Urban Monorail System Manufacturers

Monorails Australia is only concerned with proven high-capacity monorail systems that have at least one current operational example.

Trains must offer 'walk-through' capability so a passenger or security guard can walk the length of the train during normal operation.

Presently this limits us to the manufacturers listed on this page.

CRRC Suspended Monorail

CRRC Suspended Monorail
The CRRC Suspended Monorail follows the French SAFEGE design.

CRRC Qingdao Sifang based in Qingdao City, Shandong Province, is undertaking China's first overhead monorail project in Hancheng City, northwest Shaanxi Province. The construction of the line designed to stretch 55 km began in November 2017.

Running up to five meters above the ground, the CRRC skytrain has a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour and can carry up to 510 passengers in five carriages.

Another model is powered by batteries that last 4 hours. The lithium batteries are swapped out at stations in a process that lasts only two minutes or recharged in situ.

CRRC Suspended Monorail Characteristics

  • 2 to 6-car trains.
  • Low cost of monorail trains compared to any other mass transit system.
  • Low cost of construction compared to other monorail systems.
  • Full walk-through capacity.
  • Near-silent operation
  • Columns which will support the suspended railway will be just 80cm wide
  • All weather
  • Minimum curve radius: 30 meters
  • Seating per car: 90 to 110
  • Power supply: 750V DC
  • Design speed: 60 to 70 km/h
  • Up to 10% gradient
  • Driverless option.
  • Youtube: Video of single-track CRRC monorail
  • CRRC Sifang Monorail page 24-Jul-2017.
  • CRRC Monorail page 16-Mar-2017.
  • YouTube. Another prototype train has a 'panda' theme.

CRRC Suspended Monorail interior
The CRRC Suspended Monorail has a fully walk-through interior.

CRRC Suspended Monorail interior
The CRRC skytrain in operation above Hancheng City, northwest Shaanxi Province.

CRRC Suspended Monorail interior
CRRC monorail concept.

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Hitachi Monorail Trains

Hitachi Monorails An interior of a Hitachi monorail train. Note the wheels are entirely under the floor.

The walk-through nature of these carriages is optimised for maximum passenger loading and ease of entering and leaving the carriages. (Image: Hitachi Rail).

Our preference is for side-by-side seating that allows passengers to look out the windows.

Hitachi Monorail Types

Hitachi produce three sizes of monorail train:

  • Small: About 46 persons per carriage. Maximum speed is 60 km/h. Minimum curve radius is 60m. Length of a 4-car train is 38 meters.
  • Medium: About 95 persons per carriage. Maximum speed is 80 km/h. Minimum curve radius is 100m. Length of a 4-car train is 57 meters. These are the world's second largest monorails.
  • Large: 110 persons per carriage. Maximum speed is 80 km/h. Minimum curve radius is 100m. Length of a 4-car train is 59.5 meters. These are the world's largest monorails.

(See also this diagram.)

Hitachi Monorail Capacity per Hour

The following is the capacity per hour per direction for eight carriage trains with three minute headway:

  • Small: 7,360 passengers / hour / direction.
  • Medium: 15,600 passengers / hour / direction.
  • Large: 18,160 passengers / hour / direction.
(*Capacity figures above assume a maximum loading of four passengers per meter2)

Hitachi has been building monorails since 1962. Visit the Hitachi Rail web site for the full technical specifications of their monorail products.

Hitachi Monorail Styling

In recent years Hitachi has produced monorails for a range of cities in several different styles.

Generally the cities where Hitachi monorails have been installed have not been particularly concerned with aesthetics of the pillars which has led to some poor design. In Australia the pillar design would have to be improved.

Naha Osaka Monorail (Japan)

Hitachi's Osaka Monorail This monorail opened in 2003 and has two-carriage monorail trains. (Image: Hitachi Rail).

You can visit the Okinawa monorail on google street view. Walk along under the monorail and see how sharp curves and long spans are handled by Hitachi. We believe we can improve the aesthetics of a monorail system with better stations, improved pillar design and more vegetation under the monorail.

Chongqing Monorail (China)

Hitachi's Chongqing Monorail This 'Large' Hitachi monorail was opened in 2005 and has four-carriage monorail trains. System length is 75 km including several tunnels and large bridges. (Image: Hitachi Rail)

Palm Jumeirah Dubai Monorail (UAE)

Hitachi's Palm Jumeirah Dubai Monorail This 'Medium' Hitachi monorail opened in 2009 and has three-carriage monorail trains. (Image: Hitachi Rail)

Track pillars and support rail is the best yet seen for a Hitachi project proving it can be done.

Recommended Hitachi Monorail for Australia

If Hitachi was selected to provide monorails in Australian cities we recommend using the 'Medium' or 'Large' sized trains. If the trains were automated (like at Daegu) we would like to see passengers being able to stand at the front of the train.

