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Updated: June 4, 2011 02:23 IST

Monorail proposal makes a comeback

Ajai Sreevatsan
Comment (31)   ·   print   ·   T  T  

Integrated multi-modal transport system on the anvil

The plan to cover the Chennai Metropolitan Area with a network of monorail corridors has made a comeback with the State government on Friday announcing a proposal to build “300-km of monorail in a phased manner,” in the Governor's address.

It has also promised to put in place an integrated multi-modal transport system plan for Chennai.

The aim is to increase the modal share of public transport from 27 per cent of daily trips to 46 per cent by 2026.

Though a 45-km metro rail system is under construction, the project is “cost intensive” and takes a considerable amount of time for completion. Hence, the government will implement the monorail project in Chennai to “integrate with the existing transport system.” Phase-I of the project will cover 111-km, the Governor Surjit Singh Barnala said.

In a monorail system, the train is usually either suspended from or straddles a narrow guide way. Equipped with rubber tyres and propelled by electricity, monorail vehicles are wider than the guide way that supports them, making it seem as if they are hovering along the track.

The monorail proposal dates back to February 2006.

A monorail-based elevated rail network, covering 300-km and consisting of 18 corridors, was the previous AIADMK government's solution to the city's perennial problem of traffic congestion.

The government's rationale for preferring the monorail option over the metro rail were – reduction in construction cost, minimal impact on existing buildings and neighbourhoods, aesthetic appeal and suitability in a dense city such as Chennai where there are narrow roads and sharp curves.

All these reasons from 2006 still stand, with one more getting added to it – the gestation time of the project. Metro rail construction is seen as time-consuming. It also causes major disruptions to traffic flow for a few years.

On the other hand, monorail systems can be built faster, expand towards suburban areas much more rapidly and will cause minimal disruption to traffic during construction.


However, most of these reasons are disputed by critics who say that the monorail is used only in small stretches and that a metro rail system is capable of carrying more passengers than a monorail.

Well placed sources in the Chennai Metro Rail also say that if the metro network is not expanded beyond the two corridors that constitute Phase-I, the system might not achieve “economy of scale and it will be difficult to make an operational profit”.

In 2006, the government stated that the city urgently needs a high-speed elevated rail system because the number of private vehicles on the city's roads had tripled between 1992 and 2005, increasing from 5.5 lakh to 16.5 lakh. Now it stands at 32 lakh.

MONO is very very UNSAFE / No emergency exits. Just do a case study by comparing successfull metro rails vs Mono rails around the world. New York subway, london Tube, Chicago CTA, Shangai metro, Tokyo, Moscow, Delhi Metro all have successful metro rails for their massive population. No big city can be sustained with mono.

from:  Cheran
Posted on: Aug 27, 2011 at 01:54 IST

Guys I have traveled in both Metro n Mono and I prefer mono than metro...... I have travelled to most populated cites and have seen them operate. Yes I accept that metro can carry huge number of passengers but Chennai is growing faster by days n I think more flexible and constructive way of transport is required .points: 1. Construction Time. 2. Future development 3. Cost 4. Coverage and mobility 5. More coverage from suburbs to city center

from:  Arun Prasad
Posted on: Aug 25, 2011 at 12:49 IST

Mono rails are not a bad option because it would be made available in the suburban. Any transport system either metro or mono, but it should be available in the suburban!

from:  srinath
Posted on: Aug 20, 2011 at 20:22 IST

The Government decision has to be respected but at the same time, the new government should consider all the pros and cons of decesion making. In a city like Chennai, the best way to control the traffic is to build a good platform of rail network. So it would be really advisable to go with Metro. Eventhough they can concentrate on Mono Rail also but for small cities like vilupuram, Coimbatore, Trichy, Nellai etc.. Chennai is a metro and needed a Phases network where Mono and Metro is highly recommended.

from:  Anand
Posted on: Jun 21, 2011 at 15:28 IST

Please do a thorough traffic analysis for existing traffic movement pattern using IIT or Anna University student research paper. Form a Metro Planning authority under which all the MRTS, MTC(PTC), Metro Rail, EMU, and all other private service should be brought under it ambit. Based on the previous 20 year planning only we are getting results. because of clearance snags and dispute and litigations the projects are getting dragged. These should be addressed by bringing proper land reform. All the new projects should be planned well ahead and the clearance for new residential and commercial complexs should be given only after due dilegence is done on it. Metro Rail is a very good project it should be continued just like CMBT(Koyembedu bus Terminus started in DMK and opened in AIDMK period) and the credit should be given to both the government(DMK and AIDMK). Both of them understood their responsibility and lived up to the people expectation and chennai people are thankful to them and they require the same support and some seriousnes in drawing the future of Chennai. Mono rail can be planned for routes where metro rail is not possible(like blocked by small hill or river is running so infrastruture is not possible for e.g. we can take the case of Coovum river). In the southern side we have Meenambakkam in the left and MIET in the right. Race course, Adyar IIT , Raj bhavan. In the above said example we can have feeder service where it is not possible to introduce new service(as acres of land are compounded). In the pre planned city they can ear mark dedicated line for Metro rail(like for example already they have blocked 50 M for future metro rail in Outer ring Road plan). This will be used for carrying MRTS (The length is also huge). For this back bone service they can have feeder service. I hope they will do thorough analysis before starting with the implementation. I believe they previously for implementing elevated corridors and having Habival fly overs in Koyembedu and other artery road. Lots of input from private architects and chennai city planning blog experts have gone in. They have follow the same approach so that Chennai city planning will be in the world class. My thoughts are not to offend somebody. Our CM JJ madam is very good administrator and visionary, i believe she would do a thorugh analysis and decide on final course action.

