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sneakysnake
06-02-2015, 01:01 PM
I'm starting this thread based on after today's tragic incident. This is the roller coaster's seventh incident with the last two having multiple injured passengers. It's too early to say now but I have a feeling its fate is an unfortunate one.

My question is, why does it continue to malfunction so much? I've seen the basic details and heard ideas on how to fix the ride, but nothing being done. I really hope they don't have to shut down this ride but at this rate, it'll be inevitable.

I heard something about changing its bolt to fix the ride and other ideas. What exactly would be a definitive fix for the ride?

magicart87
06-02-2015, 04:31 PM
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-32980354

Per the article:

History of problems
A group of 16 journalists were left dangling on it at a steep angle as they tried out the rollercoaster before it opened to the public.
The ride shut for four days in July 2013 after a piece fell off the track, and 48 people had to be rescued.
It closed again in August 2013 for five days due to a "technical issue".
In November 2013 it closed for five days after wheels fell off and hit four people in the front carriage. The injured people were looked after by park staff and did not need treatment by the ambulance service, a spokeswoman said at the time.
Riders were also left stranded in the air when the ride ground to a halt at the top of a near vertical section 14 months ago.

Hmm? I'd say it's time to dismantle.

Cigfu
06-02-2015, 04:54 PM
I was shocked to hear this, mainly because the ride has been running for about a year now with the same number of breakdowns as other coasters. But will they shut it down after this incident? No. When you've invested £18 million in a new ride, you can't just shut it down after the first few seasons, even if it suffers a major accident. What will happen is the ride will go under maintenance for two or three months, everyone will avoid it for another few months once it's open again, and the majority of the public will be riding again in no time. The Big Dipper at Blackpool has had many serious accidents, yet it remains running despite the obvious cost.

As for what caused the accident, I have a fair idea. The first train stalled after an inversion; right before the inversion was a set of trim brakes. The first train stalling was most likely caused by the trims being left up for too long. The reason why the second train was allowed to continue over the lift hill is still up for debate. The second train should have stayed at the bottom of the lift hill until the first had reached the second lift. This leads me to believe this accident was caused by the ride's computer which is actually an issue a lot more troubling than a once of mechanical failure. Many rides from gerstlauer could be using the same control system, meaning there's a real possibility that other rides could run the risk or running two trains within the same block segment.

To give The Smiler credit, it's done well since the end of the 2013 season. All coasters break down, it just seems that Gerstlauer's rides have a habit of doing it a lot more than others. Remember when Saw opened? The ride spent most of the first few months with someone, somewhere on the ride with a spanner and a multimeter. I think the press has latched onto this idea that The Smiler was the coaster of doom; so if you understand the industry and understand the engineering side of roller coasters, it's best to just ignore the press and only use them for minor updates.
Should they dismantle the ride? No, this at the moment appears to be an issue with the ride's computer.
Should they overhaul all the ride's safety features and improve them? Yes.

JMR
06-03-2015, 11:57 AM
I have ridden The Smiller quite a lot of times, having used to have a merlin annual pass. I remember being there for the opening day too on one of the first trains.

I really, really did like the ride to say the least.

I cannot express truly how disappointed and sad I am. I'm sure many of us are thinking "what if this happened to you when you rode?"

As a person who relies on my wheelchair a lot, who was used to being active (I loved to run competitively), I know what it feels like to have your life changed physically. (Mine is by an illness) The difference being, I know there's still a chance of me getting well again and not having to rely on my wheelchair.

Just think of them people with these serious injuries how that must have felt to have their legs rammed into that car. I'm sure they're very happy that they still have their lives.

The Smiler, the great ride it has been at times, has had it's major problems. Like Cigfu pointed out, Gerstlauer's rides do seem to have a habit of tripping up. I assume Gerstlauer was very sad to hear the news.

I do not think that many people will be put off from riding in say, 5 months time. I'm sure all this will blow over eventually.

This reminds me of when a young girl died on Hydro in Oakwood Themepark in Pembrokeshire. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1459501/Girl-killed-in-100ft-fall-from-ride-would-not-take-risks.html)

This really set Oakwood back, having been fined £250,000 from this incident. They are gradually recovering from it though. However, unlike Oakwood, Merlin have the money.

sneakysnake
06-05-2015, 11:25 AM
Based off of this article: They are contemplating it.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11650536/Alton-Towers-to-remain-closed-as-bosses-consider-scrapping-The-Smiler.html

magicart87
06-13-2015, 11:52 PM
Based off of this article: They are contemplating it.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/11650536/Alton-Towers-to-remain-closed-as-bosses-consider-scrapping-The-Smiler.html

Ouch! I guess in some cases it would be easier to cut your losses But 15 million is some serious LOSS! It will be interesting to see what they decide.

