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Alton Towers Discussion Thread


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Hi Rob, here is a POV. The point where the crash happened is around 1:25 in the video, between the 2 inversions on the batwing element.

I've seen the POV (we have one on our channel!) that doesn't actually tell me that much when you're not that familiar with the ride. I was hoping that someone who has been on the ride could tell me how fast it feels at the point of the impact and if that is one of the faster parts of the coaster. Thank you.

 

I have been on the ride, and yes it is one of the faster parts of the ride. The park are saying that the crash happened at around 20mph, but if the train was at normal speed then I would say it would have probably been a bit faster than that.

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Hi Rob, here is a POV. The point where the crash happened is around 1:25 in the video, between the 2 inversions on the batwing element.

I've seen the POV (we have one on our channel!) that doesn't actually tell me that much when you're not that familiar with the ride. I was hoping that someone who has been on the ride could tell me how fast it feels at the point of the impact and if that is one of the faster parts of the coaster. Thank you.

 

20mph according to this article: http://news.sky.com/story/1496002/alton-towers-crash-survivor-is-overwhelmed

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That really doesn't sound good for the park.

 

I'm so glad Gerstlauer Infinity trains are able to stand that strong of a crash without crumpling the riders at the first row or derailing. Given how fast it's going at the bottom of the bat wing (I'm guessing at least 45mph), it could've been much worse.

Edited by gerstlaueringvar
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That really doesn't sound good for the park.

 

I'm so glad Gerstlauer Infinity trains are able to stand that strong of a crash without squashing the riders at the first row or derailing. Given how fast it's going at the bottom of the bat wing (I'm guessing at least 45mph), it could've been much worse.

 

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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Anyone more familiar with the ride know if where it crashed is one of the more high speed moments of the ride?

It's a pretty big element, the speed will depend on the point of impact as well as the speed of both trains.

 

aaa.jpg.69b086cc6c40e26eafefe1bac4107af3.jpg

high speed: train 1 (red) rolling down from the element's exit, train 2 (yellow) coming down from the element's entry

 

bbb.jpg.0325a3e68cfc92a720a4a4113a6fe72d.jpg

mid speed: train 1 standing still at the bottom, train 2 crashes into it

 

ddd.jpg.bf278f70f6b40ddd4938e3a13db0468a.jpg

low speed: train 1 rolling back up towards the entry, train 2 hits it as its going down

 

ccc.jpg.9f5b29c84604e5a9984c08ba04191e99.jpg

very low speed: train 1 going up towards the exit, train 2 hits it as its going up as well

Edited by BDG
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That really doesn't sound good for the park.

 

I'm so glad Gerstlauer Infinity trains are able to stand that strong of a crash without squashing the riders at the first row or derailing. Given how fast it's going at the bottom of the bat wing (I'm guessing at least 45mph), it could've been much worse.

 

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?

Edited by robbalvey
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That really doesn't sound good for the park.

 

I'm so glad Gerstlauer Infinity trains are able to stand that strong of a crash without squashing the riders at the first row or derailing. Given how fast it's going at the bottom of the bat wing (I'm guessing at least 45mph), it could've been much worse.

 

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

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Looks like the park will continue to stay closed while the investigation continues.

Wow. Has there been any other incident in the past that has kept an entire park closed for three days?

Edited by robbalvey
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This is getting worse every time a take a look at the thread. Lost of limbs? Human failure? Park still closed.

But I understood one of the four is home now, right?

This isn't looking good at all.

 

Just interesting to see the park walking away from this much money for a incident, Like I said earlier I understand the ride and even the area needs to close but the whole park.

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Has there been any other incident in the past that has kept an entire park closed for three days?

 

Good question. Was Expoland in Japan shut down for an extended period after the fatal Fujin Raijin coaster accident in 2007?

