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Early years[ edit ] The first monorail prototype was made in Russia in by Ivan Elmanov. Attempts at creating monorail alternatives to conventional railways have been made since the early part of the 19th century. It was intended for military use, but was also seen to have civilian use as a "cheap railway.
A surviving suspended version is the oldest still in service system: Also in the early s, Gyro monorails with cars gyroscopically balanced on top of a single rail were tested, but never developed beyond the prototype stage. The Ewing Systemused in the Patiala State Monorail Trainways in PunjabIndiarelies on a hybrid model with a load-bearing single rail and an external wheel for balance.
One of the first systems put into practical use was that of French engineer Charles Larigue, who built a line between Ballybunion and Listowel in Ireland, opened in and closed in due to damage from Ireland's Civil War.
It uses a load-bearing single rail and two lower, external rails for balance, the three carried on triangular supports. Possibly the first monorail locomotive was a steam locomotive. A highspeed monorail using the Lartigue system was proposed in between Liverpool and Manchester.
The first half of the 20th century saw many further proposed designs that either never left the drawing board or remained short-lived prototypes. One of the first monorails planned in the United States was in New York City in the early s, scrubbed for an elevated train system.
Inthe first monorail to operate in the US began test operations in Houston, Texas.
Monorails were promoted as futuristic technology with exhibition installations and amusement park purchases, as seen by the legacy systems in use today. However, monorails gained little foothold compared to conventional transport systems. Niche private enterprise uses for monorails emerged, with the emergence of air travel and shopping mallswith shuttle-type systems being built.
Perceptions of monorail as public transport[ edit ] The Las Vegas Monorail pulling into the Las Vegas Convention Center Station From tothe monorail concept may have suffered, as with all public transport systems, from competition with the automobile.
Monorails in particular may have suffered from the reluctance of public transit authorities to invest in the perceived high cost of un-proven technology when faced with cheaper mature alternatives. One notable example of a public monorail is the AMF Monorail that was used as transportation around the World's Fair.
This high-cost perception was challenged most notably in when the ALWEG consortium proposed to finance the construction of a major system in Los Angeles in return for the right of operation. Several monorails[ example needed ] initially conceived as transport systems survive on revenues generated from tourismbenefiting from the unique views offered from the largely elevated installations.
Recent history[ edit ] Monorail in the Europa-Park in Rust, Germany From the s, most monorail mass transit systems are in Japanwith a few exceptions. Tokyo Monorailtoday one of the world's busiest, averagespassengers per day and has served over 1.
Monorail configurations have also been adopted by maglev trains. Since the s, with the rise of traffic congestion and urbanization, there has been a resurgence of interest in the technology.
Many cities today are seeing monorails as a possible mass transit solution. This is because Chongqing is criss-crossed by numerous hills, mountains and rivers, therefore tunneling is not feasible except in some cases for example, lines 1 and 6 due to the extreme depth involved.
Today it is the largest and busiest monorail system in the world. Types and technical aspects[ edit ] The Wuppertal Schwebebahnthe world's first electric suspended monorail Modern monorails depend on a large solid beam as the vehicles' running surface.
There are a number of competing designs divided into two broad classes, straddle-beam and suspended monorails.
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A monorail is a railway in which the track consists of a single rail. The term is also used to describe the beam of the system, or the trains traveling on such a beam or track. The term originates from joining "mono" (one) and "rail" (rail), from , possibly from German engineer Eugen Langen, who called an elevated railway system with wagons suspended the Eugen Langen One-railed Suspension.
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