Illustration: Cathy Wilcox
IN THE end, Sydney's monorail is likely to be recycled, not used as landfill, but not revived to shuttle around another city either.
The demolition job on Sydney's controversial monorail, sentenced to banishment by the O'Farrell government in March, will begin in August.
It will not be retained as a high-line-style walkway for the western edge of the central business district. And unless a bidder emerges with very deep pockets, it is very unlikely any other city will take it off Sydney's hands as a piece of working public transport.
According to a timetable released by Transport for NSW on Monday, unpicking the 3.6-kilometre loop from the streetscape will require months of overnight work.
The department would not confirm dreams of relocating the line to another city - politicians in Canberra and Hobart have expressed interest - had died.
But Monday's report lists a number of arguments against the idea. The track and trains require costly maintenance and are no longer in production, making it hard to source spare parts.
There have also been suggestions the monorail tracks could be retained as some sort of walkway or public space. In New York's lower west side, an elevated train line of late 1920s vintage has been revived as a ''high line'' walkway and tourist vantage point.
But New York's High Line is about 10 metres wide. The monorail tracks are about a metre wide, meaning that retaining the structure would require expensive maintenance on a pathway that could offer only single-file walking.
The monorail, which opened in 1988, will run for the last time at the end of June. Transport for NSW, which wants to get rid of the line in part to make way for the redevelopment of Darling Harbour, expects deconstruction to finish by the middle of 2014.
The project will require night closures of Market, Pitt, Liverpool, George, Kent and Clarence streets, as well as partial closures of the Western Distributor and Pyrmont Bridge. The nearby light rail line will also need to be shut for about five weekends.
A Transport for NSW spokesman said the government was keen to see sustainable re-use and recycling of the monorail infrastructure. ''If the is not to be relocated as an operating transport system, then the sustainability target is for at least 90 per cent of the infrastructure to be recycled, rather than sent to landfill,'' the spokesman said.