Title:
Monorail frame
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to a monorail frame for supporting a vehicle body on a monorail track. Typically, monorail tracks are defined by a top surface and two side surfaces. The monorail frame includes a first frame portion, a second frame portion and at least one link portion. The first frame portion is adapted to be positioned adjacent one side of the monorail track and the second frame portion is adapted to be positioned adjacent the other side of the monorail track. The link portion interconnects the first and second frame portions. Each of the first frame portion and the second frame portion includes an upper surface, a lower surface and at least one single continuous beam having an elongated longitudinally extending surface. At least one of the upper and lower surfaces of each of the first and second frame portions consists of the elongated longitudinally extending surfaces.



Inventors:
Lai, Samuel (Kingston, CA)
Application Number:
10/352208
Publication Date:
07/29/2004
Filing Date:
01/28/2003
Assignee:
LAI SAMUEL
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B61F1/06; (IPC1-7): B61C13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LE, MARK T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SMART & BIGGAR LLP (MONTREAL, QC, CA)
Claims:
1. A monorail frame for supporting a vehicle body on a monorail track, the monorail track having a top surface, a first side surface and a second side surface, said monorail frame comprising: a first frame portion adapted to be positioned adjacent the first side surface; a second frame portion adapted to be positioned adjacent the second side surface, each of said first and second frame portions including: a) an upper surface; b) a lower surface; and c) at least one single continuous beam having an elongated longitudinally extending surface; at least one link portion for interconnecting said first and second frame portions; wherein a substantial portion of at least one of said upper and lower surfaces of each of said first and second frame portions consists of said elongated longitudinally extending surface.

2. A monorail frame as defined in claim 1, wherein each of said first frame portion and said second frame portion are of a certain longitudinal length, the substantial portion of at least one of said upper and lower surfaces being not less than twenty five percent of the certain longitudinal length.

3. A monorail frame as defined in claim 2, wherein the substantial portion of at least one of said upper and lower surfaces is a major portion of the certain longitudinal length.

4. A monorail frame as defined in claim 1, wherein each of said upper and lower surfaces of said first and second frame portions consists of an elongated longitudinally extending surface of a single continuous beam.

5. A monorail frame as defined in claim 4, wherein each of said first and second frame portions includes an upper single continuous beam and a lower single continuous beam, each having an elongated longitudinally extending surface, said upper surface consisting of said elongated longitudinally extending surface of said upper single continuous beam and said lower surface consisting of said elongated longitudinally extending surface of said lower single continuous beam.

6. A monorail frame as defined in claim 5, wherein said at least one link portion is connected to said upper single continuous beam of said first frame portion and said upper single continuous beam of said second frame portion.

7. A monorail frame as defined in claim 5, wherein each of said first and second frame portions includes at least one cross beam for connecting said upper single continuous beam and said lower single continuous beam together.

8. A monorail frame as defined in claim 7, wherein each of said first and second frame portions include an undercar equipment bay having boundaries defined by a first cross beam, a second cross beam and their respective upper single continuous beam and lower single continuous beam.

9. A monorail frame as defined in claim 8 wherein said undercar equipment bay is operative to hold at least one undercar equipment component.

10. A monorail frame as defined in claim 5, wherein said link portion connects said first frame portion to said second frame portion in a substantially opposing relationship.

11. A monorail frame as defined in claim 10, wherein said link portion includes a forward beam and a rearward beam, both said forward beam and said rearward beam being attached to the upper single continuous beams of said first and second frame portions.

12. A monorail frame as defined in claim 9, wherein said at least one cross beam is connected to each of said upper single continuous beam and lower single continuous beam of a respective frame portion at a substantially right angle.

13. A monorail frame as defined in claim 1, wherein said monorail frame includes a mounting structure for supporting a load carrying wheel that is adapted to engage the top surface of the monorail track.

14. A monorail frame as defined in claim 13, wherein each of said first and second frame portions includes a mounting structure for supporting at least one guiding wheel for engaging a side surface of the monorail track.

15. A monorail frame as defined in claim 1, having a forward end portion and a rearward end portion, said monorail frame further including an anti-climb structure attached to one of said forward and rearward end portions.

