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Walt Disney World Monorail Crash. One person dead.


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Disney World monorail crash kills driver

http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/07/05/u.s.disney.monorail/index.html

A monorail train at Walt Disney World crashed into the back of another train early Sunday, killing one driver, according to an amusement park spokesman and a witness interviewed by CNN.

 

The crash occurred about 2 a.m. at one of the monorail stops at Disney World in Florida, said the witness, who requested anonymity.

 

"Today we mourn the loss of our fellow cast member," said a statement by Mike Griffin, Disney's vice president for public affairs. "Our hearts go out to his family and to those who have lost a friend and co-worker."

 

The statement said the monorail was shut down, "and we will continue to work closely will law enforcement to determine what happened and the appropriate next steps."

 

The witness said one monorail train rammed into the back of a stationary train. A photo of the crash provided by the witness showed the front car of a train badly damaged where it hit another train at a station.

 

Another story:

http://www.clickorlando.com/news/19954891/detail.html

 

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A Walt Disney World employee was killed when two monorails carrying several guests collided at Magic Kingdom, emergency officials said.

 

According to Reedy Creek Emergency Services, the monorails collided at about 2 a.m. Sunday, killing one of the train operators.

 

The name of the driver has not been released. The operator of the other monorail was not injured.

 

Eight other people were evaluated after the crash, but no other injuries were reported.

 

A witness told Local 6 News that he heard a loud crashing noise when the monorails collided. Video obtained exclusively by Local 6 News shows guests trying to help the driver who was killed in the crash.

 

The monorail has been closed, and an investigation into the fatal accident is under way.

 

Walt Disney World vice president of public affairs Mike Griffin issued a statement offering condolences to the employee's family.

 

"Today, we mourn the loss of a fellow cast member. Our hearts go out to the family and fellow cast members who lost a coworker and a friend. Safety of our guests and cast members is our top priority. We will work with law enforcement to determine what happened," Griffin said in the statement.

 

A Disney spokeswoman declined to discuss details of the accident.

 

Link to video taken just SECONDS after the crash:

http://www.clickorlando.com/video/19956043/index.html

(Please note - this Click Orlando site is TERRIBLE and you'll have to wait through advertisements, slow buffering, and overall just a poorly developed site to finally watch the video.)

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Another report indicates that a moving pink train hit a stationary purple train.

So, is it a late night accident caused by human error? Everything seems too vague at the moment.

 

Very sad accident indeed but I am glad that the trains weren't full at the time or things could have been a lot worse.

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The answer to this is obvious: Get rid of the human drivers. This should all be done by computers. Computers don't get tired and they don't crash into other trains because they are too busy sending SMS messages to their friends to notice that they are about to crash.

 

There are already 100% computer-controlled subways, like the one in Copenhagen. There should be a push to convert ALL train-like public transport systems to similar systems. This would greatly increase safety by reducing the impact of human error.

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I know a piece of Scott's heart just broke from this news.

Indeed.

 

 

Initially this sounds like MAPO system failure, and not pilot (human) error. The monorails are programmed to remain at least two blocks apart from each other, or about 500 to 1000 feet apart. When they come within two blocks of each other (regarded as a dangerous distance), I believe there's a system override feature which is supposed to apply emergency brakes.

 

It's all just speculation on my part, but it seems like that system failed. Regardless, this news sucks, especially since I just got two front seat rides this past weekend on my visit. My heart goes out to all the team members, and the families involved.

 

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Happened about 2am, heard the tone-out over the resort radios (I work 3rd shift Front Desk Ops at WDW)... terrible news indeed... too soon to tell anything, as it is all under tight investigation at the moment.. looks like it was a technical error and not human error so far, but we don't know yet... the original news we heard was black and lime trains, but was later corrected to pink and purple.. we only heard speculation which was conflicting info as to where and which station it happened at, either EPCOT or TTC... we didn't find out about the drivers condition until about 5:45am when the story actually hit the local news stations.. It was announced property wide, at roughly 6am, that there will be no monorail service today.. really crappy story indeed...

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I also think this sounds like a system failure, but I'm curious as to what sort of bizarre conditions would cause it to fail like this.

 

At any rate, we can't be sure of anything until we have more details.

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The answer to this is obvious: Get rid of the human drivers. This should all be done by computers.

I'm not 100% sure about this, but I had always thought that the monorails were mostly computer operated and the programming wasn't supposed to allow something like this to happen.

 

Anyone else here who works at the resort know for sure?

 

--Robb

 

EDIT - Nevermind, I see that BeemerBoy already answered this on the last page. Thanks, Scott!

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Robb, did I do something wrong in the way I started this thread? I saw it got removed, and wanted to make sure I didn't do anything wrong with starting this... your first post was WAY more informative than mine!!!!!

 

Sorry if I posted wrong.

 

Jeffrey

You didn't do anything wrong, but I think you answered your own question - "your first post was WAY more informative than mine!"

