Picture a world where every major city had a rapid transit system of the future. Walt Disney did just that as he envisioned the technology of the Monorail being utilized in place of light rail or car or bus transportation.
He even campaigned for this in political circles, but his untimely death ended this dream, and the monorail’s future. At least, for the most part, in North America. But in other parts of the world, the monorail is alive and well, and flurishing! With commercially viable lines in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, Japan, and South America, the monorail is here to stay.
And one website is dedicated to making sure it stays that way: The Monorail Society. This website was started by Kim A. Pedersen who still serves as the President of the Society. Here is an excerpt from his official biography:
“Kim is of the generation that was convinced by Walt Disney that monorail was going to be the transit mode of the future. In the late 1980’s, Pedersen wondered what ever happened to monorail. He decided to spend a year researching libraries and other sources to get answers. He found that new monorails were enjoying great success in Japan but were only used for amusement parks, fairs and zoos elsewhere. Seeing the need for a voice to promote the people-popular transit mode, in 1989, he founded The Monorail Society.”
And what will you learn when you visit this great site?
- The first monorail to carry people was built in 1825 and was called the Cheshunt Railway. It was pulled along by one horse and was a suspended monorail.
- The monorail has appeared in numerous films and TV shows, such as: The Time Machine (1960); Forty Pounds of Trouble (w/Tony Curtis in Disneyland); and Fahrenheit 451. Characters and stars such as Elvis, Gumby, Frasier, James Bond, Ren and Stimpy, the Thunderbirds, and Godzilla have all had interaction with monorails.
- Many collectibles have been produced, including the famous Schuco Toy Set, the Disney monorail sets, and many die-cast versions.
- Novelty monorails abound, from backyard versions to human-powered offerings.
So whether it’s a Beam, Suspended, Hobby, Human-powered, or Maglev version, the monorail is always a fascinating ride!
When you visit The Monorail Society website, you’ll find so much more than I have included in this brief review. You can also show your support for this under-appreciated marvel by becoming a member of the Society, as I have, or by making a donation.
In conclusion, here are the answers to this question raised by The Monorail Society: Why Monorails?
- They are proven
- They are safe
- They are environmentally friendly
- They are cost effective
- They are popular!
So get out there and lobby your congressperson to put one in your city today!