Chongqing Monorail
Chongqing Monorail. Note that in this image there are no unsightly cables under the guide-way which indicates this is not essential. (Image: www.ritebook.in)

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Bombardier Monorail Trains

Innovia 300 Video
Bombardier Innovia 300 Video. (vimeo.com/65368766)

Bombardier "Innovia 300" Characteristics

  • Length of a 4-car train is 50.1 meters.
  • Width of the carriages is 3.147m compared to about 2.6m for a tram or 2.9m for a normal train carriage.
  • Capacity of about 90 persons per carriage (4 passengers / m2)
  • Maximum operational speed is 80 km/h.
  • Minimum curve radius is only 46m.
  • Rail is 1.22m high.
  • Monorail Trains may have between two to eight carriages with a claimed minimum headway of 75 seconds or 48 trains an hour each way.
  • Flat floor, walk through layout
  • Driverless operation is standard.
  • Capacity up to 34,000 passengers per hour per direction. (8 carriage train with 75 second headway with 4 passengers per square meter.)
  • Visit the Bombardier site for more information about bombardier's automated monorail 'Innovia 300' and also this PDF. See also The Monorail Society - Innovia Page.

Innovia 300 interior
Officials tour Brazils first monorail - a Bombardier Innovia 300 (www.globalrailnews.com)

Other Bombardier Innovia 300 Videos

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Scomi Monorail Trains

Scomi Monorail Train
Scomi of Malaysia also produce monorail trains.

Scomi Monorail Characteristics

  • Length of a 4-car train is 45.5 meters.
  • Width of the carriages is 3.0m compared to about 2.6m for a tram or 2.9m for a normal train carriage.
  • Capacity of about 90 persons per carriage (4 passengers / m2)
  • Maximum operational speed is 80 km/h.
  • Minimum curve radius is 50m.
  • Rail is 1.2m high.
  • Monorail Trains may have between two to eight carriages with a claimed minimum headway of 75 seconds.
  • Walk through layout, but not completely flat-floor.
  • Visit the Scomi site for more information. See also the video of a four-carriage Scomi Monorail on their test track.

Scomi Monorail Train in Mumbai
The bright and clean interior of a Scomi Monorail. Central seats conceal the wheel arches and give passengers the chance to sit facing outwards.

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Mitsubishi Monorails

Mitsubishi manufacture SAFEGE Monorails ("Seifejji"). These are used for the Chiba and Shonan monorails. We have some limited information on these monorails in this PDF document.


Shonan Safege monorail
The Shonan SAFEGE Monorail. In this section the guide-way does not have cosmetic fascia to cover the ribbing. (Image: Tokyo Railway Labyrinth).

Chiba Safege monorail at Chiba Park
The two-beam Chiba SAFEGE Monorail in Google Street View.

Shonan Monotrail (adjusted image)
An adjusted image of the Shonan Monorail. In this image the guide-way has been covered at the base to improve the appearance (original image <-> adjusted image. Original image from www.panoramio.com).

Chiba Urban Monorail Interior
Chiba Urban Monorail Interior. Note the completely flat floor and ability to walk through the train.

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Intamin P35 Monorail Trains

Intamin P35 Monorail Train
Proposed Intamin P35 Monorail Train. (We do not recommend a black finish for Australia!)

An Intamin P30 Monorail systems is in operation in Moscow. Another P30 system is under construction in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and one is planned for Bologna. To date no Intamin P35 monorail systems have been built.

We do not recommend the P30 monorail as it does not have a walk through design which we believe creates problems with security, safety and loading.

Proposed Intamin P35 Monorail Train Characteristics

  • Length of a 4-car train is to be 38.9 meters.
  • Width of the carriages is to be 2.8m compared to about 2.6m for a tram or 2.9m for a normal train carriage.
  • Maximum operational speed is to be 80 km/h.
  • Rail is to be 0.8m high.
  • Walk through layout.
  • On-board back-up power supply.
  • Visit the Intamin P35 page for more information. See also the Intamin P30 page for information on that system.

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Morton "Arrow" ("Стрела") Monorail Trains

Morton 'Arrow' Monorail Trains
Morton 'Arrow' Monorail Trains as envisioned for a project in Moscow.

Property developer Morton has started construction of a suspended SAFEGE Monorails monorail for a new housing estate in the Krasnogorsk district of Moscow. This is a new monorail system based on the Siemens H-Bahn system that has been in use for 30 years at Dortmund and Düsseldorf in Germany.

Monorails Australia provided some support regarding this project via the Russian Technical Society and recommended a SAFEGE system due to typical winter snowfall in Moscow.

Morton "Arrow" Monorail Characteristics for Moscow

  • 4-car trains.
  • Operational speed of 50km/h.
  • Low-cost of construction compared to other monorail systems.
  • Limited walk-through capacity for emergencies.
  • Passengers per hour per direction: ~10,000 per 4-car train @ 5 persons per m2
  • Low noise - 65dBA at 15 meters
  • Fully automated
  • All weather
  • Minimum track radius 30 meters

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Morton 'Arrow' Monorail Trains
Morton 'Arrow' Monorail four-car set.

