UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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TheBeast
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:18 am

Think about it, that is exactly what the media is saying, isnt it? People these days believe anything they see on their tvs... its rly unfortunate because there were several coincidences that caused this, its astronomically rare to have the same circumstances to have a crash like this, I would go as far to say it was literally nobody's fault because it was just extremely bad luck. I guess we know better than the people who are only seeing the media's view, as we know more than most about rollercoasters. I guessmaybe that means lower queues if/when it re-opens...?

I disagree with your final statement here Bengutt

bengutt wrote:
Because of the flaw in the car design this crash has been very severe, it the design had been correct, we'd be looking at whiplash and bruising at worse.


Given, there seems to be more damage than there should have been for a crash at 20mph. However, there is no way that this model would even have been cleared for manufacture if it wasnt passing health and safety. There has been preservative measures taken on all rides to prevent these sorts of accidents being more severe. What measures do you think they could have taken to reduce the impact?
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bengutt
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:33 am

TheBeast wrote:
Given, there seems to be more damage than there should have been for a crash at 20mph. However, there is no way that this model would even have been cleared for manufacture if it wasnt passing health and safety. There has been preservative measures taken on all rides to prevent these sorts of accidents being more severe. What measures do you think they could have taken to reduce the impact?


The very severe injuries to the people on the front row were cased by the design allowing the front of the car to "fold in" on the riders. There was no measure that I can see from the images of the cars that offer any kind of protection from a collision at the speeds the coaster was doing. To make it worse it looks like the side of the ride is bolted on to the outside of the car when really it should have been bolted inside where it would give far more strength.

If the base had been reinforced, preventing the collapse of the structure, their injuries would have been similar to those riders behind them. Still nasty, but not life changing.

Modern cars have crumple zones to reduce the force of a crash, the design of the smilers cars has made the front row the crumple zone.

I'm shocked that this has happened to those people, who could have been any one of us. I hope they recover as best as possible.
 
Stellafella
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:48 am

As it supposed to be impossible for 2 trains to be in same block perhaps the crumple zone isnt stringently tested.
I would say that the fact they cant fall off the track and the restraints cant come open is the main points of the design.
If for example this happened on nemesis there is no crumple zone as your exposed.
Like i say perhaps the design takes into account that there a systems in place to not let trains come close to each other
 
Welsh_Tenor
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:59 am

Seems from the BBC report a few hours ago that we shouldn't expect the park open any time soon.... at least the rest of this week I guess!

Alton Towers will remain closed until the cause of a rollercoaster crash that left 16 people injured is discovered, the theme park's boss has said.

The Staffordshire attraction's gates are shut for a second day while the Health and Safety Executive investigates Tuesday's crash.


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-33002283
 
LaurenceColes
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:02 am

Given all roller coasters operate in block sections meaning that 2 trains can very be in the same section at once, something must have gone very wrong during this incident. The computer system and sensors are designed to run a fully automated ride which will almost run itself, I would imagine that there are no options to override the block section controls to allow a train through to the next section of track.

So... please don't shout at me for my early thoughts but....

It is unlikely to be an error of the operators part, as I think they only have "push to dispatch" buttons to control trains within the station. They all check that everyone is safe inside the train then all push the "Go" buttons which tells the computer system the train is ready to go, they themselves do not dispatch the train but the computer system controlling it will after it has checked sensors around the track to ensure the next block section (the one leading to the lift hill) is free from other trains.

So.... and again please don't shout at me, its only my opinion... I think that it maybe a system error of the ride itself, which my mean a design OR installation error. If so we could see this ride being closed for a long period of time while they check and redesign parts of the ride and / or system.

I'm not saying it is / isn't anyones faults, but I'm just offering my opinion as a engineer. This is a truly devastating incident for firstly the individuals on the ride and their families and also Alton Tower and the Merlin Group, and I with all those involved a speedy recovery. A very sad day for all.
 
bengutt
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:09 am

Stellafella wrote:
As it supposed to be impossible for 2 trains to be in same block perhaps the crumple zone isnt stringently tested.
I would say that the fact they cant fall off the track and the restraints cant come open is the main points of the design.
If for example this happened on nemesis there is no crumple zone as your exposed.
Like i say perhaps the design takes into account that there a systems in place to not let trains come close to each other


It's been a long time since I was last on it but with nemesis, doesn't the cars have wheels and structure protruding out beyond where the riders sit? They offer protection from crumpling and collisions.

Smiler has the support beam for the last row of seats that sit behind the last row of wheels.

You are probably right that the restraints and lack of ability to jump the track are the main points of the testing, but they should have covered the possibility of a collision. Even if the electronics say it was impossible, they can still fail.

