Monorail transport: from the drawing boards to reality

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In what country was the first electric monorail designed?

1.  The idea of monorail transport occurred to people long ago. Back in  1897 the  Russian Technical Society organized  in Petersbourgh a demonstration of working models. This was the first suspended electric monorail designed by engineer Ippolit Romanov. The small car powered by a miniature electric motor operated without fail.

At the beginning of the century British specialists designed "light­ning trains" with the speed of 240 kph.

"hat are the most efficient forms of the monorail?

2.  There are more than 20 monorails, most of them experimental, operating in the world today. The successful functioning of these proves that they could be well used as a means of regular passenger transport. Investigations have revealed that the most effective monorails are when

the cars either suspend from the rail or roll atop of it. Elevated mono­rails can be built either with an open or a covered rail. The wheels of the cars, with pneumatic tyres, roll on top of this rail.

What kind of monorails are suitable for the central part of the USSR?

3.  The choice of the type of monorail depends upon climatic condi­tions, terrain and the number of passengers. For example, it would be better to build suspension-type monorail with a covered-up rail in the central part of the USSR, and of the top type with an open rail — in the southern  areas.  The high-speed  air-cushioned  transport  is  most effective for long distances.

Why can monorails be built in a comparatively short time?

4.  High speed is the main advantage of the monorail. Today a per­son who lives in a large city covers some 40 km every day. The mono­rail trains which can do 80 km or more per hour, as compared with the approximately 15 kph speed of the tram, would save the passenger 670 hours every year. But the saving of time Js far from being the only ad­vantage of the monorail. Monorail can be laid at a comparatively short time because its construction involves little earth-moving work. And, surely, as calculations show, the construction of monorail will be about 30 per cent cheaper than that of the Metro.

Where can monorails be utilized?

5.  Monorails  supply   comfortable   high-speed   communication   be­tween the centre of the city and the airports which are usually situated some  25-30   kilometres  away.

Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev and other cities and especially industrial centres each have several satellite towns. These towns are densely pop­ulated and many people living in them go to work to the centre of the big city, which takes them one or even two hours. Monorails offer a reliable solution to this problem.

The health-resort routes running along the Black Sea coast of the Crimea and the Caucasus are an important possible field for the utiliza­tion of monorails. For example, Sochi spreads for 140 km along the sea coast. Naturally the holiday-makers must be given an opportunity to travel up and down the resort swiftly and in comfort. Monorail is the obvious answer here too.

And that is not such a far-off prospect. The idea of building a 15 km long monorail to connect the Yugo-Zapadnaya Metro Station with Vnukovo Airport has been taken up seriously. The problem of building monorails to the Istra and Klyazma reservoirs and to other recreation­al zones is also being studied.

What engines will be used on the monorails within city limits?

6. Aircraft-type cars, 23.6 m long and weighing only 20 tons, have already been designed. The car accommodates 200 passengers and has 100 comfortable seats. Diesel traction is planned for intercity monorails


that will connect Moscow with Leningrad and Gorky. En route (B UVTH) the rocket-cars will develop a speed of up to 350 kph. Within city limits they will travel at a lower speed and with the aid of noiseless auxiliary engines. Everything points to monorails becoming in the near future just as necessary as railways, air and highway transport.

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