UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
iaintraynor
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:03 am

The prohibition notice may have been already been lifted. I believe satisfying the HSE that they have made modifications and changed protocol to prevent it happening again would not have been a difficult task.

Many lessons will have been learned from this terrible accident, not just by Merlin but by theme parks and coaster manufacturers all over the world. This was possibly an accident waiting to happen and it could have been on any ride at any park. We don't know the full facts but if a car can be manually released into a block when the PLC's have shut the ride down then it's down to protocol on when and how a car can be released, at the end of the day it's something that the system has to allow and reducing the chances of human error is maybe the only way to allow it. I believe what some of you have already observed that the installation of the new electrical panel is a spring return keyswitch that will only allow the manual release element to work at the control room if someone has visually confirmed there is no obstruction in the block and they are physically holding the keyswitch on. There maybe have been multiple keyswitches installed at different block points around the ride.

The current testing could be due to engineers making improvements to try and eliminate or reduce the chance of any future stall issues as there simply cannot be a stall after the ride reopens as the press and public will be all over it. I imagine they will keep making changes and testing until they get this right, this could take months.

Anyway here's hoping it reopens soon as I've only been to the Towers once (in august) and would have loved to been able to experience The Smiler. Planning on going back in October so fingers crossed.
 
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tallicay2k
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 7:01 am

Andy Mc wrote:
tallicay2k wrote:
I still don't believe people are staying away from towers DUE to the incident like these newspapers are saying. They are merely waiting for the rollercoaster to reopen.


I hope that isn't the case as that would be highly worrying for Alton Towers, if people are staying away due to one attraction out of a whole lineup not open what does that say about the rest of the park?


It's still a pretty new coaster, only 2 years old. Yes people come to enjoy their day and go on other rides but the smiler still/will draw in the crowds.
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NemesisRider
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 8:16 am

Andy Mc wrote:
I hope that isn't the case as that would be highly worrying for Alton Towers, if people are staying away due to one attraction out of a whole lineup not open what does that say about the rest of the park?

Unfortunately Andy, the General Public often need the shiniest new attraction to draw them in. For example, Nemesis which is regarded as better or on par with The Smiler by many enthusiasts gets incredibly short queues and The Smiler got an hour plus queues even this year. Whilst you could argue this is as Nemesis is located at the back of the park and is a throughput machine, look at Air. Air general attracts queues more, I've seen Nemesis be on 0 minutes queue and Air on 30 minutes at the same time.

As The Smiler is very much still their big shiny new thrill ride I reckon it's reopening will draw people back in.
 
thi3teenloverboy14
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 9:03 am

Could we see more spacing between the trains now so. Train is only dispatched once its just about to peak the V lift giving it time to get back to the brakes before the train that just go dispatched to get to the top of the lift hill so even if a roll back did occur after the V lift they could stop it on the first lift for extra precaution. Only thing is that this could cause longer loading times if they did this,I remember doing it on the Ride Sims simulator and the wait times were quite long haha [emoji52][emoji52][emoji52]


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stealthsmiler
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 10:11 am

tallicay2k wrote:
Andy Mc wrote:
tallicay2k wrote:
I still don't believe people are staying away from towers DUE to the incident like these newspapers are saying. They are merely waiting for the rollercoaster to reopen.


I hope that isn't the case as that would be highly worrying for Alton Towers, if people are staying away due to one attraction out of a whole lineup not open what does that say about the rest of the park?


It's still a pretty new coaster, only 2 years old. Yes people come to enjoy their day and go on other rides but the smiler still/will draw in the crowds.


I am in that crowd. As I dont have a MAP this year and have been so many times before, I'm not willing to pay to enter without the Smiler as that IMO is the best ride there, I'd prefer to go to other parks with full line ups, that I haven't been too as much for example I have done BPB a few times this year and I am doing Thorpe Park Fright Nights. I would rather wait for the ride to reopen and visit then (along with the enhanced Air and roller coaster restaurant).I do however want to visit Alton for Scarefest as it is getting its revamp.
 