16. A monorail frame as defined in claim 5, wherein said upper continuous beam and said lower continuous beam have a polygonal cross section.

17. A monorail frame as defined in claim 5, wherein said upper continuous beam and said lower continuous beam have a U-shaped cross section.

18. A monorail frame as defined in claim 1, wherein each of said first and second frame portions is defined by a single continuous beam.

19. A monorail frame as defined in claim 18 wherein said single continuous beam has an upper elongated longitudinally extending surface and a lower elongated longitudinally extending surface, said upper surface consisting of said upper elongated longitudinally extending surface and said lower surface consisting of said lower elongated longitudinally extending surface.

20. A monorail car comprising: a body having a forward end portion, a rearward end portion, an upper side and an underside; a frame connected to said underside for supporting said body on a monorail track, the monorail track having a top surface and two side surfaces, said frame comprising: a) a first frame portion adapted to be positioned adjacent the first side surface; b) a second frame portion adapted to be positioned adjacent the second side surface, each of said first and second frame portions including upper surface, a lower surface and at least one single continuous beam having an elongated longitudinally extending surface; at least one link portion for interconnecting said first and second frame portions; wherein a substantial portion of at least one of said upper and lower surfaces of each of said first and second frame portions consists of said elongated longitudinally extending surface.

21. A monorail frame for supporting a vehicle body on a monorail track, the monorail track having a top surface, a first side surface and a second side surface, said monorail frame comprising: a first frame portion adapted to be positioned adjacent the first side surface; a second frame portion adapted to be positioned adjacent the second side surface, each of said first and second frame portions including: a) an upper surface; b) a lower surface; c) a first side adapted for facing the monorail track; d) a second side adapted for facing away from the monorail track; e) an undercar equipment bay positioned between said upper surface and said lower surface, said undercar equipment bay defining a void area that extends from said first side to said second side of said frame portion; at least one link portion for interconnecting said first and second frame portions.

22. A monorail frame as defined in claim 21, comprising an undercar equipment component mounted in said undercar equipment bay.

23. A monorail frame as defined in claim 22, wherein said undercar equipment component is a component selected from the list of an electrical box, a gear boxes, an air conditioning unit, a battery box, electrical equipment, an air compressor.

24. A monorail fame as defined in claim 22, wherein each frame portion further includes: an upper single continuous beam having an elongated longitudinally extending surface defining said upper surface; a lower single continuous beam having an elongated longitudinally extending surface defining said lower surface; at least two cross beams for interconnecting said upper single continuous beam; wherein said upper single continuous beam, said lower single continuous beam and said at least two cross beams define the boundaries of said undercar equipment bay.

25. A monorail frame as defined in claim 23, wherein said upper single continuous beam and said lower single continuous beam have a polygonal cross section.

26. A monorail frame as defined in claim 23, wherein said upper continuous beam and said lower continuous beam have a U-shaped cross section.

27. A monorail frame as defined in claim 21, wherein said undercar equipment bay is substantially rectangular in shape.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] The present invention relates generally to the field of monorail frames. More specifically, the present invention relates to a monorail frame for supporting a rail car on a monorail track.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0002] As embodied and broadly described herein, the present invention provides a monorail frame for supporting a vehicle body on a monorail track. Typically, monorail tracks are defined by a top surface and two side surfaces. The monorail frame includes a first frame portion, a second frame portion and at least one link portion. The first frame portion is adapted to be positioned adjacent one side of the monorail track and the second frame portion is adapted to be positioned adjacent the other side of the monorail track. The link portion interconnects the first and second frame portions. Each of the first frame portion and the second frame portion includes an upper surface, a lower surface and at least one single continuous beam having an elongated longitudinally extending surface. At least one of the, upper and lower surfaces of each of the first and second frame portions consists of the elongated longitudinally extending surface.

[0003] As further embodied and broadly described herein, the present invention provides a monorail car comprising a body having a forward end portion, a rearward end portion, an upper side and an underside and a monorail frame as described above. The monorail frame is connected to the underside of the body for supporting the body on a monorail track.

