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Alton Towers Discussion Thread


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^That's what it seems like to me. I'm sure the park was just planning on closing that section of the park and carrying on. The question is, how long will said investigation take?

Edited by DJeXeL
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It's funny that this happened right after I read the comments section of a Stealth POV where GP Brits were bragging or something about having "safer" coasters. Something about "I'd rather ride this and be safe than step foot near one of those American death traps"

 

Something to do with Europe having less theme parks total so less chances for an accident? I don't like how the media makes roller coasters look so dangerous when it's more risky to drive to a park than ride a roller coaster.

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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.

I get what you're saying, but you have to remember that it's a *HUGE* deal to close down a park. Yes, there was the accident, but you also have to remember that tens of thousands of people are going to come to that park every day and will now be turned away. And while SFOT is more of a 'regional' park, Alton Towers is a resort destination for the UK. People plan longer vacations around visiting the park and they have two on-site hotels. This is going to impact people's plans quite a bit. I have a feeling the park would remain open if they could.

 

But given the nature of this, and if it DOES turn out to be human error, that means the finding could be with the maintenance staff at Alton Towers and I think they would have a lot more to answer to if they discover one of their own staff dispatched that train meaning that staff member should have never been at the controls and that's cause for alarm to think what other members of the staff might be putting riders at risk. My "guess" is that this is why the park is closed, because Heath & Safety feel it could be more of a global issue with the management, procedures, or maintenance training at the park.

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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.

 

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The first (empty) train was stationary at the time. There a video HERE where the last 2 seconds (for some reason cut to the end) shows the empty train before the impact.

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I've just seen an article in a local newspaper and surprise surprise, there is a petition for the ride to be shut down.

 

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

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I don't like how the media makes roller coasters look so dangerous when it's more risky to drive to a park than ride a roller coaster.

This is the reason I'm happy to see less and less of coaster news, because lately they only take on the negative and make it worse then it is. I mean the media could have made this a "unusual incident" but they make it sound like this was meant to happen to the ride because in the past this and this happened. I hate that, those things have (I assume) nothing to do with the current incident. The Media should point out more that incidents are just uncommon not like it's an everyday thing. I kind of fear the day this will get out of hand in a real bad way, not that I expect that day to be soon as most people will have forgotten about the Smiler before the year is over.

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(I still plan on riding it again this summer too)

 

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

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I was also planning a trip to Alton Towers and Thorpe Park this summer, because from this month on our national airliner has a direct line from my city to london for s really low price and I was hoping to ride The Smiler, but I will wait for what happens and reschedule if they close it down for the season. I was really looking forward to it. I also wouldn't mind riding it after this, if anything the ride would be more thrilling (only psychological of course).

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I'm reading reports that the impact was at a point in the ride where the train reaches speeds of 50MPH, but I'd have to think that if a train valleyed, could it really have been going that fast in that section? Anyone more familiar with the ride know if where it crashed is one of the more high speed moments of the ride?

 

At the point of impact, the ride would have been travelling around 22-23mph. We had really strong winds across the whole of the UK that day, so that may have also played a part in the first car getting valleyed.

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I've just seen an article in a local newspaper and surprise surprise, there is a petition for the ride to be shut down.

 

Silly and unnecessary. The ride has had some minor issues, up until now, but nothing has happened here that can't be fixed. It would be a shame to see them scrap it. People just need to calm down and wait to see what the investigation reveals and how the manufacturer and park reacts to it. I'm pretty confident that once the investigation is complete, AT will do everything withing their capabilities to make everything safe and enjoyable. Those who insist it's still dangerous, should simply not ride it.

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(I still plan on riding it again this summer too)

 

Don't hold your breath, I would not be surprised if the ride remains closed for the entire season.

 

Depending on how long it takes to complete their investigation, and any changes they recommend, which could lead to some re-design or engineering changes, yes, it could be awhile before it reopens.

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While it may be different in Europe, New Texas Giant did end up reopening later in the season and it got new train modifications. I don't think anything will be found wrong with the ride if it truly was human error, which it sounds like since the train stopped on the lift originally like it should have when the one before it stalled and the block was occupied.

 

I mean have we EVER heard of a ride system itself allow two trains into the same block? I know some have run through brakes due to them failing (S:RoS) but not entering another block section. Everyone here seems to agree the ride systems in normal operating modes are too advanced for this to happen and I'm wondering to confirm that this has never happened? Sounds like a human messed up and did something to allow the train to go over the lift.

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I've just seen an article in a local newspaper and surprise surprise, there is a petition for the ride to be shut down.

 

Silly and unnecessary. The ride has had some minor issues, up until now, but nothing has happened here that can't be fixed. It would be a shame to see them scrap it. People just need to calm down and wait to see what the investigation reveals and how the manufacturer and park reacts to it. I'm pretty confident that once the investigation is complete, AT will do everything withing their capabilities to make everything safe and enjoyable. Those who insist it's still dangerous, should simply not ride it.

 

Petitions dont mean anything at all. Anyone online can start one. I saw in a newspaper report of the contributing comments was from a Mr M. Mouse residing in Anaheim calling the peition 'silly' or something along those lines....very good!

