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Walt Disney World Monorail Crash. One person dead.


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I am not completely aware of the layout of the whole transit system, so if someone had a diagram or overhead shot which shows where various stations/parking garage is located, this would be appreciated for my understanding.

500px-WaltDisneyWorldMonorailSystem.jpeg.3b4f2b9eb3e4c90776f3f2e81997af5e.jpeg

Here ya go.

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There's no GPS system in the trains, so they don't have a little display showing them where each of the trains is.

 

CTC has been in use with the railroads for years. I'm really quite shocked such a simple system isn't in place with the Monorails. Relying on what Central tells you, is harkening back to the days of steam engines and order boards. That's pretty scary.

 

Granted it's only one death in 37 years, it seems to me that perhaps the system is 37 years too old, especially with the larger crowds WDW experiences now, than it did then.

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Basically, once you get involved in that kind of situation, there can be legal ramifications, whereas there are none if you don't get involved or help.

Not true - unless you are professionally qualified and fail professionally - any help you give as a good samaritan is just that - if you start CPR and fail - well it was a dead person you tried to do the CPR on anyway - you didn't make things any worse. Most countries have the samaritan law explicity stated, others although not in law would never prosecute.

 

Colin

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It seems to me that perhaps the system is 37 years too old, especially with the larger crowds WDW experiences now, than it did then.

I had thought the system received upgrades with the last round of new monorails?

 

Was that not the case?

 

--Robb

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Yea it seems like a gps system would be very helpful to have, and also have a visual of all trains in the train cabins so the driver can visualy see where other trains are. Where as I don't think they need to computer control the trains, I don't see anything wrong with an updating of the current system to make the safest transit system in the world even safer.

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O'm quite shockd to hear of this, but still, like what was mentioned, one death in 37 years isn't bad--considering how often the monorail is used. Still, i was under the impression they were using the GPS.

 

On a side note, did anyone see the article yesterday on Yahoo? the image to go with it was a Togo...quite odd, if you ask me.

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Are the two damaged trains still in the TTC station or were they moved off stage? If they're still in the station, is the damage visible to guests or have they put up curtains in the station blocking the view?

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Not true - unless you are professionally qualified and fail professionally - any help you give as a good samaritan is just that - if you start CPR and fail - well it was a dead person you tried to do the CPR on anyway - you didn't make things any worse. Most countries have the samaritan law explicity stated, others although not in law would never prosecute.

 

Colin

The US does not have laws to protect someone in a civil suit. I know someone personally who broke a rib doing the Heimlich on someone and got sued. They lost, which is a sad statement.

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I had thought the system received upgrades with the last round of new monorails?

 

Was that not the case?

 

--Robb

 

I believe the Monorails did.

 

What I'm saying is that, to me the system seems to rely on humans than it should. A simple CTC (Centralized Traffic Control) system should be easy to implement, and safer. Each area has a block, controlled by a signal. If a train is in the block ahead or behind the signal is Red. They even have systems where the signal is relayed to the engineer's cabin if they can't see the signal ahead or behind. Same with a turnout. The signal goes red if the turnout is not in position for the monorail to proceed.

 

It's all run on a centralized dispatch panel where each train can be seen when ot occupies a block. There's no guessing, or assuming, where a monorail train is.

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It seems to me that perhaps the system is 37 years too old, especially with the larger crowds WDW experiences now, than it did then.

I had thought the system received upgrades with the last round of new monorails?

 

Was that not the case?

 

--Robb

 

Yes, the controls were upgraded with touchscreens and a new Windows based operating system starting in 2003. But no, there is still no computerized system in place to keep track of where each train is on the beam. And there are still no cameras on the trains.

 

When I was a monorail driver I felt there were a lot of systems which could be upgraded. As we have seen, even with a system that is very safe, problems can still occur.

 

I see it sort of like a numbers game. The monorails have safely moved millions of passengers for fourty years. They are 99.9999% safe, but in fourty years of operation there is still opportunity for that .0001% chance to occur.

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Are the two damaged trains still in the TTC station or were they moved off stage? If they're still in the station, is the damage visible to guests or have they put up curtains in the station blocking the view?

 

Both have been removed to the "shop" which im presuming, in a few days they will be lifted off the track.

 

unless they were removed off the entire track. Which if they havent, they will soon, since they are the only pieces of evidence, and the shop has to be used by other monorails.

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Well I’m no way an expert on the monorail safety system; could it be that when the monorail was going in reverse the monorail that was struck may have had the safety system kick in? This could have prevented the driver of the monorail that was struck to react fast enough to get out of harms way. Now this is just pure speculation, hope they determine what the cause was. An idea would be they could put sensors on the front and back of the monorails which couldn’t be overridden that could have prevent a collision.

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Hi All

 

As a new member brought to this site via a link to this thread on a UK based forum, I would just like to add my comments on this accident.

 

Firstly I would like to add my sympathy's to the family and friends of the cast member who was killed in the accident.

