“There’s nothing on this earth like a genuine, bona-fide, electrified, six car monorail!”
“What’d I say?”
“What’s it called?”
“That’s right, monorail!”
“Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!”
Marge vs The Monorail. Episode 71 of The Simpsons, 1993
It would have to be my favourite Simpsons episode, Marge Vs The Monorail, it centres around a crook salesman, Lyle Lanley convincing and selling the town of Springfield a monorail. All the townsfolk think its a great idea, except Marge yet Homer becomes the monorail driver as he explains to Marge, its his lifelong dream 🙂 After the monorail is built, things start to go wrong with the brakes failing and ultimately Homer saves the day.
Opened on the 21st of July 1988, the monorail operated 364 days a year (closed Christmas Day) with each car doing around 60 laps per day of the 3.6 kilometre track – that’s roughly 546,000 circuits and 1,965,600 kilometres in its lifetime!
With 7 stations on the circuit, it takes 15 minutes to do a full loop in one of the 7 car vehicles doing a maximum speed of 9.2 metres per second.
Originally operated by semi-automatic control, due to the age of the monorail, the cars were driven manually by a driver in the front of each vehicle during its final years. Each 32.12 metre vehicle can accommodate 170 passengers, 56 seated.
The 3.6 kilometres of track measures 250 millimetres wide and has a maximum gradient of 4.5% up and 6.5% down. When the track is pulled down the steel will be recycled along with the cars and probably be used in another Sydney highlight, perhaps Barangaroo redevelopment…or Packer’s new Casino?
The Sydney Monorail never really worked out how it should have, it was independently run and never integrated into the city’s transport system which probably brought about its demise.
Three weeks short of its twenty-fifth birthday the monorail did its last loop at 9.00pm on Sunday 30 June 2013, even Homer Simpson couldn’t stop this exit of a Sydney icon.