This Space for Rent

Serves me right for not paying attention to Seattle politics

While I wasn't watching, the Seattle electorate finally wedged the New! Improved! Incompatable! monorail project back into the grave, thus saving the existing monorail from demolition and stopping, for a few years, the disneyification of the last unmodified Alweg installation.

Good for the voters. Perhaps the next generation of monorail weenies can agitate for something like the sensible rapid transit systems in Japan and Germany instead of the low-capacity Disney! systems that they're fetishising. Who knows, maybe they could build a Alweg-style monorail that's compatable with the one that Seattle already has, and then they could tie into that one without orphaning the existing Alweg cars that are already running in Seattle.


Had they built the thing in Seattle, it would have been similar to the Okinawa system that you linked as a better alternative. They were planning to use similar cars which would, like the Okinawa line have been made by Hitachi. They were to have been automated driverless cars with about the same 160-200 rider capacity mentioned in the Okinawa page. (They were estimating a tightly packed 200 riders rather than 160 in a bid to make their unworkable financing work out on paper.)

robinev Wed Nov 23 09:02:46 2005

Serves me right for not keeping up on Seattle politics, then! The last time I checked in they were talking about doing one like the Las Vegas disaster, with tiny little cars without train doors. The Naha monorail is, of course, a perfectly acceptable alternative, and the only thing wrong with it is that I don't believe it's actually compatable with the old Seattle cars.

It's unfortunate that, in the now grand tradition of monorails being advertised as "too cheap to meter, not like those expensive trolley cars!", the construction estimates were 11x less than the final thanksgiving turkey. If I was in their boat (and I obviously am not), I would have just started extending the existing line and shopping around for a monorail version of St Louis Car to build a few dozen cars like the existing ones (or, assuming that the viaducts can support the weight, modified versions with train doors that can be coupled together to make longer trains.) Sure, it would be one of those icky 45 year old technologies and you'd have to (shock! horror!) hire motormen to drive the trains, but I strongly suspect that doing it that way would end up costing close to the price of a conventional railroad, and not the billion-dollar-a-mile(!) project that this one turned out to be.

David Parsons Wed Nov 23 10:33:05 2005

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