Vegas monorail reopens after lengthy shutdown
LAS VEGAS – The Las Vegas Monorail began carrying passengers Friday for the first time since being shut down Sept. 8 for safety reasons.
“It’s a new day for the monorail,” Todd Walker, spokesman for system administrator Transit Systems Management, said after watching passengers board trains for free at a station behind the Sahara hotel-casino. He said the first trains ran about half-full.
Administrators planned to begin regular 8 a.m.-to-2 a.m. operations Saturday, and start charging fares on Wednesday, Walker said.
Clark County officials ordered several weeks of close inspections and empty-train testing before granting 30-day conditional approval Thursday for public operation.
Restoring service in time for Christmas offered the monorail a chance to reap revenues during the busy New Year’s Eve weekend and a big Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center the following week.
The 3.9-mile elevated track follows a Z-shaped route linking the Convention Center and several large hotels on the east side of the Las Vegas Strip. Officials have said the shutdown was costing $85,000 a day in lost fares: $3 per trip; $10 per day pass.
Ron Lynn, head of the county building division, said system builder Bombardier Corp. of Montreal will have to pass a 30-day review to extend the conditional operating permit to June.
The nine-train, $650 million system opened July 15 – six months late – and operated for eight weeks before a metal piece fell off the drive shaft of a moving train Sept. 8 and hit a power rail, causing an electrical arc but no serious damage.
A week earlier, a wheel fell off a train and landed in a casino parking lot. No one was hurt.