Distinguishing Monorail from Metro Rail Systems

Many people have only heard of monorails and never seen them, while metro rails have become a reality in several countries around the world. Both serve the same purpose of providing fast and efficient mass transit systems; however, there are fundamental differences in their design, structure, and cost.

Key Takeaways

  • Monorail runs on a single rail, while metro rail operates on two rails like conventional trains.
  • Monorails often run on elevated tracks, whereas metro rails can run on the ground, underground, or overhead depending on space availability.
  • Monorails were initially developed to connect two points requiring fast material transportation, but they later became a mass transit option, with successful examples like Tokyo’s monorail.

The concept of metro rail and monorail emerged due to traffic congestion and the inability of existing rail systems to support rapid transit. As populations increased in many countries, people faced delays in reaching their destinations due to slow-moving trains and numerous stoppages. Both monorail and metro rail systems operate independently of other transport systems, avoiding traffic congestion and offering higher speeds than conventional trains and other city transport modes.

Monorail, as the name suggests, is a transport system that runs on a single rail, in contrast to the metro rail that runs on two rails. The single rail serves as the only support system for the monorail, which runs on a beam high up in the air, unlike the metro rail that operates like a conventional train but on an independent track. Monorail is considered a rail system even though it significantly differs from traditional railway tracks. People often mistakenly believe that the train flies in the air, but it actually runs on an elevated track that is narrower than the train itself, which sets it apart from metro rail.

Monorails were initially developed to connect two points that needed materials transported quickly. They were first considered as a mass transit system in the 1950s but did not progress much due to competition from automobiles and the high cost of track manufacturing. However, as traffic congestion worsened, the monorail concept gained momentum with Japan’s successful implementation of a monorail across Tokyo that now carries over a hundred thousand passengers daily. Monorails have also been used in amusement parks. The maglev system, developed by German scientists, uses magnetic levitation to make the train appear as if it is running on air. This system has become popular as it allows very high speeds and quick deceleration. Maglev trains are among the fastest transport systems on Earth, reaching speeds of nearly 600 km/h.

Metro rail has become widespread in many parts of the world. Its unique feature is that the track can be on the ground, underground, or above ground depending on space availability. The same train may go underground and then emerge from a tunnel to run on an overhead track. Some successful and popular metro rail systems include the New York Subway, Shanghai Metro, and the London Underground. Underground rail systems are commonly known as metros. Metro rail has become one of the fastest and most efficient transport systems for people in metropolitan areas and other large cities. Metro rail systems must be supported by bus transport systems, as they have stations in areas where no other transport options are available for people to reach their destinations. The underground routes of metro rail allow the trains to bypass ground traffic, enabling high speeds and greater convenience for passengers.

Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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