UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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Stan.H
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:41 pm

My theory is that it was travelling at about 45 mph and crashed the stationary train (moving 5 mph) to make a 50mph crash.
I think that 20mph is what the reporters (cough! Daily Mail Cough!) have made up.
 
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Evostance
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:42 pm

Ryan.B wrote:
If it was going 50mph by that inversion, the first train Would surely have made it through seeing as it's maximum speed is 52, so 20mph is much more likely. Also certain trains may get damaged worse than others.

It was extremely windy on Tuesday, especially up here. Add an empty train to that and you're asking for it.

I've seen some trains just make it round the bat wing, and then some trains hurtle through at speed without issue.

I imagine they are some form of trim and emergency brake. Looking at the videos though, the trains are rocking up to at least half way up the batwing. 20mph wouldn't get anywhere near that after the impact.

Once you add the impact to it, a 20mph crash would have done a lot less damage and the cart would have probably stopped fairly dead
 
PhoenixStudios
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:52 pm

I remember that when one of the trains stalled on the batwing element the first time, it was because a computer error had activated the trim brakes on the hill preceding it.

It doesn't seem unreasonable in the slightest to suggest that this happened for a second time, although one does wonder - if it was the cause of the empty train stalling - why it happened twice? But additionally, it's possible that it could just have been another computer error; these things happen.

I would like to reinforce that I'm not trying to speculate and guess what happened, just merely making educated guesses that would have some explanation behind them. I too would like to see what the investigation provides us with, rather than guess without evidence.

As a last point though, if the trim brakes were the reason behind the slow, then the car would have been going slower than the speed we see in POVs on the internet. This is why I don't doubt that the train was going 20mph.

I suppose coaster trains aren't built to deal with crashes, since they should never be on the same block in the first place, therefore the damage we see at the front of the train is possible (although that doesn't explain why the floor appeared to buckle, as you'd think that would be reinforced).
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TsungUK
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:55 pm

I thought it was strange that they sent around an empty car when in the past i've seen "test" cars go around with weighted dummies in them. If you go on in the morning this is why the path way is soaking wet near the station. I cannot comment on the response time, 11 minutes seems reasonable taken the size of the park. The emergancy services putting in a platform is nothing but impressive and I have a lot of respect for the services involved (couldn't of been easy for them either). Papers keep harking on about the time the full rescue took, but, it's important to do it right then rush it and cause another accident.

Still wait for the offical events of the day, but the speculation on here that a car got added and then "forgotton about" is one explaination that makes most sense at the moment (to me).
 
garfield3gs
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:56 pm

The incident has just had a small mention on watchdog on Bbc1. Just thought I would let you all know
 
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:58 pm

Just had a look at the Alton towers facebook page, and its full of comments such as will the park be open on XYZX date.
On the face of it it does appear to be crass, but when you factor in that some people have paid a lot in transport/travel and accommodation its understandable.

The longer its dragged out without any official news will only mean that the rumours will increase as will the speculation and poor reporting.

Hopefully the staff team who were working on the smiler at the time of the accident are being supported and looked after by their employers at Alton towers, they must be feeling pretty bad at the moment even if it turns out they were not in any way at fault.
 
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:08 pm

The park said the carriage carrying the people was travelling at 20mph when it crashed.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-32997703

The BBC aren't allowed to fabricate facts like that under their reporting guidelines. I can understand why you would take it as a pinch of salt if it were the Mirror or the Sun, but the BBC have a lot of integrity that they wouldn't throw away on reporting false facts like that.

There is of course the possibility that the Park have their facts wrong, but I think its hard to determine the speed of something just by looking at it. If you were in a car going 70mph around a bunch of other cars going 70mph, its going to feel like you're going a lot slower. If you were going 70mph down and empty rural road it would feel much faster. A ride is much like the empty rural road, with nothing around it to compare its speed to.
 
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Dan
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The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:21 pm

Jammydodger wrote:
The park said the carriage carrying the people was travelling at 20mph when it crashed.


Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-32997703

The BBC aren't allowed to fabricate facts like that under their reporting guidelines. I can understand why you would take it as a pinch of salt if it were the Mirror or the Sun, but the BBC have a lot of integrity that they wouldn't throw away on reporting false facts like that.

There is of course the possibility that the Park have their facts wrong, but I think its hard to determine the speed of something just by looking at it. If you were in a car going 70mph around a bunch of other cars going 70mph, its going to feel like you're going a lot slower. If you were going 70mph down and empty rural road it would feel much faster. A ride is much like the empty rural road, with nothing around it to compare its speed to.