OTR24
06-14-2015, 01:55 AM
A smart tycoon would keep the roller coaster running. Who cares about the park rating or injuries? It's about the money!

MrStripy
06-14-2015, 05:46 AM
A smart tycoon would keep the roller coaster running. Who cares about the park rating or injuries? It's about the money!

No just no leave they wouldn't make any money if they thought that all the rides would crash. It's simple and to be honest it wasn't a forceful ride. I thought it was medium not great but not bad.

OTR24
06-14-2015, 05:55 AM
No just no leave they wouldn't make any money if they thought that all the rides would crash. It's simple and to be honest it wasn't a forceful ride. I thought it was medium not great but not bad.

It was dark joke. On a serious note i hope the victims of this terrible accident can recover. Prayers for them.

Deuce
06-17-2015, 01:44 PM
I thought you guys might find this interesting. It seems a bit dark and morbid but basically it is a recreation of the crash based on what is known, and is demonstrated using NL2 (I wonder how many other coaster crashes have been reconstructed using NL/2 behind closed doors??).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1erxP4x_ww0

I don't believe it was a direct computer fault, as the control systems are incredibly basic and are not capable of creating a dangerous situation. If a sensor is not triggered when it should be (in this case by the first train passing the block) then the computer cannot release the second train. The systems are designed to operate only when everything runs like clockwork, the very first unexpected reading from any part of the system and it stops trains at each block and raises an alert to the operator.

You also can't blame software bugs or issues. Even if the software tried to send out a go signal when the sensors detected an unsafe situation, the signal wouldn't make it through as the circuit would be broken by the sensor in the incorrect position. The sensors send information to the computer, but they are also hardwired to relays that break the circuit to anything that could create an unsafe situation. This is why the overide/reset buttons are always hardware, not software buttons. A Human has to visually check and decide it was a false error, and then reset the sensor positions and then, finally, physically override the reported fault so the computer starts it's program from fresh - this time with all the sensors in the correct position. I know this because I design automated systems for various types of simulator type experiences and displays at exhibitions. The theory is the computer runs the show until something isn't quite right, and that something 'not quite right' physically takes the computer out of the loop until the error is addressed and the system restarted in it's 'go' state. It's engineers refer to as a true 'fail safe'. No matter how it fails, it does so in the 'safe' position.

In the video you see the system worked correctly and stopped the second car at the top of the lift hill (the first block after the station). This is because the first (empty) train had failed to pass through the next block, so had not tripped the sensors. At this point the system will do nothing, and run nothing, until a human has inspected the situation, remotely reset the sensors into the 'go' position and then instructed the computer to resume.

It appears the human in question made an assumption everything was safe - no one can know why. The whole ride is covered by CCTV so visual checking should have been easy enough to do. Or simply someone on the station block confirming the carriage was back. There was also an empty car on the next block, so it's possible the operator saw that on the CCTV and assumed it was the empty car that had in fact valleyed.

It's incredibly sad. I can't imagine what it's like being stuck in such pain and misery for over 4 hours - I don't understand why it took so long to get them out. It's also sad for the ride and for Alton Towers. They have a history of world first rides and The Smiler is a very good coaster. Especially when you consider Alton Towers has very low height limit for rides, so they had to get those 14 inversions into a crazily compact design.

I do hope it will re-open in time. It's not a bad coaster and most coasters suffer numerous small issues in the early days. But normally these issues are forgotten, unless as in this instance, a really big issue occurs.

Ireeb
06-18-2015, 06:18 PM
I was prettitshocked by hearing about the Smiler crash and wanted to know how something terrible could happen. That's a lot of interesting information you brought up there Deuce. I am sure this crash was the fault of the people who controlled it. Of course the ride had a little fault, the one train didn't make it through, but they had the time and the possibility to stop the second train. I don't understand why they even allowed the second train to leave the station when the first test train was not back yet. Why do they even "test" it when they don't wait for the results? I think this is really a sad thing because of the people who got heavily injured because some other people were to lazy to look at the CCTV screens and also because this 2-year old rollercoaster that looked pretty cool I think might get closed (rumors). I think the people from Gerstlauer and the people who designed everything around the track put lots of work and passion into it and now they have to see it as a picture of horror and pain in the news and that it might get closed because there are some incompetent employees at Alton Towers. I really hope that the poor people involved get well again and that the Smiler re-opend and that the Alton Towers Management cares a bit more about their ride safety. I'd like to know if the previous failures (breaking bolts, guiding wheels come of, train gets stuck at vertical lift) where construction failures by Gerstlauer or Alton Towers didn't maintain it properly.

