Tokyo Monorail 1000 series near Tennozu Isle Station
There are 6 monorail lines in the Tokyo metropolitan area. 3 of them adopt a straddle-beam system; meanwhile the other 3 lines use a suspended system.
The Haneda line of Tokyo Monorail Company is the oldest monorail, which adopts a straddle-beam system, in Tokyo. This line, connecting Hamamatsu-cho and Haneda Airport Terminal 2 (17.8km), was completed in 1964 as an airport access route from downtown Tokyo to Tokyo International Airport (Haneda). There were only 2 terminal stations at first; however, it expanded the number of en route stations later to take a role of not only airport access but also a commuter train.
In 1998, the Haneda line reached a turning point. Keikyu, which is one of the major private railway companies, opened another airport access route from Shinagawa, a subcenter of Tokyo. As a result, Tokyo Monorail Company faced fierce competition from Keikyu. The counterplot against Keikyu was the speeding up of the trains. They launched Rapid and Express trains one after another. Nowadays, the “Haneda Express” train connects Hamamatsu-cho and Haneda Airport International Terminal without stopping in only 13 minutes. As a passenger, I welcome this kind of competition, as far as safety is assured.
In the meantime, I like the Haneda line because of its excellent view from the trains. The monorail is constructed as an elevated track. Furthermore, there is no fence along the railway line. So, the passengers can enjoy magnificent prospects of the Tokyo Bay area from the train windows. That is an attraction during the ride.
An excellent view from the train of Tokyo Monorail near Hamamatsu-cho Terminal
More information about Tokyo Monorail: http://www.tokyo-monorail.co.jp/english/