New ALWEG Monorails for Sydney

Sydney's bad experience with the small tourist monorail at Darling Harbour should not be used to dismiss the idea of using of full-sized commuter monorails as part of the transport solution for the city.

Monorails Australia believes several high capacity monorails could be built at a lower cost and would deliver greater value than proposed underground rail projects.

The Osaka Monorail shows how a full-sized monorail can perform as an urban "metro" transport solution where there is no space at ground level (Image: Wikipedia)

Monorails such as the above are probably the only affordable way to reduce pressure on Sydney's overcrowded rail system given the enormous cost of underground rail systems.


Design for Sydney

The below image indicates how monorails could look in Australian cities.

Full-sized monorails travel at 80 km/h providing excellent public transport over congested cities without the high cost of tunnelling.

Chongqing Monorail (Hitachi)
Part of the 75 km Chongqing Monorail in China by Hitachi (Skyscraper City).

Full Sized Monorail Interior

Modern monorail trains are capable of carrying hundreds of passengers high above the gridlock on the ground and are far cheaper than any underground system.

Note the wide walk-through design which is in sharp contrast to the claustrophobic segmented design of the old Sydney tourist monorail.

300 interior (Bombardier Transportation)
Interior of the Bombardier Innovia 300. (Bombardier Transportation)


Monorails to reduce overcrowding on CityRail

Morning peak overcrowding on CityRail (click for more information at

Sydney trains are suffering chronic overcrowding but solutions involving tunnelling are prohibitively expensive.

These would be of the straddle-beam "ALWEG" type that are suited to systems that need a station every few kilometers with a top speed of around 80km/h.

In Sydney we envision these monorails being placed above existing overcrowded heavy rail lines to the south and west of Sydney. The monorails would take over the task of servicing the inner west and inner south.

Trains would then be free to run express through the inner city dramatically improving services to the outer suburbs.

Inner West Monorail Line

An 18 km monorail to relieve the Inner West Rail Line (light purple on the below map). This would run from the CBD -> Darling Harbour -> Central station -> Lidcombe. From Central to Lidcombe this monorail would run over the existing rail easement.

All Inner Inner West heavy rail services would then run express Central - Strathfield - Lidcombe while the monorail services passengers to the intermediate stations with a 3-minute service.

This would free up rail tracks to allow more rail services to the overcrowded Western Rail Line (yellow).

The full distance is about 18km and would cost around $900 million.

Bankstown Monorail Line

The Bankstown rail line is at 161% of capacity according to CityRail.

A monorail to relieve the Bankstown Rail Line (dark yellow on the below map). This would run from CBD -> Darling Harbour -> Central station -> towards Bankstown.

This would allow Bankstown Rail services to run express from the western-most monorail station to Central.

The full distance is about 22km and would cost around $1.1 billion.

Hurstville Monorail Line

The Illawarra rail line is at 152% of capacity at Hurstville according to CityRail.

A monorail to relieve the Illawarra (Waterfall and Cronulla) Rail Line (light blue on the below map). This would run from the CBD -> Darling Harbour -> Central station -> Hurstville.

Rail services could then run express from Hurstville to Central while the monorail services passengers to the intermediate stations with a 3-minute service.

The full distance is about 17km and would cost around $850 million.

CityRail DayTripper map (Click to expand).

Parramatta Road Monorail Line

Modified image of Okinawa monorail (Hitachi system).

This 23km monorail would run above Parramatta Road and the M4 Motorway. This would service Sydney University, Camperdown, Olympic Park and Parramatta.

In some parts of Parramatta road there is insufficient space for the pillars shown above on the footpath. In these cases a support beam would run across the road with the guideway on top resulting in smaller pillars on each side. Like the regular monorail pillars these arches would be covered in creepers such as bougainvillea to create a pergola effect.

Comparison with North-west Rail Link

This rail project is currently estimated to costing $8.3 billion. See for more information.