Deuce
06-18-2015, 06:45 PM
I was prettitshocked by hearing about the Smiler crash and wanted to know how something terrible could happen. That's a lot of interesting information you brought up there Deuce. I am sure this crash was the fault of the people who controlled it. Of course the ride had a little fault, the one train didn't make it through, but they had the time and the possibility to stop the second train. I don't understand why they even allowed the second train to leave the station when the first test train was not back yet. Why do they even "test" it when they don't wait for the results? I think this is really a sad thing because of the people who got heavily injured because some other people were to lazy to look at the CCTV screens and also because this 2-year old rollercoaster that looked pretty cool I think might get closed (rumors). I think the people from Gerstlauer and the people who designed everything around the track put lots of work and passion into it and now they have to see it as a picture of horror and pain in the news and that it might get closed because there are some incompetent employees at Alton Towers. I really hope that the poor people involved get well again and that the Smiler re-opend and that the Alton Towers Management cares a bit more about their ride safety. I'd like to know if the previous failures (breaking bolts, guiding wheels come of, train gets stuck at vertical lift) where construction failures by Gerstlauer or Alton Towers didn't maintain it properly.

Human error does seem like the only explanation - of coaster can fail but as in my former post, the manufacturers and insurers do all they can possibly do to rule out danger to the riders as a result. they may get stranded occasionally, or the ride may break down mechanically but these things are built with two primary concerns: 1) the riders are locked in the car and the car is locked to the track. 2) whatever happens the ride stops safely.

What I would guess has happened here is that due to typical 'Britishness' (we love rules and regs... apparently..) alton Towers has remained accident free for such a long time, even though it has lead so many world firsts in coaster development, that somehow the staff became complacent.

I may get burned for saying this but here is the bottom line. We ride coasters to feel alive, as they feel dangerous. And no matter how safe we make them, we know that we're only ever a so safe. If in the entire history of coasters not one had ever crashed would they hold the same appeal? Anyone that rides a new coaster for the first time imagines the possibility of disaster.

We're human, we're hunters, we get a massive hit off adrenaline. What happened was sad but it wasn't the coasters fault, it wasn't Alton Towers fault. Maybe it was the operator's fault, but in reality the 'mistake' they may have made was no more or less of a human mistake than all sorts of things we all get wrong on a daily basis, it's just the consequences that were greater.

It's a damn good coaster and it's also a world leader. It's no more flawed by operator or mechanical error than any other coaster out there could be - I say rest it for 6 months then bring it back. It'll be slow for a couple of years but there are about 30,000 coasters in the world. The next one that suffers a similar incident will snatch the headlines and Smiler will then be free to do what it does - make you smile.

All love and respect to the riders when the incident occurred. My thoughts in this thread are based on statistics and history - But I know that is of no value to the few that do suffer in the pursuit of fun.

Ireeb
06-20-2015, 05:10 AM
Human error does seem like the only explanation - of coaster can fail but as in my former post, the manufacturers and insurers do all they can possibly do to rule out danger to the riders as a result. they may get stranded occasionally, or the ride may break down mechanically but these things are built with two primary concerns: 1) the riders are locked in the car and the car is locked to the track. 2) whatever happens the ride stops safely. [...]

What I wanted to say was the ride failed because the one car stopped on the tracks (I read that maybe the brakes slowed it down to much), but the system reacted properly and stopped the second car at the lifthill. Nothing would have happened if the person who controls the ride would have understood what is going on. Properly there was a lack of "Britishness" :P and the people who run the ride were not informed about all the rules.

I agree with you that it should be reopened in the future as the ride is safe if it's properly maintained and the people know how to react if something doesn't work like it should because the ride is prepared for this case.

Where I don't agree is indeed the part where you say the fear about something going wrong makes it exciting (I hope I understand you right there). For me the only thing that should make/makes me nervous before a ride is not knowing how the ride will be (or in some cases just because you know how the ride will be :D ).

Deuce
06-20-2015, 06:21 AM
Where I don't agree is indeed the part where you say the fear about something going wrong makes it exciting (I hope I understand you right there). For me the only thing that should make/makes me nervous before a ride is not knowing how the ride will be (or in some cases just because you know how the ride will be :D ).

I should have been clearer actually, I wasn't suggesting a specific coaster having an accident would somehow make that coaster more exciting to ride. But more generally, especially as kids me and my friends would discuss and hype ourselves up about all sorts of things when we queued for coasters! What if the restraint opens half way through the loop? What if we're small enough to 'slip out'? All nonsense of course.

