A guide rail allows the cars to move on the tracks along the central axis in a monorail. The electric power is all above ground, and there is no traction power. Monorails are most often used for mass transit and share some similarities with trams, but they can be much heavier than light rail systems and do not follow a surface track.
Trains are powered by an electric motor that pushes and pulls to move on rails or roadway wheels, which provide traction. As a result, trains are generally faster than trams. To help guide the vehicles in the right direction, a train track usually has two rails.
Monorails can be divided into 2 types:
1) Elevated monorails which are supported and aligned along one axis above ground level, such as JR East’s Chiyoda and Namboku Lines in Tokyo or
2) Underground monorails which were first built in the 1800s.
These monorails are supported by a concrete pier and connected to parallel trackage that is used for wheeled surface traffic. The 3rd kind of monorail is the automated airport train which runs on a fixed guideway.
Monorails are used for mass transit and share some similarities with trams, but they can be much heavier than light rail and do not follow a surface track. As a result, monorails are generally faster than trams. To help guide the vehicles in the right direction, a monorail usually has two rails.
But the trains are propelled by electric motors, and they are supported on concrete pillars; their guideways are almost always above ground level.
The only areas where monorails are found today are in Japan. The systems are above-ground and connected to surface roads or airports; serviced by the monorail is usually a central city area where a large number of people reside. These types of monorails have been built in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya since the late 19th century.
This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Swartz Engineering. For nearly a half a century, Swartz Engineering has been at the forefront of industry safety. They are a family-owned company specializing in power distribution for the electrical industry. They are the leading manufacturer of voltage transducers. Our design ensures maximum flexibility for excellent reliability and a high return on investment.