Incident on The Smiler 02/06/2015

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by spinba11, 2nd Jun 2015.

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  1. Jordan

    Jordan TS Contributor

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    One potential scenario is that the E-stop was pressed after the car left Lift 1. In this case, the trim brakes would have fired to slow the train down before it entered the knot - which might corroborate suggestions that the car "stopped" (or went slowly) through the last inversion before the crash.
     
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  2. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    Good point, you would imagine that E-stop would have been pressed as soon as they realised.

    Looks like the park is very quiet today and the Guardian are reporting that not all rides are running at full capacity. From what I have seen Nemesis is one 2 trains and Air is on 2 train dual station operation. Air is probably only on 2 because of how quiet it is though. Thirteen will likely only be on 2 trains also because of how buggered it is.

    :)
     
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  3. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Th E-Stop would have stopped the cars on the air time hill by the marmalizer. They would have not made it around the inversion. Plus, as the eye witnesses said, they hit the train with full force.
     
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  4. Alex23

    Alex23 TowersStreet Member

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    I thought the airtime hill was only trims and not brakes so how could it stop the car?
     
  5. phildenholm

    phildenholm TowersStreet Member

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    The trims on the airtime hill are only capable of slowing the train not stopping it, this was discussed a few pages ago. From what I have read it does sound like E stop was the likely reason merlin are saying the collision speed is lower than we would expect.
     
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  6. delta79

    delta79 TowersStreet Member

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    So stop full braking for the air time hills then
     
  7. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    As far as I am aware that is not true. The trims certainly would not have stopped the train on the hill, they are only designed to slow the train down. A former ride-op did say that the E-stop would activate full trims, and this would slow the train down sufficiently to stall, most likely in the batwing element (where a the first train was already valleyed).

    An eye witness account describing 'full force' is not terribly useful. I don't see why Towers have any reason to lie about the speed of impact, it would only come back to bite them at a later date.

    :)
     
  8. NickN

    NickN TowersStreet Member

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    Well this may be complete rubbish but just as a possibility...

    IF (a big IF) Train travelling at 40mph, weight including passengers (1,280kg) 2,000kg, distance travelled after impact (pushing the empty train) 20 metres (a total guess) = 13,720 Newtons force, or 3,084 Pounds force.
    If the round bumper is 0.03 m2 in area (20cm diameter guess?) then that , which converts to 66.3 psi (pounds per square inch) on that round bumper.

    Now a lot of that is estimated but I think when you consider the damage a standard car (at around 1,500kg) would sustain at 40mph into the back of a stationary car, then increase the weight and decrease the crumple/impact zone and hugely decrease the initial contact area... it's not surprising at the level of injuries. One mitigating factor at least was the ability of the front empty car to roll forward a considerable distance, thanks to the low friction between steel rail and wheels. If the front car had been unable to move forward then we wouldn't be talking about mere injuries...

    My sympathies are with the injured and their families. The complete unexpectedness of it all just makes it worse really - while other areas of life have much higher risk, usually we tend to be aware of that beforehand.
     
  9. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    Ok lets say the trims did slow the train down, on a normal day a loaded train just about makes it around that section without trims, with trims I doubt it would even have made it around whatsoever. I dont think the E Stop was pressed, by the time staff at the entrance realised there was a train on the track and phoned through, then got connected, then the op pressed the button, it would have been too late.
     
  10. EuroSatch

    EuroSatch TowersStreet Member

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    Fairly certain the e-stop wouldn't impact on the trims. E-stops are there for a number of reasons, from small danger to full emergency, and are therefore meant to allow a quick restart of the system once assessed everything is safe. To have an e stop function that would allow a train to stall whenever pressed would not be feasible
     
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  11. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    Are people sure about the trims working with the E-Stop? I can't think of any other ride built in the past 40 years or so that would stop a train mid circuit like that, without the means for it to continue after the E-Stop period.
     
  12. Danza91

    Danza91 TowersStreet Member

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    Plenty of narrow-minded people commenting on Alton Towers Facebook about how they hope they'll be sued for millions etc. Seems to be the thing these days, all about the money. How about spare a thought for the girl who has lost her leg, and her family? The negative energy and comments from people on there would have you believing that suffering a lost limb is the end of your life. Whilst it is a devastating injury which will change her life, it is not the end of all her dreams. To me it speaks more volumes about how these people view those with disabilities. I hope the victims have positive people around them who share opposing views to those mentioned above.

