Houston businessman Murel Goodell is the inventor of the modern monorail. This is his story.
Did you know?
The first commercial operating monorail in the United States, Goodell’s Trailblazer, ran at the Texas State Fair from 1956-1964. The Disneyland monorail was his second-generation design and launched in 1959.
What is a modern monorail?
The first passenger monorail in Germany opened in 1901 using steel wheels and steel track, like a traditional railroad. Goodell designed a suspended monorail using rubber tires and a concrete track with lower construction costs and greater comfort, quietness, and efficiency. Next, he invented the straddle-beam monorail which rides on top of the beam instead of underneath it. This is the basis for all modern monorails operating around the world today.
Monorails for the World
Murel Goodell proposed his monorail design for cities around the world. Like Walt Disney, he was deeply concerned about the impact of automobile traffic and the loss of lives that automobile accidents caused every day.
Goodell first proposed the monorail for his home city of Houston, TX. The Trailblazer, the first modern monorail, was proven there on a test track near Arrowhead Park.
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Goodell attained approval to build a monorail from Fort Lauderdale to Florida City, FL and even signed contracts, which were never fulfilled.
Los Angeles, CA
Goodell proposed a monorail route that paralleled the Century Freeway, offering a 19 minute trip from LAX airport to downtown.
Niagara Falls, Canada
Goodell’s proposal for monorail in Niagara Falls was based on his working design for Houston Hobby Airport. Despite announcing signed contracts, the Niagara Falls project was never completed.
New Orleans, LA
Goodell’s monorail design for New Orleans met with significant controversy. It was eventually approved but never built.
Goodell proposed a monorail design for our nation’s capital which, despite support from local authorities, was never built.