|Mode||straddle-beam Monorail loop|
|Owner||Metro Transport Sydney (Government of New South Wales)|
|Operator(s)||Veolia Transport Sydney|
|Connects||Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre
Darling Harbour, New South Wales
Sydney central business district
|Patronage||4 million (annual 2011)|
|21 July 1988||Opened|
|10 August 1998||Purchased by CGEA Transport Sydney|
|23 March 2012||Purchased by Transport for New South Wales|
|30 June 2013||Closed|
The Sydney Monorail (originally TNT Harbourlink and later Metro Monorail) was a single-loop monorail in Sydney, Australia, that connected Darling Harbour, Chinatown and the Sydney central business and shopping districts. It opened in July 1988 and closed in June 2013.
There were eight stations on the 3.6-kilometre (2.2 mi) loop, with four trains operating simultaneously. It served major attractions and facilities such as the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney Aquarium and Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. The system was operated by Veolia.
Sydney Monorail was initially conceived in the late 1980s as part of the redevelopment of 50 hectares (120 acres) of land at Darling Harbour, providing a passenger link with the Sydney CBD. Initially operated by TNT Harbourlink, the monorail opened on 21 July 1988 after a construction period of 26 months. The first test services ran in October 1987 on a 500 metre section at Darling Harbour.
TNT Harbourlink was awarded a 50 year concession until 2038.
The original operation hours were to be 06:00 to midnight, but after two years of operation patronage counts were half those expected, and planned stations at Market Street (to be named Casino, as part of the gaming venue planned to be built on the site) and Harbour Street (to be named Gardenside) were not built for some time.
In August 1998 TNT sold the monorail to CGEA Transport Sydney, which was owned by CGEA Transport (later renamed Connex) (51%), Australian Infrastructure Fund (19%), Utilities Trust of Australia (19%) and Legal & General (11%).
The Government of New South Wales bought both the monorail and the light rail service from Metro Transport Sydney on 23 March 2012 to enable it to extend the light rail system without having to negotiate with the private owners, and to remove the monorail from the area near Haymarket required for the expanded Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The monorail ceased operating on 30 June 2013 and will be dismantled. Two carriages and 10 metres of track will be preserved at the Powerhouse Museum. Two carriages will be used as meeting rooms in Google's offices in Pyrmont. 
The track was a steel box girder of 94 centimetres width, raised at a minimum height of 5.5 metres from ground level on steel columns 20 to 40 metres apart. The minimum curve radius was 20 metres and the maximum gradient 4.4% uphill and 6.5% downhill.
Power was supplied at 500 V AC to power the train, via a sheathed conductor below the running plate of the track. A control rail was also provided for train control, and a generator provided to clear trains from the track in emergencies. The train control and maintenance facility is located between Convention and Paddy's Market stations, where a traverser moved trains in and out of service.
Each station stop took 40 seconds, including the time to decelerate, board passengers, and accelerate again. A complete circuit of the route took 12 minutes. It was originally intended for the system to operate automatically, but after a number of breakdowns soon after opening, it was decided to retain drivers, who occupied the first car of each train.
Delivered in 1987, six trains of seven carriages were built by Von Roll Holding to the Type III specification. Each seated 48 passengers, with the driver in the leading car, but were designed to seat 56, using all seven carriages.
The monorail trains ran on rubber wheels, and each seven car train had six 37 kilowatts (50 hp) traction motors, permitting a normal operating speed of 33 km/h. The doors of each car were automatic, and the floor level was self-adjusting via an automatic suspension system. Each train was 32.12 metres long, 2.06 metres wide, and 2.6 metres high.
Set 1 was stored following a significant collision between it and Set 4 in early 2010. The last carriage in Set 1 was removed from the set, and used to replace the damaged last carriage in Set 4. When operations ceased in June 2013, sets 2 - 6 were operational.
The monorail operated in a single counterclockwise loop with stops at the following stations (in order):
|Harbourside||Located adjacent to the Harbourside Shopping Centre at the western end of the Pyrmont Bridge|
|Convention||Served the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre|
|Paddy's Markets||Formerly named Powerhouse Museum, and originally Haymarket|
|Chinatown||Located inside the One Dixon Street shopping centre, opened in 2001 as Garden Plaza it closed on 26 July 2004, and then reopened as Chinatown station on 18 December 2006 By 2012 the station was unmanned and only open between 07:00 and 09:00 on weekdays only, with the station entrance locked outside these hours|
|World Square||Temporary station in operation until 2005, when the station was rebuilt and incorporated into the new adjacent building|
|Galeries Victoria||Originally named Park Plaza. The temporary entrance provided until 2000, when the station was incorporated into the new adjacent building|
|City Centre||Temporary station until mid-1989, during construction of the City Centre Shopping Arcade, temporary station was partially suspended above Pitt Street|
|Darling Park||Originally planned to be named Casino, but Sydney's casino was eventually built in Pyrmont|
Maintenance and control facilities
The six monorail units were maintained in a purpose-built facility in Pyrmont. A traverser allowed monorail cars to be removed from the main track for maintenance or stabling. Maintenance of track and stations was conducted at night with special vehicles, 'Buggy' and 'Mule'.
The facility also housed the Control Room (located above the maintenance area), as well as administration and staff amenities.
The decision to build the monorail over other forms of rail (e.g. light rail) was in the eyes of many a political decision. Light rail would have been $20 million cheaper to build, service more passengers per hour and cost 40% less for a ticket, but the monorail system prevailed.
On 24 September 2012 just before 14:00, an Ausgrid failure in a local underground cable led to a complete shutdown of the system resulting in the need for cherry-pickers to come to rescue approximately 100 stranded passengers, a process which took several hours. It was the first time since 2000 that NSW Fire and Rescue had to be called to help people from the line.
During July and early August 2013 the monorail was decommissioned.
This involved closing all the stations, terminating the ticketing, power and other services, and removing the monorail carriages from the track at the maintenance facility on Darling Drive.
Starting 12 August 2013 to March 2014, the infrastructure is being dismantled and removed, including: 3.6km of steel track; Convention and Galeries Victoria stations (The Paddy’s Market station will be removed in 2014 when the Sydney Entertainment Centre is demolished: the remaining stations are privately owned.); The steel columns that support the track and station structures; The concrete bases of the columns; Redundant electrical and other servicing infrastructure such as wiring and substations; and ticketing, signage and other equipment associated with the stations and monorail network.The maintenance facility on Darling Drive will also be stripped out. Structural features on Pyrmont Bridge will also be re-instated.
Ron Christie, the Deputy Mayor of Hobart, wanted the monorail to go from the cbd of Hobart, Tasmania to its northern suburbs. However Premier Barry O'Farrell would not give the monorail away for free. Google purchased two train carriages to use as meeting rooms;  all unwanted materials are being taken to appropriate facilities for reuse, recycling, or disposal.
- Last stop for Sydney Monorail Daily Telegraph 23 March 2012
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- Jon Wilson. "Google Sydney office monorail installation". YouTube.
- Saulwick, Jacob. "Google installs monorail carriages in its office". Sydney Morning Herald.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sydney Monorail.|