Final inspections of monorail cars ahead of Dubai track tests

The developer of the first monorail in the Middle East will begin testing trains within weeks.
The Palm Monorail is fully automatic and will undergo six months of testing before taking on passengers in April 2009.
The Palm Monorail is fully automatic and will undergo six months of testing before taking on passengers in April 2009.
DUBAI // The developer of the first monorail in the Middle East will begin testing trains within weeks, it announced yesterday. The Palm Monorail, which will run from the gateway of Palm Jumeirah to the Atlantis Hotel on the crescent of the island, will be ready for its first passengers in April 2009. The 5.45km of tracks have been laid and the vehicles are undergoing final inspection in Japan before arriving in Dubai for testing, which starts in October.

Robert Lee, the managing director of Nakheel investment projects, which is overseeing the project, said: "We are pleased to announce that everything has gone to schedule. We have had to overcome a number of challenges, like running 1km of track over water, but now we are ready to start testing. Not only is this the first system of its kind to be completed in the Middle East but the monorail will set global standards for the transport industry."

It will have four stations: at the gateway, Trump International Hotel and Tower, the Palm Mall and the Atlantis Hotel. Mr Lee said it would be virtually silent, to protect the communities of Palm Jumeirah. It will eventually be linked with the Dubai Metro system via the proposed Al Sofouh tram line. The red and green lines of the Dubai Metro are scheduled to open in Sept 2009. There is no confirmed date for the tram line.

Mr Lee believes the joining of the tram and the monorail will revolutionise the way tourists travel. "Once the Palm Monorail is connected to the Dubai Metro then passengers will be able to leave Dubai airport and continue by train all the way to the Palm Jumeirah. It will save many people the headache of dealing with Dubai traffic." The monorail will be made up of four trains, each with three cars. Initially the system will be able to carry up to 2,400 passengers per hour in each direction, but this is set to rise to 6,000 when five more trains are introduced later. The monorail is fully automatic and will run without a driver, but there will be an attendant on board at all times.

The trains are being engineered in Japan by Hitachi and will be inspected by the Road & Transport Authority and train operators SMRTE before testing begins. During the six-month testing period, a team of engineers and technical experts from the Osaka monorail in Japan will advise the Palm Monorail staff.

aseaman@thenational.ae

Published: August 7, 2008 04:00 AM

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