[0004] As still further embodied and broadly described herein, the present invention provides a monorail frame for supporting a vehicle body on a monorail track. The monorail frame includes a first frame portion, a second frame portion and at least one link portion. The first frame portion is adapted to be positioned adjacent one side of the monorail track and the second frame portion is adapted to be positioned adjacent the other side of the monorail track. Both the first and second frame portions include, an upper surface, a lower surface, a first side adapted for facing the monorail track, a second side adapted for facing away from the monorail track, and an undercar equipment bay that is positioned between the upper surface and the lower surface. The undercar equipment bay defines a void area that extends from the first side to the second side of said frame portion.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] A detailed description of examples of implementation of the present invention is provided hereinbelow with reference to the following drawings, in which:

[0006] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a monorail frame in accordance with a first specific example of implementation of the present invention;

[0007] FIG. 2 is a side plan view of the monorail frame shown in FIG. 1;

[0008] FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the monorail frame shown in FIGS. 1 and 2;

[0009] FIGS. 4A through 4F are cross sectional views of beams that can be used in the monorail frame shown in FIGS. 1 through 3;

[0010] FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a monorail frame in accordance with a second specific example of implementation of the present invention;

[0011] FIG. 6, is a perspective view of an end car monorail frame in accordance with a specific example of implementation of the present invention;

[0012] FIG. 7 is a side plan view of the end car monorail frame shown in FIG. 6;

[0013] FIG. 8 is a top plan view of the end car monorail frame shown in FIGS. 6 and 7;

[0014] FIG. 9 is front view of a monorail car having a monorail frame in accordance with a specific example of implementation of the present invention;

[0015] FIG. 10 is a side plan view of a monorail car having a monorail frame in accordance with a specific example of implementation of the present invention;

[0016] In the drawings, embodiments of the invention are illustrated by way of example. It is to be expressly understood that the description and drawings are only for the purposes of illustration and as an aid to understanding, and are not intended to be a definition of the limits of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0017] Shown in FIG. 1 is a monorail frame 10 in accordance with a first specific, non-limiting example of implementation of the present invention. The monorail frame 10 is adapted to be connected to the underside of a vehicle body, such as a monorail car (not shown in FIG. 1), in order to support the vehicle body on a monorail track 12. The monorail track 12, which has been shown in dotted lines in FIG. 1 for the purposes of clarity, includes a top surface 14 and two side surfaces 16.

[0018] The monorail frame 10 includes three main portions, namely a first frame portion 18, a second frame portion 20 and a link portion 22, the latter serving to interconnect the first frame portion 18 and the second frame portion 20. When the monorail frame 10 is in use, the first fame portion 18 and the second frame portion 20 are adapted to be positioned adjacent opposing side surfaces 16 of monorail track 12, respectively. The link portion 22 is adapted to be positioned above the top surface 14 of the monorail track 12. These three portions provide the framework for a light-weight, welded structure that is able to support a monorail car during travel on the monorail track 12.

[0019] In the specific embodiment shown in FIG. 1, both the first frame portion 18 and the second frame portion 20 have an upper surface 24, a lower surface 26 and at least one single continuous beam having an elongated longitudinally extending surface. In the specific example shown in FIG. 1, each frame portion 18, 20 includes two single continuous beams that have an elongated longitudinally extending surface, namely an upper single continuous beam 28 and a lower single continuous beam 30. At least one cross beam interconnects the upper single continuous beam 28 and the lower single continuous beam 30. The link portion 22 interconnects the first frame portion 18 and the second frame portion 20. In the specific example shown in FIG. 1, the link portion 22 interconnects the two frame portions 18, 20 at their respective upper surfaces 24.

[0020] Specific to the present invention, a substantial portion of at least one of the upper surface 24 and the lower surfaces 26 of each of the first frame portion 18 and the second frame portion 20 consists of the longitudinally extending surface of a single continuous beam. In the example shown in FIG. 1, both the upper surface 24 and the lower surfaces 26 of each frame portion 18, 20 consist of an elongated longitudinally extending surface of a single continuous beam. More specifically, the upper surface 24 of each one of the first and second frame portions 18, 20 consists of the elongated longitudinally extending surface of an upper single continuous beam 28. Similarly, the lower surface 26 of each one of the first and second frame portions 18, 20 consists of the elongated longitudinally extending surface of a lower single continuous beam 30.

