World’s First Sister Monorail Relationship between Japan and Germany has been established!
Wuppertal Suspension Railway (Schwebebahn) and Shonan Monorail concluded the Sister Suspended Monorail Relationship Agreement on 13th September 2018!!
On 13th of September 2018, Shonan Monorail concluded the Sister Suspended Monorail Relationship Agreement with a German monorail company, Wuppertal Suspension Railway (Schwebebahn). This agreement came from some edges that both companies have operated world very few suspended monorail over the years respectively.
Both companies, as local community-based public transportation service providers, have agreed to cooperate each other in order to contribute to the development of local economy through international tourism and also to continue safety and reliable train operation respectively.
What is Wuppertal Suspension Railway (Schwebebahn)?
In March 1901, Wuppertal Suspension Railway Company (Schwebebahn in Germany) started its operation in the city of Wuppertal located in east side from Düsseldorf, which is the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia State. It’s the world oldest monorail system (known as Eugen Langen Monorail Suspension Railway) among monorails currently in service.
It runs above Wuppertal River which is a tributary of Rhine River (Total 20 stations, Business distance 13.3km, Double track, Operating hours 30 minutes, and the number of passengers per year 2017 24 million). Schwebebahn conducted the first trial run on 13th of September 1898, which was 120 years ago. Therefore, both of us decided to conclude the agreement on the memorable day, 13th of September 2018.
What is Shonan Monorail?
Shonan Monorail is the first public transportation system by SAFEGE suspended monorail in Japan. The initial service section was started with business distance of 4.7km and 5 stations between Ofuna and Nishi Kamakura in March 1970 that was the year when Osaka Expo was held. In July 1971, the line was stretched to Shonan Enoshima from Nishi Kamakura. Shonan Monorail has run with business distance of 6.6km and 8 stations in 14 minutes since then. The number of passengers was approximately 11 million in 2018. Shonan Monorail will have 50th Anniversary in the year of 2020 when Olympics Paralympics is held in Japan.
What are the differences between Wuppertal Suspension Railway (Eugen Langen Monorail Suspension Railway) and Shonan Monorail (SAFEGE Suspended Monorail)?
Eugen Langen monorail suspension railway, which is also called as a Double Flanged Suspended Monorail System, has a lane supported by single-sided arm, and wheels are suspended by arms and located at the opposite side of the lane, while, the shape of lane of SAFEGE suspended monorail system is box type inside a steel box-beam with an opening in the bottom. And the rubber tires, which are attached on the vehicle roof, run inside the track.
Suspended Type / SAFEGE Type Monorail
Unfortunately its service has been stopped since 1st November 2019. It was the Japanese first monorail constructed as a trial transportation system for the future city plan. This line was not operated as an amusement facility of Ueno Zoo but as a means of public transportation system as per Railway Business Act by the Traffic Bureau of Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Chiba City decided to introduce this suspended monorail in 1977 as a response to the worsening traffic condition and noise pollution due to the rapid population increase in 1960s. No injury accident has been reported since the service was started in 1988. Its business distance of 15.2km is the world longest one in the suspended monorail segment. The number of passengers reached over 400 million. Chiba Urban Monorail plays a significant role of key transportation system maintaining reliability and safety for everyone in the city. In 2012, the new train, Urban Flyer, received a Good Design Award. This suspended monorail seen like upside-down train attracts people from all over the world.
Tokyo Monorail debuted on 17th of September in 1964 ensuring safety and reliable access between city and Haneda Airport for the coming TOKYO 1964 Olympic Games and in 2014, celebrated its 50 anniversary. Connecting Hamamatsu Cho in the center of Tokyo and Haneda Airport at 19 minutes (17.8km) makes this monorail service a fantastic choice of transportation for many people. Tokyo Monorail is always running for passengers, and it will remain so.
Tama Monorail started its operation in November 1998 in order to connect northern area and southern area of Tama in Tokyo. Along the line, there are famous spots for sightseeing, including Takahata Fudo-son Temple (one of the three biggest Fudo temples in Kanto area), Tama Zoological Park, and Sanrio Puroland. In December 2015, LaLaPort Tachikawa Tachihi was opened, which connected directly to the Tama Monorail’s Tachihi Station. Also, from windows of the monorail, you can enjoy views of Mount. Fuji and seasonal sceneries such as cherry blossoms in spring and beautiful autumn leaves. Please experience “Walking in the Sky” by Tama Monorail!
In June 1998, Osaka Monorail debuted to connect Osaka’s northern parts: (1) Toyonaka, (2) Suita, (3) Ibaraki, (4) Settsu, (5) Moriguchi, and (6) Kadoma. Main line has a length of 21.2km, whereas the length of Saito Line is 6.8km. There are 18 stations, and they have a variety of attractive spots such as EXPO CITY, Panasonic Stadium Suita, and Expo'70 Commemorative Park. Not only leisure facilities, this monorail also has a smart access to shopping center, hospital, and school as well.
Kitakyushu Monorail was opened in January 1985 as a first urban monorail. It runs 8.8km between Kokura and Kikugaoka in 19 minutes. During the busiest time, the train comes every 7 minutes. And it takes only 3 minutes to go to a Shinkansen line (bullet train) or a JR line from Kokura station. The number of passengers is over 10 million every year. It provides safe, reliable, and comfortable ride every day for everyone as the means of daily commuting system and the means to bring people to festival venues.
It’s an Okinawa urban monorail initiated the operation in August 2003. Yui Monorail is a straddled-type monorail system and the only one public railway system in Okinawa that connects areas from Naha Airport which is the gateway of Okinawa to Shuri. The length is about 13km. Running between 8 and 20m above the ground enables passengers have magical views of blue ocean, sunset glow and night view. Moreover, there are perfect spots for sightseeing along the line. Those who are not so good at driving skills or who want to avoid any traffic jam can enjoy sightseeing with the line.
Tokyo Disney Resort® also operates the straddled-type monorail.