> Posted on Sun, Sep. 26, 2004
> Las Vegas monorail stumped on safety
> By Bill Ordine
> For The Inquirer
> All along, operators of Las Vegas' new monorail system have said they
> to sweeten revenues by having their sleek passenger cars shrink-wrapped in
> flashy advertising of such sponsors as wireless phone providers and theme
> But it appears the most fitting advertiser for the super-hyped monorail
> that debuted July 15 might well have been a citrus grower. A fat lemon
> plastered on the side of the trains - already shut down twice - would
> pretty much sum up the monorail's early performance.
> On Sept. 8, a two-pound piece of metal fell from the train, prompting an
> extended shutdown of the line that runs a four-mile route roughly parallel
> to the Vegas Strip. That mishap followed a Sept. 1 incident in which a
> 60-pound tire assembly flew from a train and landed in a parking lot,
> resulting in a six-day suspension of service.
> In August, a worker for the Canadian company that assembled the monorail
> trains and operates the system accidentally opened the doors on the wrong
> side of the car when it pulled into the Las Vegas Hilton station. Instead
> of doors opening onto a platform, they opened onto a steep drop to the
> No one has been hurt in the problems, but confidence in the system's
> reliability wears thin with each incident.
> All this comes after another incident in January when, during testing of
> the monorail, a drive shaft dropped from a car. The monorail's start-up,
> initially scheduled for the first quarter, was delayed until July. The
> transportation system is owned by the Las Vegas Monorail Company, and the
> vehicles are manufactured by Bombardier Transportation.
> "We want to become a reliable form of transportation, and we need to
> demonstrate over an extended period of time we can do that. But our first
> priority is safety," said Todd Walker, the monorail company's spokesman.
> After the Sept. 8 closing, Walker said that there was no timetable for a
> resumption of service and that independent transit and safety experts
> examine the line.
> "We don't want to just know what happened yesterday and fix that problem,"
> Walker said. "We want an analysis of the entire system."
> The $650 million Las Vegas monorail system stands apart from most
> mass-transit operations because it was privately financed. The trains run
> east of Las Vegas Boulevard from the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on the
> southern end of the Strip, north to the Sahara Hotel & Casino. There are
> seven stations: six at casinos and one at the massive Las Vegas Convention
> Center. A one-way ride is $3, and the trip from end-to-end is supposed to
> take 14 minutes.
> Expectations have been that the system would provide convenient transport,
> mainly for visitors, along the busy tourist corridor and help relieve
> vehicular congestion along Las Vegas Boulevard. The monorail was carrying
> about 30,000 passengers a day, operators said.
> Contact Bill Ordine at ordineb@....
> Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
> Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
> Version: 6.0.751 / Virus Database: 502 - Release Date: 9/2/2004