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  • I have a bit of a history with monorails.

  • Back in 2016, I visited the Wuppertal suspended monorail in Germany, and I said that monorails are almost always a bad idea.

  • Monorail enthusiasts sent me angry messages, but I stand by that.

  • In 2020, I visited one of the last surviving Roadmachines cargo monorails.

  • They were actually useful and practical, but they were temporary constructions designed for having cargo hauled around work sites.

  • And they've been replaced by modern heavy construction equipment.

  • Monorails are usually bad ideas, because the track has to be either elevated or in a trench, and because switches at junctions involve moving the whole track.

  • In almost every case, a monorail is a worse and more expensive idea than light rail, or a tram, or a bus.

  • But.

  • While I was researching a while ago, I found a type of monorail that is useful and practical and better than any alternative for its job.

  • And not only is it still in use, new versions of it are being built.

  • So I reached out to the company that makes them and I asked them, "Can I have a go on one, please?"

  • This is the monorack.

  • We build mainly ropeways. That's our main business.

  • Everything with the rope. Aerial tramways, chair lifts, ski lifts.

  • And monorack is a Garaventa product since nearly 45 years, in 1978 I think, or '79.

  • Some two years after the petrol monorack, they start with electrical monorack.

  • They installed mainly in the Alp area.

  • Germany, Switzerland, a lot of monoracks in Italy, but also Canada, Sweden, Asia.

  • All over the world we have more or less about 800 monoracks.

  • The petrol monoracks are mainly installed in the agriculture area.

  • The electrical monorack usually is quiet, but here the customer made his own box.

  • That's the reason why it's still a little bit loud!

  • The invention that makes this thing so useful is down on the track.

  • This is a rack railway, so the track has grooves and the cogs onboard the train lock into it.

  • That means it can climb very steep hills like this and take tight corners with no risk of slipping.

  • Having just one lightweight rail means it doesn't take up much room.

  • It can go around tight corners and it's easy to install.

  • Being elevated, means it can go over rough terrain and if there's rain or mud below, it doesn't matter.

  • I genuinely can't think of a better solution for regularly, safely, moving things up and down steep, rough terrain like this.

  • Every monorack is based on a brake, and on an engine chassis.

  • And what's between the two chassises is up to the customer, we can choose different models, different chairs, whatever the customer needs or wants.

  • You can see the charging rails.

  • If the customer wants two or three, he can choose two or three charging points.

  • Normally we have only one, in one of the end stations.

  • I know this sounds like an advert, I promise it isn't.

  • I just got actually properly enthusiastic at being proved wrong.

  • There are useful monorails in the world. And this?

  • This is one of them.

I have a bit of a history with monorails.

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