4 thoughts on “Sydney’s monorail

  1. The monorail was fun to ride but useless as public transit. It had seriously adverse impacts on some local businesses. A brothel which suddenly found itself at eye level had to close when the monorail opened. It was forced through before the bicentennial by an over-mighty executive that would never have acted as it did if only the party leadership had been chosen in a direct primary by the party members!

  2. In the U.S., monorails probably became essentially unbuildable after a Simpsons episode lampooning an attempt to use one as an urban renewal scheme.

    However, I never understood why they weren’t more widely adopted. The Wikipedia article, while not mentioning the Simpsons, helpfully lists the advantages and disadvantages. The advantages, mainly a smaller footprint and less noise than two track rail systems, seem pretty real. The main disadvantages are due to their lack of popularity: lack of standardization and incompatibility with other rail systems. There are also some legitimate safety concerns, though I think the Japanese idea of just towing a disabled monorail to the next station is the answer to most of them.

  3. By gum, if we abandoned any institution after and because it’s been lampooned on The Simpsons, by now we’d have nothing left. Redistricting, for example, has come in for a gibe in at least two episodes…

  4. I have no doubt that monorails can be good. The Sydney monorail was very expensive, was not integrated with the rest of the public transport network, and really could only function as an amusement ride.

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