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Part I: Airport Rail Link - The Monorail Option

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Airport Rail Link – the Monorail Option
The Airport-City rail link has been a much visited topic, but nothing seems to have been finalized, so far. The central government had recognized mass transit systems as vital for larger cities’ needs & had previously offered assistance to the tune of 30% (similar to Metro-rail systems), which is a small contribution – 70% still has to be met by state government & BIAL, including loans & debts. Negotiations always seem to have ended in deadlock as agreements over revenue sharing are uncertain with changing stands by the government/s involved. It appears that the central government has now changed its stand & is willing to provide more participation as this is a vital sector that can have far reaching consequences for the country’s economy.

Given that this is a necessity & business is assured with higher levels of ticket pricing, the Monorail option could be used here. Monorail makers generally meet installation costs, & with newer, high capacity systems being developed, this can be more attractive since higher fare levels will mean that there may never be a subsidy burden. High speeds may not be possible however - if the ride takes about 35 minutes instead of 20 minutes, users would certainly prefer this to an indefinite & uncertain wait for the high speed rail, if ever it materializes. A high speed rail is also hugely expensive & may never be able to recover its costs, let alone make any sort of profits for its modernization. Assuming that the maximum traffic handled by the airport is of the order of 50 million at its maximum in the future, the monorail would still be able to handle this load at about 6-7,000 passengers per hour.

For the present level of traffic (about 11-12 million per year or about 30–35,000 per day), a rail based system may not be urgent, but traffic volumes are bound to grow, & hence the need to work out possible options in due time.


Vasanth's picture

Videos of different types of Rail Links in different metros

All over world it is a challenge to give connectivity to Airport which is located away from the city. Development of highways is just not sufficient, because the increased number of cars on the highways will lead to congestion and delays with very long travel time. Most of the cities have express rail links, monorail links or dedicated bus lanes with high capacity buses.
Here are few videos of various airport link trains. Among all, I felt Shanghai Airport link with Maglev (magnetic trains) as the best which covers 30 kms in flat 8 minutes.
Just see which is good for Bangalore Devanahalli? - Boston Silver Line Buses - Newark Monorail Link USA
tsubba's picture


monorail tech has no standards. nothing is standardized, drive systems, track width etc. every thing is vendor specific, and there is a serious danger of getting stuck with it and at the vendor's mercy. if laloo helps create the technical standards for india, then perhaps it can be considered.
Naveen's picture

Metrail & Skybus

Santsub - thanks for the inputs.

Metrail technology (with hybrid power - battery + solar) is untested in service - not even in theme parks, let alone commercial use. Hence, the state govt has not considered it for the city's needs yet, though this seems very promising for the future.

Also, an Indian co. is manufacturing skybus, which is a bus suspended & run on overhead elevated tracks (well above the road/s) - this too is untested, & therefore may not have takers, since a large no. of lives are involved.

santsub's picture


thanks naveen - I guess Hyderabad was considering Skybus option - not that I am suggesting this. This Indian baby from a scientist in Goa has received a lot of international coverage too. I agree with you govt. will not take chances on something that is not tested but my take is some one has to implement it somewhere to test it. If they can prove it then I guess it becomes a viable option.

santsub's picture

Mono Vs Metrail

I think govt should consider the option of implementing the Metrail which is very ecofriendly and is very versatile. It can turn at very sharp curvatures thus making it easy to map a route without much of land aquisitions. Guess what its low cost too... than metro or perhaps mono too. comment guidelines

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