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Alton Towers Discussion Thread


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I've read various reports that seem to explain things, but leave out a few details that I'm wondering about.

 

1) The train with the passengers, sat on the first(?) lift hill for 5-15 minutes. Was it in fact the first lift hill, or the second or a brake run?

 

2) While it was sitting, this means the empty train would have been stopped somewhere as well. Was it on the second lift hill or a brake run, or had it already valleyed and sitting at the bottom of the batwing?

 

3) Ultimately, the question for me is where was the empty train when the first was released from its hold position?

If it had already valleyed, then clearly, maintenance screwed up by not doing a visual check and then releasing the loaded train. But, if it was stopped at another section, then valleyed after being released, then that would point to a block not being registered and/or a brake section that failed when it should have stopped the loaded train.

 

4) One more question. I have a basic understanding of how blocks work on coasters, and sensors indicate when a train rolls past one registering that it has passed that section. But, what happens when a valley occurs and it rocks back and forth over the same sensor? Could the sensor/computer have registered the empty train as being past that block, but not been able to detect the rollback?

 

Most coasters in general use sensors only around block areas (Near lifts, brakes, etc.). It is a rare occurrence for sensors to be used midway through a ride (cost is a big factor, and they aren't really necessary). There probably was not a sensor in that area, so the train wasn't detected. So unless maintenance overrode the error, there is a good chance that they overlooked the train and switched the train dial thinking an operator accidentally touched it.

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I've read various reports that seem to explain things, but leave out a few details that I'm wondering about.

 

1) The train with the passengers, sat on the first(?) lift hill for 5-15 minutes. Was it in fact the first lift hill, or the second or a brake run?

 

2) While it was sitting, this means the empty train would have been stopped somewhere as well. Was it on the second lift hill or a brake run, or had it already valleyed and sitting at the bottom of the batwing?

 

3) Ultimately, the question for me is where was the empty train when the first was released from its hold position?

If it had already valleyed, then clearly, maintenance screwed up by not doing a visual check and then releasing the loaded train. But, if it was stopped at another section, then valleyed after being released, then that would point to a block not being registered and/or a brake section that failed when it should have stopped the loaded train.

 

4) One more question. I have a basic understanding of how blocks work on coasters, and sensors indicate when a train rolls past one registering that it has passed that section. But, what happens when a valley occurs and it rocks back and forth over the same sensor? Could the sensor/computer have registered the empty train as being past that block, but not been able to detect the rollback?

 

The empty train was already valleyed on the batwing before the full train was released.

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This article has bit of a timeline following the accident. Basically:

 

13:57 - Management informed of accident

14:08 - Ambulance called (11 minute delay, but park first responders were on site quickly)

14:35 - Ambulance service arrived (that seems a really long time, but I guess getting to the ride takes a while)

14:41 - Fire service called by Ambulance service

14:45 - Fire service called by park

 

It also has a few stats on theme park safety. 1 billion rides taken a year at fairs and parks, but only 1 death in the UK since 2006/7. 5% of accidents are caused by technical problems and 1 in 24m chance of being seriously hurt.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-33011347

 

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

Yep I totally agree, sorry if it sounded like I was criticising the ambulance service because what I mean was it seems like a long time, but the ride is presumably awkward to get to and so is the park.

 

It must have been such a scene of chaos so as you say it probably isn't anywhere near as slow as it seems.

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I want to react about this testimony and have your opinion about that.

In short, a visitor warned the staff about the stalled car, but was 'told to mind his own business'.

 

At first, the hate would naturally flows toward the employee(s) not listening and being rude. But in a second thought, I think the guy should not have tried to warn the staff, and their reply was, albeit rude, justified.

You know, it reminds me of the situation when you're driving in your car, and your wife/husband/passenger doesn't stop screaming and judging your driving. "Brake! Watchout! A pedestrian! Slow down!", ect.

 

Ok one of the warning might be helpful, but it's easy now to brag about it after it has happened. I think ride ops might hear a lot of people yelling that the ride is broken, while it's not the case (ie. stopped on the lift for reasons), and it gets annoying. They are the ones running the thing, not the guests.

 

And then, it's not only annoying to them but also disturbing, especially in this scenario. They must have been under pressure - various technical difficulties, a lot of impatient peeps in the queue line, a hierarchy that oversees, etc. In the end, the answer was legit, and the guest should have mind his own business.

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^ Yeah, part of me wants to react angry towards the employee, but then the reality is if it was just a ride op that was outside of the ride, what could they really do? And when you have loads of guests coming up to you every day when a ride is down asking all sorts of questions, pretending they know all about rides, telling you what's wrong, etc, it's natural to react the same way in this case as you would in the hundreds if not thousands of other cases that came before it.

 

I feel like the employee was probably just doing their job and doing what they were told to do, and I'm sure the guy telling the story is over-exaggerating the scenario to fit his agenda.

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So whats next? the coaster is brand new. People will avoid this coaster like the plague after a crash. They may be forced to remove it.

 

Robb answered this question a few pages back........

 

I wonder how much longer until Alton Towers removes the coaster?

Yes, I'm sure Alton Towers is going to get right on that removing their $30 million investment over this accident. Just like Six Flags Over Texas removed Texas Giant or Six Flags New England removed Superman....

 

And let's not forget that someone was actually killed on Big Thunder at Disneyland, and that ride is as popular as ever.

 

Best to wait for the results of an investigation, rather than jump to conclusions.

 

According to the report on The Telegraph, the park’s management is said to be considering “scrapping” the troubled coaster following the incident.

