ASME-Landmark:Disneyland Monorail System


Disney engineers designed the Disneyland monorail system based on the system developed by Axel Wenner-Gren of the Alweg Company in Cologne, West Germany. Wenner-Gren ran his experimental monorail in 1952 on a level track, and when adopted by Disney in 1959, it was designed to simulate the terrain typical of urban transit. At the time, Walt Disney envisioned the monorail as a practical form of public transport for the future, and opened it as a sightseeing attraction in Tomorrowland. It became a true transportation system in 1961 with a 2.5-mile extension and a second platform, and continued to expand throughout Tomorrowland and into Downtown Disney.

Disneyland's system opened in 1959 as the first commercial Wenner-Gren monorail, the first operating monorail in the Western Hemisphere, and the first in the United States. The original trains have been upgraded throughout the years from the Mark I trains (1959) to the Mark VII trains (2008). Each train is electrically powered by six DC electric motors each mounted in articulated powered trucks shared between cars. The undercarriage straddles a single beam extending nearly two and a half miles, guided with rubber-tired drive and braking wheels.

Germany's Schwebebahn at Wuppertal, which is suspended from an overhead rail, is the world's longest running monorail, operating since 1901. Even earlier, in 1878, a steam-powered monorail system operated in Pennsylvania, and an electric car on a single rail operated in 1892 on Long Island, New York. See ASME website for more information