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Video Vault | California man had one-track mind toward monorails

Niles Backyard Monorail (KSNV)

A colorful, detailed coffee table book about monorails through history — including systems past and present here in Las Vegas — was published last spring.

Just days before News 3 was scheduled to interview the author, he was diagnosed with leukemia and hospitalized, putting the story on hold. Kim Pedersen passed away on Jan. 24. This week's Video Vault goes back to a 2009 profile of this very interesting man.

"Well I have been on monorails in Malaysia, Australia, Europe and various places," Pedersen told News 3 in 2009, from his home in Fremont, Calif. "Japan is sort of monorail land."

Backyard home

As the President of the Monorail, Pedersen knew monorails, including the one in our Southern Nevada backyard.

"All the times I've been there, it's been very useful for me to run up and down the Strip," mused Pedersen. "I wish it was a little more visible to the visitors of the city, so they could see it."

He also had a monorail in his backyard ... literally!

"I have sketches I did in 1969 for a backyard monorail, but my dad wouldn't let me build it," remembered Pedersen. "So when I grew up and got my own house. ... With a little negotiation with the wife, I got to build one."

The result was the "Niles Monorail," with years of work resulting in a miniature system that could actually carry up to two people on a monorail beam around the perimeter of his back yard.

How it began

The creator of the society for people with one-track minds says his inspiration came when he was just a lad, from a man known for vision.

"Walt Disney," laughed Pedersen. "When he put in his system in Disneyland in 1959, I really got attached to the idea of such a narrow little guideway with a big train. I thought that was magic.”

Pedersen had all the toys, but also took monorails seriously. The Monorail Society supporting the Monorail Expo in Dubai in May 2009. Not everybody in the society is quite so dedicated.

"There are two faces to our group and the membership," explained Pedersen. "We've got the serious folks, and we've got the collector/fan. And it's kind of good that I'm running it because I'm both. I'm serious about the development of monorail and seeing it expanded into more venues. But at the same point, I really enjoy 'em. They're fun to ride.”

The Monorails Book is still available on Amazon and elsewhere. Kim Pedersen was 64 years old.

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