Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Sentosa Express, Singapore

Welcome to Singapore! Hitachi Asia Ltd. has has been hard at work on the $78 million (J¥5.4 billion) "Sentosa Express" monorail. Thanks to Yoshitaka Hirabaya of Hitachi, we are pleased to bring you the first pictures of this beautiful monorail. Even though the system is not open yet, landscaping is already quite extensive. Nothing like real greenery to make a monorail pylon look pretty!

The 2.1 km long double track line will link the main island of Singapore and Sentosa Island, with gateway stations at World Trade Centre's Harbour Front MRT Station and Central Beach on Sentosa. The line will improve access to Sentosa Island from the southernmost tip of Singapore. The monorail route will have four stations. The Sentosa Express will be the first in the world to use the new Hitachi Small monorail system.

The system was originally developed by Hitachi in Japan as a small, standard and cost-effective solution to the transportation needs of small to medium-sized cities. The monorail replaces an old Von Roll monorail that circled the island from 1981 to March of 2005 (light gray line that loops the island on this map). The black triangles indicate where photographs were taken for this page.

Hitachi's new flat-sided guideway is slightly wider than that of the track at Walt Disney World and Las Vegas Monorail. This stretch of track will undoubtedly be one of the most photographed sections, as it crosses the beautiful Causeway Bridge to Sentosa Island.

This station is located half way across the island next to a large lion statue known as The Merlion.

Monorail riders will be under the watchful eye of The Merlion.

Near the southernmost tip of continental Asia is Beach Station. A stylish roofline and lush landscaping help make this a wonderful looking transit facility.

Say hello to Miss Blue! The Sentosa Express trains are a colorful assortment of two-car trains. We're at the storage/maintenance facility and Miss Blue is sitting on a transfer track switch. Even though the Hitachi Small class of monorail is smaller than Hitachi's other monorail systems, it still features a flat floor and walk-through trains. To reduce weight, bogies are shared between cars. Train-to-train transfers are possible through doors at each end, as well as side-to-side transfers.

Hello Miss Orange. What an unusual combination of colors you have

Miss Purple shows off her substantial car-to-car hardware.

And finally we meet Miss Green.

Photos courtesy of Yoshitaka Hirabaya

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