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News Monorail Red in motion with guests on board and doors open

creathir

Monorail and PeopleMover Fanatic
Premium Member
Indeed. For all the questions about "who's going to pay for the monorail?" Here is a better one: If there were no monorail, who's going to pay for all the transportation from those resorts to the MK or Epcot? And who's going to pay for all the transportation from the TTC parking lot to MK? If there were no monorail, they'd have to be a heck of a lot more buses and ferries to pour money into.

Exactly.
This reason alone is why the monorail is going nowhere. Disney will upgrade and repair the monorails...

With mass transit systems like the monorail, the major cost is the infrastructure (beamway in this case) which is already bought and paid for.

Replacing trains is something they ALREADY have shown they are willing to do, and I would bet will do again.
 

crxbrett

Well-Known Member
I would hope, now more than ever, that WDW gets an entire new fleet of Monorail trains in time for the 50th. The current ones were brought online just before and during the 25th, so it is long overdue. Maybe since this incident made the news it will spur Disney into finally doing what needed to be done 10 years ago.


.
 

EricsBiscuit

Well-Known Member
2 moon shots:

1. Disney could build a new fleet of monorails themselves at their central shops behind MK. They have lathes, mills, casts etc. to build pretty much anything.

2. They could use some of the new trams to take guests from the TTC to MK like they used to.
 

Brad Bishop

Well-Known Member
Replacing trains is something they ALREADY have shown they are willing to do, and I would bet will do again.

Since they're about a decade late on replacing the trains, with no announcement to do so, couldn't you make the argument that they've shown that they aren't willing to do that again?

The only reason I can think of that they're holding out is maybe to have new trains for the 50th? That seems like a bit of a stretch, especially this late in the game.
 

rmwebs

Well-Known Member
I would hope, now more than ever, that WDW gets an entire new fleet of Monorail trains in time for the 50th.

EDIT: Ok this turned into an incoherent essay, apologies - feel free to skip over this. The TL;DR - Closing the monorail is a non-starter, and fixing it is realistically going to happen, one way or another.

Realistically I cant see that happening. As it stands it seems they have no supplier, nor intention of replacing them. Even if we throw a supplier into the works immediately, it'd take more than 3 years to plan, design, test and build enough to be useful.

Really the plan right now should be:

Current Fleet
  • Emergency funds issued to cover hiring (or bringing back) maintenance staff to improve the amount of time being spent on each train car.
  • Overhaul the current fleet one by one. I'm not talking furnishings or air-conditioning, I'm talking mechanical. A complete strip down and inspection/repair of each car - every nut and bolt.
  • If funds permit, a minor interior overhaul to see the train through the next 5 or so years whilst the replacement work is carried out.
  • Introduce a timed schedule to the monorail, allowing a train say every 10 minutes during peak times, and 15-20 minutes during off-peak times. This would allow for a reduced service whilst still providing a reliable, consistent schedule.
  • If investigative works show that there are one or more trains in the current fleet that are no longer fit for service, remove them and use for parts for the remaining trains - no more half assed jobs, if it means the fleet runs low on trains then so be it - fix that mistake next time and order more bloody trains.
  • Consult with Bombardier who built both the MK VI trains and the not to dissimilar Las Vegas M-VI trains. Like the IV (Which did run on the vegas beams for a short time) these trains are interchangeable. Both work on the exact same beam and power system, and Bombardier still maintain the M-VI. The base components are (for the most part) the same, with the obvious exception being the shells.
New Fleet
  • Immediately open a tender to build a replacement fleet of 10 new trains, along with a 25 year maintenance contract. There is absolutely no reason why a modern vehicle (even with its constant usage) can not last this long with the correct maintenance.
  • Build a new monorail spur, along with a new workshop to allow for indoor overnight storage of all trains, along with maintenance bays, tractors, etc.
  • On the back of the Disney Transport Company, form a new team of designers, engineers, etc who would work along side the contractor building the first 10 trains to construct a further 5, giving control of the fleet back to Disney.
  • Follow the principles of modern light-rail trains/trams which are EXTREMELY cheap to build compared to what Disney paid for the MK VI trains and would have significantly higher capacity, with full walk-through carriages, illuminated screens, air conditioning, etc.
  • Commit to a 10 year expansion plan to bring the Monorail to all 4 parks - again, people tout figures on it costing millions for a single piece of track. The costs are far lower than they were when the monorail was originally built, and again Bombardier are very experienced at this so would be an obvious choice. A monorail if done right can be cheaper than a bus fleet over time, and again if done right can handle a significantly larger amount of passengers. Disney's is currently not being done right and from a volume and cost point of view, has never been done right.
We're at the point where Disney either give up and commit to the enormous cost of removing the monorail (and the cost would be enormous). Or commit to their own future and sort the damn thing out so that it'll last, improve the entire transport network around the parks and improve the overall experience for everyone.