And as a grown up, ironically while queuing for the smiler with my wife, I was teasing her pointing out that a section of track wobbled each time a train went through.

I do think that part of the thrill is imagining the danger. And if no coaster had ever crashed, the danger would seem slightly less so the thrill would also be slightly less.

I agree that 95% of the thrill is the ride experience itself. But feeling close to danger and conquering fear is in itself a pretty big high!

Ireeb
06-21-2015, 11:41 AM
I was looking at the website of Gerstlauer and their products, especially the Infinity Coaster, that's the coaster type The Smiler is based on. Looking at the pictures I saw that they build a second Infinity coaster and I recognized it is from a themepark close to where I live. When I visited it the last time it was still under construction. It was finished 2013 just like The Smiler, and there were no problems withr that one until now. No parts fell of, no cars stopped on the track. Here in Germany we have strict scrutinies by independent societies, I guess that shows if you just maintain it properly and the employees know how to operate it correctly everything is fine. Either the construction workers failed or the people who operated The Smiler failed, it is not Gerstlauer's fault for sure.

Deuce
06-21-2015, 12:22 PM
I was looking at the website of Gerstlauer and their products, especially the Infinity Coaster, that's the coaster type The Smiler is based on. Looking at the pictures I saw that they build a second Infinity coaster and I recognized it is from a themepark close to where I live. When I visited it the last time it was still under construction. It was finished 2013 just like The Smiler, and there were no problems withr that one until now. No parts fell of, no cars stopped on the track. Here in Germany we have strict scrutinies by independent societies, I guess that shows if you just maintain it properly and the employees know how to operate it correctly everything is fine. Either the construction workers failed or the people who operated The Smiler failed, it is not Gerstlauer's fault for sure.

I work in Germany a lot and I also think that ppl in general are more disciplined and focussed than us Brits! I can image a lazy or disinterested British person lazily pressing the reset button without double checking everything, especially if it's the 20th time that day. In Germany they would follow the procedures to the letter no matter how many times they had to do it.

I once worked with FESTO robotics over there and every robot on their assembly line was painted in their own corporate blue colour - except one small component in the centre of one of the machines. They dismantled the machine to get at it, and repainted it. :eek:

Ireeb
06-21-2015, 01:41 PM
I work in Germany a lot and I also think that ppl in general are more disciplined and focussed than us Brits! I can image a lazy or disinterested British person lazily pressing the reset button without double checking everything, especially if it's the 20th time that day. In Germany they would follow the procedures to the letter no matter how many times they had to do it.

I once worked with FESTO robotics over there and every robot on their assembly line was painted in their own corporate blue colour - except one small component in the centre of one of the machines. They dismantled the machine to get at it, and repainted it. :eek:

We might not be that disciplined in normal life, but in big companies and organisations rules are really important I guess :p and generally we have lots of safety-related laws especially when it's about machines and I am very glad about this.

CreamyBeef
08-21-2015, 08:53 PM
Let's not jump to conclusions. The HSE are still investigating. I think it may be a ride fault, since not even a Ride op can override the controls to send two coasters on the SAME block at a time. But it may also be human-error. I could never live it down if it was me. From eyewitness and victim accounts, it seems that the lift hill started while they were being held at the top. That must have been frightening, just having to accept your fate and waiting for it to happen.

But, however bad this accident was, I just can't turn my back on Alton. I've been 8 times since the accident, and it makes me extremely depressed to see Alton not doing so well. There were more in off-peak last year than in the middle of July on a hot day in the summer holidays this year. Alton Towers has always been my favourite park ever, there's a magic that no park has ever replicated, not to mention so many world firsts and experiences like no other.

While other parks would see not being able to build above the tree line as a problem, Alton have used it to create magical and amazing rides, carving through rocks, 190 feet drops undeground, it's become their staple.

Alton Towers will always be my favourite theme park and I'm not sure that I could ever turn my back on it. Rollercoasters are safe, and the Smiler operated for the entirety of 2014 without any problems, and barely any stalls or breakdowns. I think it will re-open as Nick Varney imlplied when he said that he would be the first to ride it when it opened.

CreamyBeef
08-21-2015, 08:55 PM
We might not be that disciplined in normal life, but in big companies and organisations rules are really important I guess :p and generally we have lots of safety-related laws especially when it's about machines and I am very glad about this.

The ride ops at Europa park didn't check any restraints on anything apart from Blue Fire when I went. Their dispatch time was very good though :P

You can't put anything ahead of safety though.

