Communication on the Rails: Opening a Station

Throughout my training, I was required to be able to open monorail platforms as well as being able to close them. Although I will be a member of the closing group after training, the monorail platform assessment generally consists of opening procedures, since opening the station requires a few extra processes than closing a station. As each opening procedure is completed, communication is used across the entire department.

First, we are obligated to communicate with our guests. Generally, monorail cast members tend to tell guests that the monorails will open approximately 30 minutes prior to a park’s earliest opening. However, this is not always the case, since sometimes we may run into some technical difficulties or delays.

Disney Monorail Crash
In this photo, a monorail cast member is directing guests to alternative transportation when the monorails are not in service yet. We must communicate to guests alternative transportation options when the monorails are not operational, so they do not become lost or confused. (AP Photo/The Orlando Sentinel, George Skene)

As soon as I walk up to the station entrance in the morning, I must begin my station evaluation. I check to make sure all emergency equipment, gates, and the platform in general are operational. During this check, I must call another monorail cast member on every phone in the station to make sure that each one is operational. I must also verbally check each P.A. system.

Once an initial evaluation of the platform is completed, I must notify the Monorail Central Control via radio by doing a handheld radio check. At this time, not only is verbal communication crucial, but listening skills are also important. There are up to twelve trains and six stations that must complete radio checks. Therefore, there is heavy radio traffic, and there must be a break before I can call Central to complete a radio check and have them aware that my station is manned and ready for power.

Once power is being brought to the station, there is constant communication between myself (as the first opener) and the second opener. As I bring power to the beam(s), I must announce three times via P.A. system that there are “600 volts coming up on the beams,” so fellow cast members and/or nearby guests will be cautious when approaching the platform. Then, the second opener will test each power handpack at the end of the station, while I notify the second opener via P.A. system if the handpack is properly de-energizing the beam(s). When both openers have checked for power, a console radio check with Central must be done, and Central is notified that the station is ready for train movement.

The last part of opening procedures includes communication with the drivers. The driver of each train lets me know if they need a train check, where I must check that all phones, emergency stops, rear-view cameras, headlights, fire extinguishers, seats and emergency window hatches in the train are in good working order. Then, Central notifies me via radio that the trains are clear to check each other on the beams in terms of distance from each other. Once this happens, I must call the train behind the train that is in my station and let them know that they are clear to forward-check the train in my station.

Once all trains and platforms are checked, we are clear to open the monorails and allow guests to ride.



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