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According to the report on The Telegraph, the park’s management is said to be considering “scrapping” the troubled coaster following the incident.

OMG. Please stop posting stuff like this people. We are supposed to all be smart enough in the theme park business to know this would be completely ridiculous.

 

Outside of a couple of older coasters in Japan, can anyone point to a MAJOR NEW RIDE that had an issue that the park then up and got rid of because of it? No.

 

So if in the totally off-chance something like that DID happen, it would be an industry first and a totally bizarre and shocking turn of events.

 

Sorry, I'm not buying it.

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I cant help but assume the man in the article was paraphrasing. In sure the employee spat out a generic "We are aware of the mechanical difficulty and our team of mechanics are currently working to address the issue". The man telling this story likely interpreted that as a "Mind your own business" because the employee has probably told 25 people the same thing already.

 

If this is the way the media handles things as simple as amusement parks, lord knows why we trust them to fill us in on anything else.

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According to the report on The Telegraph, the park’s management is said to be considering “scrapping” the troubled coaster following the incident.

OMG. Please stop posting stuff like this people. We are supposed to all be smart enough in the theme park business to know this would be completely ridiculous.

 

Outside of a couple of older coasters in Japan, can anyone point to a MAJOR NEW RIDE that had an issue that the park then up and got rid of because of it? No.

 

So if in the totally off-chance something like that DID happen, it would be an industry first and a totally bizarre and shocking turn of events.

 

Sorry, I'm not buying it.

 

Orphan Rocker?

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According to the report on The Telegraph, the park’s management is said to be considering “scrapping” the troubled coaster following the incident.

OMG. Please stop posting stuff like this people. We are supposed to all be smart enough in the theme park business to know this would be completely ridiculous.

 

Outside of a couple of older coasters in Japan, can anyone point to a MAJOR NEW RIDE that had an issue that the park then up and got rid of because of it? No.

 

So if in the totally off-chance something like that DID happen, it would be an industry first and a totally bizarre and shocking turn of events.

 

Sorry, I'm not buying it.

 

Orphan Rocker?

 

Orphan Rocker was never officially opened though, and I believe that the track is still there.

 

Ring Racer is the only major new one that I can think of, but that also has to do with the theme park's finances and other issues (edit and I don't think this ever officially opened either)

 

These rumors always pop up when things go wrong. People said the same thing about TTD and Kingda Ka, but over 10 years later both coasters are still here. I wouldn't be too worried about it being closed.

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According to the report on The Telegraph, the park’s management is said to be considering “scrapping” the troubled coaster following the incident.

OMG. Please stop posting stuff like this people. We are supposed to all be smart enough in the theme park business to know this would be completely ridiculous.

 

Outside of a couple of older coasters in Japan, can anyone point to a MAJOR NEW RIDE that had an issue that the park then up and got rid of because of it? No.

 

So if in the totally off-chance something like that DID happen, it would be an industry first and a totally bizarre and shocking turn of events.

 

Sorry, I'm not buying it.

 

The only ride I can think of that would fit this description would be Pilgrims Plunge/Giraffica at Holiday World.

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^ Yeah, Ring Racer was also a very different set of circumstances. I'm talking about a ride that opened, took thousands upon thousands of riders, had an accident, and then the park removed the ride completely. It's a cut and dry scenario and I don't think there is one. The fact that we are even discussing this means we've reached a point in this discussion where there isn't much to talk about until some new data surfaces.

Edited by robbalvey
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The only ride I can think of that would fit this description would be Pilgrims Plunge/Giraffica at Holiday World.

What? That's not even close! Pilgrim's Plunge DIDN'T HAVE AN ACCIDENT!!!

 

My bad...I know it didn't have an accident, but did have "issues" and was scrapped by a family owned park in what had to be a very difficult financial decision for them, that was the point I was trying to make.

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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?

 

Even if the train was only traveling at, let's say around 45 mph, we also have to consider the possibility of the other train. If the other train was traveling at any speed in the other direction, then we have to add that onto the crash speed because relative to the empty train, the loaded train is approaching faster. And I'm just using 45mph just based on the 53mph top speed, frictional loss, and the air hill trims. But if the other train were moving in the opposite direction of travel at 5-10mph, the speed of the crash just became 50-55mph. Of course, the converse is true, so if the trains were traveling in the same direction, then the relative speed difference is decreased (in this example, it would be between 35-40mph instead). Of course that's probably not what the media meant, it's just something to consider in any collision.

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^ Yeah, Ring Racer was also a very different set of circumstances. I'm talking about a ride that opened, took thousands upon thousands of riders, had an accident, and then the park removed the ride completely. It's a cut and dry scenario and I don't think there is one. The fact that we are even discussing this means we've reached a point in this discussion where there isn't much to talk about until some new data surfaces.

 

Hi all,

 

I've been enjoying the board a a lurker for a while, but went ahead and registered because a ride I actually liked popped right in my mind when I read this: Son of Beast. They farted around with that thing for years trying to get it to deliver a decent ride, but after that last accident, it never reopened and they eventually tore it out (much to my chagrin... I _loved_ that first drop). It's not quite the same as a one n done.. the ride was just broken by design and kept deteriorating, but it did take some minor injuries to finally stick a fork in it, and it did deliver millions of (painful) rides in the meantime.

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^^^ I think you're missing Robb's original question ... he was looking for a "new ride" that was scrapped. Son of Beast was not new at all when it got scrapped. But Kings Island does have history of another coaster that fits as a "new" [only 3 operating years] that did get scrapped, The Bat (the original one, not the former Top Gun renamed)! But again that was due to a design that was "broken" (as you put it) from day one.

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