I'm hoping that this very sad event can help build safer rides, even though rollercoasters are possibly the safest form of powered "transport" we go on.
 
LaurenceColes
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:16 am

Also in the event of the computer system failure or sensor failure.... As an engineer the first thing I'd design into the ride is a fully mechanical automatic braking system for all sections of track. Which for this ride is simple... remove the air supply holding the section block brakes open... so then with no supply all the block brake spring back to their closed position.... But surely this system is in place already... Or so you'd hope!!!
 
TsungUK
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:22 am

This incident is terrible and I hope those who were injured are given all the support necessary for them to recover from it. I expect Merlin Group / Alton Towers to do the right thing here, they can afford to do so.

As for the incident itself, on reflection there are aspects that bother me.

1. Clearly the cars are not designed with any protection from collision. Maybe roller-coasters have become too complacent assuming that two trains can never share the same section of track thus cars are not designed to offer any protection (hey it will never happen right?). I think this is wrong, cars on all roller-coaster should be design to allow some form of protection from a shunt (as this is the most likely thing to happen if safety / break systems fail).

2. Are operators really allowed to over-ride a safety feature? This to me should NEVER been allowed, maybe with one exception an over-ride key that should be stored away from the ride itself. Anything that disables or over-rides a safety feature should not be anywhere near the operator of the ride. If a ride has an emergency stop button, once hit, it shouldn't be restarted without a key stored elsewhere (park office). Yes it would be a PITA for the park, operator and guests, but safety should always be first.
(I don't know but I hope this is already the case at theme parks).

3. Camera's everywhere, and especially at key points, in-fact I think the operator should be able to see the entire track from their booth (air traffic control tower style). Car travel times through sections of track should be known. Maybe even operators have to green light every section before the car is released? seems a bit much.

Personally I cannot fathom how this accident occurred; hopefully H&S will get to the bottom of it. Hopefully they investigate everything; from possible faults to were the operators trained? was there pressure on them to keep the ride open? was safety comprised for the sake of throughput? This could easily be a management issue rather than an operator / technical issue.

Still, all speculation, until the full investigation is conducted. Until then, I wish all those involved / affected by this will make a full recovery.
 
100%goals&cash
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:57 am

Part of me feels maybe there was an air of arrogance from the manufacturer in maybe the scheme of thought that it is impossible for the cars to collide so therefore less thought was put into making them as safe as possible were they to collide. In my eyes the crush injuries sustained by the unlucky 4 people at the front should never be allowed to happen, we should instead today be talking about a few very bad cases of whiplash and a couple of new ride trains.


P.s. Had an account on here a while back some of you may remember but I've forgotten my login details
 
missingaa
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:04 am

First post, though a regular reader, but I'll come to that in a minute.

Firstly I want to say that I hope everyone involved recovers as quickly, and fully as is possible.

Secondly, I am a little embarrassed that something like this has finally led me to sign up, but I want to to raise something that after 13 pages hasn't been suggested yet.

Does this not look very similar to the Alton Mouse incident to anyone else? I'm not suggesting that there are no other possibilities, but it is most likely that an override of the block system one way or another has caused this accident (along with other contributing factors.)

Those that don't understand how this can happen only need to look to the Alton Mouse accident in the early 90's. A car valleyed, the operator restarted the system, thinking that the valleyed car would also restart (I know right?) the system lost the valleyed car and this allowed 2 cars to collide in the same block. The operator was found to have keys that they shouldn't have had, which allowed for the system reset.

Obviously, if an override of the block system of some sort is the cause, then the circumstances will be slightly different. For one thing, as mentioned above, I highly doubt a modern rollercoaster would run on auto, like the Alton Mouse did, without all cars accounted for (unless the system is told there are less cars than is actually so.) But there are still ways to override the block system, and I am confident that, one way or another, this will have been a factor.

If you look at past collisions on rollercoasters, this is very often a factor, so it's also the obvious answer.

The most important question is, if this does prove to be the case, how do they reduce the chances of this happening? Especially as this would by no means be the first time it has happened. And is a possibility on any rollercoaster.

IMO the technology exists to display to the op, and tech, exactly where every train is on the track, down to the MM, so I am surprised this is not utilised already. Blocks, work great as the main system, but I don't see why they don't utilise modern technology in order to add a separate system that knows exactly where each car is at any point in time, and overrides the block braking system if it detects an issue. In my mind I see this system preventing any op or tech input from overiding / resetting the block system when it detects that there could be a collision. There would be a full digital track layout displayed on the control panel, detailing every trains precise location, (not just the block.) so the op / tech would be able to see exactly where the problem trains are. It would show all trains at all times, including trains removed and not in use.

To be honest, I'm just rambling, and I apologise for that, but I just find it frustrating that people say things like "the block system should make it impossible for 2 trains to be on the same block at the same time." When in fact history proves, that this happens.
 
