iwerks

Roller Coaster Crash at Alton Towers

122 posts in this topic

Reading one of the comments on TPR's Facebook, the ride had broken down. Shortly after an empty test train was sent out. What's odd is that the next train was fully loaded and dispatched before the empty train had returned from it's cycle. The loaded train then stopped at the top of the lift as the empty train had valleyed (block system presumably). After some time the chain started moving sending the loaded train into the valleyed empty train.

Obviously early to speculate etc etc. but it's almost as if the ride was put into manual and overridden the block system.

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The original video is on YouTube. Seeing the two trains rolling back and forward as one is quite surprising and it is lucky the people in the front row of the second train aren't more seriously injured looking at the impact between the two trains.

 

 

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Yes likely the case but you're saying that ride systems can't fail and they most certainly can. The train crashed into a valleyed train (which apparently is a common occurrence in this section of track) which, no disrespect to Mr Wardley, relates to design. 

Edited by Flea

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California Screamin sent a train through a block brake and into a stationary train... Control system failure big time

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Former staff are stating that a combination of both human and ride system are likely at fault for this incident taking place: http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/03/human-error-likely-in-alton-towers-smiler-crash-former-staff-claim

That video is fairly disturbing. Hearing someone screaming out "STOP THE F&@KING RIDE!" over and over sent chills down my spine ???

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The stupidity of the British press is mind-numbing. The overall theme of their questioning to Alton Towers officials is that this ride was an accident waiting to happen, based on a series of minor, anecdotal incidents. It would be nice to see them swap the faux hard-hitting journalist routine for a discussion with independent industry engineers, who could dismiss these previous incidents for red herrings that they are so that the media narrative could focus on coming the the bottom of what happened this week.

The black and white answer is obviously that either a computer or human made a mistake. But in the case of the latter I suspect there are grey areas at play here, such as how or why the computer system was able to be overridden, or if it faulted in allowing such an override to take place.

Reports suggested it had just come out of a period of downtime, so there could well have been maintenance technicians present who do have the ability and authority to operate the ride in a manual mode. Or there may well be policies in place at Alton Towers that allows ride supervisors or operators to make manual maneuvers.

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Exactly. The previous incidents were just that. With the exception of the track coupling failure nothing is news worthy (including 16 journalists stranded for half hour). 

The key thing here is, did the ride restart the lift and send that train in auto, or did a person do it in manual. 

 

Thats the key question here, any previous incident is completely irrelevant. 

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There's a massive difference between a ride failing safely and what happened on The Smiler. It's not like there's a single scale that you could slide up about how bad incidents are.

Does anyone know whether we'll be able to learn all of the details about this once a report is released? Or will we just be stuck speculating from news articles forever?

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Yeah, railway style.  One potential problem is likely to be that most units use laminated/polyurethane wheels and painted tracks which is likely to present a problem for track circuiting.  I know it's almost universally photoelectric cells but had wondered.  Track circuiting is generally considered to be a more fail-safe detection technology, although it depends on the application.

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