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Old January 16th, 2008, 05:53 AM   #161
Electrify
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Those numbers are from lightrailnow.org, aren't they? To be honest, I've always been somewhat skeptical of those numbers...

Since I don't feel like double posting, does anyone know why there are so few SAFEGE (suspended) monorails out there? I mean it is clear that cities have opened up to monorail, but why have they always chosen ALWEG over SAFEGE? Is it cause they are inefficient, too expensive, etc?
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Old January 16th, 2008, 06:19 AM   #162
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You're right, because your silly comparison of monorail's projected cost to light rail's actual cost (also a few years later, and not adjusted to matching dollars) is totally accurate! Oh, wait, but they go different places, and had different real estate costs, and we don't actually know what the monorail would have cost because it never made it past bid!

I know you have this idea that proprietary technology is cheaper, but in the real world, it fails over and over again while people like me get things done. Please, get over yourself.
You know, I really don't understand why LRT/HRT advocates always feel so threatened by monorails. At the end of the day if a city chooses to go elevated or grade separated with rapid transit, will it be the end of the world if they choose one technology over another?

Both have their pros and cons. LRT is definitely more flexible, since you can run it at grade or off. But monorail definitely produces a smaller footprint when elevated than standard rail.

In conclusion, I'm going to show you a picture of the SAFEGE 'monorail' test track. Something for you to think about when you head off to sleep tonight...



It's a monorail... but it has TWO rails inside its 'beam'
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Old January 16th, 2008, 07:23 AM   #163
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There's a simple reason I dislike the push for monorail: We just had a monorail agency in Seattle make all these claims about how monorail was "better", draining political support for our *real* transit agency - the one that was already building light rail and struggling to survive massive construction cost inflation.

While I've been on this board, certain people have pushed monorail and bashed that agency (Sound Transit) for failures. The same people push buses.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 07:26 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by Electrify View Post
Those numbers are from lightrailnow.org, aren't they? To be honest, I've always been somewhat skeptical of those numbers...

Since I don't feel like double posting, does anyone know why there are so few SAFEGE (suspended) monorails out there? I mean it is clear that cities have opened up to monorail, but why have they always chosen ALWEG over SAFEGE? Is it cause they are inefficient, too expensive, etc?
Sure - they're more expensive. You have to build a taller guideway, which means more materials (and a big chunk of concrete visible from farther away). There are fewer existing examples, which means parts will be more expensive as well. The only time there's a really compelling reason is when you need to see downward - the Ueno Zoo is a good example.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 06:14 PM   #165
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You know, I really don't understand why LRT/HRT advocates always feel so threatened by monorails. At the end of the day if a city chooses to go elevated or grade separated with rapid transit, will it be the end of the world if they choose one technology over another?
My main opposition comes from its being 100% elevated all the time. The accessibility costs really drag this down, especially over LRT. Subways are better in the accessibility department because with a cut and cover subway that is shallow (around 5 meters to platform level, 6 maybe closer to 7 to rail level, a monorail cannot compete with the subway's 5 meters (although Castle Frank, Wesley, Rosedale, and Summerhill are the only examples I can think of where the TTC actually makes it that shallow)), it is easier and less vertical distical distance to fit in a ramp than for a monorail. Also, elevated stations have a very bad habit of looking awful when done on the cheap, this is of course avoidable if enough is invested into them.

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It's a monorail... but it has TWO rails inside its 'beam'
You only just learned about that? Kinda shocking for someone who pimps the technology so much (no offence intended, but I thought you knew that already). Tokyo Monorail is similar, same principle inverted.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 06:32 PM   #166
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My main opposition comes from its being 100% elevated all the time.
Exactly. We couldn't have built monorail in the corridor where light rail is currently under way in Seattle, because we couldn't have served a large residential hill (light rail is tunneled through), would have had opposition to running downtown (light rail is using a tunnel originally meant for buses), and couldn't have afforded to run through a valley suburb (we're going at-grade in exclusive right of way, excepting some intersections). That flexibility is generally necessary to handle the uncertainties involved in the long timeframe of most public projects.

