Walt Disney World monorail system power outage strands riders for hours
FEATURED, NEWS — BY SARA K. CLARKE ON DECEMBER 14, 2009 AT 10:14 AM
By Sara K. Clarke, Orlando Sentinel
Walt Disney World’s monorail system suffered a power failure Saturday night, stranding some passengers for hours before riders were rescued by emergency crews.
The monorail was brought to a standstill by a failed hard drive in the computer system that runs the 15-mile long transportation system. The monorail lost power to its beam.
No one was injured, said Bo Jones, of the Reedy Creek Fire Department, which serves the Walt Disney World resort.
The monorail was running again by the time parks opened Sunday.
About 300 people were affected by the incident, which happened at about 1 a.m. Many of Walt Disney World’s parks were already closed at the time, but the Magic Kingdom was open until 1 a.m.
Seven monorail trains were operating at the time. Three trains had passengers on them and were not at a station at the time of the power failure. Those passengers were either assisted by emergency responders from Reedy Creek Improvement District, or disembarked after their train was towed to a nearby station. Three other trains were already in the station at the time of the power failure, and one was empty.
Fire fighters did use fire ladders to rescue some park visitors, but Jones said the measure was for customer service, rather than for emergency purposes.
“Our commitment to safety guides all we do, and this is the type of situation we train for with Reedy Creek,” said Andrea Finger, spokeswoman for Walt Disney World. “We extend our apologies to guests who were affected and are working directly with them.”
Jones said the Reedy Creek fire department trains for such an incident about six to eight times a year.
“We’re ready for it when it happens and try to make it as speedy a process as we can,” he said.
This morning’s incident comes several months after monorail operator Austin Wuennenberg was killed in a collision between two trains. Wuennenberg was the first fatality in the history of the Walt Disney World monorail system.
In September, the park’s monorail system experienced an electrical short at a control booth that shut down some parts of the transportation system. About 25 guests were affected briefly in that incident, until a tractor
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