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Thread: Detailed explanation of Monorail accident

  1. #1
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    General News - (7/7/09) Despite the reports from guests who were nearby when it happened, it seems that WDW Monorail accident happened completely backwards from how it was first envisioned. It was really Monorail Pink that was moving backwards into the station at maximum reverse power, which collided into Monorail Purple which is now thought to have been stationary at the time. So yes... the death of the pilot was actually caused by Monorail Pink, but it wasn’t entirely that pilot’s fault either.
    From the breakdown of several stories that have flooded by inbox in the last 12 hours or so, the blame all comes down from a major miscommunication between Central Monorail Control and the Monorail Shop while they were directing Monorail Pink through the procedure to take the switch beam from the Epcot line over to the Magic Kingdom expressway beam, before heading back to the shop for the night. The way it was explained to me is basic form is that Monorail Pink pulled forward out of the station, as if it were going to Epcot, and came to the stop somewhere just past the switch track. Here is where the communication problem comes up, as the Shop apparently controls the switch tracks and communicated something to the Central control booth (at the TTC) that the switch track has been moved. Central instructed Pink that they were clear to reverse onto the switch track, which instead struck right into Purple inside the station. However I’ve heard that no one from the platform crew was in the booth where one of them should have been during this kind of procedure, where they could visually check on things and could have called off Monorail Pink before it was too late.
    The normal system that prevents accidents from happening (MAPO) was in an “overide” mode at the time, which is standard procedure any <TABLE cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width=181 align=right border=0><TBODY><TR><TD><TABLE id=Table703 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 border=0><TBODY><TR vAlign=top align=left><TD width=0></TD><TD width=181><TABLE id=Table2 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=0><TBODY><TR><TD width=181><TABLE id=PhotoTable style="BORDER-RIGHT: rgb(0,26,255) 2px solid; BORDER-TOP: rgb(0,26,255) 2px solid; BORDER-LEFT: rgb(0,26,255) 2px solid; BORDER-BOTTOM: rgb(0,26,255) 2px solid" cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=0 width="100%" border=2><TBODY><TR><TD width=175>
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE></TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>time monorails are switched from one beam to another. At this point in time the pilot of Monorail Pink was pretty much going on the word of the control tower that everything was normal. Even though they have rearview mirrors, the darkness in this area of the track combined with the curve of the beam itself were a big factor. In fact if you look at the aerial photo I’ve “borrowed” here to display the area of the accident, you can see that way the switch beam curves here alongside the main beam, it would be very difficult for the pilot to tell from “feel” that they had not switched to the right beam.
    With the explanation that it was all a bad series of human errors that caused the accident, Disney was given permission to reopen the system late yesterday afternoon along with an updated procedure list of extra verifications required when moving monorails from one beam to another. Disney has also elected, for the time being, to suspend the practice of allowing park guests to ride up front with the pilots. Not so much for a safety reason, but out of respect for the pilots during this difficult time, so they aren’t swamped with non-stop questions about it from the guests.
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  2. #2
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    thats really sad...

    :(

    I doubt that they will allow guests to ride up front any time soon...





  3. #3
    Administrator keith's Avatar
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    Thanks for that, interesting and of course v.v.sad indeed.

    In terms of riding up front, well ok to stop it out of respect for now. Can you imagine losing a friend and colleague and then having loads of guests riding up front with you asking questions.

    However, longer term, I hope they reinstate it. It's no less safe than it was before this accident IMHO.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member mumof2's Avatar
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    very sad :(




  5. #5
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    No matter how you slice it, it is just so very sad.

    Now I feel even worse for the driver of the pink car. So much to live with even if it wasn't his fault.



  6. #6
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    Just caught up with this. It doesn't seem possible. Very sad.






  7. #7
    Administrator Tink's Avatar
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    It's a terrible tragedy. There was a guest shot video on youtube for a little while. I've heard that it has since been taken down. Very sobering, and very sad. :(

    I have no idea what the actual circumstances were that lead to this tragedy. I do know Disney's extreme commitment to safety, and can only imagine the processes that are in place to investigate something of this nature.

    Given that (as per the youtube video) the nose of the one monorail was completely inside the other monorail (the one that was struck) I can honestly understand why Disney would stop all riding up front. The monorail that "struck" the other had it's nose completely buried in the one that was hit. Terrible to see. :(

    I say this next with complete acknowledgment that I DO NOT KNOW the extent of the Disney budget trimmings, but it's been rumored that this accident can be directly tracked back to cutbacks in personnel, training, and oversight. :( :( :(






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    Senior Member MystikPiglit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tink, post: 147739
    Disney's extreme commitment to safety, and can only imagine the processes that are in place to investigate something of this nature.
    They must be in turmoil....

    This is such a sad event, sadder because the pilot was only 21. :(
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tink, post: 147739
    I say this next with complete acknowledgment that I DO NOT KNOW the extent of the Disney budget trimmings, but it's been rumored that this accident can be directly tracked back to cutbacks in personnel, training, and oversight. :( :( :(
    Unfortuately we live in a world driven by money & profit margins. Until that changes I am afraid incendents like this are only going to become more common place.










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  10. #10
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    Eerie....

    General News - (7/8/09) According to the Orlando Sentinel the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), a Federal agency who normally does investigations into airline crashes, has decided to get involved and will perform their own investigation of the deadly monorail crash. Also a somewhat creepy video taken by a family in the front of a WDW Monorail actually features Austin Wuennenberg, the pilot who died, at the controls showing how the monorail works for the family. At about the 40 second mark he is actually asked if they can see behind them or not, which he replies that they can’t.










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