SAFEGE is an acronym for the French consortium Société Anonyme Française d' Etude de Gestion et d' Entreprises (en: French Limited Company for the Study of Management and Business.) and is pronounced SAY-fij in English.

The consortium, consisting of 25 companies, including the tire-maker Michelin and the Renault automotive company, produced an aerial railway technology. The design team was headed by Lucien Chadenson. Today the company is a subsidiary of Suez Environnement and specialises as a consultancy in water and environmental engineering.

Design concept

The design of the system entails suspending passenger cars beneath rubber-tired wheel carriages of the type used more conventionally in the Paris Metro. The carriages are enclosed and supported by a box-like track or beam, with an opening in the bottom. The rubber wheels of the train run inside the track, supported by flanges on the bottom of the beam.

Unlike previous suspended monorails like the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal, Germany, the tracks are not exposed to inclement weather, and do not need any cleaning or ice-removal systems. This advantage enables them to run in cities where ice and other conditions would impair the reliability of the system.

Market position

SAFEGE systems are the leading type of suspended railway currently in transit use, though this consists of very few systems. Its chief and more numerous competitor in modern monorail applications are variations of the German-designed ALWEG system, in which the vehicles run on top of, and straddle, a solid beam.

Safege monorails in the world


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