The Smiler - General Discussion

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Smiler certainly seems it has quite a low throughput in comparison to the rest of the big 7; when I rode in July, the queue certainly seemed to move more slowly than the others. I timed it, and it would have only been 454pph that day, and that’s before social distancing (less riders on the train) is taken into account.

Does it have the lowest throughput of the big 7, out of interest?
 

Danscott22

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
I think it's more a case of the throughput getting worse than the ride getting more popular.

In the last few years The Smiler has lost its bag room, the fifth train and its staffing has been cut. All of these amount to slower dispatches.

If you think back when it opened, a 'good' dispatch was a train clearing Lift 1 just as the one before it was going vertical on Lift 2. These days seeing even both trains leave the top of each lift at the same time is a rarity.
When i was there in July, the two trains left both lift hills at the same time a good 90% of the time I'd say > trains really were being thrown out very, very quickly, so I'm not convinced by what I've seen that dispatches are even that slow.

Maybe others have witnessed this, but I personally thought The Smiler's operations were up there last year with Wicker Man's (at least for my visits).
 

John

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
As mentioned previously, trains leaving the lifts together is not as quick as it can/should go but is it about as good as you can reliably get without the bag room.

Of the major coasters, the lowest throughput will be Smiler or Rita, depending on staff on the day
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
If the layout of the station and building interior were to be modified slightly, could Smiler theoretically have separate load and offload areas, with one train occupying each at once? The other Merlin Gerstlauer, Saw, utilises this system, and rides like Rita and Stealth use it too.

I’m only saying because when I’m waiting in the station to board Smiler, I often see another train waiting behind the one being offloaded/loaded. I was thinking that it might potentially speed the ride’s throughput up if it was able to offload one train while it was loading another, with the train rolling into the loading area empty and with the restraints already open, like how Rita does it.

Do we reckon that Gerstlauer might have designed the ride with this feature in mind, as I’ve always thought that it looks like it would be able to accommodate this feature (hardware-wise), and Smiler was designed with a theoretical throughput of 1200pph according to Gerstlauer, which would equate to 75 trains per hour, or a dispatch every 48 seconds. I think this is on 5 trains, however, which I’m unsure whether the park still runs the ride on.

I’ll admit that it surprises me that Merlin didn’t include a separate offload station on The Smiler, given that Saw has one.
 

spinba11

TS Member
A waiting train is a good sign on smiler as it means there’s enough trains on, waiting for a train to come in slows down operations.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
If it had a separate offload area (meaning that dispatches would be quicker) and ran 5 trains regularly, do you think that Gerstlauer’s touted throughout of 1,200 riders per hour, or 75 dispatches, would be possible? This would equate to a dispatch roughly every 48 seconds.
 

WickerManiac

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Colossus
If it had a separate offload area (meaning that dispatches would be quicker) and ran 5 trains regularly, do you think that Gerstlauer’s touted throughout of 1,200 riders per hour, or 75 dispatches, would be possible? This would equate to a dispatch roughly every 48 seconds.

It would benefit from just a double dispatch feature like Saw or Oblivion, as there is a block before the first lift hill after the tunnel.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
It would benefit from just a double dispatch feature like Saw or Oblivion, as there is a block before the first lift hill after the tunnel.
I’m a little confused; if they did that, wouldn’t the trains crash into each other, or generate an error on the braking system, as they’d both be occupying the block section where the heartline roll is at once?

If the ride had a flat dark ride section prior to the drop and roll a la Saw, or even a block section that could hold a train prior to the roll like Oblivion has before the lift hill, I could see where you’re coming from, but wouldn’t what you’re suggesting involve both trains occupying the heartline roll at once?

Isn’t the double dispatch and ensuing block brakes on Saw the reason why the car in front only gets Jigsaw laughing, whereas the car at the back gets the spiel from Jigsaw?
 
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WickerManiac

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Colossus
I’m a little confused; if they did that, wouldn’t the trains crash into each other, or generate an error on the braking system, as they’d both be occupying the block section where the heartline roll is at once?

If the ride had a flat dark ride section prior to the drop and roll a la Saw, or even a block section that could hold a train prior to the roll like Oblivion has before the lift hill, I could see where you’re coming from, but wouldn’t what you’re suggesting involve both trains occupying the heartline roll at once?