Another member on here has created a very realistic version of The Smiler on No Limits 2, and according to that programme the ride would have been travelling at around 40mph at the point of impact.
Last edited by Dan on Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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JBragg1
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:21 pm

The train looked like it was traveling at over 20mph but what ever speed it was going there was a big drop and the trains weigh a lot and would cause damage to the frount what ever speed it was going.

Why have people said that the people were stuck on the lift hill for 10-15 minuets then they went and crashed. How would that have to do with adding trains
 
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:28 pm

Jammydodger wrote:
The park said the carriage carrying the people was travelling at 20mph when it crashed.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-32997703

The BBC aren't allowed to fabricate facts like that under their reporting guidelines. I can understand why you would take it as a pinch of salt if it were the Mirror or the Sun, but the BBC have a lot of integrity that they wouldn't throw away on reporting false facts like that.

There is of course the possibility that the Park have their facts wrong, but I think its hard to determine the speed of something just by looking at it. If you were in a car going 70mph around a bunch of other cars going 70mph, its going to feel like you're going a lot slower. If you were going 70mph down and empty rural road it would feel much faster. A ride is much like the empty rural road, with nothing around it to compare its speed to.

I should add that on BBC Midlands Today on Tuesday (West Midlands variant) the opening interview with Nick Varney stated that all guests had been evacuated from the ride. On the closing interview at the end of the programme he had to apologise that this information had been incorrect.
 
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:29 pm

JBragg1 wrote:
Why have people said that the people were stuck on the lift hill for 10-15 minuets then they went and crashed. How would that have to do with adding trains


Adding an extra train would mean the recently added one was on the break run. If the operator thought the previous empty one had completed the circuit and was still in maintenance / manual mode they may of thought that the one on the break run was that train, therefore sending the full one at the crest on its way through the block onto the stalled one.
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Kraken
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:08 pm

Go to www.merlinentertainments.biz & follow the Brands / Resort Theme Parks links... (& then follow the Alton Towers one) you are presented will all sorts of images of The Smiler.

Left hand does not know what the right hand is doing by the looks of it. These images should have been pulled a couple of days ago.
 
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:17 pm

Sorry if I mention anything posted before, however when I last checked this thread, it was three pages long, now 17!

I of course hope for a quick recovery of all those on board. One thing that I really feel bad for them for, is that after going over the lift hill, if they saw the other stalled train, they would have known it was coming - something which I think would be terrifying.

I've had so many people mention this too me as they know how much I love the park and have seen me wearing my Smiler hoody. What was scary is that me and my mates had planned on visiting the resort that day however two of them couldn't get hold of the money in time.

I personally don't want to state what I think caused it but I change my mind a lot. Either way it will have a negative impact on Merlin. If it is a ride ops fault then their whole training scheme will have to be investigated and the park shouldn't be reopened until all staff are retrained. This will have huge financial impacts of the resort and company. Also staff training at other parks such as TP will also need to be revised if it is similar. I wouldn't be surprised if all Merlin parks run their coasters at lower capacity due to this. If it is a technical fault then the park will be able to open again however they will have lost the star in their line up and could potentially face loosing it. Obviously they will also have to look into Saw - however this has been operating longer without an incident this big. It will also discourage many people from trusting the safety of not only the Smiler but other rides too. If it is a technical fault - I hope it is one isolated to the Smiler and that other Gersts are okay.

I think the Smiler will eventually re-open however possibly not the same. Maybe the track maybe changed (however if they do, I hope its redesigned well and not something simple and boring) or else completely new trains. I dont see the Smilers plot becoming a potential SW8 site.

As for SW8. Hopefully this will increase the chances of a B&M. ATR cant afford another unreliable coaster like The Smiler and need one that will run smoothly like Nemesis. Plus they need some positive attention on something to take the heat off the Smiler. I really hope they dont reduce the amount they spend of SW8 and actually increase it to have a more reliable coaster that still has a good layout. Theming might not be great though. There may also be the possibility of pushing back SW8 to try to make up for some lost profits.
 
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:22 pm

Kraken wrote:
Go to http://www.merlinentertainments.biz & follow the Brands / Resort Theme Parks links... (& then follow the Alton Towers one) you are presented will all sorts of images of The Smiler.

Left hand does not know what the right hand is doing by the looks of it. These images should have been pulled a couple of days ago.


altontowers.com website and their social media still has images of the smiler on them too the profile picture which had smiler branding on was changed on social media but smiler images are still there
 
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:37 pm

There is no way Merlin can just remove the Smiler from being shown. It doesnt seem logical. You dont see airlines hide pictures of planes when one crashes or Cars being hideen after a road accident. The fact that these type of accidents are rare is what is drawing the media too it.
 
demc7
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:44 pm

Another new user here, haven't posted on an AT forum since the old Towers Almanac days. But I want to add some more speculation so here goes:

Let's ignore the crashed train for a moment and consider the severity of the valleying of the first train. That was a major incident in its own right. A roller coaster valleying during normal use is massive. It happened in 2013, and again on Tuesday - it's a freak incident. Think of it this way - to get the train out of the valley, the ride would be closed for a week, cranes would be required to hoist the train inch by inch out of the element. This was massive. Nobody in the queue line was going to get a ride that day.