    I think and hope that Merlin will support the victims in any way they can for the rest of their lives, rather than it be a simple compensation payout. I don't know exactly how these cases work.
     
    Last edited: 8th Jun 2015
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  13. Tom

    Tom TowersStreet Member

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    Thank you for your thoughts, the on-train trims are not something I considered. In fact when the BBC attempted to display a graphic of them I thought it was a mistake, haha.
     
  14. shawnoc

    shawnoc TowersStreet Member

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    I feel the removal of the ride would be a long shot considering the investment put in to build the ride (although my first reaction was that Alton would cut their losses). I do however see the ride being re branded and possibly re profiled (trackwise) to prevent stalling in the future. This would come at a massive cost to either Alton or Gurstlaure or both. The ride has had history of stalling many times. If they can irradiate that a lot more confidence can be put back into the ride. I can also see a new train design coming, maybe with a lead car like B&M sit downs, hypers etc. it may help with aerodynamics and add a crumple zone to the trains.
    Just a thought.
     
  15. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    ^ I do wonder why they haven't addressed the stalling by now, it must be such an inconvenience and a real dog on the customer service front.

    That said, fixing the stalling isn't a solution to making the ride safer.
     
  16. MichelinMan

    MichelinMan TowersStreet Member

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    Speaking from experience, the compensation is unlikely to be millions - in fact, I would be surprised if it was more than £1m.

    As a guide, insurance companies tend to pay £80,000 to £210,000 for a whole leg amputation. Companies who are responsible for accidents tend to pay more than that to help them out on the PR side of things - it is always better if an injured party gets a good settlement (which is usually private and non-disclosable), because then the company can say that they have looked after the person, especially when it comes to mitigation in court (that sort of thing tends to go down well with judges during sentencing).

    A lot of factors go into the compensation though - for example, the age of the person and potential loss of career earnings. So for this poor girl, as a young person, any compensation is likely to be towards the upper end of the scale.

    I would also be surprised if any fine the company gets would be more than £1m either - an accident that I know about offshore where a worker lost his leg resulted in a £225k fine for a large, multinational oil company. Any fine for Merlin would probably be more (because of the multiple injuries) but I would be very surprised if it was more than £500k (and that is assuming that Merlin are guilty - because we just don't know yet).

    No, the real costs to Merlin will be the business impact costs (as we have already seen), and even the cost of the HSE investigation, which is likely to dwarf any fine and compensation payments paid out.

    As a HSE manager I once knew said after an incident: 'If you think health and safety is expensive, try having an accident'.
     
  17. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    They wont remove the ride. They may re-brand it.

    With regards addressing the stalling, three possible outcomes:

    1. Sensors in that area to detect a stalled car
    2. CCTV on that area
    3. Extra weight added to the design of the cars

    Edit : just saw the above post. If indeed it is lets say £500,000, to put it in context, thats just 1 day park takings..... kinda minuscule when you think of it that way.

    Edit Edit: This is interesting. Its on the Daily Mirror website. There is a bit which says :

    "The statement comes as lawyers for Merlin said the company take "full responsibility" for the accident."

    What do I make of this? Well, its very bold for a company to say this even while the H&S investigation goes on. I can only assume they know the reason of the crash, and that the reason was human error, and therefore, was the responsibility of the park.
     
    Last edited: 8th Jun 2015
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  18. nikfonso

    nikfonso TowersStreet Member

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    I guess there hasn't been any time mentioned as to how long it will be until X-Sector (not including the Smiler) and Sonic will be opened again? I'm staying over at AT on Friday and not being able to go on Oblivion and Sonic dampens my excitement a little.

    But of course safety comes first.
     
  19. delta79

    delta79 TowersStreet Member

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    Today a student at work came out with a horrid joke. Or he was planning to go to alton to get totally drunk.
     
  20. James

    James TS Founding Member

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    Reading all these 'Alton Towers should be forced to pay out so much they have no money to run the park and close down' comments on social media is making my brain melt.

    Funny how a lot of people jump on the money straight away too. I'd rather hope for the girl's recovery and rehabilitation first...
     
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