The obvious elephant in the room is the cost. Lets put some rough figures out there. The current fleet cost $3.57 million per train back in 1989. By todays standards that approx $7.1 million per train. However realistically would certainly cost under $5 million and likely under $3 million. By comparison, an entire light-rail network installation and fleet of 7 trains in Sheffield UK, even with an overrunning budget cost the equivalent of $103 million. A similar network exists in London, with the vehicles being built by Bombardier at a cost of £35 million ($48 million) for 24 complete tram-trains.


Fixing the monorail, and by extension all of Disneys transport problems is not as big of an issue as people like to think.

In 2018 it doesn't cost anywhere near as much to build the beams - people often misquote the Las Vegas projects beam costs and assume Disneys is the same. The Last Vegas project cost so much because the property costs and logistics of building around an existing city - issues which Disney does not face. The other comparison; Brazil - theirs costs were estimated to be around $800 million, but this included the cost of 54 trains, all of which had 7 cars, not to mention construction cost differences.

Outside of theme parks, Disney has made some phenomenal business decisions over the last several years, with Lucas and Marvel paving the way for years of original IP. There's absolutely no reason why a company of Disney's size and skill can not sort this out. I just wish we had less of the 'world is falling down' attitude - closing the monorail down is simply not going to happen, despite what a few dramatic people seem to think.

Bombardier is a pretty obvious choice as a business partner. On the back of WDI's invention they've build a multi-billion dollar business. Last year they were contracted for a massive new monorail system in Thailand, using the exact same technology used by WDI to design the IV, and later passed over to Bombardier for the VI. Bombardier have modern trains that work on the Disney beams, they are actively making these so its technically VERY simple to replace the trains.
 
Last edited:

s8film40

Well-Known Member
Here's my "blue sky" idea:

Build a parking garage between MK and GF, then run trams on what is now the walkway to nowhere over there up to the entrance. This has the benefit of relieving stress from the monorail system as well as watercraft.

Sell the entire monorail system to RCID.

RCID then issues bonds to purchase a new fleet of trains as well as combine the Epcot and Express line eliminating the TTC. The Express line then becomes a park to park line servicing MK and Epcot.

RCID contracts Bombardier to operate and maintain the monorail system indefinitely.

This way the iconic monorail system remains but is more of a convenience then a necessary part of getting into the parks. Disney doesn't have to spend any money. Lastly they free up a huge plot of land with the potential to add another resort on the lagoon with monorail access.
 

JoeCamel

Well-Known Member
EDIT: Ok this turned into an incoherent essay, apologies - feel free to skip over this. The TL;DR - Closing the monorail is a non-starter, and fixing it is realistically going to happen, one way or another.

Realistically I cant see that happening. As it stands it seems they have no supplier, nor intention of replacing them. Even if we throw a supplier into the works immediately, it'd take more than 3 years to plan, design, test and build enough to be useful.