[0021] In a specific example of implementation, the substantial portion of the upper and lower surface that consists of an elongated longitudinally extending surface of a single continuous beam is not less than 25% of the longitudinal length of the first and second frame portions respectfully. In an alternate example of implementation, the substantial portion of the upper and lower surface that consists of an elongated longitudinally extending surface of a single continuous beam is a major portion, meaning that a portion of the upper and lower surface that is longer than 50% of the longitudinal length of the first and second frame portions respectfully, consists of an elongated longitudinally extending surface of a single continuous beam.

[0022] In an alternative embodiment, a substantial portion of only one of the upper surface 24 and the lower surface 26 of each of the first and second frame portions 18, 20 consists of an elongated longitudinally extending surface of a single continuous beam. In such cases, the other one of the upper surface 24 and the lower surface 26 consists of the surfaces of a plurality of smaller, interconnected beams.

[0023] Although FIG. 1 shows the upper single continuous beams 28 and the lower single continuous beams 30 as being rectangular, beams of any other shape, such as circular, oval, U-shaped or polygonal beams, could be used without departing from the spirit of the invention. Shown in FIGS. 4A. through 4F are some non-limiting examples of cross-sections for the upper and lower single continuous beams 28, 30. FIGS. 4A and 4B show a rectangular beam having a rectangular cross section. The beam shown in FIG. 4B includes a partition in its center, FIGS. 4C and 4D show beams having oval cross sections, and FIG. 4E shows a beam having a U-shaped cross section. Finally, FIG. 4F shows two rounded square beams connected together in order form a larger beam. In addition to these non-limiting cross sections, and without departing from the spirit of the invention, the beams can have open or closed sections, as well as hollow or solid sections and, as shown above in FIG. 4B, may be with or without partitions.

[0024] It should be understood that the term “single continuous beam” as used herein, refers to an independent integral beam that is generally formed by extrusion but that could also be formed from many other manufacturing processes such as sheet metal forming, casting, billet machining, etc. The beam could even be made from composite materials. It is also to be understood that the beam could be formed by integrally joining two or more beams together by welding or by other mechanical or chemical connections.

[0025] Both the first frame portion 18 and the second frame portion 20 include cross beams 32 and 34, for interconnecting the respective upper and lower single continuous beams 28, and 30, as can best be seen in FIG. 2. Since first frame portion 18 and second frame portion 20 are essentially identical, the cross beams 32 and 34 will be described in more detail with respect to second frame portion 20. However, it should be appreciated that everything described herein with respect to the second frame portion 20 is also true for the first frame portion 18.

[0026] In a preferred embodiment, the cross beams 32 and 34 are welded to upper and lower single continuous beams 28, 30 in order to form a secure connection therebetween. As shown in FIG. 2, the inner cross beams 32 and the outer cross beams 34 connect to both upper single continuous beam 28 and lower single continuous beam 30 at a 90-degree angle, which makes them easier to cut and weld than if they were to connect at non-perpendicular angles. This facilitates the fabrication and manufacturing of the monorail frame 10. It should however be understood that the cross beams 32 and 34 can be positioned between the upper single continuous beam 28 and the lower single continuous beam 30 at non-perpendicular angles. As will be discussed further below, the spaces that are defined between the cross beams 32 end 34, and the upper and lower singe continuous beams 28 and 30 are undercar equipment bays 35, for mounting undercar equipment components therein.

[0027] Although the second frame portion 20 is shown having two inner cross beams 32 and two outer cross beams 34, for a total of four cross beams, it should be understood that more or less than four cross beams can be included without departing from the spirit of the invention. In addition, the size of cross beams 32 and 34 can be the same, or alternatively can vary depending on the specific performance requirements of the monorail frame 10. For example, in the specific example of implementation shown in FIG. 2, the cross-sectional size of the inner cross beams 32 is less than the cross-sectional size of the outer cross beams 34. In addition, the length of the inner cross beams 32 is less than that of the outer cross beams 34. The outer cross beams 34 extend from the upper single continuous beam 28 to a position past that of the lower single continuous beam 30. As such, the portions of outer cross beams 34 that extend past the lower single continuous beam 30 from feet 36 upon which the monorail frame 10 can sit when it is not mounted to a monorail track 12. The feet 36 are convenient for supporting the monorail frame 10 when other systems are being assembled on the monorail frame 10.

