New Monorail Train Rolling in Friday

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From the OC Register:

ANAHEIM – What’s red, white and blue and glides through the air?

It’s not some superhero. It’s the new monorail opening to the public Friday at Disneyland.

The first new monorail car in two decades – called the Monorail Red or Mark VII – is expected to open to the public Friday morning.

“I think we’re always looking for ways to update and refresh classic attractions,” said Scot Drake, the monorail lead designer. “This is definitely an iconic attraction.”

The biggest change is the look of the train: The first electric cars have blue glass and red stripes that change color in the sunlight. The next two cars will be blue with purple glass and orange with blue glass.

Bench seats will face the windows, allowing visitors a full view of the parks, Downtown Disney and the Disneyland Hotel. The capacity and speed will remain the same.

The Monorail started in 1959 as part of Disneyland’s first expansion and the track was extended to the Disneyland Hotel in 1961 to a length of two and a half miles.

“For us, the monorail was an attraction in a family theme park. But for Walt (Disney), this was a teaching demonstration to solve a problem,” said Bob Gurr, Disney’s Monorail designer, about the attraction in 2004.

The current Monorail trains, called the Mark V design, debuted in 1987 with a fiberglass body, computer controls and 100 horsepower motors.

For three years, Disney Imagineers have been working on upgrades.