CPT Is Not A Monorail

Post by Steven Dale

When I talk to anyone under the age of 35 about Cable-Propelled Transit (CPT) something almost always occurs:

Without prompting, my partner in conversation will typically invoke the near-legendary Monorail musical number in The Simpsons episode “Marge vs. The Monorail.” For those who’ve never seen it, the story turns around a schemingly tuneful huckster bent on selling the town of Springfield a monorail despite their better instincts:

It’s a classic episode and the analogy is apt. After all, advancing the idea of ski-lifts as transit appears to be hucksterism at its best.

The difference, of course, is that Cable-Propelled Transit is a demonstrable success and monorails aren’t. Monorails are rare in the world and are so prohibitively complex and expensive they tend to become technological albatrosses. Ask anyone in Seattle.

You may think otherwise, but selling monorails is hucksterism. Advocating for cable isn’t.

So for those of you out there biting at the chomp to make the comparison, let me say this: I’m a terrible singer, I don’t earn a commission on any cable technology sales, I don’t know Leonard Nimoy, and I’ve never worn a bow tie in my life.

So there.


Far Left: Not Me.

(Far Left) Not Me.

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  1. Whoa back Nellie! Don't attack potential Allies! A parody on a Simpson's Episode does not make anyone an expert on Monorails. "The difference, of course, is that Cable-Propelled Transit is a demonstrable success and monorails aren’t." The Seatle Monorail was a political failure, not a technological failure. It is still running: http://www.seattlemonorail.com/ The failure was when politics got in the way of expanding the system. There are many examples of successful Monorails. Take a look at the Monorail Society and educate yourself before you spout off: http://www.monorails.org/ Straddle vs. Suspended: http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/TPindex.html I would propose a SAFAGE type Monorail, like those used in Japan, for Toronto. http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/Shonan.html http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/Chiba.html Or, alternately the Aerobus which shares many characteristics with the Gondonla: http://www.aerobus.com/home.html As for routing, I agree that using the ravines is ideal for this type of transit. Down the Don Valley, across the Waterfront and up the Humber and Black Creek ravines. This would cover the Don Mills LRT, the Downtown Relief Line and the Jane LRT and echo the Yonge/University/Spadina Line by forming another "U" shaped transit line. The Eglinton LRT could be routed along the Belt Line and The Finch West along the Hydro ROW. Lastly, since we're talking Pie in the Sky, so to speak, why not coordinate with the Toronto Viaduct for the downtown portion?: http://www.toviaduct.com/Home.html Regards, Ron Wm. Hurlbut
  2. Ron Wm. Hurlbut
    Hi Steven, Quote: I’ve reviewed the website you provided and I’m afraid the systems mentioned seem a little “cherry-picked.” No mention of Seattle (hugely expensive) and almost all of the systems mentioned are quite old. That doesn’t mean I’m against it entirely. One of my favourite transit lines in the world is the Wuppertal monorail in Germany. That’s a fantastic system and charming to boot! Reply: I "Cherry Picked" the Suspended Type of monorail as being better suited to Toronto. Rather than the Supported type that is in Seatle, Las Vagas etc... I showed you a couple of pages from a much larger Website. Look at "Why Monorail?": http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/Why.html Explore the Monorail Society's Website and you will find information about Seatle and Wuppertal among others. As for the Aerobus... What you show on Sky-RidingBus: http://gondolaproject.com/2009/11/11/sky-riding-bus/ And again with the cartoon: http://gondolaproject.com/2010/01/05/the-gondola-idea-has-potential/ Are gross Caricatures! Go back to the Aerobus Webpage and take another look around: http://www.aerobus.com/home.html http://www.aerobus.com/advantages.html http://www.aerobus.com/features.html http://www.aerobus.com/safety.html This is Cable Suspended Transportation. Just not Cable Propelled. You are "Cherry-Picking" suspended Gondolas as the better choice for Toronto, as opposed to Cable Cars on Rails, running in the streets. We both agree that Suspended and Elevated are better than Ground level, or Underground. So, I repeat: Whoa back Nellie! Don’t attack potential Allies! A parody on a Simpson’s Episode does not make anyone an expert on Monorails. Don't base your opinions on Caricaturizations.