Isn’t the double dispatch and ensuing block brakes on Saw the reason why the car in front only gets Jigsaw laughing, whereas the car at the back gets the spiel from Jigsaw?

No. The lift hill is a separate block from the Brake behind it. So 2 trains can be at the bottom of the first lift hill. So one could dispatch and after 10 seconds it'd be clear of the first brake block. Then dispatch second train and that waits on this brake until the lift is clear.
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
No. The lift hill is a separate block from the Brake behind it. So 2 trains can be at the bottom of the first lift hill. So one could dispatch and after 10 seconds it'd be clear of the first brake block. Then dispatch second train and that waits on this brake until the lift is clear.
So am I correct in saying that what you’re suggesting is:
  • 2 trains of 16 being loaded/unloaded at once, making for a total of 32 riders being loaded/unloaded at once.
  • Train 1 is dispatched into heartline roll/pre-lift block brake.
  • Once Train 1 clears pre-lift block brake, train 2 is dispatched.
If this is what you’re saying, that makes far more sense! If they did this, it could nearly double the throughput (thus making your quoted figure above of 600-800 become 1200-1600 or just under)! Obviously for various reasons, it’s not quite that simple, but you get my drift; if applied, it would substantially increase the ride’s throughput, likely to at least 1000pph if not over.
 

Thameslink Rail

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Smiler
So am I correct in saying that what you’re suggesting is:
  • 2 trains of 16 being loaded/unloaded at once, making for a total of 32 riders being loaded/unloaded at once.
  • Train 1 is dispatched into heartline roll/pre-lift block brake.
  • Once Train 1 clears pre-lift block brake, train 2 is dispatched.
If this is what you’re saying, that makes far more sense! If they did this, it could nearly double the throughput (thus making your quoted figure above of 600-800 become 1200-1600 or just under)! Obviously for various reasons, it’s not quite that simple, but you get my drift; if applied, it would substantially increase the ride’s throughput, likely to at least 1000pph if not over.
The problem with that as far as I can see is the block section after the lift hill is quite large and the second train would have to wait quite a while for the first train to pass the mid course brake run.
My solution would be to have a rolling station like on Spinball and start the unload process at the "You belong..." sign.
 

Poisson

TS Member
Favourite Ride
The Giant Squid
And how did you calculate this?

Simple enough. Pick a point, get a stopwatch and go. Average say 10 trains out to x seconds a dispatch, divide 3600 by the dispatch time then times the answer by 16 riders. 454 pph would be a train roughly every 125 seconds which is sloooooow.

Best thing for Smiler dispatch is sack off the gates on the station or move them back slightly so they don't need to open to dispatch, remove the gates and chains for where the staff have to stand so they can just walk up and press the button and reinstall a bag hold. All a hell of a lot cheaper than trying to build an offload that'd be a marginal improvement.
 

Ethan

TS Member
I used an app called Dispatch Timer. You press the “Dispatch” button every time a train passes a certain point (I think I picked the top of the first lift hill). I did 5 dispatches, and the average of 5 was 454pph.
Ah I see. I think its throughput is certainly better than that tho unless it was having a bad day!
 

Matt N

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Mako (SeaWorld Orlando)
Ah I see. I think its throughput is certainly better than that tho unless it was having a bad day!
I’ll admit that the queue did feel particularly slow compared to usual that day, and it wasn’t long after the park reopened post-lockdown, so it definitely wasn’t ideal circumstances.

It certainly felt slower than usual when we were in the queue; I think it ended up taking nearly 2 hours in the end.
 

Ethan

TS Member
I’ll admit that the queue did feel particularly slow compared to usual that day, and it wasn’t long after the park reopened post-lockdown, so it definitely wasn’t ideal circumstances.

It certainly felt slower than usual when we were in the queue; I think it ended up taking nearly 2 hours in the end.
Yes at the start of the season it took a lot longer. At capacity in July it took about 2 1/2 hours whereas at the end of the season it took just over an hour
 

John

TS Member
Favourite Ride
Steel Vengeance
Throughputs were pretty lousy park-wide in July last year - they hadn't yet got to grips with the new procedures and operations were EXTREMLY slow. After a few weeks they streamlined some of the processes and the staff had become more familiar with them which led to substantial improvements. A visit shortly after re-opening would be a poor indicator for typical ride capacities.
 
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