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Adam

Big Thunder Mountain Railway

  

10 members have voted

  1. 1. Big Thunder Mountain Railway

    • Yes
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    • No
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Vote in the Big Thunder Mountain Poll Question: Do you think the new operator procedures implemented by Disney will help to prevent the same type of accident occurring in the future? Answer: Yes or no? (vote above) Big Thunder Mountain Debate Thread I am a bit put off by Big Thunder Mountain - http://www.themeparkinsider.com/news/respo...nse.cfm?ID=1389 There is no excuse for that happening.

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I am a bit put off by Big Thunder Mountain - http://www.themeparkinsider.com/news/respo...nse.cfm?ID=1389 There is no excuse for that happening.
I have spent the last 2 hours reading that article, associated articles, and the full 22 page report by the department of occupational safety and health (amusement rides division). I can tell you that the following statements were made and accepted as fact, post-accident: Disneyland Anaheim's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is not considered by the division as inherently dangerous. It was found to meet all quality and control guidelines in its construction. The accident was not as a result of any Guest interference. The accident was not as a result of any Operator error. The safety procedures Disneyland Anaheim have in place were found to be adequate and above average The maintenance personnel, which were all outside-employed contractors were found to be lax in their performance of their duties. The maintenance personnel were signing off on work as completed, without having done the work themselves. No maintenance workers interviewed could demonstrate the correct procedure for "in serviceout of service" protocols for the trains. Cast Members who operate the ride were not properly trained on what to do in the event that a ride emits an unusual noise or other suspicious anomaly. The results of this inquiry were that Disneyland Resort Anaheim would be obligated to re-train all external maintenance personnel associated with big thunder mountain on the correct maintenance proceedures, as well as the "in serviceout of service" procedures. Disneyland Resort Anaheim would also need to modify it's existing operations manuals to define more clearly the procedures cast members should take in the event of a suspicious anomaly in the rides operation. Adam, what you said as far as being put off by Big Thunder Mountain, Space mountain has had the same or more number of incidents as Big Thunder over the past 5 years. There have been (between 1999 and 2003) 5 Major incidents at Disneyland Resort Anaheim, which included 2 fatalities and over 40 injuries. In a related article, from the one you posted, i found these facts and figures for perusal - (http://www.themeparkinsider.com/news/respo...nse.cfm?ID=1296)
According to an Anaheim Police spokesperson, ten people have died since 1955. That's ten people in 48 years. That's one person every 4.8 years. That's .20833 people every year. Let's assume that an average of 10 million people pass through the DL Resort (including CA) turnstiles every year for the last 48 years. That means one in every 48 million people who go to DL are killed.  
(figures recorded in 2003) According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (www.census.gov.au) there are currently 20 million people (just over) living in australia. According to Google.com.au and varying sources that were turned up through its search engine, an average of 10 Australians are struck and killed by lightning every year. This means that the odds of getting struck AND killed by lightning are 1 in 2 million. The odds of receiving a lightning related injury are much higher. around 100 Australians are injured every year as a result of lightning strike. Odds of getting INJURED by lightning are therefore 1 in 200,000. Compare this to 1 in 48 million of being killed at Disneyland. I like those odds.

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Alex, I respect your decision to fully educate yourself so you are eligible to answer (unlike the turntable thing) but someone died in this accident and Disneyland have claimed it to be their fault.

This is the third catastrophic mechanical failure causing injury on a roller coaster at Disneyland in a little over three years.
That is an interesting statistic.
Thunder Mountain attraction personnel noticed unusual sounds on the train before the crash, and had tagged the train for removal from the course.
Have they ever heard of emergency stop?
Compare this to 1 in 48 million of being killed at Disneyland.
Statistics are a funny thing. They can tell us what has happened in the past, but can only take a stab in the dark about what is to happen in the future. What are the odds of getting killed at Movie World? 0 out of (number of people to visit park)? But just because it’s zero doesn’t mean there is no chance of dying at Movie World. Dying at Disneyland, I’m sure, is an unlikely event. But the young man who boarded the Big Thunder Mountain railway on 5th September 2003 probably thought the same thing. I know there’s probably the same chance of dying on Scooby Doo as there is on Big Thunder Mountain but just the thought that someone has died on the ride you are about to go on, doesn’t give you a good feeling.

