The Middle East’s first monorail will be ready to transport commuters along The Palm Jumeirah by the end of this year. More than 90 per cent of the work has been completed on the 5.4km track that runs from the top of The Palm’s crescent and down the length of its trunk.
Work began in 2006 on the mass-transit system. When complete, it will have four stations – Gateway Towers, Trump Tower, a retail centre, and the Atlantis Hotel, currently under construction on the crescent.
A depot and an operations control centre have been planned for the route.
“Construction work is right on schedule and we expect the system to be operational by late this year,” said Aaron Richardson, a senior spokesperson for Nakheel, the developer of Palm Jumeirah, which is also behind the monorail project.
He said piers were currently being constructed in the water at the north end of The Palm, between the trunk and the crescent, on its way to the fourth station at Atlantis. The monorail track is expected to be completed by the middle of this year and the system will then undergo six months of testing.
Richardson said discussions were ongoing over how The Palm Jumeirah monorail system can connect with the Dubai Metro or with the Al Sufouh tram link. “The idea is to ensure complete connectivity so that tourists can leave Dubai International Airport on the Metro and continue through to The Palm, where they change over to the monorail system and move onwards to their hotel,” said Richardson.
He declined to comment on whether monorails were being planned for other off-shore projects by Nakheel.
The monorail will initially carry four trains, each of three carriages. Eventually, nine trains will travel the length of The Palm Jumeirah at five- to 10-minute intervals using an automatic train operating system.
Nakheel said there would be space for 361 passengers per vehicle, so the monorail will initially carry up to 2,400 passengers per hour in each direction. At full capacity, the figure will rise to a maximum of 6,000 people in nine vehicles.