Monday, May 28, 2012

50 years of the Seattle, Washington, monorail

While the Sydney monorail is coming to a controversial end after 24 years, the one in downtown Seattle has celebrated its 50th anniversary with no apparent likelihood of demise.

It runs for 1.2 miles (1.9 km). The line has 2 stations and consists of two parallel tracks with one train riding each track. The two trains constructed by Alweg in 1961 are still in service.  Each train is powered by four 750 hp DC motors from a 700V two-tiered electric rail that is aligned with the side of the track. The top rail is ground, with the live rail suspended beneath it.  The motors are controlled by a mechanical motor controller that adjusts the position of the motors and number of resistors in the circuit. The motors run into a standard truck differential, with one side blocked off and the other running to the driving wheel, which runs a standard truck tyre. 

The monorail uses dynamic braking for higher speed braking (over 10 mph or 16 km/h), and has drum brakes for lower speeds. website

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