Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saturday Film Club: The Merry Hill monorail

Christmas is all about hanging around shopping centres it appears, and the biggest one locally(ish) is Merry Hill. To be honest, it's not my idea of a good time, but that might be different if it still had its monorail.

The system was intended to evolve into something more than just a ride for people escaping the shopping.

Sadly, the monorail was scrapped in 1996 after only 5 years of use. Apparently there were lots of technical problems with engineers being constantly called to fix the thing. Added to this the issues of evacuating a train, the system wasn't designated as a ride, but as real transport meaning a different set of rules, a problem that apparently bedevils Blackpool trams.

Anyway, the whole lot was sold to the Gold Coast in Australia, where it was built into a shopping centre.

It was rather more successful here, only closing at the start of 2017 after nearly 30 years of operation.

But what of Merry Hill?

Well, there is a station on top of Marks & Spencer. This film with truly terrible camerawork looks inside what is left.

And there has been a display mounted by the shopping centre to commemorate the system.

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