Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monorails Again

Good ideas just keep coming back (and we keep ignoring them).

A Los Angeles monorail system, first proposed in 1887 (see post) and again in 1937 (this post) cropped up again in 1947.

In mid-February of that year, the Board of Supervisors considered a system proposed by the Santa Monica engineering firm of A. Vinje and Associates. The trains would run up to 100 mph, on tracks 30 feet above the ground.

Four years and four months later (June 1951), the California Senate approved a bill creating a Rapid Transit Authority to oversee the construction of an $80 million monorail system that would run 44 miles--from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach!

The plans were for two lengths of parallel track about 70 feet apart, one dedicated to each direction. The tracks would run roughly along the Los Angeles River at between 39 and 55 mph, carrying 30 million passengers a year in air-conditioned comfort. The governor signed the bill the next month.

No state funds were provided. Private companies were to build the monorail over three years, and the money would be borrowed and paid back with bonds. Work was to begin by November 1951, and be completed in two years.

Wow. Wonder what shape the monorail system would be in if it had been built?

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