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  • [Question] Monorail Safety and WDI

    I was reading the thread regarding the monorail incident in WDW and it brought up one safety design flaw on DL's Mark VII monorails. I started discussing it with a friend of mine (who is a DL monorail pilot) and they pointed out that the old Mark V trains had side windows in the nosecone. apparently in addition to the electronic anti-collision system on each train, the side windows allowed the pilot to visually check each station to ensure clearance upon approach. It seems when Scot Drake of WDI was asked by a CM why there are no side windows for the pilot, he simply said that the windows didn't look good with his design, essentially giving safety a lower priority. Anytime you give a train operator less visibility, you are decreasing safety. If WDI had consulted operations and facilities, many of the problems the monorails are having today would not be happening. Should Scot Drake and WDI be responsible for modifying each monorail to have nosecone side windows?

  • #2
    Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

    No. Trains don't go sideways so there is no need to look out a side window. Any view of the back that could be provided would be much better served by the rear mounted cameras on the train.

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    • #3
      Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

      Hey, if they need windows to see out the side and check where the other train is, they need them. And tinted windows blend in with the paint job sufficiently, I don't think it's an issue at all - well, except for cost. They saved a bundle by deleting the windows.

      Besides, weren't those windows OPENABLE? Might be nice to get air if you are stuck out over the lagoon with the beam power off, and therefore No AC, can't open the door because you have Guests in the nosecone that might fall out...

      As you stated in the other thread, we expect better - We used to get our socks knocked off through our shoes... (Gee, wouldja look at the holes?) These trains are an example of Modern WDI - 'Declining By Degrees' instead of learning from the past and improving on the previous generation.

      --<< Bruce >>--
      There's No Place Like 127.0.0.1

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      • #4
        Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

        Originally posted by MrLiver View Post
        No. Trains don't go sideways so there is no need to look out a side window. Any view of the back that could be provided would be much better served by the rear mounted cameras on the train.
        Well my car doesn't go sideways either but I'm still glad for the visibility. Granted the trains are on a beam etc.. and cars operate independently, however I think there are places on the beam where it is beneficial for the pilot to be able to see if the of other monorail is ahead.

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        • #5
          Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

          On the Mark V's, pilots used to be able to check the TL station just before the turn at Small World. And it was only visible through the side window. When approaching DTD, pilots used to have the ability to check the station through the side window just before going over Disneyland Drive. Clearly, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to know that a train doesn't have to travel sideways to need side windows. Of course, this wasn't an issue on the Mark I-III trains because the bubble top gave pilots the best visibility possible.

          WDI is known for bypassing park operations and building things to their own specs. This is dangerous because it can lead to safety issues like what's being mentioned here. If the operators need side windows for safety, you can't argue that. WDI needs to jump back in and take care of this.

          And while they're at it, perhaps they can make the nosecone windows openable like Bruce had mentioned. The Mark VI trains in WDW have openable windows in the front. The Mark VIIs should have them also. Given the unpredictable nature of the Mark VIIs, openable windows are a good idea for when the trains break down on hot days. Again, this is something that could have been addressed if WDI had collaborated with Disneyland before building the Mark VIIs.

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          • #6
            Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

            Originally posted by Fortune Cookie View Post
            It seems when Scot Drake of WDI was asked by a CM why there are no side windows for the pilot, he simply said that the windows didn't look good with his design, essentially giving safety a lower priority. Anytime you give a train operator less visibility, you are decreasing safety. If WDI had consulted operations and facilities, many of the problems the monorails are having today would not be happening. Should Scot Drake and WDI be responsible for modifying each monorail to have nosecone side windows?
            And this is why the trains have rear facing CAMERAS instead of windows now making this all moot.

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            • #7
              Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

              Originally posted by flynnibus View Post
              And this is why the trains have rear facing CAMERAS instead of windows now making this all moot.
              How does a rear facing camera allow a pilot to visually check the position of a train that is, because of the way the tracks twist and turn, to the side of the train?

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              • #8
                Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

                Personally, I dont think they need side view mirrors. As far as I know, the monorail system does have some sort of tracking system so monorail central (or whatever the headquarters are called) know where each monorail is on the track and if any two monorails ever get too close to each other, then the system would fix this by telling a monorail to stop and wait for a section to clear. You may think that if this system does exist, why did WDW monorail crash...well there's a over ride system which if I go into detail, would bring this to an area off topic...

                In short, I dont think the lack of side view windows would change anything since there's a pretty well placed safety system in effect.

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                • #9
                  Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

                  Originally posted by flynnibus View Post
                  And this is why the trains have rear facing CAMERAS instead of windows now making this all moot.
                  Your point is moot. How does a pilot check the station he is approaching by looking behind him?

                  Besides, most monorail pilots who ran the Mark Vs will tell you that the mirrors did a much better job than the cameras are doing right now.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

                    Originally posted by MrLiver View Post
                    No. Trains don't go sideways so there is no need to look out a side window. Any view of the back that could be provided would be much better served by the rear mounted cameras on the train.
                    At issue (among several), is the fact that pilots can no longer see hand signals given by platform workers to either dispatch or propery stop train upon arrival when lights aren't working. Cameras are unclear and unhelpful in this regard. Now pilots have to rely solely on lights that may or may not work properly. Though the situation was different, relying solely on technology didn't work out so well for Austin Wuennenberg.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

                      Originally posted by ryanvalle View Post
                      Personally, I dont think they need side view mirrors. As far as I know, the monorail system does have some sort of tracking system so monorail central (or whatever the headquarters are called) know where each monorail is on the track and if any two monorails ever get too close to each other, then the system would fix this by telling a monorail to stop and wait for a section to clear. You may think that if this system does exist, why did WDW monorail crash...well there's a over ride system which if I go into detail, would bring this to an area off topic...

                      In short, I dont think the lack of side view windows would change anything since there's a pretty well placed safety system in effect.
                      The issue at hand, however, is having a plan before the system kicks in. Visual clearance is a much more reliable way to go. Even at WDW, pilots are trained to use as much visibility as possible.

                      Personally, I think what WDI has done is completely irresponsible. The windows were a very simple safety feature that could have easily been carried over. Unfortunately, they favored design over safety. That's unacceptable.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

                        How far back in the cabin is the console that the operator can only see dead forward? The windows wrap around pretty far.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

                          Originally posted by Code90 View Post
                          Unfortunately, they favored design over safety. That's unacceptable.
                          Or maybe that they weren't aware they were needed so badly. The oft quoted comment does not say he disregarded safety, it explains why he didn't have the windows in the design.

                          Big difference between 'communication failure' and 'intentionally disregarding safety'

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                          • #14
                            Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

                            Originally posted by Code90 View Post
                            Visual clearance is a much more reliable way to go. Even at WDW, pilots are trained to use as much visibility as possible.
                            Direct visual contact? Don't be silly. It's like aircraft pilots have said for years: "We don't need no stinkin' VFR!"




                            "With the acquisition of Marvel and now of Lucasfilm,
                            Disney may have finally found the grail. You don't need
                            imagination or art. All you need is a brand."

                            - Neil Gabler

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                            • #15
                              Re: Monorail Safety and WDI

                              Originally posted by flynnibus View Post
                              Or maybe that they weren't aware they were needed so badly. The oft quoted comment does not say he disregarded safety, it explains why he didn't have the windows in the design.

                              Big difference between 'communication failure' and 'intentionally disregarding safety'
                              Whatever you call it, it's ignorance which resulted in disregard to safety. That kind of mentality can still get someone hurt or killed. It's something that WDI needs to own up to and change.

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