Really the plan right now should be:

Current Fleet
  • Emergency funds issued to cover hiring (or bringing back) maintenance staff to improve the amount of time being spent on each train car.
  • Overhaul the current fleet one by one. I'm not talking furnishings or air-conditioning, I'm talking mechanical. A complete strip down and inspection/repair of each car - every nut and bolt.
  • If funds permit, a minor interior overhaul to see the train through the next 5 or so years whilst the replacement work is carried out.
  • Introduce a timed schedule to the monorail, allowing a train say every 10 minutes during peak times, and 15-20 minutes during off-peak times. This would allow for a reduced service whilst still providing a reliable, consistent schedule.
  • If investigative works show that there are one or more trains in the current fleet that are no longer fit for service, remove them and use for parts for the remaining trains - no more half assed jobs, if it means the fleet runs low on trains then so be it - fix that mistake next time and order more bloody trains.
  • Consult with Bombardier who built both the MK VI trains and the not to dissimilar Las Vegas M-VI trains. Like the IV (Which did run on the vegas beams for a short time) these trains are interchangeable. Both work on the exact same beam and power system, and Bombardier still maintain the M-VI. The base components are (for the most part) the same, with the obvious exception being the shells.
New Fleet
  • Immediately open a tender to build a replacement fleet of 10 new trains, along with a 25 year maintenance contract. There is absolutely no reason why a modern vehicle (even with its constant usage) can not last this long with the correct maintenance.
  • Build a new monorail spur, along with a new workshop to allow for indoor overnight storage of all trains, along with maintenance bays, tractors, etc.
  • On the back of the Disney Transport Company, form a new team of designers, engineers, etc who would work along side the contractor building the first 10 trains to construct a further 5, giving control of the fleet back to Disney.
  • Follow the principles of modern light-rail trains/trams which are EXTREMELY cheap to build compared to what Disney paid for the MK VI trains and would have significantly higher capacity, with full walk-through carriages, illuminated screens, air conditioning, etc.
  • Commit to a 10 year expansion plan to bring the Monorail to all 4 parks - again, people tout figures on it costing millions for a single piece of track. The costs are far lower than they were when the monorail was originally built, and again Bombardier are very experienced at this so would be an obvious choice. A monorail if done right can be cheaper than a bus fleet over time, and again if done right can handle a significantly larger amount of passengers. Disney's is currently not being done right and from a volume and cost point of view, has never been done right.
We're at the point where Disney either give up and commit to the enormous cost of removing the monorail (and the cost would be enormous). Or commit to their own future and sort the damn thing out so that it'll last, improve the entire transport network around the parks and improve the overall experience for everyone.

The obvious elephant in the room is the cost. Lets put some rough figures out there. The current fleet cost $3.57 million per train back in 1989. By todays standards that approx $7.1 million per train. However realistically would certainly cost under $5 million and likely under $3 million. By comparison, an entire light-rail network installation and fleet of 7 trains in Sheffield UK, even with an overrunning budget cost the equivalent of $103 million. A similar network exists in London, with the vehicles being built by Bombardier at a cost of £35 million ($48 million) for 24 complete tram-trains.


Fixing the monorail, and by extension all of Disneys transport problems is not as big of an issue as people like to think.

In 2018 it doesn't cost anywhere near as much to build the beams - people often misquote the Las Vegas projects beam costs and assume Disneys is the same. The Last Vegas project cost so much because the property costs and logistics of building around an existing city - issues which Disney does not face. The other comparison; Brazil - theirs costs were estimated to be around $800 million, but this included the cost of 54 trains, all of which had 7 cars, not to mention construction cost differences.

Outside of theme parks, Disney has made some phenomenal business decisions over the last several years, with Lucas and Marvel paving the way for years of original IP. There's absolutely no reason why a company of Disney's size and skill can not sort this out. I just wish we had less of the 'world is falling down' attitude - closing the monorail down is simply not going to happen, despite what a few dramatic people seem to think.

