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Monorail Crash in 1980?

Discussion in 'WDW Parks News, Rumors and Current Events' started by Apot2788, Mar 9, 2002.

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  1. Apot2788

    Apot2788 New Member

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    Hi guys I am trying to onfirm if its true, an unsaid source has said that a monorail in the early 80's crashed on its way EPCOT center.




    I just want to know if its true?:drevil:
  2. monorail256

    monorail256 Member

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    as bad as it would be.. i think it would be a cool experiance to be in a monorail crash... lol... only me :hammer:
  3. kal1484

    kal1484 Well-Known Member

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    I never heard of it, but I'm not an authoritry.
  4. Invero

    Invero Well-Known Member

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    Re: Monorail Crash

    Nope, it's not true. There was an incident on the Epcot beam in 1986 involving the old Mark IV Silver train, but no collision. What happened was that one of the side tires was faulty, and caused a fire on the train. Passengers evacuated to the roof, and then later were rescued by Reedy Creek. This is the ONLY incident ever, where a Walt Disney World monorail had to be evacuated in such a manner. Thankfully, No one was injured.

    Such an incident would be next to impossible to happen with our newer Mark VI monorails. Our trains, built by Bombardier/TGI were the first urban transit vehicle that met or exceeded US standards for flammability, smoke, and toxicity. These new trains, brought online in 1989-1991 replaced the 20 year old Mark IV trains, and included a number of safety features including, but not limited to:

    * Sophisticated multiplexing monitoring system computers that monitor virtually every system on the train for problems and malfunctions. (Including tire pressure monitors)
    * Alison Heat Detection system that monitors the train for rising temperatures which could lead to a potential fire. The system will alert the driver prior to a dangerous temperature so that proper safety measures can be taken.
    * Intercom phones so that passengers can communicate with driver
    * Roof hatches, non-skid roof surface, and guidrails along roof, in the unlikely event of an emergency evacuation
    * Emergency release zipper windows
    * Moving-blocklight anti-collision system
    * Trains can be easily towed using a diesel tow-tractor

    In addition to all of this, each pilot must take an emergency evacuation class. Every few months, we will also hold mock evacuation drills, where we will actually simulate a real emergency. We will hold a train at a random place, and have Reedy Creek Emergency Services come out with the ladder trucks, and evacuate our train. The last place we did it was at the highest point between the MK and the Grand Floridian.

    With all of our safety features and warning systems, I have more of a chance of winning the Powerball, than of a train emergency such as Silver's happening again. It just isn't gonna happen. But in case it does, we are totally prepared.

    Just to reiterate... that incident is an isolated incident with the old trains, and would never happen with our new trains. Hope this clarifies up any false rumors that you might have heard. :)
  5. ISTCNavigator57

    ISTCNavigator57 Well-Known Member

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    actually, the monorails have been evacuated like that more than once. I know for a fact it happened 5-6 years ago...the monorail driver for that incident led my Keys to the Kingdom tour!
  6. MonorailBlack

    MonorailBlack Member

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    I was told, and this was verified that I think in the early 90's, it was also on TV, a monorial crashed into an intoverted device that was on the track doing filming for a commercial....it was like as little car on the beam....nobody hurt
  7. DisneyInsider

    DisneyInsider Premium Member

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    Those monorails must be the safest transportation in the world.
  8. Monorail Lime

    Monorail Lime Well-Known Member

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    The following is quoted without permission because it's been sitting on my hard drive for several years and I don't remember where it came from...

    On August 30, 1991, while filming a commercial that was to advertise the monorail resorts, Monorail Red (Mark VI) struck Work Tractor 1 just north of the Contemporary Resort. Operations supervisor John Wilson had expressed numerous reservations about keeping the Express Beam out of service as well as various concerns about allowing the film crews to use the work tractor for a camera platform. Against his better judgment, the deadheaded vehicles were allowed to operate by radio clearances at distances that would never been allowed if pressure would not have been applied to him from above. On the last day of shooting, his concerns were realized and Cab 1 of the "flagship" train of his new fleet was practically destroyed. After the rescue operation, involving removing an injured lead (Disney's version of a straw boss) and getting driver Joe out of his ruined cab, statements were taken from all involved parties and testing was done on Red to prove that its brakes were up to snuff. This event was very embarrassing, making all three newscasts in our area. Being right over a parking lot, within view of the guests entering the park, and being visible to guests in the Contemporary, they weren't able to chase everyone away from this one. The major cause of the accident was blamed on the work tractor's engine failing enroute to the spur. Other details were never released. It made great photos...
  9. Monorail Lime

    Monorail Lime Well-Known Member

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    This is some more stuff from the same file. It describes the Silver incident in much more detail and the only operational crash that has ever occured. It is also not by me.