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Adam, the emergency stop wouldn't have done anything. The train was loaded, and they decided that next time it came back they were going to take it off the track. I think the key to this is there was no rider misconduct involved here. When a someone misbehaves, and injures or even kills themselves then its not a great concern for me, since I know it was their own fault. When its purely mechanical failure, with no fault of the rider, I don't think the stats can make it any more acceptable. The idea that its ok to accidentally kill one guest in 48 million is pure insanity. On the flip side Alex, I get what your saying. Indeed I'd probably ride BTM without a second thought. It does make you wonder whats doing though when the last 2 deaths at the park have been no fault of the victims, and have come in such quick succession.

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The maintenance personnel, which were all outside-employed contractors were found to be lax in their performance of their duties.
That seems very strange that Disney of all places would have contractors doing the ride maintenance. I could understand it for the construction of a new ride but not for day to day.
Have they ever heard of emergency stop?
Pity emergency stops only work if the train is in a braking section of the ride. Hit the e-stop when the train is out on the track and it will keep going until it gets to the next block.
I know there’s probably the same chance of dying on Scooby Doo as there is on Big Thunder Mountain but just the thought that someone has died on the ride you are about to go on, doesn’t give you a good feeling.
So how do you feel about going out on a road? It is more than likely if you are on a major road that someone has died on it, but do you give that a second thought? I agree with Joz, if it is rider fault then they have no one to blame but themselves. Luckily most people who go to the park after a fatality have forgotten about what has happened and go on the ride. Personally I would feel a lot safer going on a ride after it had re-opened because I would know that the ride had been scrutinised and was in tip top shape. "The Bus is now leaving for Tip Top Dam, South Australia"

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Bussy, the report details quite clearly that it is an outside sourced company who does the maintenance on Big Thunder Mountain. Final results as to "what went wrong" in this situation, was that the up-stop guidewheel on the decorative locomotive on the front of Train Number 2 had not had its bolts tightened, nor had it had the "safety wire" attached to the assembly. These are two crucial tasks outlined by Disney in the Maintenance manual that were not performed. The train had been "Yellow Tagged" until such time as it was fixed, but the maintenance worked who reattached the upstop guidewheel assembly (and who also did not bolt it on tightly) was NOT the person who signed off on the trains suitability for service, and gave it a "green tag". Again, I am more comfortable riding a disney ride where a couple of people have died, that I would be riding an attraction at a park that has a history of cutting costs in every direction for the sake of a quick buck (dreamworld). How long will it take until the poor maintenance being done on Wipeout causes a strenuous metal fatigue fracture and the whole structure lands on top of the claw? Who knows.... What I do know is that Disney were following all the correct procedures. they had every item documented and catalogued. As far as Disney were concerned, the maintenance operator employed to maintain that train had confirmed it was in safe and working order. The only loopholes and problems associated with the cause of this accident have since been rectified. And Bussy - its the West Reliability Team that performs the maintenance on BTM.

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You made a good point Wonderbus about driving on the highway, and no, I don’t think twice before I drive to Movie World. I also agree with you James about how it was purely Disneyland’s fault. Would anyone else here feel a little weird getting into a ride that has killed someone? Or is it just me.

