TEDodd wrote:Simple repair, done after hours.
I can maybe see not shutting it down that day, but no reason not to repair overnight/next morning before opening.
No. That's not how rides should
be run. You DO NOT run rides or attractions without safety components functioning and in place. Period. End of Story. If a raft has velcro straps that are about to fail, it should be removed from service, and the others that have been inspected and found okay can continue to run, sure. But brakes that are required to keep rafts running at a safe speed are not optional. Even for the rest of the afternoon. If you can't make that repair while the park is open, sucks to suck. Get ready to hand out comp tickets or something, but you don't try and limp through the rest of the day like that.
I have lurked here for years and finally made an account to post. I have been involved in theme park ride safety and maintenance most of my career. Please understand why I do not wish to identify myself or my current and former employers. For over 15 years up I have been the senior person at two major theme parks regarding operations and maintenance.
The above quote is something I have dealt with literally hundreds and maybe thousands of times with rides. It’s a delicate balance. Safety should always be the first priority and I can say unequivocally in my career I have never knowingly or purposely allowed an unsafe ride to operate. I would never place a patron or employee in danger. This isn’t to say I haven’t made mistakes but fortunately none directly causing injuries or deaths. I used to say I’d never let a ride operate I wouldn’t ride myself but have had to change my mantra to I’d never let a ride operate I wouldn’t let my kids ride. Some of the newer rides coupled with my age have caused me to not ride them!
There is always a clash between the financial, marketing, sales, maintenance, engineering and rank-and-file worker. My brother is a senior level safety engineer with a major airline and has similar thoughts and stories.
If you were to ask an executive in any discipline if they would want a ride that was unsafe operating they universally would say no. They would say safety is paramount. However, when it comes to their department and their job there is sadly jockeying and pressure to achieve their goals. They will say all the correct things regarding safety and they truly mean it but often their goals push them to exert pressure contrary to best practices. Many times they don’t realize the conundrum, stress and issues this causes for other departments or employees.
Be assured the stress and pressure to operate, have rides operating and open is huge. It’s truly a balancing act and you better be right every time. Close a ride unnecessarily too many times and expect to be out of a job. Let a ride operate and there is an accident it’s all on your butt.
Several years ago at a major park there was a new state-of-the-art roller coaster. It was designed to operate five trains with six blocks. It was one of the most expensive rides ever made at the time but the problem was the computerized block and safety system just flat out didn’t work properly. We couldn’t get the ride to operate more than a few cycles without shutting down. We were already behind and the manufacturer was frantically trying to remedy the problem. Soft opening was a disaster. No one was at risk safety wise but most of the time ride stops were the norm.
The pressure was on me to have the ride operating for opening day. It was a complicated situation as the top execs expected the ride to operate but of course safety was important but at the end of the day the pressure and message was clear—make sure the ride was operating for the grand opening.
Hopefully you can see my position. A position that exists frequently.
I came up with a solution. Disable the automated block brake system and operate the coaster with one train. Throughput truly sucked but the ride was open and open safely. All objectives were met. You can’t have a train hit another train if there is only one on the tracks. Good solution I thought. Most importantly a safe solution.
After 3-4 days working with the manufacturer we were able to add a second train. One in the station loading and once operating. After about 6 weeks (we tested at night) all 5 trains were safely operating. The system issues had been corrected.
Everyone happy. No one at risk. The pressure was huge.