[0028] In the specific example of implementation shown in FIG. 2, cross beams 32 and 34 are positioned at equal distances from each other along the length of upper and lower single continuous beams 28 and 30. However, in alternative embodiments of the invention, the spacing of the cross beams 32 and 34 along the length of beams 28 and 30 can vary, once again depending on the specific performance requirements of the monorail frame 10.

[0029] Connected between each of the outer cross beams 34 and the upper single continuous beam 28 of each of the first and second frame portions 18, 20, at both the forward end and the rearward end of the monorail frame, are bars 37. Each bar 37 is connected between beams 34 and 28 at an angle in order to provide support for the portion of the respective upper single continuous beam 28 that extends past the corresponding outer cross beam 34.

[0030] With reference to FIG. 2, the positioning of cross beams 32 and 34 along the length of upper and lower single continuous beams 28 and 30 define undercar equipment bays 35 between each consecutive cross beam 32 and 34. As such, these undercar equipment bays 35 have boundaries that are defined by the upper single continuous beam 28, the lower single continuous beam 30 and the cross beams 32 and 34. The undercar equipment bays 35 are void of other beams and extend from the side of the frame portion that faces the monorail track 12, through to the side of the frame portion that faces away from the monorail track 12. Although the undercar equipment bays 35 are shown as being rectangular, any shape that is designed to accommodate undercar equipment components, which are described in more detail below, is within the scope of the present invention.

[0031] These rectangular undercar equipment bays 35 are advantageous because they allow easy access to the joint regions where the cross beams 32, 34 connect to single continuous beams 28 and 30. This enables easy inspection of the welded connection joints.

[0032] Referring now to FIG. 3, the monorail frame 10 includes a link portion 22 for interconnecting the first frame portion 18 and the second frame portion 20. In the specific example of implementation shown in FIGS. 1 and 3, the link portion 22 comprises a forward beam 40 and a rearward beam 38, each connected to the upper single continuous beams 28 of the first and second frame portions 18 and 20. More specifically, in the example of implementation shown in FIG. 3, the forward beam 40 and the rearward beam 38 are connected to the upper surface 24 of each one of the first and second frame portions 18 and 20. The two frame portions 18 and 20 are connected in a substantially opposing relationship, wherein the longitudinal axes of single continuous beams 28 and 30 of the first frame portion 18 are substantially parallel to the longitudinal axes of single continuous beams 28 and 30 of the second frame portion 20. In the specific embodiment shown, forward and rearward beams 40 and 38 are connected at the same longitudinal positions of the frame portions 18 and 20 as the outer cross beams 34. Alternatively, the forward and rearward beams 40 and 38 can be positioned at different longitudinal positions of the frame portions 18 and 20. In a preferred embodiment, forward beam 40 and rearward beam 38 are welded to beams 28.

[0033] In the specific example of implementation shown, in addition to forward and rearward beams 40 and 38, are forward and rearward end beams 56 and 58. Forward end beam 56 and rearward end beam 58 provide additional strength for keeping the first and second frame portions 18, 20 together. In an alternative example of implementation, forward end beam 56 and rearward end beam 58 are absent from monorail frame 10.

[0034] As shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, forward beam 40 and rearward beam 38 both include attachment points 62, and forward end beam 56 and rearward end beam 58 both include attachment points 60. The purpose of attachment points 60 and 62 is to enable suspension systems to be attached to monorail frame 10. The suspension systems and the wheels that are adapted to be attached to the monorail frame 10 will be described in more detail further on in the specification.

[0035] Although FIGS. 1 and 3 show a link portion 22 formed of frontward and rearward beams 40, 38 it should be understood that various different implementations of the link portion 22 are possible, without departing from the spirit of the present invention. For example, link portion 22 could be implemented by a single beam, or by multiple beams, or even by a piece of formed sheet metal.

