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Everything posted by T-Dawg

  1. Oh hold on... that's interesting and something I never realised, new information... after the train on the lift hill stopped there was an announcement saying they were going to be evacuated? So clearly the operators were aware of the stalled train... (as I'd kind of hope they would be actually, especially after a 20 minute hold) That really changes the context of the accident for me, the fact that the operators/engineers were fully aware of the stalled car and intended to bring the lift-hill car back down (after evacuating first I presume) but something happened after those 20 minutes to make the car accidentally go forward off the lift hill against the operators/engineers intentions?! Must admit I'm a little more confused now, I don't understand how that's possible from an operations point of view, it's not exactly easy to over-ride the safeties and push the car into an occupied block, it's a properly concious effort sequence, not just a single "oops, wrong button". I would presume the normal procedure in this situation would be to isolate the whole ride and make it safe, evacuate folks down the lift hill steps, then maintenance mode and reverse the lift-hill car down and then somehow pull the stalled car through/off (crane I guess)
  2. Yeah I find it quite strange that the park is staying closed too, especially since their other parks are open with the exception of the very few rides previously mentioned. The only two possible scenarios I would assume are either something systemically wrong at AT (I'd be surprised) or some sort of PR damage limitation, which I'm not sure I get the logic of... Either way, they're losing so much money that I'm sure it's a decision they must have spent ages going through the options on, so I'd assume they must have a solid reason behind closed doors
  3. Yeah I suspect that will be the protuding bump stop from the back of the car in front piling into (or really being piled into by) the middle of the car behind... I did have a worry that might happen - really not designed for high speed impacts at all So actually, the little bump stop possibly made the accident worse by focussing the energy on that single point and caving the bar in, rather than if it was flat and spread the energy over a large surface area (could've still reduced the energy slightly being made of rubber though). Hrm...
  4. I hope this doesn't make me sound like a horrible person, but if I saw a stalled car on a coaster, I don't think I would tell a member of staff as I would assume that they would be aware of the situation and working to fix it... and I certainly wouldn't think that the ride could be dispatched and then crash. No I'd understand that, not a horrible thing at all, you'd certainly be completely reasonable to expect them to be aware and fixing it, and I'd certainly expect to be told "yeah we know how it works thanks" if I mentioned it, I'd just be paranoid with the second car lurking on the lift hill (even more so now!). Must've been a heart sinking moment when people saw it move forward I'm a huge fan of lap bars on big rides (always love riding Shambhala at Port Adventura and Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure), but having ridden Smiler countless times - I don't think I'd be particularly comfortable riding it with lap bars with the inversion forces it's got, even before the crash. Like other people mentioned, if they had lap bars on when this crash happened the injuries would've been even more brutal. When I've ridden Smiler with non-coaster enthusiast friends they've always held on to the restraints for dear life even with the over-shoulders and me shouting "Hands up! Whooo!" and not holding on at all, don't think GP would take lap bars as an improvement on this particular ride
  5. That's interesting (and very believable!). I know I'd be trying to tell a member of staff if I saw it. The problem with Smiler (and probably the only thing I absolutely hate about it, other than the queue speaker volume!) is the massively claustrophobic full-enclosed cages they hold you in down in the pit (fire-escape nightmare!) for the queue - hence why all the bystander mobile phone videos are shot through a cage. I've never known any other coaster queue to be quite so restricted for such a long distance. The fact that everyone within 15 minute queue-time of the staff at the station can't see the track at all, and everyone held in the cages who can see the track is nowhere near the station to be able to tell station staff and can't move means zero feedback in an emergency like this. The closest chance you have of telling staff, like you mention, is telling the line entrance staff right at the top of the pit before you descend into the cage. And I expect the line entrance staff, if informed, probably assumed the operators knew all about it and didn't need telling (especially if they saw the second car being held). Or had no way of reliably feeding back to the station staff (although I vaguely remember them having radios though, I'd assume they do, only take 30 seconds to check the operator is aware I would've thought) All ties into the long chain of events and process failures that allow something like this this to happen, which HSE will painstakingly sift through. Complex crash events like these in controlled environments rarely allow for a single mistake to cause such a big consequence. I (bizarrely) enjoy reading through air crash investigation reports and some of the chains of events and errors by highly qualified people are scarcely believable sometimes, but hindsight is always a wonderful thing...
