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My aunt yesterday was telling me how she told her 20 year old daughter she didn't want her going to Alton Towers, or any other park, until "they had this under control". No matter how much i told her that this was a freak one time thing she did not believe me....

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^Sadly thats a typical response from people who would rather listen to media hype than choose to sit down and learn about rides. My wifes cousin actually said she wouldn't feel safe on rides if it wasn't for me reassuring her (she has OCD and worries a lot) and telling her how they work and why they are safe. I tend to find just a basic explanation of all the fail safes seems to help people worry less. Some people don't want to hear it though...

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Article on Towers Times about the reopening:

http://www.towerstimes.co.uk/blog/2015/06/08/alton-towers-re-opens-for-first-time-following-the-smiler-incident/

 

Summary:

 

Smiler merchandise has been removed

Many Smiler references (signs, posters etc) have been removed from the park

Trains are not being dispatched until previous trains have moved all the way along to the end of the brakes

The Towers ruins are closed, presumably to stop people looking down into the X Sector

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Really tragic, and unfortunate business. Accidents rarely have just one cause, especially when dedicated safety systems are involved. I will be interested in the HSE report (if they have detail in the public release). The report will help decide whether there has been a case of negligence which can be considered criminal (the civil case I think is pretty much taken as read at the moment).

It could be that it was such a set of unforeseen and unpredictable circumstances which came together into a perfect storm which allowed it to happen, that it could even be written off as a freak accident with recommendations made to prevent it happen again. It could be that someone just lost focus for a moment and made a catastrophic error. It could be a culture of laziness in the company staff. It could be a bizarre technology glitch. It could be an inerrant design fault which has never had the right circumstances to happen until now. Maybe all of the above. Its all speculation. Sometimes things which seem obvious really aren't so because we are missing some vital information which totally changes the picture.

 

Much of the over-reacting and knee-jerk stuff being said in media and the public in general is partly down to people simply not understanding risk. It is impossible to eliminate fully. Not mechanically, not in software and definitely not in the staff. In fact in Scottish laws (which of course wont apply here) about employer responsibility in accidents assumes that an employer should expect staff to become complacent, and so cant use that as a defence unless deliberate employee negligence can be shown. Its human nature to get complacent if your not given a little prod now and then.

 

I think Merlin have handled this well from a PR standpoint and a corporate responsibility standpoint. I don't think anyone could claim they haven't taken the incident or general safety seriously (despite what certain news pitbulls would have us believe).

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Two questions;

Firstly I watched another awful sky story and it said that the crash was at about 20mph. I heard it was a lot faster than this. Does anyone know how fast the train goes in that section of ride?

 

Secondly are they now waiting for one train to make a full cycle before dispatching the next? Thus completely removing the use of a block system?

If that's the case it's going to be a capacity nightmare for them.

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Hiya guys just an update. The park was back open today but news has come through that one of the 4 people injured has had to have their leg amputated. Terrible news to hear still can't believe the accident happened in the first place.

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I still have plans to go to Alton Towers. If the Smiler ride is still there (instead of scrapped), yes, I'd ride it, especially since this was a freak accident, not the norm. I figure that if they ever reopened the ride, it'll be so thoroughly checked over that it would seem unlikely it would happen again.

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Article on Towers Times about the reopening:

http://www.towerstimes.co.uk/blog/2015/06/08/alton-towers-re-opens-for-first-time-following-the-smiler-incident/

 

Summary:

 

Smiler merchandise has been removed

Many Smiler references (signs, posters etc) have been removed from the park

Trains are not being dispatched until previous trains have moved all the way along to the end of the brakes

The Towers ruins are closed, presumably to stop people looking down into the X Sector

 

"Out of sight, out of Mind."

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Two questions;

Firstly I watched another awful sky story and it said that the crash was at about 20mph. I heard it was a lot faster than this. Does anyone know how fast the train goes in that section of ride?

I guess we have to take Alton Towers's word for it, but I would have estimated it's probably around 35mph. It is a very fast part of the ride and where the crash happened is as you come out of a very fast inversion. You can see it here at 1m 30s:

 

Secondly are they now waiting for one train to make a full cycle before dispatching the next? Thus completely removing the use of a block system? If that's the case it's going to be a capacity nightmare for them.

This is on the coasters that are open at the moment and most only have one lot of brakes before the station anyway (eg Nemesis). I guess it is a temporary measure while the investigation is ongoing.

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Thanks, so it's clear their "additional layer of safety" is to treat the rides as though they have no blocks and only have one train in circulation at a time.