And yet, I hear: "It's cheaper! It's better! Look how fantastic it is!" - the same Simpsons-esque cries I had to hear during the four public votes our monorail project had to go through for more money before it finally tanked. The agency *believed* these things, so they tried to will them to be true, reality be damned. Seeing the same thing in an intelligent discussion is incredibly frustrating - the same tired cost comparison numbers that were never borne out, over and over, then bus comparison costs that don't include the exclusive right of way or long-term maintenance, failure to use equivalent service levels, etc... basically, an ongoing attack on light rail and subway.

Last edited by UrbanBen; January 16th, 2008 at 06:38 PM.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 07:16 PM   #167
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There's a simple reason I dislike the push for monorail: We just had a monorail agency in Seattle make all these claims about how monorail was "better", draining political support for our *real* transit agency - the one that was already building light rail and struggling to survive massive construction cost inflation.

While I've been on this board, certain people have pushed monorail and bashed that agency (Sound Transit) for failures. The same people push buses.
Maybe, just maybe, the monorail would have been better? I can't see how running above the road could be worse than riding on the road. The people of Seattle would have liked it, since they voted for it in several elections. Unfortunately the financing plan was poorly thought out and that is what killed it. At least Seattle is getting something, and it seems to be a very good LRT too, but the city's monorail has already proven itself as effective and it would have been cool to see it expanded.

I really don't want to turn this into a bus vs tram thread (enough of those already), but from my personal experiences I prefer commuting in a bus than a streetcar. I know there are plenty who disagree with that position, but to each his own.

Oh, and I don't own a car either. So don't try and accuse me of being pro-car.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 07:24 PM   #168
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My main opposition comes from its being 100% elevated all the time. The accessibility costs really drag this down, especially over LRT. Subways are better in the accessibility department because with a cut and cover subway that is shallow (around 5 meters to platform level, 6 maybe closer to 7 to rail level, a monorail cannot compete with the subway's 5 meters (although Castle Frank, Wesley, Rosedale, and Summerhill are the only examples I can think of where the TTC actually makes it that shallow)), it is easier and less vertical distical distance to fit in a ramp than for a monorail. Also, elevated stations have a very bad habit of looking awful when done on the cheap, this is of course avoidable if enough is invested into them.


You only just learned about that? Kinda shocking for someone who pimps the technology so much (no offence intended, but I thought you knew that already). Tokyo Monorail is similar, same principle inverted.
I was going to state that subways are entirely off-grade as well, and it would be silly to bash them based on that, but I see you beat me to it. Either way, I don't see why elevators and people moving ramps could be used to compensate. Also, since SAFEGE monorails can handle steeper grades, in theory you could have them dive down into underground stations.

Any station can look poorly if money is not spent on it. Dufferin subway station is just... well... awful.

And yes I've known that SAFEGE has two rails. I was just trying to prove a point that in many ways it is arguably more of a suspended LRT than a monorail.
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Old January 16th, 2008, 07:43 PM   #169
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Maybe, just maybe, the monorail would have been better? I can't see how running above the road could be worse than riding on the road. The people of Seattle would have liked it, since they voted for it in several elections. Unfortunately the financing plan was poorly thought out and that is what killed it. At least Seattle is getting something, and it seems to be a very good LRT too, but the city's monorail has already proven itself as effective and it would have been cool to see it expanded.

I really don't want to turn this into a bus vs tram thread (enough of those already), but from my personal experiences I prefer commuting in a bus than a streetcar. I know there are plenty who disagree with that position, but to each his own.

Oh, and I don't own a car either. So don't try and accuse me of being pro-car.
See, this is the problem. Why would LRT run on the road? Why are we suddenly comparing elevated monorail to at-grade light rail? That was exactly what the SMP did, and it lost them a huge amount of favor.