The train was loaded, and they decided that next time it came back they were going to take it off the track.
Well I guess they made the wrong decision. If they had shut down the entire ride as soon as they noticed something wrong (e.g. train making a funny sound), then this man would still be alive (providing he drove home safely). I am not saying that when the train crashed they should have pushed the emergency stop, this of course would be too late. I am saying as soon as they realised something irregular was occurring the ride should have closed. If the brakes on your car stopped working, would you keep driving and just tag the car to get fixed next time you feel like it?
What I do know is that Disney were following all the correct procedures.
Again, someone died in this accident. Disney have taken the blame. If Disney were doing everything correctly, how could this man have died? Disney chooses who performs maintenance on this attraction, therefore, Disney were not following the correct procedures in hiring suitable maintenance staff.
Personally I would feel a lot safer going on a ride after it had re-opened because I would know that the ride had been scrutinised and was in tip top shape.
It’s a sad world if it takes someone to die on a ride before something is done.
I am more comfortable riding a disney ride where a couple of people have died, that I would be riding an attraction at a park that has a history of cutting costs in every direction for the sake of a quick buck (dreamworld).
According to your statistics Alex, there is a greater chance of dying at Disneyland than Dreamworld.
Pity emergency stops only work if the train is in a braking section of the ride. Hit the e-stop when the train is out on the track and it will keep going until it gets to the next block.
But if they hit the emergency stop as soon as they noticed an irregular occurrence (e.g. when the train was not sounding as it should) then would it still have crashed? I’m sure that if a train ever made that noise again (e.g. when coming back into the station). The emergency stop would be initiated in a number of seconds and the entire ride closed rather than “tagging” the train. Why did they not do this before the death? Disneyland are too blame - they even said it themselves. Otherwise, Big Thunder Mountain would be one of my favourite rides scott.

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Guest albert

Well to tell you the truth on this "Accident" which happened at Disneyland on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, would be if you did die, atleast your dieing doing something which you enjoy. Thats all i have to say on that matter. Why not die while your happy, and enjoying yourself? Now who would prefer to die on a ride like Big Thunder Railroad, then to be cornered in an allyway, surrounded by a mob, about to kill you? With no-one to help you whatsoever. Anyway thats what I think about it. Now everyone tell me, which option they would prefer? A being the Ride Accident, or B being cornered in a dark allyway about to be say Stabbed, and Shot to death by a gang-mob. I want to hear your views on this one.

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Hey Albert, Can I add an option C; have a fun and exciting day at Disneyland without dying or getting seriously injured. What do you think?

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Guest albert

Well I do like C, but this doesn't just count for Disneyland. Lets just all hope here that C is an option that most will have. But incase this isn't possible, we have a or b to pick from. Which mode of death (when it comes to that stage of your life) would you prefer?

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Alex, you seem to claim Disney are doing everything they can to prevent deaths. Below is a report from someone who has worked for Disney for ten years.

Spencer Craig worked for Disney for 10 years before becoming the Duty Manager of Magic Kingdom, which he said includes "knowing everything that happens in the park, every location, with every employee and every guest". He said Disney makes more money continuing to operate a ride they know is dangerous than shutting it down to fix the problem (...) They are known to be continually way over industry standards for allowable accidents. Some of the accidents that led to death or maiming were caused by the stupidity of the "guest" harmed (...) Some of the deaths and accidents were the fault of Disney, who according to OSHA, has violations heaped upon it at every OSHA inspection. However, the fines incurred are pocket change for Disney, who also find it cheaper to risk a possible injury or death down the line than lose money by shutting down a ride and spending the money to correct the violations.
I guess this explains why the ride wasn't closed immediately. More information: http://www.anomalies-unlimited.com/Disney/.../DisDeaths.html

