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Monorail Mk2: Twin Loops

April 22nd, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

My second Monorail ceation, features two connected loops with two Monorails and a single station.  


Completion date: 21/03/2011
Power: electric (Power Functions) / 9V (Monorail)

My second Monorail creations takes advantage of two types of newly purchased Monorail pieces: monoswitches and track points. While the latter work just like typical railroad switches, the monoswitches are part of Lego’s ingenious Monorail control system. Basically, the monoswitches are sections of regular tracks with two bumpers added on sides. The bumpers can be set in one of three positions by rotating an easily customizable knob on the monoswitch, and they work by hitting contact switch on the motor of any Monorail driving through the track. It’s a very convenient system which lets to stop the Monorail or to change its direction without need for any external wires nor for routing power through tracks. The Monorails carry their power supply with them, and the monoswitches can be inserted into practically any point of the track. The only downside is the inability to control the Monorail until it reaches some monoswitch.

With the monoswitches at hand, I have focused on recreating as much of the original Monorail system as possible. Therefore no remote control is used – both Monorails use motor connected directly to the power supply; the smaller Monorail uses an old 9V battery box used in the Monorail system as well as in the older Trains systems, and the larger one uses the Power Functions rechargeable battery, merely for the lack of second 9V battery box.

The two Monorails are very different: one is just a slightly modified copy of the Monorail from the Lego 6399 Airport Shuttle set (originally red & white), because I always wanted to own this set as a kid, and because I wanted to study the way it combines beauty with simplicity. The other is made to appear as a military vehicle, with 6-studs wide cars, the first one looking similar to a fighter jet, and the second one carrying a mysterious cargo which uses old fiber optics system for lightning effect. It’s more interesting technically than the ‘civilian’ Monorail: there is a 8878 rechargeable battery in the first car, connected to a 9V motor in the second car. The motor drives the fiber optics attachment, and there is an additional connection made to deliver power to the attachment itself and to the Monorail motor.

The track layout consists of two loops (one level, the other running on three levels of tracks) connected by two track points, in a manner allowing to redirect Monorails from one loop to another. I have equipped both track points with a system of green/red lights, which indicates which track is currently switched. System includes two interconnected PF switches and the lights change automatically as the track point is switched.

Finally, there is a single station with tracks on both sides and two monoswitches integrated into it to make Monorails stop. While the station is very simple, I have added a large array of lights to it, looking to create some interesting light effect. There are two different ‘types’ of light used: white PF LEDs are directed at tracks, while old 9V tiny light bulbs provide warm yellowish glow on the station’s platform. I think the resulting effect was worth trying, and I’m happy with how it was captured on the photos.

I was happy with most of the solutions applied here, except perhaps for the Monorails themselves. It seems they’re both very far aesthetically from what Trains builders can achieve, and it will be a challenge for me to create more sophisticated and more realistic bodies for the cars.


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Categories: Monorail Tags: ,
  1. Sariel
    May 18th, 2011 at 07:54 | #1

    Yes, I noticed that too. Maybe they switched from one type to another.

  2. Mehley
    May 18th, 2011 at 02:09 | #2

    Hello Paul! I like the scene shot in the dark! 🙂 Just a quick question: I just noticed, that PF Led lights from set 8297 (off roader) and led lights from Motor set 8293 (both released in the same year) are different! One of them has a xenon light feeling (a little bit blue), and the other has a standard white shine. Is this normal? Maybe TLG produces two types of led lights?

  3. Sariel
    May 15th, 2011 at 13:33 | #3

    Only if you power it with Power Functions and PF IR receiver.

  4. Mike
    May 15th, 2011 at 12:45 | #4

    Can you use speed control with the monorail? it’d look nice! speeding up and slowing down 🙂

  5. sven
    May 4th, 2011 at 19:10 | #5

    yes yes yes yes yes

  6. Sariel
    April 30th, 2011 at 12:05 | #6

    Build one if you like.

  7. sven
    April 30th, 2011 at 11:04 | #7

    what about a rollercoaster

  8. Ardor
    April 29th, 2011 at 23:09 | #8

    Unfortunatly i cant watch the video because of copyright of the soundtrack 🙁

  9. April 28th, 2011 at 19:34 | #9

    You did a very good job with the video .. the soundtrack is great well synchronized etc. I like it. Keep going !!

  10. Sariel
    April 27th, 2011 at 18:28 | #10

    Silnik Monorail? Zestaw 6990.

    Yes, I can, but I don’t want to because I’m not 10 years old anymore.

  11. sven
    April 27th, 2011 at 18:07 | #11

    could you build some brickguns like minigun or snaiper or famas

  12. April 27th, 2011 at 14:01 | #12

    Wszystko prezentuje się bardzo ładnie ,a szczególnie po ciemku .
    Czy mógł byś mi podać numer zestawu w którym znajdował się ten silnik ?

  13. fifer253
    April 27th, 2011 at 00:12 | #13

    hehehehehehe “hamsterail runs on biofuel” heheheheheh
    very good project.

  14. Sariel
  15. technikfreak
    April 25th, 2011 at 19:06 | #15

    i have a questin sariel do you know “Star Craft II ” ??? There are tanks and they are very nice !!! Would it real to build some of them 😕

  16. Sariel
    April 24th, 2011 at 19:42 | #16

    @David Luders
    Nope, I haven’t seen it. It looks a bit unusual for a monorail (I’m not saying I’m doing better here ;)).

  17. David Luders
    April 24th, 2011 at 14:57 | #17

    This is very nice! Have you seen Joe Meno’s recent Flickr photoset of his monorail? As you expand your set, perhaps there are some ideas there: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brickjournal/sets/72157626562646118/detail/ .

  18. bachaddict
    April 23rd, 2011 at 03:10 | #18

    So the biohazard guy was looking for radioactivity and he found an active radio?… 😉

  19. will
    April 22nd, 2011 at 23:30 | #19

    very cool!!

  20. Sariel
    April 22nd, 2011 at 22:38 | #20

    There is no straightforward way to do so, as the Monorail system was designed for motor + 2 cars set-up. But I’ve seen people coming up with ways to connect two Monorails together (can’t say how different it is from having one simply follow another). Personally, I’m happy with the standard set-up so far. It may be limited, but still offers a lot of possibilities.

  21. Mike
    April 22nd, 2011 at 22:25 | #21

    interesting 🙂 can you connect them in a way that the train has more drive units?

  22. Sariel
    April 22nd, 2011 at 22:24 | #22


    It seems fairly strong despite its small size, but it was clearly affected by the weight of the larger Monorail here: it was driving slightly slower than the smaller one, and slowing down when climbing. I’m planning to build a Monorail gauntry sometime in the future, with Monorails carrying containers, perhaps it will be an opportunity to test their load capacity.

  23. Mike
    April 22nd, 2011 at 22:23 | #23

    @Sariel well our first hamster could be quite “express” when he felt his food was threatened 🙂 otherwise yes, he was like Lucius, as long as there was food the world could wait 😀

  24. Mike
    April 22nd, 2011 at 22:22 | #24

    how strong is the motor? How far can you go in building (bigger thus more heavy) monorail cars?

  25. lewis
    April 22nd, 2011 at 22:21 | #25

    could you angle the tracks inwards to create a berm or bank?

  26. Sariel
    April 22nd, 2011 at 22:19 | #26

    Somehow, the words “express” and “lucius” just don’t fit together 😉

  27. Mike
    April 22nd, 2011 at 22:18 | #27

    1st coment 🙂
    liked the atmosphere of the lit-up station. And the bio-train, the Furry Express 🙂

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