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Memphis, Tennessee: Mud Island Monorail


The Mud Island monorail connects downtown Memphis with the Mud Island River Park. It is about 0.3 mile (0.5 km) long, and opened in 1982. It operates only from April through October. The two stations are at the convention center on Front Street and at the Mississippi River Museum on the island. It runs on a high elevated structure that passes above Riverside Drive and an inlet of the river. (Mud Island is actually a peninsula, joined to the mainland at its north end.)

This is a suspension-type monorail like the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal, Germany, but the cars are driven by an external cable, as with an aerial tramway, instead of by internal motors. Two cars shuttle back and forth on parallel tracks, always leaving the end stations simultaneously and passing each other at the middle of the route.

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These pictures were taken on 21 June 2002 and 2 June 2010. Sometime in between, the cars were re-painted from blue and white to solid red.

[picture] A car waits at the platform of the convention center station. (June 2010)

[picture] The same car as in the preceding picture, seen eight years earlier from the other side of the bay that accommodates both cars alternately. The two cars use separate platforms. (June 2002)

[picture] This view of the elevated monorail structure looks west from the convention center station. (June 2002)

[picture] A view from ground level of a car arriving at the Convention Center. (June 2010)

[picture] A car passes above Riverside Drive just before arriving at the convention center station. The two railroad tracks at right are used by the riverfront loop of the Main Street Trolley (left), and by freight and Amtrak trains (right). (June 2002)

[picture #1] | [picture #2] The two cars meet at the midpoint, in views from ground level and from one of the cars. (June 2010)

[picture] Crossing over the Wolf River Lagoon (an inlet that leads to the Mississippi River), with the I-40 bridge and the Pyramid in the distance. (June 2010)

[picture] This view looking east from Mud Island shows a car crossing over the water. In the distance, the other car is partly obscured by one of the bridge supports. (June 2002)

[picture] A side view of a car arriving at Mud Island. (June 2010)

[picture] Passengers board a car at the Mud Island station. (June 2010)

This page was last updated on 10 May 2010.

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