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Would anyone else here feel a little weird getting into a ride that has killed someone? Or is it just me.
then the same would go for buying a house someone died in, or a car, or driving on a road someone was killed on - ever drive down a country road and see a white cross and flowers along a particularly tight bend? its called ACCIDENTS HAPPEN. I am not condoning Disneyland cutting corners on their maintenance. I would love to go back to the days where their maintenance team was in house - but every corporation is in the business to make money, whether its selling groceries or adrenaline rush, and they need to make decisions. sometimes, those decisions are wrong, and they are learnt from.
Well I guess they made the wrong decision. If they had shut down the entire ride as soon as they noticed something wrong (e.g. train making a funny sound), then this man would still be alive (providing he drove home safely).
The point here is that there was not a documented procedure for the operators to follow. They weren't sure what to do. How I read the report, it seemed to me that they had come to the decision to remove it from the circuit after the train had staged and loaded. it is not possible to take the train from the staging area to the storage area, without it doing a full cycle (as far as i am aware), so loaded or not, it would have to return to the disembarking area (which is behind the staging area) to be brought back into the storage and yellow tagged. Once a train is loaded, the cast members would also have wanted to minimise the inconvenience to the guests, as nobody wants to load, then unload and load again - they would be seriously annoyed at the operators. The right thing to do should have been to remove it the moment the noise was apparent, but again, the operators had no clear communication from Disneyland as to what they are supposed to do, in this situation.
Again, someone died in this accident. Disney have taken the blame. If Disney were doing everything correctly, how could this man have died? Disney chooses who performs maintenance on this attraction, therefore, Disney were not following the correct procedures in hiring suitable maintenance staff.
Disney did all that they could in this situation. While they have accepted blame as the owner and operator of the attraction, it was through no action on Disney's part that this occurred. Disney had all the proper procedures and policies in place. All of the Disney Employees knew the policies in regards to an attraction that was not safe to ride. Train number 2 had a green tag, so they put it into service. it was the external Maintenance contractor who were not educated in the correct greenyellow tag procedure. Repeating - Disney accepted the blame for the accident - of course they did, it was their ride, their operating staff, and the maintenance was performed by a contractor paid for by Disney. for legal purposes, they had to accept blame, but outside of a court of law, what I am saying is that Disneyland Resort California did nothing wrong. it was the fault of the contractor.
It’s a sad world if it takes someone to die on a ride before something is done.
Thats not what Bus meant when he said that, but as with a grand opening on a ride, every nut and bolt is given a thorough inspection before it is opened again for service. you know there will be no problems after this has happened.
According to your statistics Alex, there is a greater chance of dying at Disneyland than Dreamworld.
Pump 10 Million people through Dreamworld, open it from 10am to midnight EVERY DAY, and then compare death statistics after dreamworld has operated for 50 years. If thunderbolt was still standing after fifty years, im sure it would have eventually had some sort of large issue.
I’m sure that if a train ever made that noise again (e.g. when coming back into the station). The emergency stop would be initiated in a number of seconds and the entire ride closed rather than “tagging” the train. Why did they not do this before the death?
Where the report says that the operators had decided to "tag" the train, this was referring to YELLOW TAGGING the train, which would take the train out of service immediately upon its return to the disembarking area. Unlike a ride like Bush Beast, that requires a fair amount of time to bring the second train in or out of service, the operators of BTM are capable of incycling or outcycling a train from or to service in a few minutes, without the assistance of maintenance personnel. Personally I think the only goof in this situation was that the train was signed off by someone who did not do the repair. If the guy who attached the upstop assembly signed off on it, the bolts would have been tightened. And if they weren't then he is solely to blame. A technician who signs off on something that he has not personally checked is just asking for trouble and disaster. this is the only mistake in this entire situation. An operator is not a technician. they are not to know that a slight change in noise is a fault with a train. it could be that maintenance put a new wheel assembly on the train which is a little tighter fitting, and it needs to "burn in" for a few cycles, which is why they cycled the train 12 times before electing to yellow tag it again. I stand by my statement that Disney did nothing wrong. All of their policies and procedures were in place, and available to the external maintenance company. it was the maintenance companies duty to follow those safeguards put in place, and by their own mismanagement - someone died. Disney owns the ride, and pays for the maintenance, so they ultimately are at fault in a legal proceeding, but morally, and responsibly, it was West Reliability Team who goofed up, not Disney.

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I have read what you have to say Alex, and parts of it I agree with, parts of it I don’t. You have said this many times…

Disney had all the proper procedures and policies in place.
But then you say…
The point here is that there was not a documented procedure for the operators to follow. They weren't sure what to do.
the operators had no clear communication from Disneyland as to what they are supposed to do, in this situation.
It seems to me Disneyland didn’t have all the correct procedures and policies in place - you even said it yourself.
then the same would go for buying a house someone died in
If the house killed them, then yes, I wouldn't buy it. I am not saying everyone would feel weird about getting into a ride that has caused the death and injury of innocent people but as for me, it's something I would think about. Again I quote Spencer - "Disney makes more money continuing to operate a ride they know is dangerous than shutting it down to fix the problem". The operators must have known something was wrong if they tagged the train for removal.
Once a train is loaded, the cast members would also have wanted to minimise the inconvenience to the guests, as nobody wants to load, then unload and load again - they would be seriously annoyed at the operators.
You know, this is probably the most heartless thing I have ever heard. Your saying that people getting annoyed at the operators is worse than the loss of a human life?

