Guest article by Brad Wing:
I was recently in Las Vegas on business. It is not my favorite city, since I am not a gambler and I do not smoke. When walking into Rio, where I stayed, my eyes starting running immediately as a reaction to the smoke. Whenever I had to go from my room to the convention rooms – through the casino - I could not see since my eyes were running and tearing so badly.
I had a few hours free one day, so I decided to take the monorail that parallels the “Strip.” I got on at Bally’s and rode north to the end station, SLS. Here is a map of the system. The website address is shown on the screenshot.
The images in this blog, except for the scan of the tickets and the maps from the monorail website were taken with my iPhone.
To start my journey on the Monorail, I took a shuttle bus from Rio to Bally's, which is at the corner of the "Strip" and Flamingo Road. You can see on the illustration above that Rio is on the other side of the interstate from the Strip. It is run by Caesars, as are several other major hotels in Las Vegas.
When I got off the shuttle bus, I looked ahead to see the monorail crossing Flamingo Road. As you can see in the picture, once one gets a block off the Strip, much of Las Vegas is pretty junky.
To get to the station in Bally’s, one must wander through the casino, and try to find the signs for the station. I finally had to ask a security guard how to get there. He led me to an escalator, since he said that the directions were complicated. Then I had to go down to the food court – go through that and walk a rather long way to another escalator, and finally I was able to approach the station!
I was a bit startled that a one-way ride was $5.00. The total distance traveled is short, but they know that tourists are willing to pay for one more ‘attraction’ in Las Vegas. I cannot see any local using the monorail for transportation. It doesn’t go to any residential areas.
At the entrance to the station, there was a route map, which is very simple, since there are no cross lines, are there are only a few stops.
The inside of the compartments are small, but clean and comfortable.
Pictured below is an entire unit, comprising 4 compartments. This unit was sitting on the siding going from the end station to the maintenance shed.
The end-station, SLS, is a bit surrealistic. One comes in on an elevated platform, but has to go up to another level in order to ride an escalator down to the street! When I exited the station, I crossed on a pedestrian walkway across the road and descended into a wasteland, as you can see below. The station is directly ahead in the photo. The walkway is overhead here and I took the photo from where I came down from it. From the station itself, if you turn around, you can catch a glimpse of the Stratosphere.
Overall, I would say that is was worth the $10.00 for entertainment ($5.00 each way), but I wouldn’t suggest anyone make a trip to Las Vegas to ride it.
There are also other monorails in Las Vegas, which I rode on my previous business trip there. (Why do I have to go there so often?) The map below is from https://www.vegas.com/transportation/las-vegas-monorails/ and shows the system of monorails in Las Vegas.
I rode the section from Mandalay Bay to Excalibur and the following pictures are from that experience last year.
For you train fans, I was able to catch the last part of a train as it past Rio. The tracks go next to the interstate separating Rio from the Strip.
Overall, I would say that if you have to go to Las Vegas, you might as well ride the monorails for a bit of diversion.