Ireeb
08-21-2015, 09:42 PM
Let's not jump to conclusions. The HSE are still investigating. I think it may be a ride fault, since not even a Ride op can override the controls to send two coasters on the SAME block at a time. But it may also be human-error. I could never live it down if it was me. From eyewitness and victim accounts, it seems that the lift hill started while they were being held at the top. That must have been frightening, just having to accept your fate and waiting for it to happen.

But, however bad this accident was, I just can't turn my back on Alton. I've been 8 times since the accident, and it makes me extremely depressed to see Alton not doing so well. There were more in off-peak last year than in the middle of July on a hot day in the summer holidays this year. Alton Towers has always been my favourite park ever, there's a magic that no park has ever replicated, not to mention so many world firsts and experiences like no other.

While other parks would see not being able to build above the tree line as a problem, Alton have used it to create magical and amazing rides, carving through rocks, 190 feet drops undeground, it's become their staple.

Alton Towers will always be my favourite theme park and I'm not sure that I could ever turn my back on it. Rollercoasters are safe, and the Smiler operated for the entirety of 2014 without any problems, and barely any stalls or breakdowns. I think it will re-open as Nick Varney imlplied when he said that he would be the first to ride it when it opened.

Even if the ride failed, the operators had several chances to intervene.
So they sent a empty car because there were technical issues. The ride's computer probably signalled that, and the operators reacted properly by sending the empty car to check it. Both sides did everything right,
First big mistake on the human side: filling the next train with people and letting it leave the station before the test train came back. Why do they even test it if they don't wait for the results. Obviously they didn't even watch the cctv cameras.
In the meantime the first empty train stopped on the tracks, reason: Brakes were too strong. We don't know if it was a computer/mechanical fault or maybe someone played around with the setting if that is possible. The investigation will show. The second train stopped on the lifthill because the one before did not get past the next brake section. Correct reaction from the system. Now you can't tell me the ride has no emergency stop button that would have prevented the lifthill from releasing the train. But that's not all! One of the new features of the Infinity coaster is to slowly let trains travel down the lifthill backwards! Why didn't they use this feature? We don't know why the train could get past the lifthill, but they had 10 minutes time to prevent it. I can't imagine the computer changed its mind after 10 minutes and just released the second train, I'd rather say the operators tried to override it because they didn't understand why it stopped there. It looks to me like the operators of the ride were under a huge (time) pressure, maybe caused by a bad management, were not properly educated about the safety systems of this rollercoaster and the communication between the operating people failed. Somewhere I read that people told Alton Tower's employees about the train that stopped on the tracks, but it looks like it didn't get to the person sitting in front of the controls.
I am honestly sad about this incident, even though I have never been there. Of course the damages, both physically and mentally, the riders suffered saddened me, but also that this awesome new rollercoaster has such a terrible reputation now. I really hope it will reopen, and if it does, I hope it will at least keep it's theming. I doubt that it will keep it's name, even though I liked it as well.
If the Smiler ever reopens I would like to travel to the UK and visit Alton Towers. I hope the best for the theme park and the victims of the crash.

...and sorry for the long post.

freez99313
08-22-2015, 01:04 AM
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-32980354

Per the article:

History of problems
A group of 16 journalists were left dangling on it at a steep angle as they tried out the rollercoaster before it opened to the public.
The ride shut for four days in July 2013 after a piece fell off the track, and 48 people had to be rescued.
It closed again in August 2013 for five days due to a "technical issue".
In November 2013 it closed for five days after wheels fell off and hit four people in the front carriage. The injured people were looked after by park staff and did not need treatment by the ambulance service, a spokeswoman said at the time.
Riders were also left stranded in the air when the ride ground to a halt at the top of a near vertical section 14 months ago.

Hmm? I'd say it's time to dismantle.

You would have thought that after 3 major breakdowns that they would dismantle the coaster and be done with it. I mean seriously? A part of the track fell off, I guess they don't have very good safety measures... I thought I heard one of the females in the front lost her right leg! Not only that, I am not sure what coaster, but the harnesses were coming undone at the buckle and they could then move around... I mean wow... They could prevent many injuries, but I guess that's not important... lol:confused: Hopefully the survivors are ok... :(

Ireeb
08-22-2015, 07:05 AM
I don't know when you last were there but when I was there this spring they checked it on the rides where you could actually fall out. Anyway, there were no huge disasters in Europapark because they have a really good maintenance.