[0036] Shown in FIG. 5, is a monorail frame 80 in accordance with a second specific, non-limiting example of implementation of the present invention. Similarly to monorail frame 10, monorail frame 80 includes a first frame portion 88, a second frame portion 90 and a link portion 94 for interconnecting the two. Both the first frame portion 18 and the second frame portion 20 are formed of single continuous beams 82 that have an upper surface 84 and a lower surface 86. The upper surfaces 84 are defined by the upper longitudinally extending surface of beams 82 and the lower surfaces 86 are defined by the lower elongated longitudinally extending surface of beams 82.

[0037] Each frame portion 88 and 90 of monorail frame 80 includes three rectangular undercar equipment bays 92. It should, however, be understood that more or less undercar equipment bays 92 can be included without departing from the spirit of the invention. The undercar equipment bays 92 are positioned between the upper surface 84 and the lower surface 86, of the respective frame portions 88, 90. Undercar equipment bays 92 are void and extend from the side of the of the frame portion that faces the monorail track 12, through to the side of the frame portion that faces away from the monorail track 12. In a first specific example of implementation, the undercar equipment bays 92 are formed by cut-outs in the single continuous beams 82, however, other methods of forming tile undercar equipment bays 92 can be used without departing from the spirit of the invention.

[0038] The rectangular equipment bays 92 of monorail frame 80, ass well as the rectangular equipment bays 35 of monorail frame 10, provide the advantage of enabling different equipment components to be mounted to their respective monorail frames 10, 80. Some non-limiting examples of equipment components that can be mounted to the undercar equipment bays 35, 92 include electrical boxes, gear boxes, air conditioning units, battery boxes, electrical equipment, air compressors etc. These equipment components can be mounted to the frame via welding, or via mechanical fasteners such as bolts or removable straps. Typically, the equipment components are connected to monorail frames 10 and 80 by bolts that extend through tabs 42 and connect to the equipment components that are placed within the undercar equipment bays 35, 92.

[0039] As shown in FIG. 5, monorail frame 80 includes a link portion 94 that comprises a forward beam 96 and a rearward beam 98 that both connect to the upper surfaces 84 of single continuous beams 82. As explained above with respect to the link portion 22 of monorail frame 10, different implementations of link portion 94 are possible without departing from the spirit of the invention. In addition, monorail frame 80 comprises a forward end beam 100 and a rearward end beam 102. The forward and rearward beams 96, 98 include attachment points 104, and forward end beam 100 and rearward end beam 102 include attachment points 106. Attachment points 104 and 106 enable suspension systems to be attached to monorail frame 80, as will be described in more detail below with respect to monorail frame 10.

[0040] Generally speaking, a monorail train (not shown) is made up of multiple rail cars, namely two end rail cars that are positioned at either end of the train and a plurality of central rail cars that are positioned between the two end rail cars. Each of the end rail cars, as well as the central rail cars, are supported by respective monorail frames that attach to the underside of the individual rail cars. Monorail frames 10 and 80 are substantially modular in nature, which means that they can be used for the central rail cars as well as for the end rail cars. In order to render monorail frames 10 and 80 suitable for use with an end rail car, a nose structure 46 (shown in FIGS. 6 through 8) is added to one of its ends. The modular nature of monorail frames 10 and 80 enables multiple monorail cars, both central rail cars and end rail cars that are supported by monorail frames 10, and/or 80 to be connected together in order to form a train of monorail cars.

[0041] Shown in FIGS., 6, 7, and 8 is a monorail frame 10 having a nose structure 46 located at its forward end in order to define a monorail frame 10 that is suitable for an end rail car. In order to avoid repetition, the nose structure 46, the suspension systems, and the wheels, as described below will only be described with respect to monorail frame 10. It should, however, be understood that the note structure 46, as well as the wheels and suspension systems can also be included on monorail frame 80.

[0042] Monorail frame 10 is of substantially the same structure regardless of whether it is facing forward or rearward, a monorail frame 10 having a nose structure 46 located at its forward end can be used for either the front of the train, or the end of the train, depending on which way it faces. Therefore, there are only 2 types of monorail frames: the monorail frames for the end rail cans and the monorail frames for the central railcars.

