Monorails need to be master planned

Founded in 1998, the Monorail Society is the international association for monorail enthusiasts. Or, as the society’s website describes itself - the organisation for people with ‘one-tracked minds’. Don’t let the humour fool you. Monorailists are not your average pale and pasty trainspotters. You won’t find your monorailist hanging around railway platforms wearing a tatty snorkel and clutching a wet notebook.

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By  Sean Cronin Published  March 25, 2006

|~||~||~|Founded in 1998, the Monorail Society is the international association for monorail enthusiasts. Or, as the society’s website describes itself - the organisation for people with ‘one-tracked minds’. Don’t let the humour fool you. Monorailists are not your average pale and pasty trainspotters. You won’t find your monorailist hanging around railway platforms wearing a tatty snorkel and clutching a wet notebook. Monorailists are slick, committed and dedicated to their cause, and anyone who doesn’t believe it should take a look at their website. It reveals that none other than Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a monorailist. Apparently, when he was mayor of Tehran, the former revolutionary guard backed a plan to develop a 400km monorail network throughout the city. I thought that the Monorail Society website could provide me with some clues as to why monorail projects have suddenly started popping up everywhere. It started with the Palm Jumeirah monorail, then there was the City of Arabia monorail, the Jebel Ali monorail and plans for other one track wonders appearing on every new masterplan in town. While it is encouraging that alternative modes of transport are being conceived to ease the pressure on the increasingly congested road network, it is important that these are introduced in a carefully planned way. The Dubai Metro would appear to have a lot to answer for. It seems to have encouraged developers to believe they can integrate their own monorails with the new rail network, on an ad hoc basis. There appears to be an assumption that some of the various monorail projects currently under consideration can be randomly tagged on at right angles to the side of the Metro with a bit of spot welding. Although this works well with Hornby train sets, multi-billion dollar mass transit systems passing though densely populated urban areas sometimes throw up a few more civil engineering challenges. Sean Cronin Editor ||**||

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