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I have read what you have to say Alex, and parts of it I agree with, parts of it I don’t. You have said this many times… But then you say…
Touche, my boy. i didnt pick that one up. The Disney procedures and policies I was referring to was in regards to the maintenance technicians, and the Green Tag, Yellow Tag procedures. The procedure that has been added by Disney since the accident regarding what an operator should do was never there before because it was never needed. there had never been cause previously for a section in the manual detailing "what to do if the train makes a funny noise" because daily maintenance on these trains picks it up. When a green tag is placed on an individual train vehicle, it is valid for 72 hours from the time it is placed. if the train has not seen service for more than 72 hours after the tag was placed, it must be re-tagged again before it can go into service.
Again I quote Spencer - "Disney makes more money continuing to operate a ride they know is dangerous than shutting it down to fix the problem". The operators must have known something was wrong if they tagged the train for removal.
Bear in mind though that this is one persons opinion and thoughts. Bussy and Daniel have an opinion on the maintenance of rides at Wonderland too, but while im not saying they ARE wrong, operators don't see EVERYTHING that goes into the maintenance of these rides, and the attitude they have towards it could be incorrect. Again I come back to saying, that at the time, there was no policy in place on what an operator should do, and they had no reason to believe that the train was faulty, as i said before it might have just been a new part that needed time to burn in. when it didnt resolve after 12 cycles, they elected that upon return to the station, it would be shunted back off to the sidings, as if it were a new part, it should have burnt in enough by cycle 12. Also as an interesting Sidenote, all of the animatronics and special effects found in Disneyland Rides, including pirates of the carribbean, the haunted mansion, splash mountain and the like are never turned off, and neither is the audio system throughout the park. it is too costly for Disneyland to shut them down every night and restart them every morning, and also unreliable, being that sometimes things dont restart the way they should. They simply turn the sound to mute, so that the cleaners and maintenance workers don't go bonkers. Also, until recently, Disneyland used to replace EVERY SINGLE LIGHT GLOBE IN THE PARK at the same time. Walt's vision was that of perfection, so at the minimum hours quoted by the manufacturer of the globe, every bulb is replaced, so no globes blow in the middle of operation and ruin the effect, although it seems from reports these days that under Eisner's management, this quality control has been let go, allowing numerous globes in the park tp blow, and have been for several days before they are replaced.
You know, this is probably the most heartless thing I have ever heard. Your saying that people getting annoyed at the operators is worse than the loss of a human life?
Im not saying it is what I would expect, but any ride operator will tell you that any delay for safety reasons, while sometimes necessary causes a lot of seriously peeved guests. (Daniel, Bussy... jump in anytime) Guests will simply not understand that an operators "hunch" means they have to wait even 30 seconds more to get on this ride... and that doesnt just apply to Disney. Essentially, without concrete evidence that something was seriously wrong (it was just a noise afterall.. it could have been ANYTHING, not all of which could have been potentially dangerous.) But with the suspicions they had, they elected to allow the train to complete it's cycle, before shunting it into storage before getting maintenance to have a look at it. It was one cycle too late for this, but the operators were not to know. I can tell you now that at other parks (not Disney) that in the past (without siting sources as I am unable to remember them at the moment) there have been instances of operators either e-stopping a ride, or refusing to operate the ride because of an issue they felt needed addressing by maintenance. some of these operators have been counselled, disciplined, or dismissed because of it. To take down a ride like BTM on a suspicion, while it may or may not have saved a life, you end up with one hell of a lot of peeved guests. Look how many people complain about ToT's problems with staging when it rolls back too far... or when Giant Drop only operates ONE cabin because of maintenance issues... What about when Wipeout was emitting a horrid noise during operation... did the operator close it down immediately and request a full investigation? A noise isn't always something an operator should just up and Close a ride for. its a fine line a park has to walk between safety and guest satisfaction. Unfortunately, this time the line was crossed the wrong way, But I don't fault the operators or the park one bit. it was maintenance. that is all, thats the end of it. and it was an external company that screwed up... not disney.

