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Chiang Mai Monorail May Be Coming Soon

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Monorail? Wrong term. What is meant is a trolley or streetcar, possibly a cable car (San Francisco style), but I doubt the latter. Practical on narrow roadways? Not at all.

There are some fascinating monorails around the world, of course. Just check Youtube. Some interesting streetcar systems, too. But as you look at them, think of the problems for fixed surface routing in Chiang Mai.

I vote for the tuk tuk and songtao system for flexible public transportation (especially in congested historical areas) with enclosed taxi service for off-route point-to-point service further than in the central area. Some fixed intra-urban routes could be established, but these take time to develop and sustain. The defunct Chiang Mai bus system is a classic example of poor planning and inappropriate equipment with the remnant bus stops becoming annoying walkway clutter.

Persuade commuters to leave private vehicles outside the central area and transfer to urban transportation? Hah!

The significant problem now with most tuk tuks and sontao is local air pollution. Both can be battery-powered. An alternative vehicle would be small (10-12 passenger) buses powered by electricity. For fixed routes carrying a greater number of passengers, just take a look at the university system. All of these options are ultimately less expensive and flexible than fixed route trolleys or streetcars.

To alleviate traffic congestion there are other restrictive measures that are often practiced. One is restricting the hours for truck traffic. Another is developing pedestrian areas. But that's a whole different approach.

Maybe I missed something, but I wonder why everyone seems to be assuming it's not above ground / hoping it's not above ground.

My hope is that they copy something like the Kuala Lumpur above ground monorail / light rail which is based on a much simpler rail system, was completed quite quickly and is a very solid success, partly based on the fact that each train is only about 1 or kilometres apart, in other words a train comes to each station every 4 or 5 minutes during peak times. It works.

Edited by scorecard

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It'll be great! 8 billion baht budget, they will spend about a million on it, the rest will finance fat cats new supercars. it will run a couple of kilometres at most, look like a converted caravan and it will be full of 40 happy, smiling and grateful citizens who will forsake their scooters and financed micro cars for the convenience of this great new public transportation system.

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I think once again its the Thai media that uses the term 'monorail' and 'light rail' interchangeably unfortunately.

But the original source did mention the use of "trolley buses" or "trams". Definitely not monorail or any other systems that require an elevated rail or track.

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Maybe I missed something, but I wonder why everyone seems to be assuming it's not above ground / hoping it's not above ground.

My hope is that they copy something like the Kuala Lumpur above ground monorail / light rail which is based on a much simpler rail system, was completed quite quickly and is a very solid success, partly based on the fact that each train is only about 1 or kilometres apart, in other words a train comes to each station every 4 or 5 minutes during peak times. It works.

I really think the KL monorail is probably one of the most useless rail systems there is in the entire region! It's almost as poorly run as the Sydney monorail, serving only a very few numbers of passenger at any given time. And you will end up investing so much for something that barely solves the problem.

Chiang Mai wouldn't need anything more than what you see in Vienna or Prague.

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Maybe I missed something, but I wonder why everyone seems to be assuming it's not above ground / hoping it's not above ground.

My hope is that they copy something like the Kuala Lumpur above ground monorail / light rail which is based on a much simpler rail system, was completed quite quickly and is a very solid success, partly based on the fact that each train is only about 1 or kilometres apart, in other words a train comes to each station every 4 or 5 minutes during peak times. It works.

Because it looks ugly? Think of those views you have of Doi Suthep, because you could be looking at something like this in that case.

5326676405_e375344c79_b.jpg

(Ok, slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean)

Or, in a worst case, this:

IMG_6752.jpg

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So for the same reason I don't like the modern design of the trams. Would greatly prefer it if they managed to make them look somewhat retro.

Trams though will of course get stuck in traffic and add to the congestion.

I think I know where the 'monorail' confusion comes from though; someone translated 'rot raang diow' with 'monorail', where -after taking a quick peek at the picture- should have gone for 'Guided Light Rail', such as these:

300px-Stan-Bus-Bahn-Nancy.jpg

200px-Tramway_de_Caen_Rail.jpg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardier_Guided_Light_Transit

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caen_Tram

This, by the way, does not sound good: http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/caen-to-switch-to-light-rail/archiv/2011/12.html

Why not use a more tried & tested technology you'd think.. The most interesting parts in the first link above is the one on advantages and disadvantages.

