Monorail Society website < http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/Tama.html >, the Tama Monorail has 19 stations in 16.0 km (9.9 miles). If the trains are operated only at 60 km/h (37 mph), it is probably because of the close station spacing. The Hitachi website < http://www.hitachi-rail.com/products...ion/index.html > states that the trains are designed for 80 km/h (50 mph).

Trains are designed for the speeds that are expected to be most appropriate for the service in which they will be used. Examples of this are the streetcars that are used in Seattle and Portland. They ride on steel wheels yet they are designed for a maximum operating speed of 50 km/h (31 mph). The service that they are designed for does not require higher speed.
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Old January 20th, 2008, 04:44 PM   #187
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Just to avoid confusion, we need to keep clear the distinction between max speed and actual operating speed (of which, "design speed" could refer to either) - not average operating speed though. 80km/h is its max speed. It will rarely reach such a speed, due to station spacing, turns (which in Tama Monorails case are very sharp, this is in stark contrast to the Tokyo Monorail whose turns are gentle once it breaks away from the Yamanote Line), hills, and the occasional switch. The train given the mechanical capability to hit 80km/h, but the track alignment is not designed to allow to reach that high a speed.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 12:13 AM   #188
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Monorail has one of the advantages...which is traction because rubber tire to a concentre beam is a good match.
While theoretically that's true, in practice - in places where it freezes, like Seattle, monorail grades are limited due to the potential for icy conditions. I'm sure I'll be corrected if mistaken but I believe the Seattle Monorail Project's system was limited to 7% - and that's the grade between the I-5/SR-518 interchange and the Tukwila International station on our light rail.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 01:36 AM   #189
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While theoretically that's true, in practice - in places where it freezes, like Seattle, monorail grades are limited due to the potential for icy conditions. I'm sure I'll be corrected if mistaken but I believe the Seattle Monorail Project's system was limited to 7% - and that's the grade between the I-5/SR-518 interchange and the Tukwila International station on our light rail.
Was just stating in another thread that heaters could be installed in the concrete, allowing for minimal ice and snow buildup, and the stuff that does get built up would be pushed away with ease with frequent train service.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 03:06 AM   #190
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Both conventional rail and straddle-beam (Alweg) monorail systems are generally designed for a maximum grade of about 6% though steeper grades may be used for short distances such as bridge approaches. During icy weather, steel-wheeled systems typically use sand to gain traction. Rubber-tired systems use a variety of means. In climates that are very cold, the guideway may be heated. Where the climate is less severe, it may be adequate to simply operate trains continuously to prevent ice from forming on the running surfaces.

Safege monorails avoid traction problems in icy weather by having the running surfaces enclosed inside the guideway structure. The Monorail Society’s pictorial on the Shonan Monorail shows some of the steeper sections of that system. The maximum grade is 7.4%:

http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/Shonan2003c.html

Systems with elevated guideways can avoid locally steep grades by simply having the guideway not follow the contour of the ground. This applies to both elevated conventional rail and monorail. An example of this can be seen in the Monorail Society’s pictorial of the monorail on Okinawa:

http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/Okinawa2.html

Returning to the subject of heating the guideway, I am aware of two systems in fairly severe climates that utilize this approach. The rubber-tired metro in Lausanne, Switzerland will feature a heated guideway and grades of up to 12%. Part of the route was once a rack railway. The West Virginia University PRT system features a heated guideway and grades of up to 10%. Both of these systems are totally automated with no onboard staff.

Last edited by greg_christine; January 22nd, 2008 at 03:18 AM.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 05:59 AM   #191
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Both conventional rail and straddle-beam (Alweg) monorail systems are generally designed for a maximum grade of about 6% though steeper grades may be used for short distances such as bridge approaches. During icy weather, steel-wheeled systems typically use sand to gain traction. Rubber-tired systems use a variety of means. In climates that are very cold, the guideway may be heated. Where the climate is less severe, it may be adequate to simply operate trains continuously to prevent ice from forming on the running surfaces.

Safege monorails avoid traction problems in icy weather by having the running surfaces enclosed inside the guideway structure. The Monorail Society’s pictorial on the Shonan Monorail shows some of the steeper sections of that system. The maximum grade is 7.4%:

http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/Shonan2003c.html
I think the biggest problem with SAFEGE monorails is the beam size. While ALWEG monorails have fairly compact beams of about 80 centimeters, SAFEGE monorails have them at 1.8 meters. Standard rail gauge is about 1.4 meters, so in theory you could have an elevated LRT produce a smaller footprint than a SAFEGE could produce. While it is very unlikely an elevated rail line would only be 1.4m wide (especially after clearance and safety walkways are factored in), the fact remains that SAFEGE does lose a competitive advantage against other alternatives.

With that said, it is ashame that SAFEGE never took off. It does offer a number of advantages against ALWEG and standard rail, including better operation in colder climate and smoother handling of turns. But with advances in ALWEG design and technology, and a number of major players competing for bids, it is unlikely we will see another major SAFEGE monorail like in Chiba and Shonan.
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Old January 22nd, 2008, 07:55 PM   #192
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Was just stating in another thread that heaters could be installed in the concrete, allowing for minimal ice and snow buildup, and the stuff that does get built up would be pushed away with ease with frequent train service.
Generally, rolling rubber compacts rather than pushes away buildup. The pressure squeezes out the water (this is the same thing that happens on roads). Heaters are fine for lines where there's no way to make the grade more level - existing 10-12% grades, sure. But for construction in new right of way, light rail will be cheaper than heated monorail (if it wasn't going to be cheaper anyway).
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 12:28 AM   #193
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I think the biggest problem with SAFEGE monorails is the beam size. While ALWEG monorails have fairly compact beams of about 80 centimeters, SAFEGE monorails have them at 1.8 meters. Standard rail gauge is about 1.4 meters, so in theory you could have an elevated LRT produce a smaller footprint than a SAFEGE could produce.
How is the beam the biggest problem? That's an unusual argument.