See also the below design for a suspended monorail track using a cable-stayed design to extend the spans between pylons which could be considered for either Mitsubishi or Morton suspended monorails.

Design concept for cable-stayed a suspended SEFEGE monorail track in Montreal
Design concept for the "UbiCiT" cable-stayed suspended monorail track in Montreal.
(UbiCiT
)

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Safety

See Safety section.

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Urban Monorail Videos

A Stylish New Monorail

This video shows how a Bombardier monorail could be rolled out over congested roads to provide new public transport.


A June 2011 Bombardier presentation to the City of Rio de Janeiro for an integrated transit project in Barra da Tijuca featuring a monorail that would be ready for the 2016 Olympic games.

Bombardier Innovia 300 Video

Innovia 300 Video
Bombardier Innovia 300 Video. (vimeo.com/65368766)

Minimal Advertising

Track 
example 
(Bomardier)
Artists impression of an LA monorail running over the flood channels.
(http://lavisions.blogspot.com.au
)

It is suggested that Monorail trains, stations and pillars carry minimal advertising.

This needs to be written in to key contract documents to prevent future operators covering monorail infrastructure with unsightly billboards which would degrade the aesthetics of the system. This would still leave open the possibility of selling naming rights on each train which would allow the name and logo of the sponsoring company appearing on the train.

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Automation

Monorails are well suited to automatic driving due to the lack of any level crossings, pedestrians or other unpredictable interruptions.

However it is anticipated that trains would generally carry at least one crew member to perform the following tasks:

  • Safely closing the doors and starting the train towards the next station.
  • Providing security and discouraging vandalism.
  • Providing First Aid to ill passengers.
  • Emergency management.

During late night or early morning operations these functions may on occasions be performed by remote control from a command room. At these times only accredited passengers may use the system.

This capacity for automation means that the system could affordably be run all day every day except for a one or two hour period in the early morning to allow for any guide-way maintenance tasks.

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Capacity

Capacity depends on the time between services, the number of carriages and the loading per square meter. Loading Capacity (Passengers per hour per direction) can then be calculated.

The following data is from Hitachi Rail for their medium-sized monorail product with a loading of four person's per square meter which would be considered the maximum loading in Australia.

Note that the system can be expanded over time. Initially two-car trains could be used at 10 minute intervals and then gradually ramped up to eight-car trains every three minutes.

Eight-carriage trains would be about 100 meters long.

Passengers per hour per direction

Headway
(min)
No. of Trains
(per hour)
2-Car Train 3-Car Train 4-Car Train 8-Car Train
3 20 3,680 5,740 7,800 15,600
4 15 2,760 4,305 5,850 11,700
5 12 2,208 3,444 4,680 9,360
6 10 1,840 2,870 3,900 7,800

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Other Monorail Types

There are a range of other monorail types that have been used or proposed which we do not recommend.

  • Urban Maglev Monorails: South Korea has built several urban transit monorails that use maglev technology. At this stage we are not clear what benefit this gives over simpler ALWEG technology. Given ALWEG has a much smaller beam size we prefer ALWEG. (High-speed maglev monorails are supported as they provide a clear benefit over other types of fast-rail.)
  • Double Flanged Monorails: The first known rail system built with one rail was built in Wuppertal, Germany, in 1901. This system has large gantries that support an overhead rail that the monorail vehicle hangs from. This system is of historical interest but we would not recommend it in Australia.
  • Urbanaut Monorails: Urbanaut has been used for the Wolmi system in Incheon, South Korea. This has now been abandoned raising serious questions about this technology. Urbanaut also proposes very high speed 'semi-maglev' rubber-tired monorails which no other established manufacturer is offering.
  • Low-capacity monorails without a walk-through design and systems which have not been proven to work.

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Australia's Small Tourist Monorails

Australia has some experience with small tourist monorails. While these are tiny compared to the large commuter monorail systems we are talking about on this site they have operated successfully in their designated roles.

These monorails do not allow passengers to move from carriage to carriage through the train. In our view this creates an unacceptable safety risk for passengers in the event of fire or other problems on the monorail vehicle.

We do not recommend these types of small monorail for urban transit systems.

  • Sydney's Metro Monorail. The Sydney tourist monorail carried 4 million passengers per annum around its short loop of track for 25 years despite only seating 48 passengers per train. This monorail was closed down on 30th June 2013.
  • The Seaworld Monorail. This monorail suffers from travelling at below walking pace and having doors that must be manually opened one at a time by the driver!
  • The Oasis-Broadbeach Monorail at Broadbeach. This 25 year-old monorail re-opened in December 2014 after refurbishment. Oasis Monorail web page.

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