Also... the SMP only won its second to last vote because people thought voting "no" would kill it. Recall votes are like that.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 04:16 AM   #170
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It would be a major political challenge to gain approval for an elevated light rail viaduct through a downtown business district or residential area. In Seattle, there was much agonizing over the route of the Green Line Monorail through Seattle Center:



The permanent tenants of Seattle Center and the city council came to a consensus that the shading and noise impacts from the monorail would be acceptable. This would never have happened with an elevated light rail line. Given that there is no at-grade corridor available for light rail running toward Ballard from downtown and that an elevated light rail viaduct would be unacceptable, the only option for light rail would be a tunnel, which would be extremely expensive.

Last edited by greg_christine; January 17th, 2008 at 04:21 AM.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 04:39 AM   #171
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It would be a major political challenge to gain approval for an elevated light rail viaduct through a downtown business district or residential area. In Seattle, there was much agonizing over the route of the Green Line Monorail through Seattle Center:



The permanent tenants of Seattle Center and the city council came to a consensus that the shading and noise impacts from the monorail would be acceptable. This would never have happened with an elevated light rail line. Given that there is no at-grade corridor available for light rail running toward Ballard from downtown and that an elevated light rail viaduct would be unacceptable, the only option for light rail would be a tunnel, which would be extremely expensive.
A cut-and-cover second avenue tunnel (built in phases) has been the general consensus among the local transit crowd, actually - then elevated through Interbay and SODO, and whatever else. It would just require a new federal administration before it could get enough FTA money to be feasible.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 05:59 AM   #172
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A similar issue exists in Bellevue. Sound Transit performed a study for the proposed I-90 Trans-Lake Washington line that included several alternatives including monorail and light rail. Sound Transit produced cost estimates for both light rail in a tunnel and light rail on a viaduct for the Bellevue segment even though the viaduct option wasn't considered politically viable. The cost estimates for the Bellevue segment were as follows:

Light Rail (Aerial): $410 million - $560 million
Light Rail (Tunnel): $780 million - $1.1 billion
Monorail: $400 million - $540 million

The monorail option was rejected based on the findings that 1) modifications would be required to the Mt. Baker Tunnel and 2) a transfer would be required in downtown Seattle. (The former point was disputed by a representative of Bombardier who stated that Bombardier's monorail trains would fit the tunnel.) A light rail line in a tunnel through Bellevue was part of the Roads and Transit ballot measure that failed at the polls this past fall.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 01:58 PM   #173
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IMHO monorails are ugly. They spoil the city outlook if they are built in the historical part. It is like building skyscraper inside historical center. I would never see such thing in city center.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 05:33 PM   #174
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The monorail option was rejected based on the findings that 1) modifications would be required to the Mt. Baker Tunnel and 2) a transfer would be required in downtown Seattle. (The former point was disputed by a representative of Bombardier who stated that Bombardier's monorail trains would fit the tunnel.) A light rail line in a tunnel through Bellevue was part of the Roads and Transit ballot measure that failed at the polls this past fall.
You're comparing very small segments to each other. The monorail option would have required new platforms at ID station, and much greater cost for the I-90 segment where light rail will not require structural changes. It also couldn't save money by using an embankment along some of 520, which light rail will likely do between Overlake and Redmond (when we get our act together).

The transfer is also a big deal - half the point of going across I-90 is that interlining Bellevue trains with Sea-Tac/Federal Way/Whatever trains is that both of those branches' ridership adds up to approximately the Seattle-Northgate ridership. That's a huge efficiency increase and cost savings that you don't get with a transfer.

One last thing - no alternative was selected for Bellevue. Tunnel, elevated or at-grade were not on the ballot, just a promise to build in that corridor. As far as I'm aware, that decision has yet to be made.
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Old January 17th, 2008, 07:09 PM   #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electrify View Post
You know, I really don't understand why LRT/HRT advocates always feel so threatened by monorails. At the end of the day if a city chooses to go elevated or grade separated with rapid transit, will it be the end of the world if they choose one technology over another?

