Advantages of suspension rail

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mr friendly guy
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Advantages of suspension rail

Post by mr friendly guy » 2018-03-04 04:08am

Examples of suspension rail are the German Wuppertal suspension rail (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wuppertal ... on_Railway) and the Chinese are also building a few of these.

Basically to my non engineering mindset, a suspension rail is where the car is hanging below the line, whereas other monorails are above the line.

Now according to a Chinese team which built one, its advantages vs subways are that it takes the Chinese one fifth the cost, and obviously has less effect on ground facilities. However that doesn't tell me anything vs simply a monorail which is on the track.

Can anyone tell me what is the advantage of building a suspension monorail vs a regular one.
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Re: Advantages of suspension rail

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-03-04 10:53pm

It keeps the worst of the weather effects off the rail and wheels, which can be relevant as many suspension types are actually using rubber tired wheels to let them deal with sharper turns and above all very steep, by railroad standards, grades. It's really tough rubber though so the wet traction is rather poor compared to say automotive standards. Just much better then steel on steel. But being rubber stuff like sunlight and wooden debris affect it that steel wheels would never give a damn about.

Usually the reason to build a monorail is because of confined spaces for the route and curves, desire for lower noise and similar political considerations on apperences, in which case suspension can also sometimes lead to a lower overall height profile for the line though that's hardly a given. Better view for tourists and cheaper stations, relative to the overhead clearence for the majority of the track can also be considerations.

Japan built a number of suspended monorails in the 1970s-90s and I believe some are still being expanded and proposed, generally on the basis of the tight congestion issue to fit them into existing space. That was why that original German one was built too. Monorails have a niche between traditional light rail and the much higher person-mile capacity of full on subway or elevated subway style trains that's something of a growth market. The downside is generally they are slow; but with a lot of tight curves anything reasonably on railed wheels would be.
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Re: Advantages of suspension rail

Post by mr friendly guy » 2018-03-05 02:38am

So theoretically lower maintenance costs vs monorail then, at least in certain climates if it can keep the worse of the weather effects off the rail.
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Re: Advantages of suspension rail

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-03-05 03:22am

One fifth the cost seems unlikely.

Checks article. Ah. One fifth of the cost of SUBWAYS. (So still a lot more then concrete slab tramways and even more then ballasted rail)

The main advantage being able to drop it into existing urban areas with much less disruption then pushing a railway through with all the landatake, utilities diversions, severed roads or expensive bridges, ramps ect
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Re: Advantages of suspension rail

Post by Thanas » 2018-03-05 04:57am

If you ever have been to wuppertal you will know why the suspended rail exists - it is such an odd town. Lots of hills, turns, a river in the middle...
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Re: Advantages of suspension rail

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-03-06 11:05pm

mr friendly guy wrote:
2018-03-05 02:38am
So theoretically lower maintenance costs vs monorail then, at least in certain climates if it can keep the worse of the weather effects off the rail.
Greater reliability for sure. Lower maintenance costs, maybe maybe not, the suspended systems are harder to work on when they do need work. But reliability is an awful big deal when unreliability means trains becoming outright stuck on the line. Also keep in mind depending on the monorail, suspended ones may not have the rails covered from above, I think the original German one doesn't, but it's typical of all the new ones.
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