A couple of letters have been sent to the Australian press touting the relative merits of light rail over monorail systems.
Gold Coast Sun
Michelle Armstrong’s interesting letter raises some valid points but ignores some very important ones. Cost is perhaps the most important – it is a general rule of thumb that the cost of an elevated railway – whether duorail or monorail, is about four times that of a corresponding surface railway. Nobody had the money for a monorail 20 years ago, and Queensland and Gold Coast City certainly do not have a spare $4000 million dollars, which is roughly what a monorail to replace the present light rail project would cost. Seattle voted for a monorail – but when the cost became apparent, the voters cancelled the project and Seattle went ahead with its light metro. Light rail is certainly not a “scandalous waste of money”.
When light rail systems have been built, the general view is “this is lovely, we should have had it earlier” and this sort of comment often comes from those who had most vehemently opposed it.
A monorail, other than the Von Roll toy-type monorails, requires massive infrastructure. Look at The Monorail Society’s photos of Japanese monorails in Osaka, Kitakyushu and Tama, and try to visualise fitting in those massive columns in Surfers. They would close at least one lane of traffic, if not two, and remove much of the ‘air view’. It is not surprising that the Sydney monorail is to be torn down.
Yes, the current Gold Coast public transport system is a joke – that is why the light rail is being built from Helensvale to Gold Coast Airport in time for the Commonwealth Games. Note, the GC University Hospital is just a temporary terminus for phase 1 of the project.