The Smiler Incident - What Happened

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Rob, 22nd Apr 2016.

  1. Error

    Error TowersStreet Member

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    Yes it has, it is a notorious part of the track for stalling.
     
  2. delta79

    delta79 TowersStreet Member

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    Yes, most of us did.

    As for the fire alarm analogy, you will be amazed at how many people dont react to it.

    Sent from my SM-T210 using Tapatalk
     
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  3. Error

    Error TowersStreet Member

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    I know and it's shocking.
    Ironically most of them are false alarms but still you don't assume unless proven.
     
  4. spinba11

    spinba11 TowersStreet Member

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    If you look on Google Earth at The Smile it shows a crane rescuing a stalled train.
     
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  5. AndrewH

    AndrewH TowersStreet Member

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    I agree that it shouldn't have happened but the human brain is a strange creature. We always look for patterns in everything (even if it is at a subconscious level) so they may well have looked at the monitors but if you don't expect to see something (and I recall hearing that, that part is in a bit of a CCTV 'blind spot' in that it is quite hard to see but not impossible) then you probably won't see it. Brining it back to your analogy of the fire alarm no one runs in panic from the building when they hear the fire alarm because they do not believe it is a fire (as that is the pattern their brain sees).
     
  6. spinba11

    spinba11 TowersStreet Member

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    I've seen all the CCTV monitors and I think the crash site is in the background of one of them.
     
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  7. gannerew

    gannerew TowersStreet Member

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    But this is where Alton Towers (Merlin) should have had robust systems in place to try to mitigate against the human decisions and error (I say mitigate, you'll never 100% eliminate)

    The ride systems were working as designed and within UK and EU rules. It's when the humans got involved that things went wrong. If the ride had been giving false errors all day then one can perhaps understand how the ride ops and maintenance may have cleared an error and re-started the ride on the assumption of another false alarm. This is the Human Factors another poster referred to.

    Hingsight is 20/20, but it's not hard to now envisage how this could have been stopped. There's already been a number of good suggestions. But how about a simple procedure.... "After a ride has e-stopped, staff must visually confirm the location of ALL operating cars before restarting the ride". You have a simple piece of paper where you get two staff to sign that each car is accounted for. Costs peanuts too.

    This is Safety Mangement. Nearly all industries involving public safety have it. Alton Towers must do too. But, it seems they weren't up to scratch. And this is the shocking thing. And this is why in all likelihood it's going to be a big fine. And to be perfectly honest it absolutely should be.

    Long time lurker first poster btw... Enjoyed reading for a long time
     
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  8. MaxPower

    MaxPower TowersStreet Member

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    Although I applaud Merlin in the way they've dealt with this whole situation and shouldered the blame for it (Not that they had a choice), there is only so much blame that can be aimed at processes (or lack of in this case).

    The fact that every member of staff in the area failed to report the stalled train to the Smiler ops is one of the most worrying things about the whole incident, however, this is just an assumption on my part.

    I guess we'll never know all the ins and outs of what happened.
     
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  9. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    From what I've heard, at least one staff member attempted to do just this, but..... [I shall stop there before I post something libelous]
     
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  10. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    I also heard this as well, that staff did phone through, but there was apparently some confusion over which car they thought had stalled.
     
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  11. delta79

    delta79 TowersStreet Member

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    Yes, there was a rummor over a staff member phoning control cabin, and another saying they radioed in. The fact is we do not truely know what happened leading up to the final error.

    Sent from my SM-T210 using Tapatalk
     
  12. monkeyboy

    monkeyboy TowersStreet Member

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    Ok stupid question of the day!

    Whose responsibility is it for making sure that the op can make a clear judgement when a ride stalls? I mean a visual verification as well as the initial equipment notification.

    Manufacturer or park?

    The equipment worked correctly , yes! Informed the op there was an issue. The equipment would have told the op where the issue was ie between which blocks. Then comes the human element, someone needs to make that decision to override.

    If(how I read it) that the person or ppl overriding it did not have sufficient information (visual) to make a clear decision, then whose responsible? Park or manufacturer?

    What am I trying to blurb on about is how does a ride pass its initial h&s tests without the op having a full visual on ALL of the track.

    This has been picked up now but why wasn't it picked up before?
     
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  13. DiogoJ42

    DiogoJ42 TowersStreet Member

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    I believe that the op is responsible for the ride, which would mean it is up to the park to sign them off as competant to do the job. The ride manufacturer is only responsible for the hardware.
     
  14. monkeyboy

    monkeyboy TowersStreet Member

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    The manufacturer builds a ride with its own safety system that reports back to the op. But then it's the parks responsibility to add the cctv and additional fall back procedures in case the problem occurs ?
     
  15. Dar

    Dar TowersStreet Member

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    Yeah, it was the park that built the station that way. At the end of the day, the op can always go outside and visually check the ride
     
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  16. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    In this case the responsibility lies with the park for not having adequate procedures in place for when such a situation occurs.
     
  17. monkeyboy

    monkeyboy TowersStreet Member

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    So the question is how did it get passed? The point raised is that the the op did not have full observation when the failure happend.

    Is stalling classed as a failure or just a hitch
     
  18. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    I would say that all coasters have to be designed to accommodate a stall of some sort. I guess it becomes a failure when the stall keeps happening. With regards the Smiler, as we know, the train was frequently stalling there during testing and the early days which Alton put down to having to test different wheels.....
     
  19. spinba11

    spinba11 TowersStreet Member

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    Was one stall due to too many trim brakes being raised?
     
  20. rob666

    rob666 TowersStreet Member

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    I think the stall has been linked to a wind gust hasn't it?
    Also Monkeyboy,
    the fact that the HSE has done Merlin and not the manufacturer is the answer to who is responsible.
     
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