The promise of mono-rails...never realized

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The promise of mono-rails...never realized

#1  Postby Macdoc » Feb 16, 2020 10:59 am

One of the First True Monorail Systems Debuts in 1910, Wins High Praise from Winston Churchill, Then Fails
In the early 20th Century Irish-born inventor Louis Brennan invented a monorail inspired by a child's toy

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this is a wonderful read - it must have been neat to see

https://flashbak.com/one-of-the-first-t ... ls-423661/

The section
A Demonstration on the Inventor’s Lawn


is particularly fascinating for me.
Enjoy...
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Re: The promise of mono-rails...never realized

#2  Postby Ken Fabian » Feb 17, 2020 12:12 am

Gyroscopes to maintain it upright require power I would suppose. Off the top of my head I would expect the gyros to be an active system that could not simply be started and hold it at the right orientation. Whether the advantages of a single rail would fully compensate for the added engineering requirements is a question; I doubt it.

As for monorails - perhaps... but I doubt we'll see more held upright with gyroscopes, except for amusement parks, for their novelty value.

If our best engineers of today designed railways from scratch, would they be monorails? Would they be much like what we already have? Despite many rail applications being relatively small scale with the option to use (and prove) entirely different rail designs, novel designs seem quite rare... and have not taken off.
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Re: The promise of mono-rails...never realized

#3  Postby Macdoc » Feb 17, 2020 12:29 am

With improved materials and difficulties with right of way would seem it might be more viable than say the Boring Company offering. 200 mph. no issues with banking and simple bridges. Gyros are well established tech.
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Re: The promise of mono-rails...never realized

#4  Postby Ken Fabian » Feb 17, 2020 2:36 am

Gyros may be well established tech but I don't think that is a good use of them. Whether it is one rail or two the tracks need to spread and handle the forces involved; you will have have to have ties/sleepers of similar width anyway so two rails is a simple and efficient solution that gives stability and makes engineering the trains themselves simpler.
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Re: The promise of mono-rails...never realized

#5  Postby Macdoc » Feb 17, 2020 4:23 am

Actually if you read the article in full you'll see why you are incorrect in your assumptions.
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Re: The promise of mono-rails...never realized

#6  Postby Ken Fabian » Feb 17, 2020 4:45 am

What assumptions are incorrect? I did read the article and I cannot see what, besides the unexpected wonder at seeing it balanced like that, would be the advantage. Tilting? Tilting is at least as much about the track as the train; the lateral forces would be the same, transmitted to the ground through rail and sleepers. I suspect (an assumption, I suppose) that engineering the tracks is the greater limitation to tilting. Heavy loads are almost certainly going to be managed better and safer without having to rely on gyros.
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Re: The promise of mono-rails...never realized

#7  Postby Hermit » Feb 17, 2020 6:15 am

Sydney's CBD had a monorail with eight stops for 25 years. Total length of the loop was only 3.6 kilometres, all of it well off the ground. The design of the track obviated the need for gyros. The monorail was not particularly well integrated with the rest of the transport infrastructure, and community acceptance was well down on projections. Ticket prices were 40% higher than light rail would have cost, and despite the higher ticket prices it always operated at a loss. To nobody's regret the lot was torn down in 2013.

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Re: The promise of mono-rails...never realized

#8  Postby Cito di Pense » Feb 17, 2020 12:03 pm

Hermit wrote:Sydney's CBD had a monorail with eight stops for 25 years. Total length of the loop was only 3.6 kilometres, all of it well off the ground. The design of the track obviated the need for gyros. The monorail was not particularly well integrated with the rest of the transport infrastructure, and community acceptance was well down on projections. Ticket prices were 40% higher than light rail would have cost, and despite the higher ticket prices it always operated at a loss. To nobody's regret the lot was torn down in 2013.

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Wuppertal (NRW, DE) has its Schwebebahn ("suspension railway"), which has been in operation for over 100 years.

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Re: The promise of mono-rails...never realized

#9  Postby Hermit » Feb 17, 2020 6:31 pm

The Schwebebahn was built to fill an existing need in Germany's densely populated heavy industry centre, and it actually goes somewhere. About 80,000 tickets are sold every workday. Sydney's monorail loop went nowhere.

It was Sir Peter Abeles's brainfart. Abeles had come from Hungary with a few shekels in his pocket and became a billionaire after he founded what developed into the global logistics conglomerate, TNT. Although TNT had suffered some serious problems at the time, he thought he could do no wrong, and the people that mattered agreed. He based the project on no more than the hope that if you build it, they will come, "they" being tourists and people who wanted to get from one part of the CBD to another. They did not. The bus loop was stopped to "encourage" the use of the monorail, but the underground city rail loop remained. By the time rolling stock had reached the end of its service life, TNT had already offloaded the elephant to Veolia. Veolia decided it had better things to do with its money. Instead of replacing the train it scrapped the lot.
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