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I think as far as the GP are concerned, this accident is the final straw. The press over here are playing on the rides previous issues big time, even though A.T Park Officials have said time and time again that this issue is in no way related to any of the previous problems. As enthusiasts, many are probably already aware of the rides previous problems, but it does not make for good reading when you suddenly read all this information together for the first time:

 

18 May 2013 - The Smiler suffered a malfunction during its soft opening – a preview event for celebrities and journalists – which delayed the coaster's official opening. The train became stuck on the first lift hill trapping passengers in their seats for an hour until they could be evacuated.

 

4 June 2013 - One of the trains stalled on the ride's batwing element during a test run before the park opened to the public.

 

10 June 2013 - A train stalled once again in the same batwing element, but unlike previous times, weighted dummies were present on the train. The cause of the incident was revealed as a computer malfunction that triggered the trim brakes.

 

21 July 2013 - 48 people were evacuated from the ride after a piece of debris fell from a section of track. Some eyewitness reports described the debris as a 1-foot-long metal bar (0.30 m), while others described it as a bolt. The incident caused two sections of track to partially disengage creating a small gap in the track.

 

30 July 2013 - The ride was closed for five days after cracks were found around the base of one of the ride's supports.

 

2 November 2013 - Four people were injured when they were struck by guide wheels that detached from the chain guide as the train ascended the vertical incline.

 

2 June 2015 - A train carrying 16 riders and travelling approximately 20 mph (32 km/h) collided with an empty, stationary train. Eleven riders required medical treatment, four of which were taken to a nearby hospital for serious neck, chest, and leg injuries.

 

I obviously cant speak for how the ride runs on a day to day basis, but on my 3 visits to Alton Towers last year, the ride had the worst downtime of any of the coasters in the park. It is frustrating watching the news, listening to the news reporters constantly asking why the ride was not just closed down earlier in the day because cars were getting stopped on the lift hills. Each time I was in line on all 3 visits last year, at some point there was an announcement saying the ride was having technical issues and empty cars were sent round. On my last visit, I ended up giving up and just leaving the line after it went down for a second time in under 30 minutes. It would not reasonable to expect the park to close the ride for the day every time something like that happens.

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I think as far as the GP are concerned, this accident is the final straw.

Oh, please.... I refuse to believe that people wouldn't ride the coaster again if it re-opened and was deemed safe. Especially if it ends up being "human error" and there is nothing wrong with the ride itself.

 

Try knowing a little bit more about how parks and guests work and react before you post. We have seen a lot worst accidents at higher profile parks and they have pulled out of it just fine.

 

Example: Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland... DISNEYLAND of all places....

 

Ugh, I just hate seeing posts like yours, sorry....

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I mean surely ridership will falter for a while when it reopens, but sooner rather than later, people will be willing to hop back on like nothing ever happened.

 

Individually people may shy away, but unless some catastrophic and apocalyptic accident occurred on a ride, people as a whole are surprisingly quick to forget these things.

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I think as far as the GP are concerned, this accident is the final straw.

 

Ridiculous!!! Nobody has died on this thing! There are plenty of attractions still standing and running on a daily basis that have been attributed to deaths or accidents much worse than these. Disney has had several attractions where people died on them or shortly after riding them, yet they're still running.

None of the incidents listed are major, just bad publicity for the park and perhaps a black eye for their reputation. Public perception is easily swayed, especially in this day and time with most news cycles lasting only a day or two. People don't care. They forget quickly and move on to the next Kardashian/Jenner.

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Sorry, I think you may has mis-understood my post Rob. Of course people will ride it again "when" it re-opens. If its open when I visit later in the year, I will ride again. That was my reaction to the previous posts regarding the petitions that have been started by the GP in the UK to get the ride closed. People have to be really upset or peeved to go as far as petitioning for something. Especially when there are comments getting reported by the press like:

 

Vicky Costello posted: "i think the smiler should be closed. There have been way too many incidents with it and the most recent one tops it all!!!"

 

That's all I was trying to say.

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I mean surely ridership will falter for a while when it reopens, but sooner rather than later, people will be willing to hop back on like nothing ever happened.

 

Individually people may shy away, but unless some catastrophic and apocalyptic accident occurred on a ride, people as a whole are surprisingly quick to forget these things.

 

I think it will also depend on how long the ride will be closed for. If it becomes a lengthy closure, which I think it will be, I wouldn't be surprised to see people flock to the ride when it reopens.

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Especially when there are comments getting reported by the press like:

 

Vicky Costello posted: "i think the smiler should be closed. There have been way too many incidents with it and the most recent one tops it all!!!"

 

 

The press is just doing their usual, reporting the worst of the worst and sensationalizing it to get more viewers. Dispicable and highly irritating, because the real story is usually much less dramatic than how they paint it.

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Sorry, I think you may has mis-understood my post Rob. Of course people will ride it again "when" it re-opens. If its open when I visit later in the year, I will ride again. That was my reaction to the previous posts regarding the petitions that have been started by the GP in the UK to get the ride closed. People have to be really upset or peeved to go as far as petitioning for something. Especially when there are comments getting reported by the press like:

 

Vicky Costello posted: "i think the smiler should be closed. There have been way too many incidents with it and the most recent one tops it all!!!"

 

That's all I was trying to say.

I honestly have no idea what you're trying to say, but it's totally confusing and very stupid. My advice to you: drop whatever topic this is you're trying to explain and move on to something else.

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