Elevated monorail could be corridor future
It has been interesting to read about the ideas to restart the old railway system that operated in the southern part of the Island. I’ve seen the remnants of the tracks and other wooden trestles in the Cowichan Valley and how the community has taken to using these green ribbons for recreation. I have also heard stories about the commutes into the Victoria area and the need for a reliable alternative to commuting over the Malahat. But maybe there is a solution to minimize any conflict between those for and those against restarting the “railway”.
I’m suggesting a safer and less expensive alternative that retains the possibility to allow many more to share in the use of our precious rail ribbon right of way. Restarting and rebuilding the previous rail system surely means many, many road crossing conflicts and the need for almost fail-safe barriers and signals to avoid collisions between the railway and those that share the road. All new light rail systems isolate the path of their commuter system from roads to minimize or completely avoid cars and trucks crossing the rail lines.
An elevated, two-way monorail would fly commuters and visitors above the traffic, zipping through and sometimes above the trees. Elevation avoids road vehicle and rail intersection conflict by elevating the “train cars” above the surface traffic. Separation avoids the needed stops and starts to prevent collisions and speeds travel for both. The mono-rail stations would also be elevated above the right of way, with services and shopping below the arrival and departure platform, all surrounded by a “kiss and fly” drop off and some parking.
The direct horizontal views from the street surface under the mono rail would be mostly preserved. Most of the right of way would remain as recreation green space, parking, landscaped breaks, or possibly expanded as shared small community garden plots growing veggies and flowers.
Consider that the elevated monorail system can also be built using readily available materials and products such as using the concrete foundation and lower steel column sections of the larger power generating wind mills to elevate the monorail. Concrete and steel beams make up the 100 m mono rail spans, one for the down Island direction and one up Island. The carriages would have bus or train like seating. The vehicles should be electrically self-propelled with the electrical third rail down the center (but could be gasoline to start). The carriages would travel along above the mono rail on rubber tires (for quietness) as in Disneyland (or hang below like a ski gondola up mountains). Rivers roads and other obstructions could be less intrusively bridged. Vehicle carriages, since they are individually driven, are added as needed. Travel between stations would be timed to have more service in rush hours while nights could be used for transporting bulk freight. Like systems at airports these would be driverless and scheduled.
Thanks for your consideration