  3. Quote: I don’t actually agree that suspended and elevated are better than ground level. I'll repeat this statement here: A FULLY DEDICATED RIGHT-OF-WAY [ROW] CAN NOT be achieved AT GROUND LEVEL within the city of Toronto. When you have to build bridges for over/under passes, create embankments, cutting and filling, you might as well create a Subway. Tunnelling for Subways is prohibitively expensive and Elevated LRT’s and Subways are unsightly and expensive too. The most affordable and attractive FULLY DEDICATED ROW is elevated Monorail and/or Cable-Gondola. The only way to implement Automation is through a FULLY DEDICATED ROW. No one in this city will accept San Francisco type cable cars as an alternative to LRT/Street Cars. They might consider elevated/suspended Monorail and/or Cable-Gondola as an alternative to LRT/Street Cars.
  4. Hi Steven, I need to nail you down and sharpen your focus. Specifically for the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Which is it: Bottom-supported Or Aerial ???? You are advocating Cable Propulsion. That's a given... You appear to be advocating Aerial. Hence the name "Gondola Project".... Yet, when you discuss Private Right of Way, you talk about the vehicles travelling at ground level along a roadway and then passing over or tunneling under intersections. That sounds more like Bottom-supported. I think that I was clear when I presented myself as a proponent for Monorails in general and Aerial/Suspended specifically. The SAFAGE type Monorail, like those used in Japan and Germany, for Toronto. http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/Shonan.html http://www.monorails.org/tMspages/Chiba.html http://www.h-bahn.info/en/index.php Or, alternately the Aerobus which shares some characteristics with the Gondonla: http://www.aerobus.com/home.html
  5. Hi Steven, This is the City of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Toronto Star article that drew me to your website: http://gondolaproject.com/2009/12/31/thanks/ And the editorial cartoon that it spawned: http://gondolaproject.com/2010/01/05/the-gondola-idea-has-potential/ Imply that Gondolas are an alternative to the TransitCity LRT's. So, I'm trying to nail you down to how you envision Cable Propelled Transit in THIS city. Cable Cars instead of Electric LRT's? Or Aerial Trams / Gondolas as illustrated in that article. Because Cable Cars don't hold any Awe or Gadget Value for me: http://gondolaproject.com/2009/12/24/awe-is-good-2/ http://gondolaproject.com/2010/01/08/gadget-value/ Here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada public transit has been starved for at least the last 30 years. The cross town Eglinton Subway broke ground and then got moth-balled. The Sheppard line was truncated to the point of uselessness. And the Scarborough RT is a white elephant that the government forced on us. Now, there is a big plan and some major $$$$ for an LRT network called "Transit City": http://www3.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Projects_and_initiatives/Transit_city/index.jsp The LRT's will be an improvement over the buses, but they're not the best solution for a city that is settling for LRT's because the Subways that we need, we can't afford. Instead of settling for LRT's [Electric or Cable Powered]... Let's strive for a rapid transit alternative that is affordable and had a fully private and dedicated Right of Way. P.S. the URL http://www.cablecarproject.com/ gives me a "403 Forbidden" message.
  6. Hi Steven, Well, there's your problem.... Trying to introduce a new technology to a very conservative city. But instead of standardizing and concentrating on a single modality, you want to convert the whole city to cable propulsion in a way that won't be standardized. A cable car here and a gondola there with a funicular thrown in somewhere else for good measure... I think that you need to focus on something more specific as it applies to this city. The Scarborough RT was originally planned and built as a Streetcar type LRT. The provincial government forced us into using Linear Induction Motor [LIM] propulsion. Due to climate issues and the prototypical application of the LIM in Scarborough there have been problems and breakdowns. The exact same technology was then sold to Vancouver for their skytrain and to a couple of other cities that have had more success with LIM, but for Toronto, it has been a white elephant. After that experience, I don't think that any Torontonian is interested in non-conventional Propulsion. The Scarborough RT is the last place anyone would consider another experiment.
  7. Alright, that clarifies it for me.