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Walt Disney World Monorail Crash. One person dead.


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Let's face it, nothing in life is 100% "fail-safe." Accidents happen. You learn from them, and move on.

 

Anyway, here's a great video from a family who rode up front with Austin just last week. The Orlando Sentinel posted this in memorium to him. In this video, Austin represented every single pilot I've ever met very well. They all love what they do, and it shows.

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I watched that video with tears in my eyes. THis is so tragic. What a great cast member and he wore the disney name tag very well and with pride. Disney was lucky to have a cast member like him. Even without knowing him, he will be missed.

 

David

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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

 

The computers that control subways and other public transportation systems aren't anything like the computer sitting on your desk. The computer on your desk has thousands of programs and a convoluted operating system that has to be executed with a high degree of accuracy, otherwise the computer will crash. By comparison, the computers that control subways, planes, and roller coasters are extremely simple. They usually don't have an operating system, in fact, they usually only consist of a few thousand lines of code. They don't have to surf the web, they don't have to play videos, and they don't have to do powerpoints. All they have to do is execute a simple task, like keep the trains separated, or keep the plane on course, etc. These computers are so simple it's almost impossible for them to fail. When accidents do occur, it's usually because the computer is receiving bad information, take for instance the recent crash of AirFrance flight 447. That accident appears to have been caused by faulty pitot tubes - the computer was operating fine, it was just getting incorrect airspeed data from the pitot tubes.

 

I hope that cleared up some misconceptions about computer reliability.

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Just a little update:

 

(CNN) -- Three Disney monorail workers have been placed on paid leave just days after two monorail trains crashed at the Orlando, Florida, theme park, killing one of the train's operators, according to a Disney spokeswoman.

 

 

Train operator Austin Wuennenberg, 21, was killed in Sunday's monorail crash.

 

Walt Disney World spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez said the action was "part of an investigative process, not a disciplinary action."

 

The three workers were a monorail maintenance shop member, the monorail pilot of one of the trains and a transportation manager.

 

Disney would not name the employees.

 

The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the Sunday morning accident, is expected to be at the park for several days.

 

"To this point in the investigation, no anomalies or malfunctions have been found with the automatic train stop system or with any mechanical components of the switch or with either trains," the NTSB said in a statement.

 

The crash killed operator Austin Wuennenberg, 21. The operator of the other train was taken to a hospital, where he was treated and released. Additionally, six passengers on Wuennenberg's train were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

 

 

Disney World monorail crash kills driver Wuennenberg was piloting the "Purple" train. The other train, known as the "Pink" train, was operated by one of the employees who has since been placed on leave. The Pink train was instructed to go back through a track switch that would take it from the monorail's Epcot loop to the Magic Kingdom loop.

 

"For undetermined reasons that are currently under investigation, the switch had not changed position needed to allow the Pink train to be routed to the Magic Kingdom loop," putting the Pink and Purple trains on a collision course, the NTSB statement said.

 

NTSB investigators believe that Wuennenberg attempted to put his train into reverse before the collision, attempting to avoid the crash.

 

The Orange County Sheriff's Office, which is investigating Wuennenberg's death, would not comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

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That video of the family up front was pretty neat. He seemed like a nice guy, it's too bad an accident like this happened. I just showed my mom the video of the crash and she was shocked that this would happen at Disney World of all places.

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My apologies to Natalie. I meant to credit her with the video find. I just passed it along to TPR.

 

 

 

NTSB investigators believe that Wuennenberg attempted to put his train into reverse before the collision, attempting to avoid the crash.

Interesting.

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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.

 

Yeah i agree forget the human drivers it would also save disney a lot of money

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Yeah i agree forget the human drivers it would also save disney a lot of money

 

I disagree. While it might save money, this is not what Disney is about. I believe Walt Himself said....

 

"You can dream, create, design and build the most wonderful place in the orld, but it requires people to make the dream a reality."

 

I love the fact that people continue to make Disney a very magical place!!

 

David

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^^ i agree but id still want a person in the cabin incase something does come up and the computer doesnt catch it. Also theyneed to be thre for switing lines to reurn to the shop like what they attempted to do. But they can keep the human operators if the trains got a few basic upgrades:

 

1. GPS

2. Better and brighter headlights

3. backup camera w/nightvision

4. better rearview mirrors. He even said you cant see out of them.

5. reduce mapo override speed to 10 from 15. if such a crash did occur again, the guy might live if it was going slower.

 

^He said that back when computers took up 3 full rooms and used vacuum tubes and hardwired switchboards as their processors so if he saw what we had today, he would be astounded.

 

Like i said alot of those upgrades i mentioned would increase safety greatly. And the fact they are all relatively easy to do and cheap (all but the headlights and rear view mirrors probably) is great, i wonder if they will do GPS though.

 

Actually i just had a idea, airplanes have a system that announces when they are so and so feet from the end of the runway, end of taxiway, etc. why not add that to the monorails and have that go off when they get within 20 ft of each other? a bit more expensive but it would make a pretty good difference with safety in my opinion.

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EnglndPatriots6, I couldn’t agree with you any more reduce the speed when in override mode…. 10MPH is plenty and could have saved a life. Also, backup cameras are a MUST… What if the track switch isn’t aligned, he or she could see it and stop immediately..

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We have light rail here in Houston.

There is no such thing as backing up.

 

The driver by procedure has to go get in the other engine, on the other end, to drive forward. It appears the Disney trains have drivers cabs on both sides like ours , but I might be wrong.

 

Would a great safety measure simply not be having another driver in the opposite end take over when the train needs to go in reverse? Such as removing a train from the main track.

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We have light rail here in Houston.

There is no such thing as backing up.

 

The driver by procedure has to go get in the other engine, on the other end, to drive forward. It appears the Disney trains have drivers cabs on both sides like ours , but I might be wrong.

