Monorail plan back on track?

Monorail mock-up' A mock-up of a proposed Milton Keynes monorail system.''MPMC WK23 M11

Monorail mock-up' A mock-up of a proposed Milton Keynes monorail system.''MPMC WK23 M11

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A MONORAIL system running alongside city grid roads could revolutionise public transport in Milton Keynes, the Citizen can reveal.

This week the council officially agreed to investigate the possibility of installing a network of Personalised Rapid Transport trains, identical to those at Heathrow Airport, throughout the entire city.

The system would be speedy, cheap to run and, because it uses electric rechargeable batteries, one of the most environmentally friendly options avaialble.

Most importantly, the city was built for it – literally. For in the original plans for the city 40 years ago a monorail was a favoured choice by planners, who designed the entire grid road system with that possibility in mind.

This year, tasked with preparing its transport strategy for the next 20 years, Milton Keynes Council commissioned a report by the city’s resident expert, Professor Stephen Potter from the Open University.

And, in no uncertain terms, the report criticises the level of car dependancy throughout the city and recommends a monorail as a sutainable solution.

“Car-orientated urban designs such as that of Milton Keynes, far from being exemplar, are viewed professionaly as environmentall irresponisble, economically extravagant, risky and socially diverse,” he states.

The professor, who describes existing bus services as “poor”, says a monorail would provide a high quality, low carbon service to suit the needs of residents.

He estimates a city-wide system would cost around £700 million to build. But he suggests work could be carried out in stages, starting with the most popular routes.

“It is viable to build a small network that would connect CMK destinations to the railway station and key car parks for around £10 million,” he suggests.

The idea has been applauded by former council leader Sam Crooks, who addressed Tuesday’s full council meeting.

“It would be perfect for Milton Keynes. It was a recommendation from our planners four decades ago and it is now time to start looking seriously at the possibility,” he told the Citizen.

“The fact that the council has agreed to investigate is a huge milestone and a cause for celebration.”