Ireeb
08-22-2015, 07:14 AM
You would have thought that after 3 major breakdowns that they would dismantle the coaster and be done with it. I mean seriously? A part of the track fell off, I guess they don't have very good safety measures... I thought I heard one of the females in the front lost her right leg! Not only that, I am not sure what coaster, but the harnesses were coming undone at the buckle and they could then move around... I mean wow... They could prevent many injuries, but I guess that's not important... lol:confused: Hopefully the survivors are ok... :(

I can only explain these problems with parts falling of the cars and stuff with bad maintenance. I know this rollercoaster manufacturer, Gerstlauer, I never heard about problems with their rides here in Germany.
I also don't think the crash is connected to the previous incidents. I have the feeling that the people who maintained and operated it just were not well educated about it.
In the crash two people from the front row had their legs amputated, otherwise they are okay. Luckily no one died in the crash.

CreamyBeef
08-22-2015, 08:20 AM
I can only explain these problems with parts falling of the cars and stuff with bad maintenance. I know this rollercoaster manufacturer, Gerstlauer, I never heard about problems with their rides here in Germany.
I also don't think the crash is connected to the previous incidents. I have the feeling that the people who maintained and operated it just were not well educated about it.
In the crash two people from the front row had their legs amputated, otherwise they are okay. Luckily no one died in the crash.

It's not. Alton maintenence is very good. Gerstlauer usually build smaller, Eurofighter and family coasters. A huge behemoth of twisted steel and 14 inversions is not something that should have been given to them. It would have worked with an Intamin I think, B&M most likely not. But I don't think they were the right manufacturer. Also, there are remote brakes on a few coasters, I think Corkscrew had them when it was still operating, that the Ride op can stop it even if it is not on a block or lift hill. The Smiler could use them I think. But, as I said, it will most likely turn out to be a fault on Gerstlauer's and Alton's part, a Ride Op can't put two cars onto the same block, and lift hills don't randomly restart if the coaster is being held at a block.

But it is hugely lucky that no one was killed. Leah Washington almost died 3 times due to blood loss, and if it were a colder day she wouldn't have survived. Scary stuff.

Ireeb
08-22-2015, 09:44 AM
It's not. Alton maintenence is very good. Gerstlauer usually build smaller, Eurofighter and family coasters. A huge behemoth of twisted steel and 14 inversions is not something that should have been given to them. It would have worked with an Intamin I think, B&M most likely not. But I don't think they were the right manufacturer. Also, there are remote brakes on a few coasters, I think Corkscrew had them when it was still operating, that the Ride op can stop it even if it is not on a block or lift hill. The Smiler could use them I think. But, as I said, it will most likely turn out to be a fault on Gerstlauer's and Alton's part, a Ride Op can't put two cars onto the same block, and lift hills don't randomly restart if the coaster is being held at a block.

But it is hugely lucky that no one was killed. Leah Washington almost died 3 times due to blood loss, and if it were a colder day she wouldn't have survived. Scary stuff.

Well, Gerstlauer didn't build that big rollercoasters before (even though I think they built some pretty big Eurofighters as well) but also Intamin didn't just appear with experience for such coasters, they also had to face a challenge like that for the first time at some point. Also, Gerstlauer built more Infinity Coasters, like the 4 Inversion Launched Karacho, the 73 meter high Schwur des Kärnan and the 3 Inversion Launched Junker, and I didn't hear about any problems with them.

CreamyBeef
08-22-2015, 12:15 PM
Well, Gerstlauer didn't build that big rollercoasters before (even though I think they built some pretty big Eurofighters as well) but also Intamin didn't just appear with experience for such coasters, they also had to face a challenge like that for the first time at some point. Also, Gerstlauer built more Infinity Coasters, like the 4 Inversion Launched Karacho, the 73 meter high Schwur des Kärnan and the 3 Inversion Launched Junker, and I didn't hear about any problems with them.

Schwur des Kärnan is brand new, it's too early to judge it yet I think. All the other coasters don't really compare to the Smiler in terms of a ride experience and how its run.

Ireeb
08-22-2015, 06:33 PM
Schwur des Kärnan is brand new, it's too early to judge it yet I think. All the other coasters don't really compare to the Smiler in terms of a ride experience and how its run.

I think Karacho is not a simple rollercoaster it may be short, but it is intense with the LIM launch, and I just love the part where it turns you upside down and then you drop into a tunnel. Yes it has no lift hill, but the lifthill was not the problem on the smkler (It worked, but when it was supposed not to, it must have gotten the signal from the computer, questionable why. I don't this it would start for no reason) The Karacho is as high as the smiler, it is faster, it has inversions just not as many as the smiler, but I don't think this is a big difference as they use the same computers and very similar trains. It is a fact that the smiler ride failed when the cars stopped, that's not supposed to happen, but it's a big machine, they are never perfect and that's why the ride operators are there to ensure that in a case of a technical issue the damages are minimal. And here they failed. They should have waited until the test train returned and watched the CCTV cam. Anyway I would just wait until the investigations are finished, maybe they just throw over everything I said and confirm what you said, maybe they confirm my theories.