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Someone said that The Smiler trains don't have bumpers on the front and on the back of the trains, but they do:

They sure aren't made for the high speed impact but perhaps they still saved lifes of the people in the front row, because the bumper transfered a lot of force to the car chasis instead to the carriage.

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Looks like the park will continue to stay closed while the investigation continues.

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

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Someone said that The Smiler trains don't have bumpers on the front and on the back of the trains, but they do:

 

They sure aren't made for the high speed impact but perhaps they still saved lifes of the people in the front row, because the bumper transfered a lot of force to the car chasis instead to the carriage.

 

I don't see anything on that train car that I would call a "bumper". It just looks like a cage where the riders sit. By definition, I think a bumper should be extended from the cage and provide some means of shock absorption. There doesn't appear to be anything like that there, but I would necessarily expect there to be either. Coaster trains of today are built with so much computer automation, that when operating normally and properly, shouldn't need any kind of bumper.

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I don't see anything on that train car that I would call a "bumper". It just looks like a cage where the riders sit. By definition, I think a bumper should be extended from the cage and provide some means of shock absorption. There doesn't appear to be anything like that there, but I would necessarily expect there to be either. Coaster trains of today are built with so much computer automation, that when operating normally and properly, shouldn't need any kind of bumper.

 

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

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Wouldn't their remaining closed seem to indicate that human error played at least some part in this accident? I'm just guessing that they're interviewing all maintenance people as well as ride operators for all rides, reviewing and revising operating procedures with the ride manufacturers and then eventually re-training on the new safety precautions. This was no small thing, and as we all know here, it's the kind of thing that should not happen in the normal operation of a modern coaster. Keeping the park closed for a few days to resolve any potential issues is both necessary and a good measure toward showing the public that safety of their guests is a top concern. I would expect on their re-opening, a new and very public campaign promoting these new steps they're taking.

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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/

 

“This was a major incident and members of the public have suffered serious injuries. It meets the criteria for an HSE investigation and our inspectors were at Alton Towers yesterday to begin making inquiries.

 

“We have assembled a team of specialist inspectors and technical investigators and they will be on site today to continue our investigation.

 

...

 

The team investigating this incident at Alton Towers is being supported on site by specialists in mechanical engineering, electrics and control systems from HSE’s Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton, Derbyshire.

 

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

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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/

 

“This was a major incident and members of the public have suffered serious injuries. It meets the criteria for an HSE investigation and our inspectors were at Alton Towers yesterday to begin making inquiries.

 

“We have assembled a team of specialist inspectors and technical investigators and they will be on site today to continue our investigation.

 

...

 

The team investigating this incident at Alton Towers is being supported on site by specialists in mechanical engineering, electrics and control systems from HSE’s Health and Safety Laboratory in Buxton, Derbyshire.

 

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

 

It's just a normal investigation procedure. Investigate everything related to the operation of the attraction, top to bottom. Just because one thing "seems" likely, doesn't mean there aren't other contributing factors from supporting systems and processes. The idea being to look at EVERYTHING and eliminate those that were working correctly, or as designed, which will leave the primary contributors outstanding. It's kind of like sifting or filtering. Also, they need to gain a thorough understanding of how all the systems work or are supposed to work and tie together. Sometimes these can lead to identification of gaps in the processes that allows for incidents such as this to happen.

Edited by grumpyfan
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I praise Alton Towers for walking away from money to see this is resolved quickly. I had mixed feelings here in Dallas when that lady flew off Texas Giant a few years ago. The park remained open that evening and never skipped a beat. I love my rides and was one of the first to ride when it re-opened, but can't help but think that investigations and what not took forever because of "looky-loos" and normal day-to-day park operations to attend too.

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I praise Alton Towers for walking away from money to see this is resolved quickly.

I don't think Alton Towers has any choice in the matter to be honest. If I'm reading everything correctly, this is UK's Health & Safety department shutting them down until they complete their investigation, or at least until they feel it's safe to re-open. Is this correct?

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