 

Would a great safety measure simply not be having another driver in the opposite end take over when the train needs to go in reverse? Such as removing a train from the main track.

 

Hmm Good point, only problem I see is that the trains are on the ground and monorail is several stories off the ground…. Just an observation (In some cases). Sometimes this isn’t possible.

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I think they all need a GPS in them so the driver can see where they are all at on the track that are operating near his monorail.

 

A second driver in the back would also help reduce the time it takes for the train to leave the station since some cases the driver has to switch cabs.

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trains are on the ground and monorail is several stories off the ground….

 

 

Understood, but they know in advance when it is time to remove a train, so adding a second driver in the rear end, for the last lap is all it would take. The front driver can just go around the track until the backup driver can board at whatever station.

 

A lot of talk was about mirrors and cameras to see backwards, and I think a set of eyes would be far superior to those options and very easy to implement.

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To all of those surprised or "shocked" about human nature with the guy filming the thing hop over to youtube and check the ride evac videos. There's one on PotC where a guy is asked 3 or 4 times to turn off his camera and he ignores them.

 

Also look at the guy taking his kid to work who filmed the first plane hitting the WTC and selling that to the news...because we all HAD to SEE that- we couldn't just know that it happened.

 

You see it on the highway- everyone slows down to look at not only car crashes but anytime someone is pulled over by the cops. We are a very sick society.

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To all of those surprised or "shocked" about human nature with the guy filming the thing hop over to youtube and check the ride evac videos. There's one on PotC where a guy is asked 3 or 4 times to turn off his camera and he ignores them.

 

Also look at the guy taking his kid to work who filmed the first plane hitting the WTC and selling that to the news...because we all HAD to SEE that- we couldn't just know that it happened.

 

You see it on the highway- everyone slows down to look at not only car crashes but anytime someone is pulled over by the cops. We are a very sick society.

 

Couldn't agree more.

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I just wanted to put in my thoughts regarding removing the human operators from the monorail. (Or trains, because basically, that's what they are.)

 

AFAIK, ALL high-speed trains (ACELA, ICE, AVE, TGV, Eurostar, Shinkansen, etc...), and mass transit rail (subways, The El, The Tube etc...), still use human operators, in every aspect of operation. Even the two different monorails I've ridden in Tokyo had human operators.

 

These methods of transportation carry far more passengers then Disney ever will. IF, there was a valid argument for NOT having the human component, someone would have come up with a better method by now.

 

In fact, the only "fully automatic" (i.e. no human driver) public transportation system I can think of, (and I know Scott will correct me if I'm wrong ((and I probably am! ) is the new monorail running in Vegas.

 

In other words, I really don't think that removing the human element is a smart, or viable option.

 

Granted, there are probably a number of things that contributed to this tragedy. The truth is, no matter how deep this investigation goes, we may never know exactly how, or why it happened.

 

The only possible aid that I can come up with, is a type of "black box" which you find on most major planes, and on the high-speed trains.

 

These "black boxes" record EVERYTHING associated with the running operations (speed, operator, GPS transponder, proximity to another unit, temperature,... and a kazillion other things). That's why they're ALWAYS a very high priority when a "search & rescue" operation is begun after an accident.

 

Removing the human aspect isn't the answer. But, by adding the "black box" we may raise the level of safety on them.

 

Anyway, that's my .02.

 

 

JJ

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These methods of transportation carry far more passengers then Disney ever will. IF, there was a valid argument for NOT having the human component, someone would have come up with a better method by now.

 

The argument is to reduce the impact of human errors. I think my original thoughts were a more reflection of my vehement bias against humans driving cars, a task that we just plain suck at. The car companies are working, albeit slowly, to computerize the driving of cars. But it's a long way away. And I can't wait until it gets here.

 

 

In fact, the only "fully automatic" (i.e. no human driver) public transportation system I can think of, (and I know Scott will correct me if I'm wrong ((and I probably am! ) is the new monorail running in Vegas.

 

The Copenhagen Metro is driverless. It's a small and relatively new system, but AFAIK it hasn't had any major problems.

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Rumors had been flourishing the past week regarding the fact that the manager on duty was at a local restaurant instead of being at his post. It was confirmed earlier in the week that the transportation supervisor that night was at a local restaurant and it appears that this was common.........WESH 2 News reported on Wednesday that the manager was at the restaurant while giving instructions via two-way radio when the accident occurred. The monorail crash happened on July 5 as Austin Wuennenberg, 21, was pulling into the Ticket and Transportation Center from Epcot.

 

So it seems that the manager on duty was at a restaurant that night but having the manager off site is a common thing.

 

Link

http://www.examiner.com/x-1712-Walt-Disney-World-Travel-Examiner~y2009m7d11-Disney-World-supervisor-routinely-went-to-local-restaurant-Including-night-of-deadly-monorail-crash

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Rumors had been flourishing the past week regarding the fact that the manager on duty was at a local restaurant instead of being at his post. It was confirmed earlier in the week that the transportation supervisor that night was at a local restaurant and it appears that this was common.........WESH 2 News reported on Wednesday that the manager was at the restaurant while giving instructions via two-way radio when the accident occurred. The monorail crash happened on July 5 as Austin Wuennenberg, 21, was pulling into the Ticket and Transportation Center from Epcot.

 

So it seems that the manager on duty was at a restaurant that night but having the manager off site is a common thing.

 

Link

http://www.examiner.com/x-1712-Walt-Disney-World-Travel-Examiner~y2009m7d11-Disney-World-supervisor-routinely-went-to-local-restaurant-Including-night-of-deadly-monorail-crash

 

 

Lets hope this isn't true! How loser would one have to been to do something like this. (sorry just trying to watch my language)

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