 

As it's a capacity hit you can only imagine once the investigation concludes they will restore the original operations. How they sell that to the public though with be interesting as so many idiots will probably see it as a reduction in safety.

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Kind of curious looking at the closed list of rides among the parks that X isn't on the list. Isn't that also a multi block ride? Seems kind of strange they shut down every ride with blocks except that one or did X already have the "protocols" in place?

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Thanks, so it's clear their "additional layer of safety" is to treat the rides as though they have no blocks and only have one train in circulation at a time.

 

As it's a capacity hit you can only imagine once the investigation concludes they will restore the original operations. How they sell that to the public though with be interesting as so many idiots will probably see it as a reduction in safety.

I don't think it will impact capacity TOO much short term, just 30 secs or so for rides like Nemesis. Air is only running two trains but still using the dual station (normally they would only use one station for two trains) so that will make a bigger different I think. I guess it's just a belts and braces thing for the short term while they investigate in detail the Smiler accident. I don't think they want to take any risks while there are still questions to be answered.

 

Kind of curious looking at the closed list of rides among the parks that X isn't on the list. Isn't that also a multi block ride? Seems kind of strange they shut down every ride with blocks except that one or did X already have the "protocols" in place?

Yes that's true actually. I don't know how many trains X runs nowadays (I think it's probably only around 3?) so they might just be running that with two trains instead.

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So I assume Sonic Spinball is just closed because running one car at a time on it would lead to horrendously long lines, correct?

 

If they have to stick to this in the short-term I wonder if a better solution is possible. For example, what if they do a Fast Pass style system with a stamped card and a time to return and limit the amount to equal the ride's capacity. This isn't an ideal system but I bet most guests would prefer that to just having the ride closed.

 

Again though, I don't know if this new system is Merlin's idea or if they're being required to do it, or what's going on behind the scenes so I'm just brainstorming out loud. We don't know for sure the specifics of this ride's closure.

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With things like Spinball they've just said it's while they put into place new procedures and they say these coasters will be open pretty soon. They might just be doing a risk assessment for every coaster one by one but like you say for the multi-car coasters it's impractical to even consider running with one train on the circuit.

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They have to be seen to be doing something with how far the bar shit crazy british media has taken things.

 

When you think about the fact that people have died on rides and received less press coverage.

 

 

I think it's a really smart move on their part to elimate ANY chance of another accident. Imagine how damaging it would be for them if a fluke unrelated freak accident occurred just by chance. It would devistate the company's reputation.

 

Id imaging the eventual cause with turn out to be a unforeseen alignment of a tiny oversight in the ride control system with a tiny oversight in Merlin's operational procedures.

Once that's all sorted they could impliment a fix to both to ensure all rides are safe.

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Wow, thats pretty special. Just clickbait, with a headline 'Alton towers Shuts Another Rollercoaster'. It even says in the damn article it was shut for 'routine operational purposes'.

 

Yes, they'll have the park under a microscope for some time yet.

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The tragedy in Alton Towers is truly sad, I feel bad for the injured and their families. I also feel bad for Alton Towers also b/c I know this bad press is tough to deal with and the roller coaster is their newest addition to the park and was a big investment. I feel like alot of Alton Towers rides are not as thrilling as Smiler is. I wonder will the ride ever open and will people ever trust the ride again. I wonder if they will be forced to sell the ride and let it go?

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The tragedy in Alton Towers is truly sad, I feel bad for the injured and their families. I also feel bad for Alton Towers also b/c I know this bad press is tough to deal with and the roller coaster is their newest addition to the park and was a big investment. I feel like alot of Alton Towers rides are not as thrilling as Smiler is. I wonder will the ride ever open and will people ever trust the ride again. I wonder if they will be forced to sell the ride and let it go?

 

The Smiler is running today. It isn't open ofcourse, but it has been testing today with water dummies. Most likely being run by HSE as part of their investigation.

 

Here is a pic from towerstimes.

 

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Seen over on Towers Times that The Smiler is testing today with water dummies, seemingly to do with the HSE investigation.

 

Really hoping they are done in a weeks time as we've got a couple of nights booked in the hotel. I'll be a little disappointed if X Sector is still closed...

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Seen over on Towers Times that The Smiler is testing today with water dummies, seemingly to do with the HSE investigation.

 

Really hoping they are done in a weeks time as we've got a couple of nights booked in the hotel. I'll be a little disappointed if X Sector is still closed...

 

I'll be there in 2 weeks, am also hoping for x-sector to be open as Oblivion is one of my favourite rides. Obviously it is very unlikely that The Smiler will be open, but this has not have put me off riding if it is. And if the accident is put down to human error and the ride deemed to be safe then who knows.

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