  6. Interesting that HSE specifically called out the fact that they are handing overall park control back to Merlin/AT, so the ball is now in their court, that pre-emptively answers that question! The prohibition notice on the Smiler is of course not surprising at all, I expect AT will just close off X-Sector when they re-open to avoid people trying to dig around, the footfall loss to Enterprise and Oblivion will be fairly minimal, plenty of other things to go for (personally I'd happily just ride Nemesis and Air all day, my last few visits I usually just rode Smiler a couple of times in the morning pre-opening before the massive crowds arrived then went off to other coasters for the rest of the day, there's enough capacity) Also, with taking the carriages back to the lab, I can only assume that is looking at the crash-worthyness of them, which I still maintain (having ridden, looked at the crash pictures and re-looked at pictures of the trains when they were first loaded onto the tracks) isn't particularly great, but I suppose there's always going to be a reasonable limit with coaster trains which are surrounded by control systems designed to keep them far apart
  7. I'd suggest it extends to both human operation and computer workflows, HSE will look at both in concert as is typical for control systems, i.e. a combination of the human procedure and the series of over-rides that made this possible. But yeah, to me fundamentally indicates human error, as everyone here and in the press (at least people who the press found who know how coasters work, not that many it seems!) have maintained, the control systems under any normal passenger operating modes simply wouldn't allow this, even in a fault state, unless very deliberately overridden Ahhhh, interesting! Certainly explains that
  8. Having been stuck on the Smiler lift hill before (not for an extended period granted) - looking behind to the rest of the track from the lift hill is pretty difficult, I couldn't manage, the restraints are too tight, unless you do an Exorcist. If you've got 15 minutes on your hands up there though you might be a bit more inclined to try harder to look and see what's going on. And the station is completely enclosed for about 15 minutes queue-time before you get to the gates, so I can't imagine you'd see it from the station To be honest... thinking back to when I last rode it, it's so fast paced and with so many things going on visually and physically, I really struggle to think I'd see the empty carriage where it was until moments before going into it. The coaster is really densely packed into the pit with black (and some yellow) everywhere. Actually... that's a point, having another think, I seem to remember there being trim brakes on a little bunny hop hill just before the batwing, around about here (circled in red, original SW7 plans): Am I imagining that or are they indeed there? You can see them at 1:13 on - but I can't quite make out if they're trim brakes or just sensors... I can see what I think look like brake fins. Not sure if they're static or movable but if movable I'd be curious to know if they were deployed and if that helped reduce the speed and the impact... Ahhhh no (although SAW just needs to be closed in general TBH - me and my wife agreed on that yesterday, if you need to give out headache pills in the gift shop then you probably know how the quality of the ride is) I'm trying to think what the link is between these coasters? it's obviously not Gerstlauer
  9. Thanks very much for taking the time to write out that detailed explanation, it's fascinating. I've always had a good inferred understanding of rollercoaster design (having some industrial process control background and watching a LOT of rollercoasters work) but it's great to understand from an operator and maintainers perspective how the various processes are regimented and (supposed to be) followed Thanks again!