Aidan Lowe
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:37 pm

Newer doesn't always mean better :) Each to their own I guess. As long as figures return.
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Ryan.B
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 12:49 pm

The GP think every new coaster is the best. Oh well, leaves no queue on nemesis :lol
 
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tallicay2k
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:09 pm

Andy Mc wrote:
Newer doesn't always mean better :) Each to their own I guess. As long as figures return.


No I totally agree, a vast majority still think nemesis is better. What I'm saying is tho the smiler is the latest world first coaster in towers that is unfortunately closed until further notice so people won't fork out £50 with the main crowd grabber closed.
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Aidan Lowe
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 1:15 pm

tallicay2k wrote:
people won't fork out £50 with the main crowd grabber closed.


I laugh at those people. There are so many free sun tickets, 2-4-1s or MAP discounts from a friend to be had. If they pay £50 more fool them :)

Anyway looks like Smiler has had some tlc in recent days with someone starting to paint a support as seen from a TowersStreet post here.

And still testing on what's a pretty busy saturday (considering recent weeks) https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=3&v=oYoclkndxo4
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Adam.W
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:07 pm

The track in that picture looks awfully rusty :-s
Also, do the supports really need painting? Or is it to do with some other thing
 
stealthsmiler
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:11 pm

Andy Mc wrote:
tallicay2k wrote:
people won't fork out £50 with the main crowd grabber closed.


I laugh at those people. There are so many free sun tickets, 2-4-1s or MAP discounts from a friend to be had. If they pay £50 more fool them :)

Anyway looks like Smiler has had some tlc in recent days with someone starting to paint a support as seen from a TowersStreet post here.

And still testing on what's a pretty busy saturday (considering recent weeks) https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=3&v=oYoclkndxo4


There isn't just the entry fee, which when there is a group/family can add up. There is also travel, for a lot of people this can be expensive if they travel long distances. Accommodation if its too far for a day trip. Food and drink on site which isnt cheap plus any other extras like the shops and fast tracks. Alton Towers is an expensive day out when you pay to get in as those people usually will visit once or twice throughout the year, therefore will spend the money on making it special. With their star attraction and one of the biggest in the ride line up, people aren't going to want to spend the cash. This is where having few thrilling flats comes back at them as there is little to support the thrill line up after the coasters which for most, they have ridden plenty of times before. The GP want the new rides as for them a coaster is exactly what it is, just a coaster. They wont go on Nemesis because its Nemesis and loved by enthusiasts like it is. They will ride it, enjoy it and then carry on as normal knowing they've already done the ride so want something new to pull them back. Then there is the ride break downs also resulting in other rides being closed on the visit. TBH IMO the price tag is what puts most people off. Even with the BOGOFS, they could be cheaper.

Also although people are fearing the safety of The Smiler, the staff could easily be at fault and therefore, people may fear all the rides there if the staff are inadequately trained. Alton Towers will just have to ride the storm until most move on and forget. A new ride and more safe years and people will move on.
 
Aidan Lowe
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:28 pm

Adam.W wrote:
The track in that picture looks awfully rusty.


Clearly been a while since you've been on the ride despite the closure? It looked as bad as that the start of the new season, when aerial pics were taken during closed season it looked like it'd stood their for a longer period.

@stealthsmiler although I understand your view, most people on a visit only manage a single ride on The Smiler due to lengthy queues. Alton Towers is as expensive as you make it imo. You can split petrol costs, take your own food & drink, plan to go on a quiet day for maximum re-rides to avoid fast track purchases. I don't agree pricing is the main put off, the park was healthy before June 2nd to the point I made use of my fast track perk, nowadays I just join the main queue lines.
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stealthsmiler
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 3:37 pm

Andy Mc wrote:
@stealthsmiler although I understand your view, most people on a visit only manage a single ride on The Smiler due to lengthy queues. Alton Towers is as expensive as you make it imo. You can split petrol costs, take your own food & drink, plan to go on a quiet day for maximum re-rides to avoid fast track purchases. I don't agree pricing is the main put off, the park was healthy before June 2nd.