Then 10 minutes later... TEN MINUTES... another train was sent forward. I'm struggling to believe that for ten entire minutes, no staff member noticed the valleying of the first train. For such a rare, major occurrence, for the biggest Smiler issue that year (up until that point at least), did nobody really notice for ten whole minutes? A stuck train in the middle of an element would have been so noticeable. Maintenance teams were all over the ride at the time, alarm bells would have rung, the block tripped, plus I assume with certainty that at least somewhere in the control room is a CCTV showing the circuit. It would only take one staff member a millisecond glance to notice something so extraordinary as a train stuck in the element.

Basically, the more I consider the valleying on its own, the more I incredulous I find it that nobody noticed, and therefore, the more convinced I'm becoming that the staff knew about it! In my opinion the staff absolutely knew that the train had valleyed!

Which makes the fact that a short while later, another train was sent into the circuit, all the more terrifying.
 
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 10:55 pm

Just a small input re the speed of the car at the time of the crash.
A good few years ago now my partner was knocked off his motorbike. He was travelling at 25mph at the time. Wearing full safety gear, he almost lost one leg, has lost the muscle in his lower left leg (so cant move the foot) and is still having problems with the right leg they almost had to amputate. With this in mind, I can see how the passengers on the ride would have sustained serious injuries even if travelling at only 20mph. They had no safety clothes on etc, just impact.
 
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Lotty
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:00 pm

Just out of curiousity, what benefit is it to remove all smiler pictures ect?

If they remove all things related to the ride they are only giving the impression it's a dirty little secret when it's not.

I feel terrible about what's happened and it really is tragic, I hope the injured make a speedy recovery but as a roller coaster enthusiast, I still put my 100% Faith in them. The media is frightening the public more than necessary. Next thing you'd think everyone was going join in with a old fashioned book burning but instead with smiler merchandise.

I'm sorry but everyone needs to stop getting on their high horses and either wait for the report or start being the enthusiasts you all claim to be.
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Evostance
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:05 pm

It's not so much the damage done from the impact, as we all now it's been extremely bad.

I think a number of good points raised here have been:

- Why did the test cart fail? This should not have happened at all, and this in itself would have been enough to close X-Sector, and no doubt have the ride re-evaluated again

- If the reports of the cart travelling at 20mph are true, why was it only going 20mph? Did the trim brakes activate incorrectly on the test cart, and then again on the full cart?

- Reports state the full cart was on the lift for 10 minutes. Why did it start up again, as the fail safe should have prevented this, regardless if the staff knew?

Personally, I think the discussion of whether or not AT did the right thing with emergency services etc is not for discussion. As stated in the ambulance reports, by the time they arrived, staff were still erecting the platform, so timing is irrelevant.
All emergency services, and AT staff did their job, and getting 16 people out of a crushed/locked cart in 4.5 hours is excellent work.

Regardless of the outcome, it isn't going to be positive either way, I don't imagine The Smiler will be open again this year.
Human or Technical error, I imagine there will be some changes made across the board.

And as for people asking about images of The Smiler still being up, this was a 1 in 24 million, freak accident. These things happen, the outcome of the investigation will highlight areas for improvement, they'll be fixed and signed off, and The Smiler will reopen.
 
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:09 pm

Lotty wrote:
Just out of curiousity, what benefit is it to remove all smiler pictures ect?

If they remove all things related to the ride they are only giving the impression it's a dirty little secret when it's not.

I feel terrible about what's happened and it really is tragic, I hope the injured make a speedy recovery but as a roller coaster enthusiast, I still put my 100% Faith in them. The media is frightening the public more than necessary. Next thing you'd think everyone was going join in with a old fashioned book burning but instead with smiler merchandise.

I'm sorry but everyone needs to stop getting on their high horses and either wait for the report or start being the enthusiasts you all claim to be.


I don't think anyone is getting on a high horse. It's more to do with respecting those involved. The ride has had a serious incident which has left some with 'life changing' injuries. It would be tasteless to unnecessarily bombard the visiting public who will be well aware of the incident with images of the ride and its branding.

I think the rides specific theme and brand is also a major part in the desire to remove this from public view, 'Get Corrected' - 'Smile Always' and similar take on a somewhat more sinister and negative connotation at the moment.
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