Ueno Zoo's Famed Monorail Halts Service after Over 60 Yrs


Tokyo, Oct. 31 (Jiji Press)--The much-loved monorail at Tokyo's Ueno Zoo halted its service on Thursday, after more than 60 years in operation, due to the aging of the train and facilities.

The monorail was launched in 1957 by the Tokyo metropolitan government's transportation bureau as Japan's first passenger monorail system. Since then, it has carried over 65 million passengers between the zoo's East Garden and West Garden.

The metropolitan government will consider whether to restore the monorail by overhauling the system or permanently scrap it.

The 330-meter suspended-type railway has only two stations--East Garden and West Garden, with one-way travel taking about 90 seconds. The two-car monorail can hold up to 62 passengers. Since 2001, the fourth-generation type 40 train has been used on the single rail.

On Thursday, the monorail's final voyage was an evening trip from the West Garden station to the East Garden station. All the onboard passengers were chosen by lottery. In a speech before the departure, stationmaster Kazuhide Nagata, 64, stated, "I remember vividly many children saying that the monorail ride was fun."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press