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Bussy, the report details quite clearly that it is an outside sourced company who does the maintenance on Big Thunder Mountain.
What I am saying is that I find it strange that a park like Disney would outsource such a vital part of operations.
It’s a sad world if it takes someone to die on a ride before something is done.
I didn't mean it that way and you know it. It's like if you have to replace tyres on you car, because they are new you have more confidence in them, but that confidence may not be founded.
Once a train is loaded, the cast members would also have wanted to minimise the inconvenience to the guests, as nobody wants to load, then unload and load again - they would be seriously annoyed at the operators.
Unfortunately this is one of the worst situations an operator can be in. The feeling you get when you have to tell 30 or so people on a ride and a hundred or so waiting that the ride will be closed for an indeterminable amount of time is terrible. Everyone blames you but they have no idea that you may have just saved their lives. An example of this is when Demon broke down during bad weather (heavy rain) the train stopped with the last two carriages out of the station and those 8 people got very wet. Once the train was back in the station they were unloaded and told to wait while a test cycle was done. After a successful test they were loaded again and the train stopped in the same place. There were 28 people plus about 80 people waiting who had to be told that the ride had to be closed. Were they impressed or did they understand? Definitely not.
You know, this is probably the most heartless thing I have ever heard. Your saying that people getting annoyed at the operators is worse than the loss of a human life?
Unfortunately the majority of people who go to theme parks leave their brain outside and then go in. They have no idea of the dangers an unusual sound on a ride can have.
Again I quote Spencer - "Disney makes more money continuing to operate a ride they know is dangerous than shutting it down to fix the problem". The operators must have known something was wrong if they tagged the train for removal.
I don't see how it makes them more money if it's operating. It's not a pay-per-ride park. If anything it will make them more because there will be more people available to spend money on various things.
Bussy and Daniel have an opinion on the maintenance of rides at Wonderland too, but while im not saying they ARE wrong, operators don't see EVERYTHING that goes into the maintenance of these rides, and the attitude they have towards it could be incorrect.
Most operators have absolutely no idea the amount of work that goes into a ride during the various checks it goes through each day. Most of the time the operator will be told very little if anything so they don't tell the guests and un-necessarily alarm them.
Im not saying it is what I would expect, but any ride operator will tell you that any delay for safety reasons, while sometimes necessary causes a lot of seriously peeved guests. (Daniel, Bussy... jump in anytime) Guests will simply not understand that an operators "hunch" means they have to wait even 30 seconds more to get on this ride... and that doesnt just apply to Disney.
I have had guest make complaints about me because I have closed a ride down due to my 'hunch', fortunately for me the 'hunches' were always right and something needed to be fixed, be it a wheel that had de-laminated on Demon or a brake fin that had cracked.
What about when Wipeout was emitting a horrid noise during operation... did the operator close it down immediately and request a full investigation? A noise isn't always something an operator should just up and Close a ride for. its a fine line a park has to walk between safety and guest satisfaction.
An unusual noise is something that should be checked ASAP but may not require the whole ride to be shut down. Unless the operator had been advised by the supervisor that the ride was making a strange noise but was ok to run it needs to be check. The worst thing that can happen is if another operator tells them that it is ok and to not worry, because chances are the other operator has no idea what the problem is.
How about we all stop making ridiculously long posts about death statistics and ride safety and concentrate on good things.
Seeing as this is a long post you probably won’t get to this part of it but you should only post when you have something relevant to add to the discussion. "The Bus is now leaving for Long Bottom Creek, Tasmania"

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Bussy - i'm scared.... you agreed with me on practically every point...... even the one i didnt think you would... and sorry that this isnt anything decidedly meaningful to the current discussion, i just had to point out that i got very scared seeing you agree with me.... ;)

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I think you did a very good job of summing everything up wonderbus ;) While you may have had the experience of knowing what its like to have park guests annoyed about a ride closure, I'm sure its easier than dealing with the fact that someone died on a ride you were operating. If ride operators are too scared to use the emergency stop when something is wrong, then whats the point in having it?

