The monorail is also referred to suspension railway or atmospheric railway depending on the construction type.


The monorail is a system which runs on or under one single, narrow guideway beam – the classical monorail on it and the suspension railway below it. The guideway beam can have various shapes and can be made of all kinds of materials. The propulsion of monorails usually works with electrical motors on-board.

Monorails are mainly used for point-to-point connections from A to B with 100 % elevated guideways. In mega cities with more than 7 million inhabitants they represent a good possibility for creating a so called third level for the local public passenger transport network. Moreover, the acceptance of the city’s population will be granted since the mobility requirements outweigh the constraints into privacy.

Suspension Railway

Construction projects can be carried out quite easily since the guideway is installed by using pre-fabricated parts. The guideways, impressing with a light appearance, fit well into the picture of urban sceneries.

There are several bigger and smaller manufacturers of monorails, but up to date the technology has not become 100 % accepted. Initially monorails were designed as a powerful and economic option for the elevated local public passenger transport, but a lot of systems have also been carried out in private contexts (amusement parks, hotel- or casino complexes, etc.).

An atmospheric railway uses air pressure in a continuous tube of the guideway to propel the railway vehicles. Thus, the vehicles are passive and don’t depend on on-board drive equipment like e-motors or gearboxes. The vehicles carry a propulsion plate in the tube to collect the propulsion power transmitted in the guideway duct. Some form of re-sealable slot is required to enable the propulsion plate to be attached to the vehicle.

Aeromovel, a Brazilian company has developed a low-cost atmospheric railway system which is in use for short-distance applications in South America and Asia.

Legal notice: The picture was taken by Axel Schwenke. All rights reserved by him.