Edited by WinnieTheKhwai

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Aight, more info. Looking at the picture from the Thai news segment, I'm pretty confident that what is proposed is the Translohr Guided Bus System manufactured by Lohr Industrie of France. It is also in use in China in Tianjin and Shanghai, also called a Guided Rail Tram or Rubber Tired Tram.

Compare:

Proposed for Chiang Mai:
tram.jpg

Tianjin Guided Rail Tram:
800px-New_Tram_in_Tianjin.jpg

So aside from the color, that's the same.

More info:

Technology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Translohr

Tianjin system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TEDA_Modern_Guided_Rail_Tram

More pictures:

translohr1.jpg

800px-Tram_%28single_rail%29_Clermont-Fe

800px-Clermont-tram-place-de-jaude.jpg

3162.1196791200.jpg

800px-Zhangjiang_Tram.jpg

Edited by WinnieTheKhwai
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So.. advantages over a bus service:

* Accommodates more people; the number of 40 in the press release seems incorrect; there would be 40 seats likely, but a lot more standing room.

* They take up less space than a bus because of the guiding system; they can pass each other much closer, and can come a lot closer to the side of the road and any boarding platforms.

* They're very quiet (no combustion engine, and limited rail noise due to having rubber tires.

* Zero emissions (electric)

Disadvantages:

* Requires a network of overhead power lines, and the guide rail. Potentially the road space needs to be stronger/smoother in places too.

* Still gets stuck in traffic unless run on a separate lane, in which case there's less space for other traffic.

* A lot more expensive than buses.

* Looks ugly; no way of getting a nice retro tram design because of lock-in to a single manufacturer. Power lines also add clutter, though I suppose it's a mess up there anyway.

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Yes all the shots of "trams" or whatever you like to label them look wonderful scooting down wide boulevards or double lane highways but the reality is in CM in areas where a modern transport system is needed there are no such luxuries. Will never happen. 2 or 3 years ago there was a press release saying that some 60 roads/sois in CM city area would be widened, ie properties reclaimed and knocked down, its in the same category a great idea but just a dream.

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They can't even manage to have usable sidewalks in CM, how will they manage a tramway?

Why don't they use a fraction of that budget to provide children with a safe and effective school bus system?

Or buy non polluting song teows to go around and around the moat all day instead of the ones pumping out smoke screens?

They do love to come up with grand ideas instead of solving problems that already face them.......

biggrin.pngbiggrin.pngbiggrin.pngbiggrin.png

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Yes all the shots of "trams" or whatever you like to label them look wonderful scooting down wide boulevards or double lane highways but the reality is in CM in areas where a modern transport system is needed there are no such luxuries. Will never happen. 2 or 3 years ago there was a press release saying that some 60 roads/sois in CM city area would be widened, ie properties reclaimed and knocked down, its in the same category a great idea but just a dream.

Basically agree. Note also in the promotional video the number of dedicated tram roadways. Although the single guide track and car design is clearly narrower than older tram designs and clearly cheaper to construct, the narrow roadways of Chiang Mai and the overhead and below ground situation really precludes any tram system.

Again, a grand plan is NOT needed, but an economical, flexible and environmentally suitable one is: smaller electric-powered vehicles that are cleaner to run and suited to narrow roadways. Modifying the current tuk tuk and songtao approach augmented by other small electric vehicles, such as 10-12 passenger buses (and some variation of the CMU vehicles) would do the trick --- and not challenge the songtao and tuk tuk trade, just modernize and extend it.

Edited by Mapguy
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Tram system would be excellent idea. Have one in Sheffield, UK. Narrow roads same as here. Only difference is that here they would have to ban & enforce parking along roads with trams. Most road such as the radials leading in & out of town are quite wide. The problem is, people park their cars in the inside lanes, taking up one lane in each direction. One solution might be to have one way roads into & out of town. eg Charoen Muang "in", Kaenawarat "out" etc. Chotana probably wide enough for 2-way. Tram lines can be driven on, thou' in the wet scooters might be skidding on them laugh.png .

Trams from Hangdong, CMU, Mae Rim, Doi Saket, San Kamphaeng very feasible.

Main problem is 3rd world mentality here. The trams would just get bogged down in traffic, as everyone ignores the rules, & does as they please.sad.png

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Not sure why the image got messed up; it doesn't want to get un-messed either, so trying again in a fresh post.

It's still hideous.

tram.jpg

Wheelchair accesible transport. Pull up the roads and put that in quickly.

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