Monorail vs. Regular rail lines

I’ve been wondering this for a while, but I don’t know about it to be able to answe the question.

Basically, What advantages do regular inner-city trains(light rail) have over monorails. I wonder because you only see monorails in places like disneyworld. I know seattle has a very limited system.

I could tell you a good bit of stuff about Seattle’s proposed expansion of the monrail, and why it’s better than light rail, but I don’t know too much general information. But, I know a great site.

check this out, from the second-to-last Austin Chronicle



Is there a chance the track might bend? Not on your life, my Hindu friend!

Have you taken a ride on the monorail at Disneyworld?
Or Disneyland?

Your impression can be point 1.

My point 1.
The thing rolled along at a moderate speed making “clicks” and “clacks” as it moved over it’s own version of expansion joints. I really didn’t feel better or worse than light rail. This is from a consumer standpoint.

Personal thought (and this is personal)…I feel that the monorail is from a different era. In that era rail was the major method of commercial passenger travel. The same era also pictured cities of the future with dirigibles flying over them.

Today’s answer is Southwest Airlines.

You mean Southwest will get me downtown and back every day for a buck and a quarter each way? Wow. :cool:

I think, for my city, the biggest thing recommending monorail is that it doesn’t interfere with other traffic. Would that Disney trip have been as enjoyable if you had to watch out for surface trains while wandering the park?

The other thing is that they can run on rubber tires, which allows the trains to climb hills. The original light rail proposal here included a staggeringly expensive tunnel through Capital Hill because the steel wheeled surface trains couldn’t handle the slope without it.

Monorail is coming. It’s coming slow, but it’s coming. You can see the future of monorail here. They’ve built test tracks and they work very, very well.

The idea is sound, the trains are efficient, fast, and safe, and the contracts should be awarded soon (like, next couple of years).
Oh, and there’s no clicking and clacking because the trains don’t touch anything except at rest.


These guys are much farther ahead on the maglev technology. I thought maglev was one of those “technology of the future - and always will be” sort of thing, but it turns out a 30-km route in Shanghai is under construction now.

As for the OP, I think monorails are rare in the US (if that’s where you are) simply because there have been very few new commuter trains constructed. There are a lot of new service, but I believe most of them use pre-existing railway tracks? There are quite a few new monorails in Japan. They tend to be smaller and slower than conventional trains, but since they can be built above existing roads and structures, I’d guess the construction cost is much less. Here is an example of a modern commuter monorail system, completed last year in the suburb of Tokyo.

I can’t imagine that anyone who has ridden both Vancouver’s skytrain and Seattle’s monorail could seriously think that monorail is a better choice. Compare the switch on a monorail with switches on light rail. So far as I know the suspended monorail in Wuppertal, Germany, is the only monorail that has been in regular revenue service for any significant amount of time (nearly a century, I think). Monorail has been the future transit system for an awfully long time. In the case of Wuppertal there is a special reason: it is suspended over a river.

Monorails are cheaper and easier to build than light rail, and generally cheaper and easier to maintain as well. However, light can more easily be expanded into larger systems (building switched for a monorail is a huge pain in the ass.)

Tokyo has a monorail, although it doesn’t really go very many places. Primarily from the smaller airport, Haneda into the city.

Does anyone know the costs involved in a monorail as opposed to a light rail system? It could merely be that the light rail industry can provide the service with an initial lower cost.

Oops… I think that Friedo might have answered this. A cite would be nice though.