Communication on the Rails: Unloading

While working at Magic Kingdom, the most coveted position that monorail operators can have is the “unloader.” The unloader is essentially in charge of all operations and can be thought of as the “king” or “queen” of the Magic Kingdom monorail platform. Although I had briefly mentioned the unloader’s duties in previous posts, the unloader not only helps guests disembark trains, but they must also maintain strong communication with all monorail units at all times.

There are usually 1-2 unloaders on the platform at any given time, and one of the unloaders is responsible for radio traffic. If any monorail unit needs to contact Magic Kingdom for any reason, the unloader needs to respond. Although the greeters on the Express and Resort beam load sides have radios, the unloader is responsible for both sides and is contacted first. Once the unloader gets a message via radio or telephone (i.e. “We are not loading car ___ of the ____ train”), he/she must deliver it to the appropriate people.

The unload side is the only area with the console to bring up power and drop power on the beams. If a monorail operator decides to drop power on the Express or Resort side with his/her handpack, the unloader must make sure each operator is clear for power and restore the 600 volts on the beam. They must also announce power is restored via P.A. system and call the Monorail Central Control.

mk-platform
The “unload” side, or the “middle”, of the Magic Kingdom monorail platform is pictured above. The unloader is responsible for putting down ramps for wheelchairs and clearing trains like Zone 2 on the load sides. However, the unloader is responsible for both the Express (right) and Resort (left) beams. Unloaders monitor activity on the entire platform. (via pinterest.com)

The unload area is the the only area with a P.A. system. Unloaders must announce any service delays to guests when we experience technical difficulties on the beams. We also are responsible for removing guests from trains that can no longer be in operation and must be taken back to the shop. When a new train comes onto either one of the beams, we perform routine checks that are typical in opening procedures.

The unloaders generally receive the most curious guests as well, since the guests have just disembarked the trains and want to know more about them. We learn to maintain a friendly yet professional image while discussing monorail details, and the more we are on unload, the more we learn to communicate with guests in this way.

The last unloader of the operating day is responsible for closing the station and dropping power on both beams. This monorail operator is the last person at the Magic Kingdom monorail platform for the night and must complete a checklist to ensure that everything has properly been shut down and set up for the next day.

Overall, the unloader is responsible for both beams and all areas of the Magic Kingdom monorail platform. They must ensure that the cast and guests on both sides are doing well, and if not, proceed with extra safety precautions or courtesy measures. Since the unloaders are so crucial to the success of operations, coordinators and leaders often discuss matters with them first, and the information is then spread around. Unloaders often have around 3 minutes between unloading the Express and Resort sides. Therefore, there is enough time to communicate information between all monorail units and guests.

 

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