Bombardier is a pretty obvious choice as a business partner. On the back of WDI's invention they've build a multi-billion dollar business. Last year they were contracted for a massive new monorail system in Thailand, using the exact same technology used by WDI to design the VI, and later passed over to Bombardier for the IV. Bombardier have modern trains that work on the Disney beams, they are actively making these so its technically VERY simple to replace the trains.
Think you got IV and VI swapped
 

orky8

Well-Known Member
Here's my "blue sky" idea:

Build a parking garage between MK and GF, then run trams on what is now the walkway to nowhere over there up to the entrance. This has the benefit of relieving stress from the monorail system as well as watercraft.

Sell the entire monorail system to RCID.

RCID then issues bonds to purchase a new fleet of trains as well as combine the Epcot and Express line eliminating the TTC. The Express line then becomes a park to park line servicing MK and Epcot.

RCID contracts Bombardier to operate and maintain the monorail system indefinitely.

This way the iconic monorail system remains but is more of a convenience then a necessary part of getting into the parks. Disney doesn't have to spend any money. Lastly they free up a huge plot of land with the potential to add another resort on the lagoon with monorail access.

Completely agree.

But I'd add (1) extend to DHS/AK and (2) Relocate or Add Epcot station at International Gateway. This transforms the monorail from primarily serving day guests, to primarily serving those staying at Deluxe properties. Finally, I'd also look at having the other hotels run regular shuttles (e.g., every 5 minutes) between the hotel and the closest monorail station.
 

rmwebs

Well-Known Member
Completely agree.

But I'd add (1) extend to DHS/AK
I'd add Springs to that - the place already feels dead until mid-afternoon most days so getting a direct link to the parks can only serve to improve foot flow, and provide an easier link for people staying at both Disney and all the 3rd party hotels around there.
 

Gringrinngghost

Well-Known Member
I guess it's time for some updated metrics

Monorail Length of Service

DISNEYLAND RESORT
Mark I : 1959 - 1961 (3 Years)
Mark II - 1961 - 1969 (8 Years) [266.667% Life Span Increase]
Mark III : 1969 - 1987 (18 Years) [225% Life Span Increase]
Mark V : 1987 - 2008 (21 Years) [116.667% Life Span Increase]
Mark VII : 2008 – Present (10 Years old and Counting)

WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT
Mark IV: 1971 - 1991 [Last Train of the Mark IV Fleet] (20 Years)
Mark VI: 1989 [First Train of the Mark VI Fleet] - Present (29 Years and Counting) [145% Life Span Increase and Counting / 5% Every Year]


Average Lifespan of a Disneyland Monorail
12 Years [With Mark VII Added]
12.520 Years [Without Mark VII Added]

Average Lifespan of Walt Disney World Monorail
24.5 Years [Added with the Three Years Between the Introduction of the Mark VI Fleet on the Beams and the Last ride of the Mark IV Fleet]
23.5 Years [NOT added with the Three Years Between the Introduction of the Mark VI Fleet on the Beams and the Last ride of the Mark IV Fleet]

Estimated Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1970 though 2017 in USD
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1970: $1,000,000.00 +$0.00
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1980: $2,126,058.21 +$1,126,058.21
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1990: $3,371,207.66 +$1,245,149.45
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 2000: $4,429,368.03 +$1,058,160.37
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 2010:
$5,507,010.05 +$1,034,549.65
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 2017:
$6,525,476.19 +$1,018,466.14

Since 1970 the Monorail Beam Price went up by: $5,525,476.19
 
Last edited:

s8film40

Well-Known Member
I guess it's time for some updated metrics

Monorail Length of Service

DISNEYLAND RESORT
Mark I : 1959 - 1961 (3 Years)
Mark II - 1961 - 1969 (8 Years) [266.667% Life Span Increase]
Mark III : 1969 - 1987 (18 Years) [225% Life Span Increase]
Mark V : 1987 - 2008 (21 Years) [116.667% Life Span Increase]
Mark VII : 2008 – Present (10 Years old and Counting)

WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT
Mark IV: 1971 - 1991 [Last Train of the Mark IV Fleet] (20 Years)
Mark VI: 1989 [First Train of the Mark VI Fleet] - Present (29 Years and Counting) [145% Life Span Increase and Counting / 5% Every Year]


Average Lifespan of a Disneyland Monorail
12 Years [With Mark VII Added]
12.520+29 Years [Without Mark VII Added]

Average Lifespan of Walt Disney World Monorail
24.5 Years [Added with the Three Years Between the Introduction of the Mark VI Fleet on the Beams and the Last ride of the Mark IV Fleet]
23.5 Years [NOT added with the Three Years Between the Introduction of the Mark VI Fleet on the Beams and the Last ride of the Mark IV Fleet]

Estimated Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1970 though 2017 in USD
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1970: $1,000,000.00 +$0.00
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1980: $2,126,058.21 +$1,126,058.21
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1990: $3,371,207.66 +$1,245,149.45
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 2000: $4,429,368.03 +$1,058,160.37
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 2010:
$5,507,010.05 +$1,034,549.65
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 2017:
$6,525,476.19 +$1,018,466.14

Since 1970 the Monorail Beam Price went up by: $5,525,476.19
Here's a fun fact to add to that. The state of Florida considers a vehicle 30 years old or older to be an antique. So if they can hold off buying new trains until 2019 we'll all be able to ride the very first ever Disney Antique Monorail!
 

NearTheEars

Well-Known Member
You'll find some people on here who deny there's a smell. It's awful. I'm not sure when this smell became as prevalent as it is now, as it didn't used to be so bad. Sometime in the mid-00s, I think. Obviously it never smelled completely fresh, thanks to the throngs of gross sweaty people riding it - but the cabins themselves didn't smell like a mildewed dish rag back then.

Oddly enough there’s that same smell in the Orlando Eye cabins as well. Is it just the type of AC they use and whatever cleaner they spray them down with?
 

Disone

Well-Known Member
I guess it's time for some updated metrics

Monorail Length of Service

DISNEYLAND RESORT
Mark I : 1959 - 1961 (3 Years)
Mark II - 1961 - 1969 (8 Years) [266.667% Life Span Increase]
Mark III : 1969 - 1987 (18 Years) [225% Life Span Increase]
Mark V : 1987 - 2008 (21 Years) [116.667% Life Span Increase]
Mark VII : 2008 – Present (10 Years old and Counting)

WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT
Mark IV: 1971 - 1991 [Last Train of the Mark IV Fleet] (20 Years)
Mark VI: 1989 [First Train of the Mark VI Fleet] - Present (29 Years and Counting) [145% Life Span Increase and Counting / 5% Every Year]


Average Lifespan of a Disneyland Monorail
12 Years [With Mark VII Added]
12.520+29 Years [Without Mark VII Added]

Average Lifespan of Walt Disney World Monorail
24.5 Years [Added with the Three Years Between the Introduction of the Mark VI Fleet on the Beams and the Last ride of the Mark IV Fleet]
23.5 Years [NOT added with the Three Years Between the Introduction of the Mark VI Fleet on the Beams and the Last ride of the Mark IV Fleet]

Estimated Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1970 though 2017 in USD
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1970: $1,000,000.00 +$0.00
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1980: $2,126,058.21 +$1,126,058.21
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 1990: $3,371,207.66 +$1,245,149.45
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 2000: $4,429,368.03 +$1,058,160.37
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 2010:
$5,507,010.05 +$1,034,549.65
Cost of a Mile of the Monorail Beam in 2017:
$6,525,476.19 +$1,018,466.14

Since 1970 the Monorail Beam Price went up by: $5,525,476.19
I thought the Mark III where the Mark II's with a fifth car added? Would that not make 4 of the five cars of the Mark III's a life span of 26 years? Or maybe the Mark II's were just the Mark I with a fourth car added?
 

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