from:  Valav
Posted on: Jun 18, 2011 at 14:47 IST

Oh god, not again. Mono rail is useless and is not for large city like Chennai with millions in population. Forget all the talk carrying capacity etc, a mono rail speed is very less. The idea of a person taking a train is to avoid traffic and reach the destination quickly and safely. A mono rail cannot be fast. Metro trains are faster and better period.

from:  Hari
Posted on: Jun 17, 2011 at 17:41 IST

Please dont scrap out metro rail. Let all the proposed lines be there and let the new government take mono rail as an added one, this will be very good indeed,let both the metro and mono rail project be done side by side this will support the increasing population in Tamilnadu.

from:  Rakesh Parthasarathy
Posted on: Jun 15, 2011 at 23:45 IST

Very disappointing move indeeed. While there are slew of measures being taken to spruce up the infrastructure needs nation wide, our CM is harping onto her dogmatic views of building a Monorail for rapdily expanding chennai population. Perhaps she prefers the get the credit during her tenure as Mono can be built to operation within 5 years unlike Metro! Metro if fully operational with 3 phases implemented will make a significant indirect economic contribution for the years to come by decongesting the traffic as well moving masses around for improved productivity. While Mono is cheaper to start with it is not a sustainable model to cover the Chennai arterial lines, it could be used to feed the internal residential zones to the main metro lines.Another polictically aligned solution rather than a future looking people friendly solution.

from:  Eshwar
Posted on: Jun 9, 2011 at 08:18 IST

First of all,Polictics revenge or ego affecting the people's welfare. Metro rail should rapid up it's process to complete by 2015, People are suffering from traffic congestion because of these works. CM should think proactively to rapid up the existing venture rather pulling out a new one.

from:  Vignesh
Posted on: Jun 8, 2011 at 14:07 IST

It is very pain to see every plan of previous Govt should be scrapped and want to go for new one that to without application of mind. Mono rail is needed only where roads are narrow and unable to go ahead with metro. Metro will be good for Chennai . Ms. Jayalaitha never construct any flyover or Bustand or metro or not even generated one unit of elecricity in her last 5 yeras.

Posted on: Jun 7, 2011 at 15:44 IST

Monorail system can be used only for interconnecting areas such as Numngambakkam to Koyambedu. Metrorail project should not be dropped. All the government are making the same mistakes and ultimately the public suffers.

from:  Harish
Posted on: Jun 7, 2011 at 15:22 IST

Mono rail project is not a correct solution for mass population in chennai, The government should think about this before taking decision. This is not a politics to show opposite that we are in different way.

from:  Saravanan
Posted on: Jun 6, 2011 at 21:08 IST

Metro route should be compled in 5-6 different routes covering the chennai including the suburbs and periphery..Mono rail should be a added advantage in small roads where metro couldn't be thought off. Chennai being a Metro city should have Metro rail and Mono should be a added flavour..

from:  Samba
Posted on: Jun 6, 2011 at 17:03 IST

Expected decision of the government, everyone were criticsing me for voting for the DMK because of 2G , but i wanted metro rail to come to the city. People of tamilnadu are bothered only about the current situation. They do not bother about the future. Accepted what Karuna family did for the people was wrong by exploiting them using 2G. But i feel Stalin is a good leader as he is very much for infrastructure and for the well being of the state. Hope the existing metro rail being completed will not be shelved or ignored by present government.

from:  Kiran
Posted on: Jun 6, 2011 at 13:02 IST

Either the Chief Minister is badly advised or unfortunately she is bringing her political vendetta to play into the city's plaguing infrastructural woes. Monorail- whatever be its advantages- will be able to carry only a fifth of the Metro's capacity and definitely will not be a better solution for the city's burgeoning population. Additionally, the 45 km metro will not run with operational profit if is not extended on a regular basis. The CM should take a leaf out the Delhi Metro's successes and should not introduce a system which is seen as a massive failure even in developed countries.

from:  sharath
Posted on: Jun 6, 2011 at 08:49 IST

Mono Rail system is not good for chennai. Mono rail is not safe emergency exit.... what a big mistake this govement doing..... Metro rail is best for chennai."DONT WASTE PEOPLE'S MONEY"

from:  Gokul Anandaraj
Posted on: Jun 5, 2011 at 13:25 IST

I think it would be a bad idea to go in for a mono rail system given the amount of money already invested in the metro. I dont understand why changes in guard at the state should dictate a project which is being done for the good of the people?? All the strange things that happen in politics.

