ZPi | Monorail Danger
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Lyle Zapato

Las Vegas Monorail Rains Tirey Death From Above

Lyle Zapato | 2004-09-03.4040 LMT

Monorail tracks
Seattle monorail tracks remain empty months after fire. Note scorch marks on pillars.

It happened again.

On Wednesday, the Las Vegas monorail system was shut down following an incident in which a 60-pound, 20-inch tire flew off a Star-Trek-themed train and crashed into the parking lot of Harrah's Casino. Against all odds, no one was killed, maimed, decapitated, or ended up flattened with cartoonish tire tracks running down their middle.

This is the second time since the opening of Vegas's monorail that monorailular debris has endangered the lives of elderly gamblers, drunks, and prostitutes: a drive shaft fell off a train back in January -- fortunately when they were testing the system, so no one was impaled. In another incident last month, a monorail worker mistakenly opened the doors on the wrong side of the train, exposing passengers to a precipitous and deadly fall. Even the most optimistic monorail apologist must admit that it's only a matter of time until Las Vegas sees mass casualties from their monorail of doom.

But this is all the norm with monorails, which are an inherently dangerous form of transportation. You may remember back in June I reported on the blazing inferno suffered by the monorail in Seattle, which is still closed for repairs. (I have since gone and examined the incident scene myself and can report that fire damage is still visible.) Unlike the safe and efficient Inteli-Tube Pneumatic Transportation System*, monorail systems place dangerous, rickety equipment high over people's heads, surrounded by ample and uncontrollable supplies of combustion-aiding oxygen, all the while hoping that passengers don't accidently step out the wrong side and go splat. How long can monorail proponents continue to gamble with people's lives?

* The ITPTS was developed by Lyle Zapato & ZPi Laboratories.

Lyle Zapato

The Monorail Vs. Pneumatic Inteli-Tube

Lyle Zapato | 2004-06-01.6010 LMT | Cascadia | Pneumatics
Typical monorail commute
(Fire enhanced by ZPi for dramatic effect.)

Yesterday, a Seattle monorail caught fire -- the blue one, to be precise. No one was seriously injured, but the incident only further highlights the inherent danger in monorailular transportation methods, that of spontaneous combustion.

Some in the Republic of Cascadia -- mostly Federalists -- are pushing to have our entire nation monorailized. However, in their irrational zeal to chase after some failed 1962 vision of the future, they are overlooking a much better and safer solution to our nation's transportation problems: the Inteli-Tube Pneumatic Transportation System.*

The ITPTS is immune to the sorts of uncontrollable fires that monorails experience. Because pneumatic tubes are designed to create pressure differentials to push the personal transportation pods through them, they can be easily depressurized in an emergency to quickly extinguish any fires. Let's just see the monorailists try and depressurize Seattle! Furthermore, instead of oxygenated air -- which acts as a fire accelerant and through which monorails have no choice but to travel -- pneumatic tubes can be pressurized with inert gasses such as argon to completely eliminate the chance of a fire starting. None of these safety benefits have any effect on commuter comfort since passengers are safely sealed in their pressurized pods.

How many more monorail fires do there need to be before Cascadians realize that monorails are dangerous and that pneumatic tube transportation systems offer us our only hope, for both the future and today? If you ask me, one is already too many.

* The ITPTS was developed by Lyle Zapato & ZPi Laboratories.