Essentially, without concrete evidence that something was seriously wrong (it was just a noise afterall.. it could have been ANYTHING, not all of which could have been potentially dangerous.)
So I suppose the concrete evidence would be the train coming off the rails and killing someone?
it could have been ANYTHING, not all of which could have been potentially dangerous
Reading the crash report it clearly states – “Thunder Mountain attraction personnel noticed unusual sounds on the train before the crash.” I’m sure the operators would know the sound difference between a rattling side-wheel and normal operation.
I can tell you now that at other parks (not Disney) that in the past (without siting sources as I am unable to remember them at the moment) there have been instances of operators either e-stopping a ride, or refusing to operate the ride because of an issue they felt needed addressing by maintenance. some of these operators have been counselled, disciplined, or dismissed because of it.
I don’t quite agree with this. In an industry that is safety driven, Disneyland would never fire employees for stopping a ride if something was wrong, or they sensed something was wrong. These people are called operators for a reason. Now days, computers can control almost every aspect of a ride but they don’t get the same feel for a ride as the operators. Computers can’t hear and see certain things that ride operators can see and hear. Below is a quote from an interview with a roller coaster control panel engineer explaining how ride systems react in emergencies:
…industrial systems such as factory production lines never want to shut down if a single sensor fails. So they tend to have multiple systems that continue running the line if a failure occurs to keep everything running. Safety systems that involve human life tend to be the opposite. What we have are multiple ways to shut down a piece of equipment or the entire ride if need be. It is our belief that if any sensor malfunctions or tells us that a motor or brake is malfunctioning, the best approach is to stop everything and fix it. If the PLCs sense something is wrong, they will cut off power to motors and brakes either in that area or the entire ride if it is what we consider a critical error.
If systems are programmed in a such a way, then surely employees would be trained to close the ride if they sensed something wrong? Again I repeat - Disney didn't have the correct procedures in place. End of story.

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So I suppose the concrete evidence would be the train coming off the rails and killing someone?
I believe the point Alex was making was that before the ride crashed, there was no evidence of something 'catastrophically' wrong. Of a fault yes? But of something that would prove fatal? Not at all. Think of this, if they had loaded this train, but then unloaded it before sending it on its way and taken it off the track before sending it out, then this would be a story of some seriously pissed off guests annoyed by the parks "irratic" operations. The guy who was killed wouldn't know that his life was saved, and could possibly been annoyed to the point of complaining or even abusing the ops. That's aside from the chaos on the station and possible disciplining from boss' (hell, they probably wouldn't know that the guy would've died otherwise either). No, much easier to send it once more, and simply not load it again when it comes back. Sadly, as we know it didn't quite work out like that...

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The guy who was killed wouldn't know that his life was saved, and could possibly been annoyed to the point of complaining or even abusing the ops. That's aside from the chaos on the station and possible disciplining from boss' (hell, they probably wouldn't know that the guy would've died otherwise either).
I’m sure it would be harder for the ride operators to handle annoyed guests than to live with the consciousness of indirectly killing someone. What do you think? Again, I hardly think the boss would discipline them. If this is true then it seriously makes me sick. Safety is, and should be, the number one priority with theme park attractions. Let's hope Disney will lift its game and get its priorities right. Even if the ride operators couldn’t have prevented this (although it sounds as though proper procedures were not in place) then I still believe it to be the fault of Disneyland Anaheim. After all, it's their park, their ride, their maintenance staff. So, what is everyone else's favourite Disney attraction?

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From www.sacbee.com:

Last September, 22-year-old Marcelo Torres of Gardena was killed on the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster when the car in which he was riding ran into a derailed locomotive in front of him. Ten other people were hurt. The ride reopened on March 10 after state safety officials cleared it for operation. State officials concluded after a three-month investigation that faulty maintenance had caused the collision.
I rest my case Adam...