[0043] As shown in FIG. 6, in order to add nose structure 46 to monorail frame 10, the forward end bar 56 is removed, and is substituted by bar 44 of the nose structure 46. The nose structure 46 includes four plates 64 (one on each side of each frame portion) that are welded to either side of each frame portion of the monorail frame 10. These plates 64, in combination with bar 44 and additional welding that is done underneath the plates 64, secure the nose structure 46 to the rest of the monorail frame 10. The purpose of the nose structure 46 is to lengthen the monorail frame 10 for supporting the nose cone of the train (not shown). The nose cone of the train is the portion of the front or rear end car that is of a more aerodynamic shape and contains the driver cab.

[0044] The nose structure 46 is adapted to have an energy absorption system (not shown) mounted thereto. The energy absorption system includes a coupler and an anti-climb device, neither of which are shown in the drawings. The anti-climb device, which basically acts as a bumper, mounts to the connector regions 70 at the tip of the nose structure 46. Generally speaking, anti-climb devices are accurate in shape and have four projecting substantially horizontal ridges that are layered one above the other with groove-like spacings in between. As such, the anti-climb device has a cross section that is shaped like a 4-legged E. In the event that the train collides with another train, the projecting ridges of the anti-climb device interlock with the grooves of the other train's anti-climb device, thereby locking the two anti-climb devices together in order to prevent one train from climbing on top of the other. Hence the name “anti-climb device”.

[0045] The coupler mounts to the projection 72 located on the top of nose structure 46. The coupler enables an exterior device or vehicle to attach to the end car should the need arise, such as for towing, for example. The coupler, in combination with the anti-climb device acts as an energy absorption system for absorbing some of the impact in the case of a collision.

[0046] Shown in FIGS. 9 and 10 is a central monorail car 66 (shown in dotted lines) that is supported along monorail track 12 by monorail frame 10 as described above. As can best be seen in FIG. 10, mounted to monorail frame 10 are two load-carrying wheels 50 and eight guiding wheels 52. Note that only 4 guiding wheels 52 are shown, the other 4 being located on the other side of the monorail frame 10. More or less load-carrying wheels 50 and guiding wheels 52 can be mounted to monorail frame 10 depending on the specific performance characteristics desired.

[0047] When in use, the load-carrying wheels 50 are positioned vertically with respect to the ground, and are adapted to engage the top surface 14 of the monorail track 12. The load-carrying wheels 50 are adapted to be mounted to either end of the monorail frame 10 such that they are mounted between the forward beam 40 and the forward end beam 56, and the rearward beam 38 and the rearward end beam 58, respectively. Each load carrying wheel is mounted to the monorail frame 10 by a suspension system 54 that is connected to monorail frame 10 at attachment points 60 and 62. The load-carrying wheels 50 are adapted to support the vertical load of the monorail car 66, as well as the dynamic loads associated with the braking and accelerating of the monorail car 66.

[0048] As mentioned above, supported by each of the first frame portion 18 and the second frame portion 20 are four guiding wheels 52, for a total of eight guiding wheels 52 in all. When in use, the guiding wheels 52 are positioned horizontally with respect to the ground, and are adapted to engage the side surfaces 16 of the monorail track 12. Guiding, wheels 52 are adapted to be mounted in pairs to monorail frame 10 by lateral suspensions 68. The outer cross beams 34 provide an attachment surface for the lateral suspensions 68, which hold the guiding wheels 52. The pairs of guiding wheels 52 are adapted to be positioned such that the upper guiding wheel is positioned between bar 37 and upper continuous beam 28, and the lower guiding wheel is positioned on the opposing side of bar 37. The location of the guiding wheels 52 relative to the load carrying wheels 50 assures a smooth movement of the monorail frame 10 on the monorail track 12.

[0049] Although the above structure of the monorail frame 10 has been described as being formed of an assembly of beams, it should be understood that beam-like sections made of formed sheet metal, wherein the beams are formed by folding and bending the sheet metal, are also within the scope of the invention. In addition, a composite structure formed of a combination of beams and sheet metal, as well as a structure that is integrally built with the shell of the monorail car, are also included within the scope of the invention.

[0050] Although various embodiments have been illustrated, this was for the purpose of describing, but not limiting, the invention. Various modifications will become apparent to those skilled in the art and are within the scope of this invention, which is defined more particularly by the attached claims.