    On Valentine's Day of 1974, Monorail Blue ran into the back of Monorail Red while it was exiting the Magic Kingdom station. At that time, operation was by visual clearances; there was no train protection system to separate vehicles. Through a series of misjudgments and misinformation, Blue approached the station without proper clearance. The driver of Blue was injured in the collision, but recovered and transferred to the Watercraft Department where he wrecked a boat...
    The area was immediately cleared of all guests. (I've even heard stories of security hosts showing up and peeling the film out of people's cameras, handing them five dollars for new film, and instructing them to re-enter the park where they would immediately find the Kodak camera center so that they could buy new film. I can't substantiate this, though.) Every news station in Orlando monitors all Disney radio frequencies and immediately news choppers were on the way. Luckily, the switch to the shop spur is situated behind the accident site and a work tractor was dispatched to tow Blue by its undamaged end back into the shop. By the time the helicopters arrived only the good end of Red was visible from the other end of the station. So, an incident was reported on the news that night, but it was vague. Reporters didn't know what had happened other than a lot of activity involving Monorail Red, probably an accident. Under cover of darkness, Red was taken back to the shop and work began joining the two good halves together. Image was everything to Disney back then. When guests asked about the accident they'd seen on TV the night before, cast members feigned surprised ignorance. When guests insisted that Monorail Red had been damaged, cast members pointed out that Red was in operation and "hey, there it is". They just tried not to let anybody examine the paint job on the last couple of cars too closely. As time went by, the blue began to show through and turn these cars' stripes an off shade of purple. Joining these two trains' good sections had to be a monumental task to do it in such a short period of time with no planning beforehand. One maintenance manager told me that they called in all three shifts of maintenance men to help.
    In 1985, Monorail Silver caught fire while traveling north from the EPCOT station (EC) to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). One of the side tires had gone flat and since there were no maintenance resources at EC, it was decided to allow the train to continue loaded to the TTC where it would be deadheaded and sent to shop. The tire dragged itself to pieces, dropping chunks of rubber into the "skirt" below the train. Then the wheel started to drag and throw sparks into the rubber. It eventually caught fire. The strange thing to me about this incident is that even though the train was loaded when it was discovered that there was a problem, they should have deadheaded it. They REALLY hated to disappoint people back then, but getting off of a train with a flat tire would seem reasonable to me. Anyway, on the trip north, propulsion failed, probably due to the fire. The driver, Crystal Black, radioed to "Central" that she had a problem. Looking through her periscope mirror, she could see smoke coming from the rear car. This new information was relayed to Central who notified Reedy Creek Emergency Services (the fire and paramedic crews on WDW property). Keep in mind that at this time, there were no intercom phones in the trains for passengers to call for instructions, there was no heat detection system to warn the driver of areas experiencing unacceptable levels of heat, there were no escape hatches cut into the roofs of the trains, and there was NO evacuation plan. This was not supposed to happen. When fire trucks arrived, they didn't know what to expect, and they were certainly not prepared for what they found. Guests in the affected cars had gotten their doors opened, used the window sills for steps to the roof, and had evacuated themselves to the roof of the car. THEN they moved forward to help guests in unaffected cars onto the roof. THEN, as Crystal later described, they walked up to the front cab and slid down the window and took a walk on the 26-inch wide sidewalk where they assumed they would be safer. The firemen were dumbfounded. There were guests everywhere. When all was over, they paid out undisclosed sums of money and tickets to get non-disclosure agreements from the guests. The worst injuries were all from smoke inhalation and those passengers' lessened confidence in Disney. (I remember the news article quoting one passenger as saying, "She kept spieling about 'holding for clearance', but we knew that was crap since they never stop that far from their stations.") Monorail Silver's last car was a charred framework. The main road through the property (World Drive) was closed while they dealt with the problem. Again under cover of darkness, this train was towed to shop. Monorail Purple was parked on the next beam to keep Silver from being visible to the myriad reporters who attempted to enter the shop through the stairs and see the damage. Beam Ten (the furthest beam from the top of the stairs) was hidden from view by a sheet of plastic taped to the roof. The remains of this partition can still be seen stuck to the ceiling.
    Interesting things learned from this incident:
    1. Intercoms are nice. The trains were immediately retro-fitted with them.
    2. Some sort of fire suppression system would have been helpful. Even though side tires are nitrogen filled to release a non-flammable gas in the case of burn-through, it doesn't help if the fire starts after the nitrogen is released.
    3. Hatches in the roofs of trains would have made escape easier. Mark IV trains were immediately retro-fitted with crude hatches. Mark VI trains have well thought out instructions pointing out well hidden hatches that bridge the gap between cars to keep guest from touching resistor banks that reach 800 degree temperatures. Also on the roof are short handrails to assist guests crawling on the non slip roof surfaces. Inside each car are two fire extinguishers. They are small, so kill the blaze quickly if you're first to the unit!
    4. Mark IV's are tinderboxes. The advent of fire resistant materials makes the Mark VI much safer in the event of fire. Silver's last car literally disappeared in a matter of minutes. Guests reported in the newspaper stories that they were nearly overcome by the noxious fumes coming from the flames that ravished the car.
    5. Heat detection systems would have been an asset. Monorail Coral (Mark IV) was chosen to carry around a prototype that was later put on every Mark VI after delivery. My standard joke about this piece of crap (that was actually designed for buildings) was that Bombardier offered to fit the trains with their own fine system and Disney's reply was, "no thanks, we've already proved this one doesn't work." The Allison Heat Detection system retro-fitted to the Mark VI's can give a driver three messages. It will tell you if it has a problem with one of its own components, if heat has risen at least once to a pre-set level, and if it has risen to a pre-set level and stayed there. The screeching alarm from this thing will deafen the hapless driver who has to sit right next to it. "Hey thanks for telling me about the fire; could you put it out for me too?" was what I always wanted to ask it.
    6. A PLAN would have made things easier for everyone. Now, Reedy Creek, maintenance, operations, security, and guest relations regularly practice for every eventuality. I think I covered this in a previous post, but if you want to know details of each department's function, let me know.
    7. Fire could not "leap" the gap between cars. Between each car is a two foot gap wherein mechanical, electrical, and connecting components are hidden by a "bellows" that flexes with the train's motion. Luckily, this did not have anything flammable enough to carry the fire to the next car. This point has been very important to Disney, as they expect it to buy them time to rescue guests stranded in other cars until they can control the fire and evacuate the affected passengers.
    8. Never underestimate the human will to survive. Those guest were very resourceful to evacuate themselves in the absence of "company authority figures" leading them to safety. I have heard that in the affected car, there was an off duty firefighter from the Kennedy Space Center and a cop on vacation. You don't think those two are going to sit quietly and wait to be consumed by fire, do you?
  10. DisneyInsider