Ireeb
08-24-2015, 06:58 AM
It looks like there has been progress to the investigations. Just as I assumed, they did not realize there was a train on the tracks, wondered why the second train was held on the top of the lift, so they manually overwrote the safety system. The article questions how this can be possible, I'd say for an engineer it should be possible to overwrite everything if necessary, because in a different scenario this might be necessary (maybe the sensors fail and the computer didn't get the information that the next section is clear, so the train is stuck up there for no reason, here the manual overwrite would be needed, but if you do that you should evacuate the train before releasing it). Such a feature must be used carefully though, but obviously they did not pay enough attention. They also spoke about a possible reason for the first train stopping on the tracks. In the beginning they always talked about the brakes were slowing down the train too much, but it could also be an influence from outside: strong wind.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3207431/Two-workers-quizzed-human-error-Alton-Towers-horror-Engineer-turned-automatic-safety-lock-operator-let-truck-slam-stalled-carriage.html

Deuce
11-26-2015, 11:06 AM
Some actual 'news' about this at last.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/nov/24/alton-towers-rollercoaster-crash-caused-by-human-error-theme-park-says

So the park has concluded it was definitely human error, and that the ride was faultless. Gerstlauer make superb coasters and I'm glad they at least are not being held to blame in any way.

Throughout this story I have felt that Alton Towers is, in fact, extremely safe and very conscientiously operated. It's a great park and I can't wait to go back there, which I will do as soon as the Smiler re-opens :)

JMR
11-29-2015, 12:20 PM
Some actual 'news' about this at last.

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/nov/24/alton-towers-rollercoaster-crash-caused-by-human-error-theme-park-says

So the park has concluded it was definitely human error, and that the ride was faultless. Gerstlauer make superb coasters and I'm glad they at least are not being held to blame in any way.

Throughout this story I have felt that Alton Towers is, in fact, extremely safe and very conscientiously operated. It's a great park and I can't wait to go back there, which I will do as soon as the Smiler re-opens :)

I was also very pleased to hear the it wasn't Gerstlauer's fault. When it came on the news, I just felt a relief for Alton Towers.

Now Alton Towers security is probably better than the majority of parks out there with their new training improvements and new override authentication system.

Deuce
11-29-2015, 12:25 PM
I was also very pleased to hear the it wasn't Gerstlauer's fault. When it came on the news, I just felt a relief for Alton Towers.

Now Alton Towers security is probably better than the majority of parks out there with their new training improvements and new override authentication system.

Very true. The last park to suffer an accident is arguably one of the safest to visit afterwards.

Although that's not true of some parks. I'm looking at Disney and the original Action Park...

Cigfu
11-30-2015, 11:33 PM
It's not. Alton maintenence is very good. Gerstlauer usually build smaller, Eurofighter and family coasters. A huge behemoth of twisted steel and 14 inversions is not something that should have been given to them. It would have worked with an Intamin I think, B&M most likely not. But I don't think they were the right manufacturer. Also, there are remote brakes on a few coasters, I think Corkscrew had them when it was still operating, that the Ride op can stop it even if it is not on a block or lift hill. The Smiler could use them I think. But, as I said, it will most likely turn out to be a fault on Gerstlauer's and Alton's part, a Ride Op can't put two cars onto the same block, and lift hills don't randomly restart if the coaster is being held at a block.

But it is hugely lucky that no one was killed. Leah Washington almost died 3 times due to blood loss, and if it were a colder day she wouldn't have survived. Scary stuff.

Gerstlauer have build some pretty massive coasters in the past, what separates them out from Intamin though is their ability to create very compact coasters with inversions. The entire coaster's length (length from one side to the other, not tack length) is smaller than Oblivion; that's a very small amount of space to fit a lot of track. Despite the fact that Intamin have built the tallest rides in the world, they are not in a position to make a huge leap in a unfamiliar direction. Gerstlauer however not only had the experience, they also had the new type of multi-car train designed for tight inversions. The second reason why Merlin picked Gerstlauer was the simple fact that they had already worked with them on Saw.

I'm not sure about remote breaks though, especially for the corkscrew since it was built 1980. A remote breaking system would require on board power, which would be a nightmare technically, and probably impossible. The trains aren't light, so stopping something with that much energy without damaging the track, train or passengers is most likely impossible with anything built onto the train. You could be thinking of trim breaks that are not only used on The Smiler, but also incapable of stopping the train.