  10. The time for the ambulance to get there isn't too surprising for me... the nearest hospital (St Jude) is about 35 minutes away for a normal road journey just to the front gate, assuming that's where the ambulance was dispatched from. And I've known road journeys to Alton Towers to vary massively (we got delayed by, of all things, a cow on the road that had escaped from the Alton Towers land on our last trip! The security staff had a good laugh with us as we helped them find it) The delay in calling the ambulance and (importantly in this instance) calling the fire brigade seems a little long to me on paper... but it's always hard to know how situations like these pan out without actually being caught in the situation, I'm sure everything felt like it was happening at a million miles an hour for those involved
  11. Don't hold your breath, I would not be surprised if the ride remains closed for the entire season. The thought hadn't even crossed my mind, but now that you mention it... potentially very valid point
  12. Haha, of course There's petitions for everything ever to be shut down here, some of them are just mind boggling I'm assuming (hoping!) common sense will prevail here, particularly once the investigation is complete and further details are known. Alton Towers would never in a million years willingly shut down their flagship £18 million ride 2 years after opening, that'd be a company-changing write-down. And I'm sure issues identified in the investigation will ultimately be fixable without requiring a tear-down/rebuild, it's not as if the coaster itself is fundamentally flawed I've been seeing a lot of people separately saying they still have confidence in Alton Towers and would still happily ride Smiler (I still plan on riding it again this summer too), at least they appreciate the incredibly rare nature of the accident and the fact that both Merlin and HSE would never allow any chance of this happening again
  13. Looks like HSE have followed up yesterday with a slightly more detailed press release: http://press.hse.gov.uk/2015/statement-hses-investigation-into-the-incident-at-alton-towers/ Interesting they are looking at the control systems, maybe it isn't 100% clear cut human error. Or entirely possibly it's just standard practice to eliminate any doubt of the control systems
  14. I think talking about the the yellow rubber tube-like bump-stop on the bottom of the rear of the train. Agreed it is primarily designed for low-speed bumps (particularly when shunting or in the station I assume) but I guess every little helps in any impact
  15. I was shocked when I read this on the news too... it sounds like the HSE are pretty unhappy about something, I fully expect it is them who are insisting the park stay closed while they carry on their work Alton Towers/Merlin seemed to initially suggest that they would just keep the X-Sector closed while the investigation went on (i.e. Smiler, Enterprise (rarely seen anyone on that anyway) and Oblivion (no massive loss of footfall)), but I guess HSE have found something more deeply concerning. X-Sector is certainly far enough away in the park that they could stop looky-loos from getting close and taking pictures from the rest of the park. All ties back to likely human error, I know it's still speculation but certainly all the signs (especially the second train being held for a considerable period of time at the top of the first lift hill before being released) seem to point that way. Hopefully this puts the precedence on HSE to get to the bottom of this rapidly. I know I'd want to know what happened and how they're preventing it from happening again in their processes before my next visit
  16. You've been reading the articles, right? And seen the pictures of the underfloor of the front row? First off, no need to be obnoxious on our forums. Secondly, Yin does not speak English as his first language and I'm damn sure his English is better than your Chinese. And finally, what Yin meant was actually killing the riders. A crush impact that would have crumpled or folded the train killing the riders in the process. I found it easy to understand what Yin meant so I highly doubt it should have been that difficult for others. Or did you just feel the need to register for the forum to "correct" someone? Apologies, no obnoxiousness intended, I'm Scottish - we sometimes tend to have a bit of an abrasive tone by default His English is infinitely better than my Mandarin for sure Agreed though (on re-reading!) - at least they weren't completely crushed and the car mostly held together, I'm just surprised how much deflection there was though. But again - I do get that these cars aren't designed like road cars for large impacts and I know from riding Smiler that leg space is a little on the tight side, so there's not much crumple zone to play with before it's your legs. It certainly feels fast at the bottom of the batwing (no idea on the actual speed) so I sure wouldn't have wanted to have seen that empty car on my way round, can just imagine how horrible it would've been
  17. You've been reading the articles, right? And seen the pictures of the underfloor of the front row? Those in the front row suffered severe crush injuries with one teenage girl reported to have had her leg amputated. I get there's limitations on how much energy absorption you can realistically expect to put in a coaster car, given the amount of systems in place to stop two cars ever being near each other at speed, but I wouldn't exactly call that a brilliant crash structure
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