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Danny
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:40 am

According to this post from the Telegraph, bosses are considering scrapping The Smiler, oh media, why? :no:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... miler.html
 
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Dan
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The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:47 am

DannyG wrote:
According to this post from the Telegraph, bosses are considering scrapping The Smiler, oh media, why? :no:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... miler.html


All they have done there is twist Varney's words.

Yes the park will remain closed while they determine what caused the crash, but I don't for one second believe that they are "considering scrapping" The Smiler. They will identify the cause of the crash and take the appropriate measures to ensure it never happens again.
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:54 am

Dan.N wrote:
DannyG wrote:
According to this post from the Telegraph, bosses are considering scrapping The Smiler, oh media, why? :no:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/ ... miler.html


All they have done there is twist Varney's words.

Yes the park will remain closed while they determine what caused the crash, but I don't for one second believe that they are "considering scrapping" The Smiler. They will identify the cause of the crash and take the appropriate measures to ensure it never happens again.


I know that, of course they won't scrap it, but It just doesn't surprise me that the news is reporting it.
 
kavanagh21
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:10 am

I think the media reporting about this whole incident has been ridiculous full stop. In fact, in yet another national paper today I've seen an "info-graphic" that has got the events somewhat incorrect (although not as bizarre as the Daily Mail attempt).

Even to those with a passing interest, it should be obvious that they're not going to scrap a £18m ride because of an error, which likely features in it an element of human error. I would speculate that H&S are driving the park's current closure and are with AT investigating the potential for a similar type of human. This would also hint to why they're testing all rides; the only thing all these rides have in common is human operators/tech services.
 
hearnia
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:41 am

Hello,

I don't post much but does anyone think this will have an affect on SW8 regarding the councils decision if another massive ride should be built or if the roller-coaster that is built there would have worlds first safety systems that have not been used before?? ( not sure what that would be lol )
 
mark_h
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:43 am

Most options will be up for consideration until more details of the cause are known. Merlin would then have to work out the costs of correcting any faults in the ride, including the reliability issues, before deciding on the rides fate. Any settlement with Gerstlauer may have an effect.

A full scrapping is unlikely unless many other faults are found in the ride which when combined with the rides poor reputation, making it less of a customer draw, make it uneconomic to fix.

-------

The fact that there is a full closure until the cause has been found suggests that the HSE feel that there may be more systemic issues in the park regarding maintenance and operations. I wonder if they will widen their investigation into operations at other Merlin parks.
 
Aidan Lowe
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:43 am

hearnia wrote:
or if the roller-coaster that is built there would have worlds first safety systems that have not been used before?? ( not sure what that would be lol )


Thats a coaster where it runs empty and you stand on a viewing platform and watch it go around :D but yes I do feel SW8 will be affected by this, put on hold / delayed.
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:48 pm

The amount of people that want the smiler to be scrapped is unreal, something like this won't happen again it's safety systems will only be enhanced to prevent anything like this happening in the future. Engineers will go over the smiler looking at every aspect that could be wrong and changing it. After it does reopen there's no reason why anyone should avoid it, it's still completely safe and if Merlin make the correct changes there's nothing to worry about, the saying lightning doesn't strike twice comes to mind.
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Smiffy107
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 12:56 pm

Nathan_Fisher wrote:
The amount of people that want the smiler to be scrapped is unreal, something like this won't happen again it's safety systems will only be enhanced to prevent anything like this happening in the future. Engineers will go over the smiler looking at every aspect that could be wrong and changing it. After it does reopen there's no reason why anyone should avoid it, it's still completely safe and if Merlin make the correct changes there's nothing to worry about, the saying lightning doesn't strike twice comes to mind.


I've noticed that too, the park paid 18M for the coaster, they won't scrap the entire thing on account of this major incident, more than likely just improve safety measures within the ride itself, it makes me laugh that there are loads of people who have never ridden a coaster in their entire life are now jumping on the 'I won't ever ride a coaster now after this accident', bandwagon, they have no idea of how safe coasters actually can be. People are just jumping on the bandwagon because of the sensationalist media headlines and it saddens me :(
The woman asked 'spare a farthing for a beggar', the earl cruelly dismissed her, and instructed his driver to head back to the towers, scorned the old woman screamed the curse 'FOR EVERY BRANCH OF THE OLD OAK THAT FALLS, A MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY WILL DIE!'
 
humanshifter
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:05 pm

The people who want it scrapped don't seem to be doing that much other than making comments though... earlier I read that there was a petition to get it scrapped, figured if it made an online newspaper it must have been fairly big, then read the story.

It has/d 19 signatures.

(http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/al ... on-5820559)

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