I understand what your saying. I do Alton fairly cheap. When I said about price being the biggest put off I meant more in general. The Towers numbers had already dropped compared to previous seasons and The Smiler opening failed to increase this number (although I see it as it prevented them from falling further). Obviously after the incident became a major put off and combined with the increased prices wouldn't help.
 
Aidan Lowe
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 4:25 pm

Video taken today from near the smiler game stand, loooooook at how slow this thing is. Something needs to be done regarding that inversion.

Source: BlueSonicHD at TowersStreet
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1&v=rUc3l1QB3Jg
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Dan
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:28 pm

Andy Mc wrote:
Video taken today from near the smiler game stand, loooooook at how slow this thing is. Something needs to be done regarding that inversion.

Source: BlueSonicHD at TowersStreet
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1&v=rUc3l1QB3Jg


If I remember rightly, that's the normal speed at which it takes the second half of the batwing.

It may not be flying through it but I wouldn't say it's struggling to complete the circuit either (I actually quite enjoy that inversion as it gives some half decent hangtime)

What we have to remember is that with the exception of the day of the crash, The Smiler hadn't stalled for the best part of two years. I think it's fairly obvious that a number of factors contributed to the stall on the 2nd June, and if the car had been full of guests it wouldn't have stalled.

The stalling isn't what they need to solve :)
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Aidan Lowe
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:40 pm

Fair point, how do you think this will be handled in future? When its inevitably re-opened and they are required to send trains around empty for whatever stoppage, do you feel they will indeed be empty or will be required to have dummies in? As if it stalls ever again I'm sure they're will be panic/hysteria from guests.

Also something which I didn't see them testing myself is they lowered a train down the v-lift today with the second train at the base on the brake run.

[Volume Warning]: someone flew over AT today and here's a short video from above of smiler trains going around. Also if you stop the video you get a nice aerial view of the shipping containers by the towers for Scarefest.
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Dan
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:50 pm

Andy Mc wrote:
Fair point, how do you think this will be handled in future? When its inevitably re-opened and they are required to send trains around empty for whatever stoppage, do you feel they will indeed be empty or will be required to have dummies in? As if it stalls ever again I'm sure they're will be panic/hysteria from guests.

Also something which I didn't see them testing myself is they lowered a train down the v-lift today with the second train at the base on the brake run.


I think the biggest factor behind the stall was the wind speed, as we were seeing empty trains complete the circuit with no issues.

However I think going forward that whenever they have to send a new train round without guests they'll load it with water dummies (trains that are already consistently being sent round should be ok to go round empty as they will have already warmed up)

I also imagine that when The Smiler does re-open, the maximum wind speed that it is permitted to operate in will be lowered, just to even greater reduce the chances of a stall.
 
xylyx
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 9:28 pm

That may well be one of the ultimate solutions: a tangible wind speed that shuts it down. I remember the wind on the 2nd of June being ridiculous, however it had been like that for a few days.

I just love seeing it in action, am I alone in remembering the feeling of every inversion and bunny hill? The weirdness of the vertical lift? Just watching it brings it all back.
 
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Dan
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 10:22 pm

Andy Mc wrote:
Video taken today from near the smiler game stand, loooooook at how slow this thing is. Something needs to be done regarding that inversion.

Source: BlueSonicHD at TowersStreet
https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1&v=rUc3l1QB3Jg


In another possible nod to the re-opening of the ride in the not too distant future, in the above video you can clearly see the "Danger of Death" signs that have recently been added around the rest of the coasters in the park have now been added to the perimeter fence around The Smiler.
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Re: The Smiler Incident 02/06/15

Sat Sep 19, 2015 10:40 pm

xylyx wrote:
I just love seeing it in action, am I alone in remembering the feeling of every inversion and bunny hill? The weirdness of the vertical lift? Just watching it brings it all back.

I love seeing it running. Only been on it 5 times but it brings back that memory of standing underneath it looking up in disbelief as that sinister beat thumped into my brain.

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