Get ready to ride the Palm Monorail

DUBAI - The Palm Jumeirah is all set to see a new mode of public transport, the first of its kind in the country, before the Dubai Metro starts its operations.

By Joy Sengupta

Published: Wed 22 Apr 2009, 1:31 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:16 AM

The Dh4.1 billion worth Palm Monorail is all set to start service anytime this month with Nakheel currently working with providers to ensure amenities and related facilities are completed.

A spokesperson from Nakheel, the developers of the Palm Jumeirah Project, told Khaleej Times that the live testing of the monorail was completed on schedule. “We will shortly receive its operating certificate from the RTA,” the spokesperson said.

With reports floating about of yet another delay in the operations, a senior communications executive of Nakheel confirmed that the service is not delayed and will start operations in April. An exact date for the launch is however still unclear.

The driverless monorail is a Hitachi based system with a 5.45km fully elevated, double tracked system. It is fully automatic and driverless, although a train attendant will be on board at all times. The monorail will initially carry up to 2,400 passengers per hour per direction in four separate trains, each made up of three cars. At full capacity, the figure will rise to a maximum of 6,000 people in nine vehicles. The trains will run every three minutes during peak hours, and every 12-15 minutes during off peak hours.

Each of the carriages consists of 70 seats. On an average 232 people can travel standing on each of the carriages. Each of the carriages can accommodate a total of 302 people, both sitting and standing during off peak hours. On peak hours, the carriages can accommodate as many as 361 people in all.

In case of a crush load, or every busy time, the carriages can accommodate a total of 419 people in all.

The initial phase includes the Gateway Station and the Atlantis Aquaventure Station. Two more stations will be added subsequently at the Trump International Hotel and Tower and the Palm Mall.Though the prices of tickets of the monorail have not been decided as of yet, they can be purchased at ticket booths at Gateway Station and Atlantis Station.

The later phases will see the monorail eventually extended by another 2 km to join up with the Dubai Metro Red Line via the proposed Al Sufouh Tramline. With the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) soon to introduce the ‘smart’ or the automated fare collection, card for all modes of public transport, the people travelling by the monorail will also be able to benefit from it.

“Our cooperation with RTA extends as far as a joint ticketing system that will enable holders of a RTA fare card to pay for journeys on the Palm Monorail.

This means that passengers holding a RTA fare card will be able to travel on Palm Monorail without using a separate card. Eventually there will be seamless travel, for example, from Dubai Airport to Atlantis hotel,” the spokesperson said.

State-of-the-art technology:

The monorails, as well as the electrical and mechanical systems have been designed and manufactured by Japanese ‘Hitachi Limited’. They are the developers of the Bullet, the fastest train in the world. Their manufactured trains run in many places round the world like Malaysia, Singapore, United Kingdom, Taiwan etc.

The first of its kind system in the Middle East, the route will represent an effective and easy mode of transport between the “Main Entrance Station” at the trunk of the Palm and the “Atlantis Aquaventure Station” at the Crescent of the Palm. A driverless and silent system though, the monorail will also have an assistant to help and for any emergency situations. The monorail will travel on a path consisting of a double rail on alleviated bridges at an average speed of 35 km/hour. Its maximum speed can however go up to 70 km/hour.

British company Mott Mcdonald is in charge of the management while Osaka Monorail, a Japanese company has provided technical support. Omron Electronics Company will equip the train with an electronic system which works by using the smart card technique. The monorail was earlier due to be completed in December last year.

Nakheel officials had attributed the delay to the unique challenges posed by construction work on the Palm Island.

“We have employed state-of-the-art technology to overcome a number of challenges whether that is running 1,000m of rail over-sea, meeting Dubai’s unique climatic conditions, or protecting the communities of Palm Jumeirah by utilising a virtually silent track system,” Robert Lee, Nakheel Managing Director, Investment Projects had said earlier.The delay was also attributed to the safety testing requirements imposed by Roads and Transport Authority, the official had said. January this year saw an RTA delegation led by Abdulmajid Al Khaja, the CEO of the Rail Agency taking on the first official ride of the monorail.

The trip took eight minutes in all.

Monorails Around the World

THE world’s oldest operating monorail system is said to be in Wuppertal, Germany which was opened in 1901.

In Europe, the other monorail systems are located in Beaulieu, England (1974), Dortmund, Germany (1984), Alton Towers, England (1987), Chester Zoo, England (1991), Europa Park, Germany (1996), Mirabilandia, Italy (1999), Magdeburg, Germany (1999), Düsseldorf International Airport, Germany (2002), Moscow, Russia (2005), Zaragoza, Spain (2008). In Asia, the monorail systems are present in Korea, Singapore, China, Thailand, Malaysia. In some of the countries like Malaysia, monorails are present in more than one city.

In India, Mumbai is expected to have a monorail by 2012. The city of Makkah in Saudi Arabia is also slated to have the same by 2012. Monorail systems are also present in North and South America.


THE fastest monorail is said to be in Shanghai, China. The construction began in April 2001 of the first commercial Transrapid system. It was running by 2004.

The 30-km line runs between Pudong Shanghai International Airport and the Shanghai Lujiazui financial district.

An end-to-end ride takes about eight minutes. A five-section train achieved the top speed of 501 km/h (311 mph) while another vehicle passed at 430 km/h on the adjacent track.

The Transrapid in Shanghai has a design speed of over 500 km/h (310 mph) and a regular service speed of 430 km/h (267 mph).

The Shanghai Maglev is the fastest railway system in commercial operation in the world.


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