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ALWEG-type monorail in Kuala Lumpur

ALWEG was a transportation company known for pioneering straddle-beam monorails.


Alweg was founded by Swedish industrial magnate Dr. Axel Lennart Wenner-Gren in January 1953 as Alweg-Forschung, GmbH (Alweg Research Corporation), based in F├╝hlingen, Germany, near Cologne. The company was an outgrowth of the Verkehrsbahn-Studiengesellschaft (Transit Railway Study Group), which had already presented its first monorail designs and prototypes in the previous year. The Alweg name is an acronym of Dr. Wenner-Gren's name (Axel Lennart WEnner-Gren).

Alweg is best remembered for developing the original Disneyland Monorail System, opening in 1959, and the Seattle Center Monorail, opened for the 1962 Century 21 Exposition. Both systems remain operational, with the Seattle Center Monorail still using the original Alweg trains which have traveled over one million miles. In 1963, Alweg proposed to the city of Los Angeles a monorail system that would be designed, built, operated and maintained by Alweg. Alweg promised to take all financial risk from the construction, and the system would be repaid through fares collected. The City Council rejected the proposal in favor of no transit at all. This move was greatly resented by famed author Ray Bradbury who supported the monorail project, and still to this day resents the later move to build a subway in Los Angeles.[1]

Alweg's technology was licensed in 1960 by Hitachi Monorail, which continues to construct monorails based on Alweg technology around the world. The world's busiest monorail line, the Tokyo Monorail, was completed in 1964 by what was then the Hitachi-Alweg division of Hitachi.

After Alweg ran into financial difficulties, Alweg's German operations were taken over by Krupp. Alweg's Seattle subsidiary Wegematic ceased operations in 1964, but some of the technology used in the Disneyland monorail was eventually acquired by Canadian company Bombardier.

In the 70's the building of an ALWEG monorail was planned in Vysoke Tatry (High Tatras), Slovakia.


  1. ^ Bradbury Speaks: Too Soon from the Cave, Too Far from the Stars (c.2005) for essay entitled: "L.A., We Are the World! A New Millennium Revelation"(1989)

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