This reaches you from Cologne, Germany. My name is Reinhard Krischer, author of these web-pages, and I'm involved in continuous research about the Alweg monorail system (rubber tires on concrete beamways).
The Alweg system was developed here in Cologne during the 1950s and 60s. Seattle's monorail for the 1962 World's Fair is the last original Alweg monorail still in operation.
Alweg was also responsible for the initial Disney monorail in Anaheim, CA, in 1959. Disney further developed the system for its Florida park. Disney monorails are still going strong, - with a seventh (!) generation now being put into service in Anaheim. The Tokyo Disney park includes a 1:1 scale monorail. It is little known that the Disney monorails do as much transportation work as city transit systems do. The Las Vegas Monorail is a direct descendant of the Disney-Alweg system built by the Bombardier Company, that was responsible for the last generation of Disney Florida trains.
In the early 1960s Hitachi of Japan bought license rights from Alweg Cologne. To this day Hitachi builds such monorails as state-of-the-art transportation systems. The newest Hitachi project is the Dubai Palm Monorail line.
In memory of my father, who was a veteran Alweg engineer, I started my Alweg research, started this Alweg website ( www.alweg.com ) and published in Germany a book about the history of Alweg.
Because of my involvement I noticed that the City of Honolulu is struggling to decide to build a modern transit system. For various reasons "steel-on-steel" usually wins because quiet monorails have no decisive lobby and even though they are not new they are still looked upon as "exotic" and are thus mistrusted. But the Hitachi Company has by now proven the advantages of their Alweg-Hitachi system. Hitachi America participated in the Honolulu "contest".
It is interesting that the noise factor in "steel-on-steel" has really only become an issue in Honolulu after a decision was made for just such a solution. Did anyone listen hard to a Hitachi monorail before?
On this website one can find numerous pages about advantages of the Alweg system and about the Hitachi monorails of today:
Why Alweg ?
Alweg's Heritage in Las Vegas
The Dubai Palm Jumeirah Monorail
Sentosa Express, Singapore
From my far away vantage point I was surprised that Honolulu opted for such an unimaginative solution as steel-on-steel. Somehow I was under the impression that decision makers in Hawai would also be looking into the future along the very forward looking lines of places like Dubai. Hawaii will one day be the last "western gateway" to and from those Asian nations that will rival or will have surpassed our current "First World" economies. Then industries like tourism will have total priority for places like Hawaii and I doubt that "steel-on-steel" would be a very futuristic looking part of a scenario that will attract visitors. Dubai shows in many different ways what will be the only alternative for the "First World" to survive what economically the future has in store, - once the production centers of the world have shifted away from their historic and traditional locations (e.g.: the historic and traditional automobil brands "Land Rover" and "Jaguar" were just recently sold to an Indian automobile company).
Hawaii with its "nature potential" that will in the future look like one of the last "paradise-places" left on the globe (and could thus attract the new affluent Asian tourists trying to flee their technical progress) should perhaps try to complement this asset with for example a more "nature-compatible" type of tranportation systems policy.
The Alweg system is today still part of such a future ...
For a "human-interest" aspect of the Alweg history and Hawaii, please note on the homepage of The Alweg Archives ( www.alweg.com ) the small photo showing Elvis Presley in 1962 in the Seattle Alweg monorail together with little Vicky Tiu, - Ms. Tiu later to become the wife of Hawaii's former governor Ben Cayetano.
Thank you for your time,