from:  Danesh
Posted on: Jun 5, 2011 at 09:53 IST

300 kilometers of monorail in city like chennai is totally ridiculous...a vital need of city's growing population shouldn't be sacrificed for an individual's ego

from:  Srinivasan
Posted on: Jun 5, 2011 at 01:17 IST

This seems egoistic approach of the government opposing projects started by earlier government. Rather starting looking into the new model, the present government look into the implemented metro rail project and the study the avenues to improve its efficiency according to the peoples need. Please stop misusing people's tax money.

from:  Balamurugan
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 23:39 IST

Its good to have both metro as well as mono rail project. Some people never reads the news fully, Metro Phase 1 is never going to stopped as the tenders are already awarded. Question arises in mind is why not we try for new thing if its cost efficient in place of conservative type of transport that is already existing. If Metro rail cost around 300 crores of our money for laying tracks for one kilometer mono cost around 45 to 50 crores. aesthetic one mono rail with a conventional type of broad gauge (Metro Rail). Chennai is somehow going to make some progress. Ideas and planning should not only be to connect with in city but also to connect sub-urbans. It is most welcoming statement given by the government to introduce monorail project. A system of transport should be like a root structure of a tree. Monorail if implemented with more connecting point(Stations) and to different routes will certainly make the city Singara Chennai.

from:  vijay kumar
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 23:32 IST

Monorails are much more cost effective and could be implemented in fast track unlike Metro which consumes money and time. Look at the example of the much hyped 'Flying train (?) - still it is not patronised by people at all the time. Only during peak hours it is used widely. The same would be the case for Metro rails, it would be patronised only for 4 hrs in morning and evening heavily and the remaining hours it would be less than 50% of occupancy. I would not say monorail is the best fix, however by comparing the ROI for a government project, the cost of monorail project would be competitive to the Metro rail. It would not be a toy train for joy ride, in fact it can carry three or four times the bus can carry at a time. There are plenty of technological advances across the globe which support a case for mono rail.

from:  Boopathy
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 23:25 IST

utter nonsense.. Stupid decision by the government... Monorail can't handle the needs of cities like Coimbatore leave apart Chennai..

from:  Elan
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 20:57 IST

When all Indian cities like Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Jaipur, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kanpur, Ahmedabad, and Pune are building Metro rail systems, Chennai should not be left behind. Just imagine the case of all Indian cities except Chennai having Metro, what a shame it would be!
Having born and been living in Mambalam, my heart goes out to Chennai. Please remember the days when Chennai was the only city in India to have the Metre Gauge EMUs, and how it suffered due to lack of availability of spare parts.
Chennai, please don't miss the Metro lest vested interests should attach Chennai with the “conservative” tag!
Monorail in addition to Metro rail is fine.

from:  Rajani
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 18:51 IST

Wonderful plan

from:  P.Balaji
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 13:57 IST

Mono rail system is very useful to solve the traffic problem.

from:  sujata
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 12:41 IST

What about the fate of existing metro rail project, and the amount of time and money lost in digging the roads of vadapalani, ashok nagar and koyambedu?

from:  Pradeep
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 12:08 IST

This is stupidity to change systems like this after every rule. It is a proven fact that monorail will not scale for a city / country like Chennai / India. It is not without reason no city in India has adopted the monorail and one hope that better sense prevail with the governing group.

from:  MSR
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 10:32 IST

It is only in a banana republic that a change in government is accompanied by changes is mass transportation systems. What is happening now is unbelievable and absurd.

from:  Ramdas
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 09:17 IST

I am one among the millions who didn't wanted DMK family to run the state as their own business and felt happy about that an alternative government came to rule. But now given the fact that the new government would like to stop Metro and go for monorail leaves me clueless. Because monorail wont be a good system for Chennai for the mass of people. In my opinion, Metro rail project should continue if any government really cares about people!

from:  Madhavan
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 07:38 IST

Mono rail is mindless proposal. Looking at the map, it is evident that the mono rail shares the same route as in Metro rail (Mount road, Poonnamalle high road and Inner ring road). This clearly indicates that the Metro will be scrapped. It is 60-70% work is done in elevated section. Underground work is just started. What makes the new government to think that the Mono Rail is solution by abolishing the ongoing construction. Also Monorail is equal to running a 1.5 size bus. Peak hour you can operate 6 services. This is nothing but 9/10 buses. Mono rail is meant as feeder circuit or in amusement park joy ride. It can never substitute full fledge train/metro service. Chennai is racing to achieve 1 crore population mark. It deserves full fledged metro. As in the original plan for Metro, the Phase 2 of it should be considered not mono. Also in India Chennai will be lone user for Mono. Which corporate manufacturer will be interested in setting up Maintenance unit for supporting Chennai/TN alone. Its like introducing 5 double decker bus in 2000 bus in the city and forcing the double decker to go accelerated death by having no maintenance support. It is people's money that is getting spent. Looks like Chennai will be cluttered permanently.

from:  Jayaraj R
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 06:13 IST

Monorail is an eyesore and environmentally unacceptable.

from:  sohail zahid
Posted on: Jun 4, 2011 at 04:59 IST
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