Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Walt Disney World Monorail Map

There was a horrbile accident on Walt Disney World's monorail system this past weekend. It looks like there were multiple unlikely failures, a perfect storm of issues:

* The dispatcher said the switch was in place when it wasn't.
* The driver backing up somehow did not see after passing over the switch that he was on the wrong side of it (probably because the driver was in the front of the train and couldn't see behind him.
* The driver who was killed did not act in any way (as far as I know) when he saw the approaching train.
* There's an obvious design flaw in the nose of the trains that makes them completely intolerant of any collisions (the moving vehicle was only going 15 mph).

This leads to numerous questions. Why don't the drivers switch to the rear of the train when they go in reverse? Why weren't the noses built to withstand any sort of collision? Why was there no indicator of which way the switch was pointed? Why didn't the driver do anything when he saw the approaching train? Will passengers ever be allowed to ride in the front of the trains with the drivers again? Hopefully the NTSB will find some answers.

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