 

On the accident its self I think its clear something some where has gone badly wrong here, however as others have said we have to keep this in perspective, this is the 1st fatality on the system in almost 40 years which is a remarkable feat when you consider the numbers of people moved by the Monorail in that time, so the safety systems in place have done there job well in that time.

 

Looking at the damage to the cab caused by what was a low speed colision means that some cab strengthaning must be looked at even if this has to add to the waight of the trains. As the easy which the cab gave way must have had something to do with why this was a fatal accident, I would not expect my car behave in that way is some one reversed into it at only 15 mph.

 

The safety systems have been upgraded allreasy and I am sure once the official report is published there may be more improvements in this area.

 

I am not surprised that the system is open so quickly, you would not expect any mass tranist sysyem to remain closed after an acceident for too long as long as there was no major damage to the track and signaling that needed repair once the trains had been cleard and the safety inspections done, and investagtions complete you would expect things to get back to normal pritty quick. If you look at how quick the London underground system was back up and running after the bomb attacks on 7/11 as an example of this.

 

In conclusion there are sad lessons to be lerned from this accident and I am sure these will come out in the official report on the accident and any suggestions and recommedations will be implemented by Disney ASAP.

 

In the mean time I think people should contiune to use / see the WDW Monorail system, for what it is one of if not the safest transport systems in the world today.

 

Regards

 

Cliff C

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As I understand it from a previous post, the MAPO overide has to be held in order to move. Perhaps the reason the guy didnt reverse is because he saw the other train comming late, and in his rush to react, forgot to hold down the overide?

 

As well as looking weak, the shape of the front of the monorails doesnt help. It encourages one to ride up the nose of the other and come through the windscreen. Another thing to remember is monorails are big and heavy. Even at 15mph, they are going to put alot of force into a collision.

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Looking at the damage to the cab caused by what was a low speed colision means that some cab strengthaning must be looked at even if this has to add to the waight of the trains. As the easy which the cab gave way must have had something to do with why this was a fatal accident, I would not expect my car behave in that way is some one reversed into it at only 15 mph.

 

I'm neither a monorail pilot nor am I a physics major, so this could be completely untrue, but I've heard that the cabs are meant to collapse like that in the event of a crash so as to protect the guests in the other cars. Anyone know if that sounds right? EastCoastn07 can probably either confirm that or completely rip that theory to shreds for us.

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As I understand it from a previous post, the MAPO overide has to be held in order to move. Perhaps the reason the guy didnt reverse is because he saw the other train comming late, and in his rush to react, forgot to hold down the overide.

 

That's not how the MAPO system works...You have two different MAPO indications, one in forward and one in reverse. You only need to use the override if you have a red MAPO and are trying to move in the direction of your red. It seems like Purple and Pink were the only trains still on the beam, so unless there was another train right behind purple, he wouldn't have had to use MAPO override to put his train in reverse to move. This is why it really doesn't make much sense that the train was parked in the station at the time of collision, but rather both trains were moving at each other.

 

I'm neither a monorail pilot nor am I a physics major, so this could be completely untrue, but I've heard that the cabs are meant to collapse like that in the event of a crash so as to protect the guests in the other cars. Anyone know if that sounds right? EastCoastn07 can probably either confirm that or completely rip that theory to shreds for us.

 

I honestly don't know...I'm not even positive on what the framing is like on the front cab under the fiberglass. In my honest opinion, I think these trains were designed like this in belief that crashes would never happen.

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I wonder if there were signal lights at the switches similar to a railroad switch. If the signal lights were there, the operator of the monorail train could do a quick visual check to make sure the switch was properly set.

 

As with the MAPO and the overrides, I'm surprised that there's no secondary fail-safe system in place in case there is a dangerous situation about to happen while the MAPO is overridden.

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I wonder if there were signal lights at the switches similar to a railroad switch. If the signal lights were there, the operator of the monorail train could do a quick visual check to make sure the switch was properly set.

 

As with the MAPO and the overrides, I'm surprised that there's no secondary fail-safe system in place in case there is a dangerous situation about to happen while the MAPO is overridden.

 

Well it seems that after you override the MAPO all safety systems are disabled its all on the operator’s shoulders.

 

In regards to the “design to help save the passengers”, this would never fly as every life is important. What I’m about to say is true for cars and may have applied to the monorail. Cars have crimple zones to absorb the impact. When the car gives a little it helps lessens the effects of the crash on its passengers. Since the monorails safety system design is extremely safe they might not have to engineer crimple zones. Just my thought not an expert in any way

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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.

 

The DC crash happened while under computer control, authorities have said. Even computers have errors. Think about it: what if every time your computer crashed or froze up, a train crashed. same basic principle.

 

-James "hopes his train is driven by mac and not windows...." Dillaman

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With the combined habits of Disney's strict operating procedures, a secondary fail-safe system such as a block system, powered by a separate source, could have easily prevented this tragedy. Human error was at fault here, and it's far fetched to assume that a fail-safe mechanism would have faltered as well.

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