By: Ashley White and Hailey Restuccia

Monorail History

• The inventor was Henry Robinson Palmer.

• Deptford Dockyard in Southeast London was where the first monorail was built. The first monorail that carried passengers was built in Hertfordshire.

• In 1821, Henry Palmer patented the idea of the monorail, after Ivan Elmanov, a Russian inventor, created the idea of having the wheels on the track, instead of on the carriage.

Importance of Monorails

Monorails are a important form of transportation because they can provide speed, safety, and don't pollute the earth. Even thought monorails are not popular all over the U.S, in some countries monorails are as popular as cabs, trains and subways in New York. Also a monorail can provide some things the other forms of transportation can't.

Monorails have a few advantages over other forms of transportation.

  • Monorails are one of the safest ways to travel. Trains, buses, cars, and people can all collide with each other while a monorail can only collide with another monorail on the same track, therefor there is less of a chance for an accident occur.
  • Since monorails are elevated about 10 feet in the air, they avoid red lights and traffic jams.
  • Some monorails run on the electricity obtained from the track structure, eliminating overhead power lines and poles
  • Monorails are also resistant to some weather conditions such as strong wind, rainstorms, and snowfall.


  • Monorails can be powered electrically, by forced air, and magnetically.

  • Electric energy- Monorail are able to move with engines that create the electricity that allows the monorail to move.

  • Magnetic energy- There are some monorails that are magnetically levitated from their rail by a magnetic charge on the rail and the same charge on the monorail carrier. Since like charges repel the magnetic energy helps the monorail stay levitated which helps the monorail move.

  • Mechanical energy- Since a monorail is elevated as it moves, the elevation along with the motion of the monorail gives the monorail power.

  • Potential to kinetic energy- As the monorail is sitting and waiting to pick up , it is using potential energy. Once the monorail starts to move, potential energy is converted into kinetic energy.


  • Friction Force- As the monorail moves along the track sliding friction force is created.

  • Air Resistance Force- Since the monorail is moving through the air it has air resistance, meaning as the monorail is moving in one direction the air is moving in the other direction causing a force be applied to the monorail.


• The monorail body or passenger shell is primarily made of composite materials. Composite fibers on a monorail are materials formed by mixing liquid plastics and graphic fiber with a catalyst, and then pouring the mixture into a mold.

• Track consists of a single rail, typically elevated. The straddle beam design is the most widely used. The carriages have pneumatic rubber tires, which drive along the top of an I-shaped beam.


• The majority of monorails are powered by electric motors that receive current from a third rail, contact wire or electrified channel attached to the guidance beam on which they rest. Other locomotive technologies in use in monorails include hybrid diesel engines and electromagnetic propulsion systems.

• Switches apply to U-shaped tracks for monorail cars that either ride on top of the track or are suspended beneath it. The space between the U is taken up by the technology that moves the car which includes wheels, magnetic levitation, or other technology to thrust along the track, resist gravity and steer to one side when a switch is entered.

Newton's first law is applied because the monorail continues to move until acted upon by an external force, which is the break.


I would change the monorail so that the support beams were no longer there, as if the track and the monorail were floating in mid-air. In my vision there would be a spot where people would get on/off the monorail at two different areas but in between,

there would be a track. The track would just connect from one destination to the other. There would be no need for support beams supporting the track.

Also monorails with no supporting beams would be safer because there would be one less thing for distracted drivers to accidentally drive into.

Improvement Pictures

A Tragic Event

On July 5, 2009 two monorails crashed at Disney, causing one of the monorail pilots to die. This video uses model monorails to show what happened.
Model Shows How Monorail Crash Likely Happened

Work Cited

"Fatal Disney World Monorail Crash Caused by Employee Error, Flawed Disney Policy." N.p., 01 Nov. 2011. Web. 26 Apr. 2015.

"How Does a Monorail Work ? |" How Does a Monorail Work ? | N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

"How Monorails Work." How It Works Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2015.

"Monorail - Google Search." Monorail - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

"Monorail - Google Search." Monorail - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2015.

"Monorail Design." Student Pages. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.

"Monorails." (n.d.): n. pag. Significance of Urban Monorails. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.