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And some further info for you - taken from www.answers.com

Tragedies and Oddities As mentioned above, Disneyland has in fact suffered the deaths of nine guests and one cast member. However, 7 of those deaths were the result of negligence on the guests' part rather than the park's. The casulaties were:    * 15-year-old Mark Maples of Long Beach, California in 1964, while standing up on the Matterhorn Bobsleds and falling out    * Thomas Guy Cleveland, 19, of Northridge, California, who was crushed by the Monorail during a Grad Nite celebration in 1966 while trying to sneak into the park on its track    * Ricky Lee Yama, 17, of Hawthorne, California in 1967, who was crushed by a PeopleMover car while jumping between two moving ones    * Bogden Delaurot, 18, of Brooklyn, New York who drowned while trying to carry his little brother swimming across the Rivers of America in 1973    * Gerrardo Gonzales, 18, of San Diego, who was also crushed by the PeopleMover in 1980 while jumping between moving cars    * Philip Straughan, 18, of Albuquerque, New Mexico who also drowned in the Rivers of America in 1983 while trying to pilot a rubber emergency boat from Tom Sawyer's Island    * Dolly Regene Young, 48, of Fremont, California who was thrown from a Matterhorn Bobsleds car in 1984 and struck by an oncoming train after unbuckling her seat belt. One cast member was also killed at Disneyland. Deborah Gail Stone, 19, of nearby Santa Ana, was crushed to death by a revolving wall in 1974 in the now-closed "America Sings" attraction. The walls were subsequently replaced with breakaway ones to prevent any similar tragedies before its closure. On December 26 1998, however, Disneyland received a blot on its otherwise excellent safety record when a metal cleat securing the sailing ship "Columbia", while boarding passengers at Frontierland pier, tore loose, striking three people in the head. Of them, Luan Phi Dawson, 33, of Duvall, Washington, was killed by a head injury. The park received much criticism for this incident due to its policy of restricting outside medical personnel in the park, as it might ostensibly frighten visitors, as well as for the fact that the cast member in charge of the ship at the time was a novice. Then on September 4 2003, came the aforementioned incident in which 22-year-old Marcelo Torres of nearby Gardena, died after suffering injuries in a derailment of the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster. Although the last two unprovoked incidents forced park management to take a closer look at ride maintainence and security, Disneyland can still stand by its record as one of America's safest amusement parks.
So further to the 1 in 48 million effort, only 3 were from Park Negligence, and one of those was a cast member, not a guest.

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The report, issued by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, said outside machinists did not understand or follow the park's maintenance procedures and operators were not given the right guidelines.
The suit says Big Thunder Mountain operators were afraid to take the train out of operation, even after hearing unusual noises, because of an "atmosphere of intimidation" created by Disney management.
operators who were not told to take action if a ride starts making an unusual noise
A roller coaster accident at Disneyland that killed a rider was the result of improper maintenance and operators who weren't told to take action if a ride starts making an unusual noise, state investigators said Wednesday.
State investigators cited improper maintenance and poor training of the operators for guidelines for situations like when the ride makes an unusual noise.
There was an inadequate instruction in the Operation Guidelines as to what a ride operator is expected to do when an unusual noise is detected.
Ride operators complained that there was no policy explaining what to do when a ride vehicle was making an "unusual sound"; noises like the train involved in the accident was making before it was sent out on its final, fatal trip.
Disney was asked to perform the following changes in policy: Draft a policy requiring ride operators to stop a train if a strange noise is heard
It recommended that outside machinists be retrained and that Disney write new, clear guidelines instructing ride operators to take action if an unusual noise is heard.
It seems to me something was wrong.

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Every single one of those quotes fails to take into account the fact that the train was to be taken off the track after the very next cycle. The noise was heard and acted upon, so that discounts all of the above statements (most of which would have been derived from another new article, not the actual DOSH report), because regardless of what was in the Disney training books, the people operating the ride at this point in time were smart enough to realise that the train should be retired for maintenance. It is incredibly unfortunate that what happened did happen, but a judgement call was made, and I believe that what they did was perhaps the smartest and most logical thing anyone could do in their position. It's very easy to have 20/20 hindsight you know. That's garbage above of Disney copping the fines over guest safety. After all, we all know that former employees posting on conspiracy websites are the most reliable source of unbiased information.

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