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Full Version: Alton Tower's Smiler Crashes
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I wasn't sure where to post this so this thread seemed the most logical choice.

Alton Towers' Smiler rollercoaster carriages collide with 16 people on board
Holy moly! That must have been terrifying.
Noone is going to buy a Gerstlauer coaster again. They keep screwing up. I don't understand how the blocks let a full train into a block that another train hadn't cleared. I can't imagine being trapped in the train with your legs broken like that.
They keep screwing up? The only other coaster they have been involved with in an accident I can think of off hand is Texas Giant, and they aren't even remotely at fault for that. That was purely an operational failure there.

People have died on Intamins for years, and somehow parks still purchase those. Even when Intamin states publicly theres an acceptable number of accidents.

This is a shame, I'm curious to see how blocking systems were violated or broken and the PLC or the ride ops running the ride did not prevent this from happening. Thoughts go out to all those affected.
Sorry to double post:

4 serious, non life threatening injuries. 16 on the train total. Park open tomorrow minus the area this ride is in. Full investigation pending
This is dreadful. I'm praying that everyone ends up okay.

Alton Towers will now be closed tomorrow. According to the park's website:
Quote:The decision has been taken that Alton Towers theme park will not open tomorrow Wednesday 3rd June following the dreadful incident on The Smiler today. All guests with pre-booked tickets, or those who arrive at the theme park, will have the choice of either having their tickets revalidated for an alternative date or a full refund. We will be posting regular updates on the theme park closure on both our website and social media channels.

Footage of just after the crash:

YouTube Link

The real question, though, is how did this happen? It's bizarre enough for the first train to valley at the bottom of the hill, but even more bizarre for the second train to be allowed on the same block as the first train. Something clearly went very wrong here.
This truly is a tragic accident and I pray for the riders onboard. I always have felt that Smiler was pushing it too far and it has had a few accidents before hand. After the amount of accidents that's have concurred Alton Towers should seriously consider removing this from the park. Accidents such as this should not be happening in this day and age with technology advancing everyday. Safety should always be the #1 priority. An investegation has been going on since a little after the accident and the CEO of Merlin is on site.
As much as this ride has always been something that I wanted to ride, I fear it is too late. I think that it will be removed, or at least greatly altered. Here is why:

1. It has had mechanical issues since opening, the vertical lift breaks down often and it has a lot of downtime.

2. When the coaster is empty, it often comes very close to stalling in several inversions.
right at 40 seconds:

YouTube Link

It has valleyed in the same spot before and they had to disassemble the train to recover it. I don't understand how that passes by any standard for ride design, especially on a non launched coaster. Could they really not just lower the inversion a few feet or raise the lift? Either way this is one of the fundamental problems with the ride.

3. Something stinks. This is the third incident that indicates poor craftsmanship or maintenance. Before this guide wheels had fallen off and a piece of track had fallen off(some places say it was a bolt, others seem to indicate one of the cross members came loose). There is something that isnt right about this ride. I don't know enough to put the blame on one party or the other, but at this point I think it is mostly manufacturer defect combined with poor decision making on the part of the park.

4.Lastly I am not sure where the blocks are, but assuming that brakes on the small bunny hop just before the offending element are just trims, the only prior block is the lift. To elaborate: This happened because a train was released from the lift while the track ahead was not clear. Most modern coasters are made to automatically stop trains from proceeding until they get the all clear(for you BGW fans watch how Apollo's blocks stop the third train hard at the first block automatically when there are 2 at the station already). While the ride ops could have something to do with this, in the modern day, there is no reason to leave the safety of your guests to some teen when you can hard code it into the ride's software. Had the ride been given such a safety lock, or had it been functioning properly, this would not have happened.

Perhaps they will alter the inversions to allow safer operations, but I don't see that as very likely. only time will tell...
I can (almost assuredly) guarantee that "Smiler" will never run again. Given the way the press functions in the UK, coupled with the low tolerance UK citizens have for any sort of perceived danger, Alton Towers will consider the ride tainted beyond redemption and probably won't chance reopening it.

I'm quite curious how an accident of this sort could possibly happen on a modern roller coaster. Best wishes to everyone involved.

But remember: it's still statistically much safer to ride roller coasters than to ride in automobiles. According to a National Safety Council report issued in January 2015, based on data from 357 fixed-site amusement venues in the United States, there were 0.9 injuries per million patron rides. According to a 2012 report by NHTSA, there were .000075 injuries for every vehicle mile traveled in the US. Comparing average automobile commute/travel data to average roller coaster ride data (based on time spent riding), it's about 85 times safer to ride a roller coaster than ride a car.
I doubt the park is going to flush 30 million due to what is most likely an op error using manual mode following a test run.
(06/03/15 02:23pm)TrevorBondi Wrote: [ -> ]I doubt the park is going to flush 30 million due to what is most likely an op error using manual mode following a test run.

You know this because?
(06/03/15 04:01pm)Zimmy Wrote: [ -> ]
(06/03/15 02:23pm)TrevorBondi Wrote: [ -> ]I doubt the park is going to flush 30 million due to what is most likely an op error using manual mode following a test run.

You know this because?
*most likely*

1.) There is no way a computer would allow two trains on one block.
2.) The report is that the train containing passengers was stuck on the lift before being allowed to proceed. Since it was stuck, this was most likely the computer stopping the train purposefully so as to not enter the next block, in which the empty train had valleyed. The only reasonable explanation as to why the train was allowed to continue off of the lift and into an occupied block is that it was in manual/maintenance mode, the "block occupied" warning was dismissed by an op/mechanic/whoever, and then the train proceeded into the batwing where the valleyed testing train was.
Unless of course the lift was activated inadvertently by another action such as a reset etc. Besides the facts that we have any speculation is really quite useless at this point. In time the truth will come out. Until then blaming any party is quite uncalled for, especially with the gravity of the situation.
I wasn't blaming anyone or trying to place blame at all. I'm saying that an argument for the removal of a ~30 Million dollar investment is severely misplaced.
At this point I think that that call is on the UK gov. If AT can keep it I think they absolutely will.
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