New monorail info from George Mc Ginnis
Former imagineer George McGinnis recently posted this the the horizons yahoo group I'm a member of he couldn't differentiate type face in our email group but I have taken the liberty of putting his text in italics here:
In this e-mail I've answered questions I found on the Disneylandian web
I thought it may be of interest to my Horizons friends.
Since my colored type won't show up on the tribute e-mails, I've put all
copy from the web site in quotation marks.
I'm George McGinnis, WDI Industrial Designer on both the Mark V and Mark Vl
Monorails. I intentionally retained the look Bob Gurr had given to front of
the Mk lV. Aside from this, the train cars differed very much from the earlier
designs. I would like to comment on this information I've taken from the
Disneylandian site regarding monorails.
"...a. Before we got the trains we realized that the design wasn't going to
let them fit through the air door at the Contemporary Hotel. We went down for
several months in the fall of 88 for widening of the openning at the Hotel
and for extraconcrete to be poured on the platforms (the trains are taller than
the Mark IVs."
I took measurements of the Hurricane door before starting design. The Mark
Vl is 10 inches taller than it's predecessor, the Mark lV. This increase
allowed a 72" passenger door, but the arc of the roof had to be much flatter to
pass through the hurricane door. The floor height was to be the same as the
Mark lV. If concrete was added to the platforms, this suggests the as-built car
floor height off the beam had increased, possibly causing the interference
with the hurricane door.
I heard there was a clearance problem with an area of hung ceiling that the
monorail encountered inside the hotel. It had to be raised with probably no
small cost due to asbestos.
"...b. Once we had the first one on line (they came on about one per two
months at first) we found that the power draw was too high. We couldn't operate
two of them within a certain distance of each other. Major changes were made
to the power grid to compensate."
The high power drain came from the wrong motors being purchased. The motors
were for a different type of train. Passenger trains that go long distances
have no need for high acceleration. The power supply had to be increased to
accomplish the intended acceleration.
"...c. The software had so many bugs I could've caught fish with it. The
trains were very prone to shutdown from software glitches. The Mark IVs were
built in 1969 and had squat for electronics, so this was really new to us."
"...d. The doors were a mess at first. Jim Whitman's arm got broken in a
recycling test (the door DIDN'T recycle). Forever after that we used special
bat-like clubs (made by Disney Central Shops - Disney doesn't send out for
anything that it can make) that were known as "Whitman Probes" to test the doors."
"...>* who actually builds the monorail trains ? I recall that the
>original design (Alweg ?) was of Swiss origin, but this could
>be related to the first DL monorail only."
"...Alweg built up to the Mark IIIs, all of which operated only at
Disneyland. I know this because the nose-cone door from Monorail Gold Mk.III is
displayed at Monorail Shop and is clearly labelled "Alweg". The Mark IVs (used at
WDW from opening until replaced by Mk.VIs) were built by WED Enterprises and
Martin Marrietta at a cost of around six million per train."
Alweg had their name on Disneyland Monorails up to the MK lll due to
contractual agreement with Disney. Bob Gurr did the concepts and production design
on all monorails up to and including the Mk lV.
"...The Mark Vs that replaced Disneyland's Mk.IIIs were designed by Ride and
Show inc. I think. I'm not completely sure about that one, but Ride and
Show's press packet claimed it. The infamous (two years late and hideously over
budget) Mark VI trains were designed and built by Bombardier of Quebec, (the
Ride and Show did only the overhaul of the MK lll chassis and running gear.
MBB of Germany built the MK V bodies following WED Enterprises (WDI) plans.
The MK Vl was built by Bombardier in a former snowmobile factory in La
Pocatiere, Canada and finish assembly was in Burlington, Vermont. A certain
percentage of construction had to be done in the states.
Bombardier was the sole bidder on the contract. If my memory serves me
right, both the Mk V and Mk Vll were delivered close to the schedule. I began
concepts for the MK V in 1985 and it and the MK Vl in I believe 1987. The Mk Vl
was operational in 1989 as I recall. Not bad for design and construction of
two fleets of monorails.
I hope I have helped with your monorail history.