One thing to note though, standard gauge rail does not use a beam unless elevated, and even then, 1.4 meters is only the distance from inside of the rail to inside of the rail, the more relevant number here is the length of the track ties, or at least from outer fishplate to outer fishplate, that will be the actual construction footprint of the supporting running surface minus drainage and clearance. However, footprints for elevated is not related to its beam size (though beam size will impact the location of the footprints), the footprints for elevated systems are in their column-ground connections. Shading impacts are another story, that does relate to the beam, but that is not a "footprint" in the proper sense of the word.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 01:45 AM   #194
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How is the beam the biggest problem? That's an unusual argument.

One thing to note though, standard gauge rail does not use a beam unless elevated, and even then, 1.4 meters is only the distance from inside of the rail to inside of the rail, the more relevant number here is the length of the track ties, or at least from outer fishplate to outer fishplate, that will be the actual construction footprint of the supporting running surface minus drainage and clearance. However, footprints for elevated is not related to its beam size (though beam size will impact the location of the footprints), the footprints for elevated systems are in their column-ground connections. Shading impacts are another story, that does relate to the beam, but that is not a "footprint" in the proper sense of the word.
There's something you're missing here. All systems built in the US, in order to meet safety requirements, have to have a continuous escape path for occupants. This means any monorail has to have a catwalk (probably in between the two directions). Elevated light rail kind of gets it by default because you can make drainage/maintenance space walkable.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 03:10 AM   #195
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Generally, rolling rubber compacts rather than pushes away buildup. The pressure squeezes out the water (this is the same thing that happens on roads). Heaters are fine for lines where there's no way to make the grade more level - existing 10-12% grades, sure. But for construction in new right of way, light rail will be cheaper than heated monorail (if it wasn't going to be cheaper anyway).
The ability to handle steep grades can result in a substantial cost savings. For the Coquitlam/Evergreen Line in Vancouver, it was estimated that light rail would cost $660.4 million whereas a rubber-tired tram system (Translohr) would cost $277.6 million. A large part of the cost savings would come from the ability of the rubber-tired trams to operate on steep grades. This would avoid the need to construct a tunnel to avoid a 12% grade.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 03:32 AM   #196
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There's something you're missing here. All systems built in the US, in order to meet safety requirements, have to have a continuous escape path for occupants. This means any monorail has to have a catwalk (probably in between the two directions). Elevated light rail kind of gets it by default because you can make drainage/maintenance space walkable.
Light rail viaducts are generally about 26 feet wide. Theoretically, it might be possible to have two separate viaducts no wider than the trains but this would introduce a few complications. First, most light rail lines use an overhead wire power supply system, so there needs to be a place to mount the poles that support the wires. Second, there should be a place for the wheels to land in case of a minor derailment so that the trains don't just fall to the streets below. There are a few rail systems that feature separate viaducts for each direction. Skytrain in Vancouver comes to mind. But most of the systems that utilize that approach are powered by third rail. For light rail, the general practice is to provide a single viaduct that is sufficiently wide to accommodate the tracks in both directions plus room for the poles supporting the overhead wires in the middle and enough room for a man to stand outboard of the trains at either side. Light rail vehicles are typically about 8 feet 9 inches wide. A viaduct that is 26 feet wide has about 8 feet six inches to accommodate the walkways plus the poles that support the wires. I am aware of instances of light rail lines that feature dual viaducts in way of stations where the tracks must diverge in order to accommodate central platforms; however, I am not aware of any light rail lines that utilize dual viaducts for any substantial distance.

Last edited by greg_christine; January 23rd, 2008 at 03:40 AM.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 05:50 PM   #197
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There's something you're missing here. All systems built in the US, in order to meet safety requirements, have to have a continuous escape path for occupants. This means any monorail has to have a catwalk (probably in between the two directions). Elevated light rail kind of gets it by default because you can make drainage/maintenance space walkable.
That can affect the location of the footprint, but not the footprint or beam itself. The catwalk does not require a separate structural support member, it shares the structural supporting grid of the beam the monorail uses, or columns in SAFEGE cases. So that catwalk is actually irrelevant for the argument in question.
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Old January 23rd, 2008, 09:32 PM   #198
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That can affect the location of the footprint, but not the footprint or beam itself. The catwalk does not require a separate structural support member, it shares the structural supporting grid of the beam the monorail uses, or columns in SAFEGE cases. So that catwalk is actually irrelevant for the argument in question.
It casts a shadow, which is generally the complained-about difference between monorail and light rail guideway.
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Old January 24th, 2008, 01:49 AM   #199
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It casts a shadow, which is generally the complained-about difference between monorail and light rail guideway.
Yes, I agree, but it is not a technological issue, it is a PR issue, and a big one at that. The beam is not the biggest challenge, it is the guideway interacting with the public (depending on model, the beam may be the guideway, but not necessarily)
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Old January 24th, 2008, 01:56 AM   #200
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Yes, I agree, but it is not a technological issue, it is a PR issue, and a big one at that. The beam is not the biggest challenge, it is the guideway interacting with the public (depending on model, the beam may be the guideway, but not necessarily)
Sure, I agree with you there. It's flexibility - in Seattle, we have some tunnel, some elevated, and some at-grade (partial separation, in its own lane but crosses some signaled intersections with signal priority) - all on the same light rail line. We could never have built in the same corridor with monorail, especially because of our downtown transit tunnel - buses need to be able to interline with rails while we're ramping up light rail service.
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