Monorail maker Bombardier has new mystery shopper big enough to be Disney

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  • Photo via Wikimedia Commons

For years now, Disney World fans are hoping the resort will finally add new monorails to replace the aging fleet that is continually in the news for decomposition and stranded passengers. Despite the literal pieces fall the three-decade-old trains, Disney has given no indication of its intention to replace them.

Rumors circulated last year that Bombardier, which built the current Mark VI trains, had been hired for a new fleet. At the time, the main source of the rumors was a fan site that Disney has since publicly called “unscrupulous,” due to the publication of several unfounded rumors. However, speculation about a new fleet was fueled the same year when the retired imagination Bob Gurr, who designed both the original Disneyland monorails and WDW’s first monorail fleet, publicly declared “there are contracts in progress” for new monorails.

Also at the time, it was assumed that the new trains would likely be a bespoke version of Bombardier’s INNOVIA 300 trains, whose exterior design is surprisingly similar to WDW’s monorails.

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The INNOVIA 300 monorail - IMAGE VIA BOMBARDIER

  • Image by Bombardier
  • The INNOVIA 300 monorail

Since then, there is no indication that Disney is actually moving forward with the alleged contracts. In June of this year, Disney began rolling out a refurbished version of the current monorails, with the first updated train being the Silver Monorail.

Despite being less than six months old, the refurbished Silver cars are already showing some wear, with some customers complain about poor air conditioning, loose vinyls on the seats, and an unpleasant smell described as “nursing home meets college locker room”.

Now, thanks to a little note in Bombardier’s latest quarterly earnings report, rumors of a new fleet heat up again. The report notes a North American deal for $ 104 million in rolling stock and $ 247 million in services for an undisclosed customer. Some fans have started to guess that the undisclosed client could be Walt Disney World.

As we mentioned in 2018, the combination of service and fleet is more common, as Bombardier shifts to a service-based profit model, similar to the direction taken by Apple. This dual fleet and operating contract is the type of arrangement Bombardier a with SunRail, where it delivered the two trains and oversees their ongoing maintenance.

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INNOVIA MONORAIL PHOTO BY BOMBARDIER TRANSPORT / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

  • Photo of the INNOVIA monorail by Bombardier Transport / Wikimedia Commons

The $ 104 million worth of rolling stock would be enough to replace at least some of WDW’s aging monorails. Bombardier’s newer trains use the latest technology for seamless autonomous operations, meaning Disney could choose to cut costs by eliminating monorail pilots. This does not mean that the company would never choose profits over people.

Automated trains would also mean a one-time contract for Disney, instead of negotiating contracts with local unions.

While Disney would clearly benefit from new monorails, there are plenty of other options as to who the undisclosed North American customer might be. The ace Vegas is growing its monorail system, which initially used monorails that Disney sold them, although unlike Disney, it has since been updated with newer trains. The new expansion of the Vegas monorail will add two new stations when it opens. This expansion is expected to open in late 2020 or early 2021, which would be a logical time for another update to its fleet.

Other possible customers include San Francisco International Airport, where just two days before the end of the second financial quarter, Bombardier announced a $ 220 million service contract, which like SunRail’s, has a minimum of ten years. The similar cost of the new service contract to SunRail and San Francisco contracts indicates that the recently announced agreement is also for a minimum ten-year term.

With several other airport expansions and many other train projects mushrooming across the country, there is no indication this new contract is for Disney World. As with the previous report, as of yet, there is no indication that this latest speculation about a new fleet of monorails is anything more than wishful thinking, but we’re hoping Disney will replace the fleet before other pieces of the trains. current do not fall.

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PHOTO VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

  • Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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