The Smiler - General Discussion

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scott, 11th Jun 2013.

  1. andeyhart

    andeyhart TowersStreet Member

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    Location:
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    As grim as it is, I've always been fascinated by the cause of and lead up to the crash. Great videos.
     
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  2. Kraken27

    Kraken27 TowersStreet Member

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    As we all knew pretty much at the time of the crash, it was pretty obvious that human error caused the crash. The ride PLC worked exactly as it should have done & stopped the occupied train at the top of lift 1 when it could not confirm the block ahead was clear.

    Electrical technician A was seemingly complacent. This would indicate that Nick Varney's comments on that infamous Kay Burley interview were correct. i.e. Merlin had since introduced additional protocols to ensure block resets were handled safely. I would imagine this is at least a "two sets of eyes" rule and a full visual inspection of all the ride track [not by CCTV either] - no just going out and pressing an interlock reset button.
     
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  3. spinba11

    spinba11 TowersStreet Member

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    There's a box been added on the fence right in front of where the crash happened, I'm assuming that's some kind of rest box.
     
  4. Rick

    Rick TowersStreet Member

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    This is the heart of the matter ... Machine says A, human thinks B.
     
  5. DistortAMG

    DistortAMG TowersStreet Member

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    I get what your saying about Smiler, I agree partially though. Seems slightly different to 'normal' stress you see on rides. It appears to me as if the ride and supports are under a constant state of tension. Not sure what the long term implications of that could be. But what I do know is that steel is one of the best materials for handling stress in the form of tension. Hence why cable car cables, suspension bridge cables and bridge roadways to name a very small few, all use metal, being parts that are in a constant and permanent state of stress in the form of tension.

    But, pretty much all coasters and rides get lots of stress placed upon them over time. Directly from forces placed upon them, by themselves. I would not put it down to bad design, more a fact of physics and material properties. Metal cracks and metal fatigue, something all metal coasters, including the B&Ms at Towers (and all others world wide) for that matter, have to deal with over the years. This is a direct result of high stress placed on the ride components by the ride itself. This is the number one reason why non destructive (usually ultrasound) testing is done on all the coasters year in year out, to find and fix these issues as and when they do occure. I use B&M as an example, as they are regarded as some of the best engineered. But even the best engineering cannot escape the laws of physics and the reality of material science.

    It is an interesting discussion to have for sure.
     
    Last edited: 4th Sep 2021
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  6. Kraken27

    Kraken27 TowersStreet Member

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    Exactly. Hence why Hulk at IoA had to be rebuilt... and the Dragons had to go - but the latter was more down to what a certain Wizarding ride / area would rake into the tills.
     
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  7. Alsty

    Alsty TowersStreet Member

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    I'm not sure if you're implying the collision was the result of one individual. If so, I cannot agree with that position. There was a whole chain of failures and missed opportunities that should've prevented it from happening.
     
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  8. Austin Towers

    Austin Towers TowersStreet Member

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    Agreed. The Swiss cheese effect.
     
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  9. Skyscraper

    Skyscraper TowersStreet Member

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    I completely agree, it was a whole team of people and not just one individual.
     
  10. imanautie

    imanautie TowersStreet Member

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    That's quite literally every single catastrophic event, even incidents like German wings 9525 can be described as an issue with multiple failure points

    Sent from my Swift 2 using Tapatalk
     
  11. Nemesis94

    Nemesis94 TowersStreet Member

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    It is irrelevant who Electrical Technician A is, and the errors he made. It was all too easy for any individual in his position to take the actions he did. Alton Towers/Merlin are at fault here, as will be explained in Part 3 next week.
     
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  12. Kraken27

    Kraken27 TowersStreet Member

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    On all rides at Towers there is a double-sided Green "Ride Operations" / Red "Technical Services" sign in the operators cabin / by the ride controls. Depending on which side of this sign is visible states who has control of the ride.

    When Technical Services attend a ride for any reason (e.g. a fault, to add / remove trains etc) the operator signs the ride over to them & turns the sign from green to red. Whilst the sign is red, the operator is not allowed to do anything with the ride controls. They remain in the Op cabin just to answer the phone / manage hosts breaks (which normally continue during a stoppage). When Technical Services have finished with the ride, they sign it back to the Ride Operations and turn the sign back to green. Only then can the operator touch the controls again.

    If Technical Services sign the ride back to Ride Operations but mistakenly leave the sign on red, then they have to be called back to the ride to turn it to green. The operator cannot turn it over themselves. At the end of the day, when the ride is cleared of guests & the power turned off, the operator turns the sign to red to hand the ride over to Technical Services for the night.

    So which position this sign was in at the time of the crash would narrow the blame down somewhat. If it was red, the buck stops with Technical Services. If it was green, then it's Ride Operations. Both the Head of Technical Services & the Head of Ride Operations at the time have both since left the business.
     
    Last edited: 5th Sep 2021
  13. Rob F

    Rob F TowersStreet Member

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    You are almost entirely right with the above, except when there are guests on the ride, ride ops/managers remain in ultimate control of the ride, if engineers want to do something whilst guests are on the ride it needed to be agreed first. Only once the ride is clear of guests can control be handed to the engineers.
     
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  14. Ethan

    Ethan TowersStreet Member

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    I know nothing about technical side of rides but I can't be the only one who doesn't understand how the heck the smiler gains enough momentum to get through that many inversions without stalling. The drops just don't seem big enough to give it the right speed. Then again you could use that case even more so with Nemesis. The amount of speed it gains on a small drop at the start is ridiculous
     
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  15. Loui Richards

    Loui Richards TowersStreet Member

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    the smiler has new speakers. around the batwing area/ exit path there is some new loud speakers which is great bc it usually quite quiet around there and then also around the smiler including the xsector entrance which was already fairly loud but now its louder!!!!!
     
  16. Austin Towers

    Austin Towers TowersStreet Member

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    Last week at the bottom of the first lift the volume was far too loud, was quite distorted too. Definitely needed turning down a notch.
     
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  17. spinba11

    spinba11 TowersStreet Member

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    Sounds like it's back to normal, up till November 2018 it was very loud.
     
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  18. Nemesis94

    Nemesis94 TowersStreet Member

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    And finally...

    THE SMILER CRASH - Part 3

    This is the aftermath and HSE report conclusions. It runs through what Alton Towers and the ride personnel did correctly, and unfortunately for all those involved, what they did not quite so well...

    In short, whilst the technicians made mistakes (in particular Electrical Technician A), Alton Towers (and Merlin) had insufficient systems in place to ensure they were properly trained/assessed/reassessed to ensure that they carried out their tasks safely.
     
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  19. George Williams

    George Williams TowersStreet Member

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    Rode smiler yesterday and the operator pushed my restraint quite tight and where I'm quite tall (6'6) it really crushed my shoulders riding it and it seemed really rough, first time having a rough ride and I was sat on the front.
    Today my shoulders are really red and very bruised from it and I had 2 smiler fast tracks for me and my friend to do today but obviously I didn't want to after that, I went to guest services to get them changed to be met by some woman who kept rolling her eyes and sighing even after seeing my shoulders.

    She said as I didn't report it yesterday after it happened she couldn't do anything about it (even though I showed her my bruised shoulders) not even change it for another ride which I thought was daft.
    I ended up giving the fast tracks to some random people who seemed very greatful which was really nice but still not impressed by towers.
     
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  20. George Williams

    George Williams TowersStreet Member

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    Not saying it's towers fault that my shoulders are ****ed today, they didn't design the restraints just thought they could have handled it better.
     

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