Opening Day! First Images, first impressions
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Pictures and commentary by Kim Pedersen (except where noted)

What follows is not a comprehensive description of every aspect of the Las Vegas Monorail, but a glimpse at the system on its first day of public operation. Special events actually started on the morning of July 14th. VIPs, dignitaries and press were invited to a morning ribbon cutting ceremony. The system was dedicated as the Robert N. Broadbent Las Vegas Monorail, in a tip of the hat to the man who "got it done." While their names are not listed in such a prominent way as Broadbent's is, major credit for the monorail's creation also goes to Jeffery B. Kimmel and Francois Badeau of Transmax Group. The Monorail Society salutes you and the hundreds who made it come into being. Now, let's take a look! The above picture is of the Only Vegas train awaiting its cue to come around the corner and into the MGM station for the ribbon cutting.

While the train waited, a Bombardier technician monitored the automated systems, yet had time to give TMS photographers a wave. A nice smile from the neon cowgirl too! No, trains don't normally run with their doors open.

While the train sat waiting for its ribbon-cutting cue, we snuck a peak under the skirt (hey, it's a train). Guide wheels, motors and current collectors are visible here.

Just beyond the south end of the MGM station is this switch platform. Trains use it to change track and head back in the other direction. I personally haven't seen any monorail system make a quicker direction reverse than on this system. Immediately after the 10-second switch movement, the trains would start running across them. Nice landscaping by the MGM folks too.

Heres the switch platform from below.

With some fanfare music blaring, and streamers popping into the air, the monorail was revealed to guests at MGM Station. While we weren't invited to this particular event, we knew we'd get a good view from the parking lot.

After the Only Vegas train left, the Star Trek Experience train arrived. This particular stretch of track is from the original MGM-Bally's Monorail, which first opened in 1995 and operated until construction of the Las Vegas Monorail was under way. An emergency walkway was added, power supply was upgraded and the guideway surface was improved. Still, it's pretty obvious when you ride on this segment that you're on the original "cheap" beam.

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