The Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal

Informed but opinionated commentary and analysis on urban transportation topics from the Secret Worldwide Transit Cabal. Names have been omitted to protect the guilty.

Our Mission: Monkeywrench the Anti-Transit Forces

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Friday, September 06, 2002


From the Cabalmaster:


This short (0.7-mile) line connected Mukogaoka-yuen station on the Odakyu (pronounced something like "oh-DA-cue;" the stress on the middle syllable is slight but audible) main line with one of the company's many subsidiaries, the Mukogaoka amusement park. It was closed in 2001 after Odakyu decided that required major repairs could not be justified.

In 1962, Kawasaki Heavy Industries, Ltd, (Kobe) licensed the rail-on-beam supported monorail system developed by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. A subsidiary, Nihon-Lockheed Monorail Co, Ltd, built a half-mile test line at the Kawasaki Aircraft Co plant near Gifu.

Odakyu opened its high-speed electric railway between Tokyo (Shinjuku station) and Odawara, 51 miles, in 1927. The amusement park, and a miniature railway linking it to the nearby Odakyu station, also opened in 1927. The amusement park was located northwest of central Kawasaki, in an area that was then well beyond Tokyo's suburban fringe. Development encroached following World War II. Plans by Kanagawa Prefecture for a bypass road on the same alignment led to replacement of the miniature railway by Nihon-Lockheed's first commercial monorail installation.

The monorail opened in 1966. It had a single two-car train, which operated between 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday - Thursday on Saturday. Service began at 12:30 p.m. on Friday and at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, owing to different opening hours at the amusement park. The line provided service every 15 minutes, and the trip required just three minutes, providing a schedule speed of 14 mph.

Although equipped with resilient wheels, the train sounded much like conventional rail vehicles when negotiating curves. It carried an average of 2,000 passengers during the 1980s, but traffic fell to 1,300 per day by the end of the '90s.

A scheduled inspection in February 2000 discovered cracks in the running gear frame of one car. Operation was temporarily suspended while the company consulted the supplier. The running gear frames were judged to be life-expired. The company decided that the estimated $3 million cost could not be justified. Formal closure became permanent in December 2001.

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