In conclusion, I'm going to show you a picture of the SAFEGE 'monorail' test track. Something for you to think about when you head off to sleep tonight...



It's a monorail... but it has TWO rails inside its 'beam'
I agree with your first point. As long as mass transit is made for the people and it works well and is in a good location it really does not matter (most of the time) to me what type of rail it is.

Where is your pic from? The track that is elevated cannot be from a SAFEGE test track, the train would run smack into the cement support beam.... the track on the ground could certainly be from one....but not the elevated one in the pic.

The support beam should look more like this:

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Old January 18th, 2008, 01:35 AM   #176
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I agree with your first point. As long as mass transit is made for the people and it works well and is in a good location it really does not matter (most of the time) to me what type of rail it is.

Where is your pic from? The track that is elevated cannot be from a SAFEGE test track, the train would run smack into the cement support beam.... the track on the ground could certainly be from one....but not the elevated one in the pic.

The support beam should look more like this:

The line in the background is actually an Aerotrain monorail test track. The SAFEGE piece is the only thing remaining of the original test track.

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaver...t/1061/safege/
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Old January 18th, 2008, 01:46 AM   #177
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Also, to the person who said the Tama monorail was slow as molasses (coughtrzcough), this video here would beg to differ:

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Old January 18th, 2008, 02:07 AM   #178
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Also, to the person who said the Tama monorail was slow as molasses (coughtrzcough), this video here would beg to differ:

That's... not that fast. What, 80k?
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Old January 18th, 2008, 05:56 AM   #179
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That's... not that fast. What, 80k?
Probably slightly less. The maximum speed (according to Hitachi) for Tama is 60km/h. This probably has more to do with station spacing than anything else, since the Osaka monorail (also a Hitachi large) goes to 70km/h, and the vehicle's maximum speed is 80km/h.

This is on par with many LRT systems, and it would be difficult for surface LRT to meet those speeds through high density areas.


http://www.hitachi-rail.com/about_us...ery/index.html
http://www.hitachi-rail.com/products...ion/index.html
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Last edited by Electrify; January 18th, 2008 at 06:08 AM.
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Old January 18th, 2008, 03:31 PM   #180
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Probably slightly less. The maximum speed (according to Hitachi) for Tama is 60km/h. This probably has more to do with station spacing than anything else, since the Osaka monorail (also a Hitachi large) goes to 70km/h, and the vehicle's maximum speed is 80km/h.

This is on par with many LRT systems, and it would be difficult for surface LRT to meet those speeds through high density areas.


http://www.hitachi-rail.com/about_us...ery/index.html
http://www.hitachi-rail.com/products...ion/index.html
60km/h is very slow for western Tokyo my friend, let me tell you FIRST HAND, straight up. I have watched the spedometers (yes, I am that geek), Odakyuu Line hits 100km/h regularly. Keiou Line 110km/h - ALMOST TWICE AS FAST!!! Odakyuu and Keiou both service Tama Center, terminus for the Tama Monorail. Nambu line goes around 70-80, and Nambu line, like Tama Monorail, doesn't go to central Tokyo either (they both serve Tachikawa, Nambu Line's terminus).

An LRT would be able to go faster than that train, if it can handle the terrain. The terrain, I observed, is one of the things that helps slow the Tama monorail down quite a bit. Lots of steep albeit short slopes that are impossible to climb on conventional rail. Station spacing is pretty close on Tama Monorail. Among its more shocking displays of stupidity, they created two Tachikawa stations for it, which should be completely unnecessary.

That video was a little silly since it cut out station stops. That creates a very false impression of the line, and I mean dramatically false.

Also, the section between Hodokubo and Koushuu-kaidou was pretty slow, slower than usual.
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