    DisneyInsider Premium Member

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    All I can say is :eek:
  11. Grim Grinner

    Grim Grinner New Member

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    Hey that was when I was born!

    That event that you mentioned that happend on Feb. 14 1974 was the day that I was born! Cool. I wonder if some wierd cosmic effect has imbedded Disney into my head...

    BTW- Any idea what time that accident happened?
  12. Tom Morrow

    Tom Morrow Well-Known Member

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    No, walking is. :hammer:

    PS, could somebody find a picture of a Mark IV monorail?
  13. Lance

    Lance Member

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    That's cool, it's kind of like a special WDW agency that covers up mishaps.

    It doesn't surprise me that they would do something like that. I'm sure any type of accident could have hurt business back in 74.
  14. Monorail Lime

    Monorail Lime Well-Known Member

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    For some reason the Digital Media forum isn't working for me right now ("The image that you have attached is too big. Please make it no bigger than 740 x 0."). Until I get it figured out, here's some Mark IV pictures taken by a cast member... three days ago!

    http://www.preskitt.com/
  15. Invero

    Invero Well-Known Member

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    Nope... sorry... not true... There have been times when a train might have been stranded... such as the time Black was hit by lightning, and was disabled. In such an instance, they bring out the Work Tractor, and tow the train and guests to safety. But never evacuated on the beam. (with the exception of mock drills)


    In regards to Monorail Red/Blue... that incidident happened before the old Mark IV WABCO system anti collision systems were installed. We now use the MAPO system which is more effective. Although, it doesnt "see" Work Tractors... lol...
  16. Invero

    Invero Well-Known Member

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    Mark IV Monorails look very simmilar to the Mark VI design. The major visual difference is the door style. Mark IV's had the old manual doors that CM's would have to slam shut, whereas the VI's have the "Please stand clear of the doors..." automatic doors. :) Also, in the 70's, they had 5 cars. Most trains added a 6th car by the mid 80's.

    Here's a picture of a 5-car Mark IV version of Monorail Red... (Courtesy of www.DisneyPix.com)

    Attached Files:

  17. DisneyInsider

    DisneyInsider Premium Member

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    Wasn't the interior different also? Wooden benches or something.
  18. Invero

    Invero Well-Known Member

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    Yes... it was all seating areas. They were hard plastic seats, simmilar to the current benches we have... but less padding.
  19. DisneyInsider

    DisneyInsider Premium Member

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    I saw it on an episode of the Mousketeers in WDW special from 1978.
  20. Tom Morrow

    Tom Morrow Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the pics of the Mark IV monorails!

    I can't believe Disney is going to scrap the last to IV monorails, or the fact that they've been torn apart, rotting in a wearhouse! Shouldn't they be in a museum somewhere?
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