 

Usually when "breaking news" is posted (either something like this, or a new ride announcement, etc) we like the first post in the thread to be the most informative it can be. This means as much of a detailed post as possible, links to trusted sources, photos if available, quotes, etc.

 

This usually guarantees the discussion will flourish.

 

If it's just a link with no information "Hey I was picking up my wife and heard this - check it out..." it usually won't generate as much discussion as if it was posted as a real news story.

 

So no you didn't do anything wrong, but just know that if you do post a news story again in the future, this is the way we like to have it done.

 

I hope you understand.

 

--Robb "And this goes for anyone who posts a news story!" Alvey

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The answer to this is obvious: Get rid of the human drivers. This should all be done by computers. Computers don't get tired and they don't crash into other trains because they are too busy sending SMS messages to their friends to notice that they are about to crash.

 

There are already 100% computer-controlled subways, like the one in Copenhagen. There should be a push to convert ALL train-like public transport systems to similar systems. This would greatly increase safety by reducing the impact of human error.

 

If you didn't notice there were NO reports whatsoever of the driver sending text messages when the crash happened. You know I think that is a pretty crappy assumption when you have not a clue what really happened. Have some respect for the cast member and the family of the cast member who lost his life in this horrible accident.

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Here's some information about how the monorail operate from wikipedia:

 

"Attempting to drive the train too quickly in a given speed zone will result in an "overspeed stop", often subjecting the driver to good-natured ridicule by his co-workers. Train spacing is maintained by the Moving Blocklight System (MBS), also known as the MAPO (for "Mary Poppins") system, which establishes a number of "holdpoints" throughout the system. At any given time, there must be at least two holdpoints between a given train and the train ahead of it. When the train detects that there are fewer than two holdpoints between itself and the preceding train, the emergency brakes are immediately applied and cannot be released until sufficient spacing becomes available or the operator explicitly overrides the system. Failure to maintain adequate spacing is known as an "overrun", and is treated as an extremely serious offense.

 

For safety, trains must be kept at least two blocks apart during normal operation. A red MAPO indicates that train spacing has become unsafe. When a red MAPO occurs, the train's on-board computer locks out the pilot's propulsion control and applies emergency brakes. The pilot cannot resume control of the train until either the MAPO clears or the pilot presses and holds the MAPO override button.

[...]

It is the pilot's responsibility to avoid a red MAPO during normal operation. When the MAPO switches from green to amber, this indicates that the monorail is approaching the train ahead. The pilot must stop the train before crossing into the next block of beam way and hence before the MAPO switches to red. Should a pilot cross the hold point and receive a red MAPO, this counts as a safety demerit against the pilot. If the pilot ever has three demerits on their record, then they will be transferred out of the monorails department and into a different role at Walt Disney World."

 

My best guest would be a MAPO system failed (which is crazy, but I guess it could happen) or the pilot was somehow in override. Either way, I wonder if he might have passed out at the controls before the crash. There are headlights on the trains...how could he NOT have seen the monorail ahead of him?

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It's hard to believe that something like this could happen, with all of the safety protocols in place.

 

You would assume that after all of the years that the Monorail has operated, that there would be some type of computer backup safety system in place that would know the exact location of all trams currently in operation on the track.

 

But, freak accidents do occur. Disney has a strong bond with its guests, most of whom would never give their safety a second thought while at the parks. I'm sure Disney will spare to expense to ensure that bond remains unchanged.

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I'm in shock of this event. After riding in the cock-pit on Disneyland's monorail and talking with the driver about training for Disneyland vs. Disney World. The driver's at Disney World have to put in some serious time before they even begin training to drive, and I believe she said they have to put in 60 hours of driving training in. Needless to say I'm quite interested in knowing what officially caused the accident.

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Poor kid, poor monorails, this is horrible news.

 

On the good side, tragedy always brings change. Those people in the article were quoted as saying that they would not be riding the monorail (they obviously didn't realize that they had no choice) so Disney needs to instill confidence and trust in their system somehow. Perhaps they will be fast tracking the new generation of monorails.

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Link to video taken just SECONDS after the crash:

http://www.clickorlando.com/video/19956043/index.html

(Please note - this Click Orlando site is TERRIBLE and you'll have to wait through advertisements, slow buffering, and overall just a poorly developed site to finally watch the video.)

 

The video is kind of chilling though. Imagine if that was a full station filled with guests. It's kind of sad and pathetic though that these guests who did seem like they were "Trying to help" had to be kicked out of the area because they seemed more interested in video taping than the actual well being of another human.

 

It's probably better that way, though. Your average guest isn't going to know how to respond to an incident like this and would probably wind up creating more damage than good.

 

Clear the area and let the professionals handle it.

 

--Robb "Who thinks guests will never be allowed to ride in the front of the monorail ever again..." Alvey

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