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Old 11-04-2013, 03:23 PM   #1
hedberg1661
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Monorail Expansion? Upgrade?

Any rumblings of a Monorail expansion? I realize they just bought Star Wars etc. but I think we are due for at least an upgrade not to mention a long overdue expansion. Anyone hear anything or have any thoughts?
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Old 11-04-2013, 03:28 PM   #2
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It will never, ever, ever happen. It's far to expensive and it is much cheaper and flexible to add buses to move people.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:27 PM   #3
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It is extremely, EXTREMELY unlikely there will ever be a monorail expansion. It is very expensive to build the new lines, but also to get more trainsets, etc.

The Mark VI monorails are closing in on 25 years of operation, already having outlasted the original M-IV units (20 years on the last one). For normal trainsets, I believe that would put them due for a major rebuild program (same design, replace the parts), but these aren't "off-the-shelf" trainsets either. They are all essentially a custom build.

WDW could have gone and finalized designs on the next model (M-VIII presumably) and started the build process after the accident left them short 2 trainsets, but they quickly snapped together the undamaged halves to get one back, and then had Bombardier salvage parts and build one more to get them back to 12.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:50 PM   #4
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As the PP's have said, its not likely to happen.

The question comes up frequently, but its just from folks doing wishful thinking. Disney would need to have a really good reason (read that as profits) to spend a lot of money on extending the monorail system.

Monorails are cool. No doubt about that. But they have their limitations.
  • They are on a fixed track so they only go where the track goes which is not necessarily where people need to go.
  • You can't easily add more trains to the existing track. Once you get beyond a certain number (4?) on the local loop you're essentially in gridlock since the wait time at the stations is the limiting factor in thru-put. That limits their usefulness during the very busy morning and end of day periods.
  • You need to spend a lot of money to add track if you want to expand capacity. Plus you need additional vehicles to take advantage of that track.
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Old 11-04-2013, 07:26 PM   #5
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There is another thread about this. A monorail upgrade or expansion is never going to happen at least in the next 15 years. It's estimated that it could cost up to 100 or more million per mile. And then to add more trains would probably be just as much. One thing I will say all the current monorail have just been recently upgraded so they are not under manned control but by a computer. There will still be a driver in the cab but he will not actually be driving, he will be there to make sure nothing goes wrong with the computer system and can take control of the train at any time. Disney would much rather put money into buses and boat transportation. Which they have been doing a lot of over the last few years.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:45 AM   #6
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Yeah, there are always rumors of a monorail extension - I remember when AKL was built, and many people heard/hoped/prayed that it would go out there. I'm sure they said the same when DHS was built. If they won't run it to 2 of their 4 parks, I doubt it will be modified any time soon. Considering that the last expansion of the monorail system was the Epcot loop in 1982, I would doubt that anything is going to change after 31 years of nothing.

The ONLY thing I keep hoping for is more monorail resorts. They could add stops along the Epcot loop with no additional cost to the trains or track. I think that would be a great idea.
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:27 AM   #7
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Unfortunately, its not likely anytime in the near future.

The designs have advanced and the costs have come down greatly, Easily WDW could build beams at about 20 mil per mile, with trains and stations included in that price.

The funny part is the cost is not the reason they are not likely to build a expansion soon, it that light rail and pods systems are likely the next major transportation system. They can be built for the same cost as a 3 lane road (1 1/2 lanes in each direction). Very cheap on labor to operate.

Buses are expensive, high labor bill to operate and maintain, not to mention the steady equipment replacement costs.


However never say never to a monorail or other new transit system. One reason many people come to WDW is the monorails and boat transportation systems, add to the monorails or a light rail/ pod system = more interest in coming = more guests.

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Old 11-05-2013, 08:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPCummerbund View Post
The ONLY thing I keep hoping for is more monorail resorts. They could add stops along the Epcot loop with no additional cost to the trains or track. I think that would be a great idea.
I never really thought about this - but that's a good point. There's a plot of land just off the NW corner or the Epcot site that is right on the monorail line and plenty open for building (assuming it is build-able land). It would make an interesting location for a resort.
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:55 AM   #9
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The "problem" with adding a resort stop on the Epcot loop is that you've now made this a significantly longer trip time wise. Some will hate that, some won't care.
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Old 11-05-2013, 09:32 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DPCummerbund View Post
The ONLY thing I keep hoping for is more monorail resorts. They could add stops along the Epcot loop with no additional cost to the trains or track. I think that would be a great idea.
I would love to see some resorts pop up along the Epcot Line. They could even re-utilize the land by the parking lot that was the old Disney Airport. Interesting thoughts. I think they could be looking at this in the near future as Disney has clearly seen that Resorts make money...while expanding the line would not.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:44 PM   #11
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The "problem" with adding a resort stop on the Epcot loop is that you've now made this a significantly longer trip time wise. Some will hate that, some won't care.
One resort would mean one 60-90 second stop. While some might gripe a little, I don't see that being a major issue in the long run.

That said, Disney seems to be intently focused on DVC as its development right now, and most of those seem to be built around current resorts (I would presume that there's a significant cost-savings in development when the infrastructure and resort services are already there). An independent resort in a currently vacant area does not seem to be the approach they are taking.
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Old 11-05-2013, 12:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyfan0805 View Post
One resort would mean one 60-90 second stop. While some might gripe a little, I don't see that being a major issue in the long run.

That said, Disney seems to be intently focused on DVC as its development right now, and most of those seem to be built around current resorts (I would presume that there's a significant cost-savings in development when the infrastructure and resort services are already there). An independent resort in a currently vacant area does not seem to be the approach they are taking.
Resort stops are never 60-90 seconds. usually several minutes.
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Old 11-05-2013, 01:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mickeyfan0805 View Post
One resort would mean one 60-90 second stop. While some might gripe a little, I don't see that being a major issue in the long run. That said, Disney seems to be intently focused on DVC as its development right now, and most of those seem to be built around current resorts (I would presume that there's a significant cost-savings in development when the infrastructure and resort services are already there). An independent resort in a currently vacant area does not seem to be the approach they are taking.
They could build a new DVC resort on the Epcot line. I think that would definitely sell.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:06 PM   #14
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Quote:
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One resort would mean one 60-90 second stop. While some might gripe a little, I don't see that being a major issue in the long run.
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Resort stops are never 60-90 seconds. usually several minutes.
The resort stops are usually several minutes. Add to that the time to slow down before the stop and speed up afterwards.
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Old 11-05-2013, 02:27 PM   #15
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The resort stops are usually several minutes. Add to that the time to slow down before the stop and speed up afterwards.
This. It doesn't matter if the train can do 40, 60, 80 or 150mph...if it has to keep stopping, it's only doing max speed for very short bursts if it even got there. And then there's the load/unload time. Your average speed falls through the floor.

Acela Express from Boston to New York: It's billed as reaching speeds of 150mph. They don't advertise that it is only for a very short run outside of Providence as it has to accelerate and then decelerate for the next stop, and it still takes over three hours to get to New York.
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