End of the circle as last ride nears for monorail
- Date June 28, 2013
Twenty-five years ago, Michael Sweeney was glad to nab a seat on Sydney’s monorail in its first week of operations.
About 9.30pm on Sunday, the emotions will be mixed as Mr Sweeney again hops on board the monorail, having won a ballot for one of 25 sets of tickets to be on its last circle of Ultimo, Darling Harbour, the CBD and back again.
Mr Sweeney has never been a train-spotter, but he has been an enthusiast for the monorail, something he has ”just always liked”.
”I was one of the first people to get on it – not the first – but one of the first,” Mr Sweeney said.
”And whenever I come back to Sydney, I still get on it.”
A self-funded retiree from the jewellery trade, Mr Sweeney, 52, now lives in Mount Wilson in the Blue Mountains. But he has lived in Ultimo and worked in the city, and estimates he would have been on the monorail on hundreds of occasions over the years.
”It was sort of something, and I’ve always enjoyed it, taking my nephews and nieces on it,” he said. ”The kids absolutely love it. They really did love it.”
In the past few weeks, as Sunday’s closure of the monorail has edged closer, many others across the city have replicated Mr Sweeney’s sense of nostalgia.
The state government, which bought the monorail last year to close it, said there had been a 15 per cent increase in patronage in the past three weeks against the same period last year.
The government is encouraging residents to grab a last ride. All revenue raised this weekend will go to charity.
The monorail will be demolished next year, and its 1500 tonnes of steel and 400 cubic metres of concrete will be used as scrap and for recycling.