New Zealand company planning for monorail in Wellington

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

SkyCabs International, a New Zealand company based in Auckland, has announced that it is planning to build a monorail in New Zealand's capital, Wellington for about NZ$]300 million.

SkyCabs International's plans are to build a monorail service that starts in Johnsonville which then travels into the central business district (CBD) and then finally goes to Wellington International Airport.

The chief executive of SkyCabs, Hugh Chapman, said that it could be "...economically feasible." And that the monorail would be "a real opportunity." The monorail would also be environmentally friendly, according to Mr Chapman.

"SkyCabs' cabs could run in opposite directions on both sides of the beam - instead of on the top as standard monorails do - at speeds of up to 80kmh and carrying 4800 people an hour in each direction. A monorail around Evans Bay and Oriental Bay would blow tourists' minds," said Mr Chapman.

SkyCabs is currently trying to raise $31.2 million so it can built a 600 metre track in Auckland to show investors and the public what the monorail will look like and how it will work as their technology is so far unproven and untested. The possible site is Rainbows End, a theme park in Auckland.

"Potentially, if we can prove it works, the market is about $25.4 billion a year," Mr Chapman said.

Andrew Cutler, spokesman for the greater Wellington regional council, said: "SkyCabs had briefed some council staff on its ideas. However, given the council and Government recently committed to a $50 million upgrade of the Johnsonville rail line, SkyCabs would certainly not be constructing a Johnsonville-to-city monorail."