JMR
12-01-2015, 04:04 AM
Does anyone remember the original plans for The Smiler's themeing? They were going down more of the military facility route, I liked that theme a lot more. It was a much better fit to the X-Sector.

http://i.imgur.com/QCtG2wB.png (Credit to TowersTimes)
http://www.towerstimes.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/sw7-plan-1.png

shirty
12-06-2015, 05:45 PM
I will still get on The Smiler if it reopens. It may have had a few incidents but then I could name a few rides in other parks that have both had more incidents and taken lives even on a number of times yet are still open.
It certainly isn't a reason to dismantle the ride, just ensure that the ride is operated safely. A simple cctv system and someone who bothers to use it when the system locks might have stopped the incident which led to its closing.
I mean who releases a track full of people without seeing with their own 2 eyes where the previous train is, If you see it isn't at or past the next holding brake its somewhere on the track and you don't override the lock.
The operator just messed up and that's a massive shame for all involved but I have my fingers crossed it gets another chance with tighter protocols which eliminate the chances of human error again.

finaccurate
12-06-2015, 06:39 PM
I will still get on The Smiler if it reopens. It may have had a few incidents but then I could name a few rides in other parks that have both had more incidents and taken lives even on a number of times yet are still open.
It certainly isn't a reason to dismantle the ride, just ensure that the ride is operated safely. A simple cctv system and someone who bothers to use it when the system locks might have stopped the incident which led to its closing.
I mean who releases a track full of people without seeing with their own 2 eyes where the previous train is, If you see it isn't at or past the next holding brake its somewhere on the track and you don't override the lock.
The operator just messed up and that's a massive shame for all involved but I have my fingers crossed it gets another chance with tighter protocols which eliminate the chances of human error again.

Also the fact that it was human error and that the ride itself wasn't at fault means that there really isn't any reason that people should be any more scared to ride it than they originally would have been, especially if they're preventing the same human error from happening again by making it so that only a senior member of staff can manually override the computer's decision to stall the ride.

It was obviously an accident, I doubt they would have deliberately overridden the system to make the ride crash, just a lack of following safety protocols and getting a little lazy with it probably due to the technical issues that they'd been having earlier in the day which hadn't turned out to be anything.

I am not afraid to ride The Smiler again because I fear that it will crash again but I do not want to show any disrespect to those involved by desperately wanting to ride it (like the idiots tweeting them saying that they hoped it would open for Scarefest - I certainly wouldn't want to receive messages like that had it been me) . But at the same time, if it is reopened then it won't make any difference if I ride it or not and I might as well make the most of my day when I visit. Rides have reopened when people have died due to faults but I do think that leaving it to the end of the season without reopening was the right decision (I know that they didn't have a say due to the HSE ban but if that hadn't been in place then I do agree with keeping it closed for a period out of respect)

shirty
12-06-2015, 06:56 PM
yea I wasn't saying it was deliberate just that no care was taken when they released the loaded car, they obviously didn't check (I don't know if they can see cctv at control station but I would say they should be able to) or else they would have known the empty car had not completed its section.
Purely down to complacency or laziness neither of which are traits you want operating a potentially lethal machine.
Merlin have already cracked down on the staff safety protocols so as far as I'm concerned The Smiler is as safe as any other ride at any other park, they all have potential to go wrong but the odds are far safer than crossing the road and I do that every single day

JMR I'm not sure what I think of those images, I agree it would fit in better with the surrounding area but at same time its all a bit grey. I guess it would have depended on what was inside the building but anyway we got the yellow and black with the weird mind tricks theme which I'm really not sure about either and while I have yet to ride it I dread the queue with that tune playing constantly, every video I see of the ride I get wound up by it. Terrible music imo.

finaccurate
12-07-2015, 01:44 PM
yea I wasn't saying it was deliberate just that no care was taken when they released the loaded car, they obviously didn't check (I don't know if they can see cctv at control station but I would say they should be able to) or else they would have known the empty car had not completed its section.
Purely down to complacency or laziness neither of which are traits you want operating a potentially lethal machine.
Merlin have already cracked down on the staff safety protocols so as far as I'm concerned The Smiler is as safe as any other ride at any other park, they all have potential to go wrong but the odds are far safer than crossing the road and I do that every single day


Yeah I know you weren't saying that (I got a bit rambly hehe). I think that the area that the car valleyed is covered by CCTV because of that reason - it wasn't the first time that an empty car has stopped at that point. But if you've been having technical issues all day then you might get a bit lax on checking every time something flags up. Still not really an excuse though. If I'd sent out an empty carriage as a safety test then I would wait until it returns before sending out people on the ride and I definitely wouldn't ignore the ride stopping.

The Smiler is going to be as safe as it possibly could be now, I agree