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The Smiler Incident 02/06/2015

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https://queue-times.com/park/thorpe-park

Judging by Thorpes queue times, I would say it's having much less of an effect on the general public than I expected!

I doubt it's a wider problem, the amount of work to safely remove and assess the incident is huge. And even if they cordon off the area, there are still access concerns for cranes and specialist equipment.

I really can't stop thinking about this and have been wondering why so few trains have any kind of shock absorbers or bumpers on the front. I know it's a near impossibility that this should happen, but I do risk management, and part of that is saying "if the impossible were to happen, how can we reduce the impact it will have?". I wonder if it re-opens, we will see some kind of bumper on the fron and rear of cars. This is purely speculation, but it would be a simple upgrade in theory.

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I really can't stop thinking about this and have been wondering why so few trains have any kind of shock absorbers or bumpers on the front. I know it's a near impossibility that this should happen, but I do risk management, and part of that is saying "if the impossible were to happen, how can we reduce the impact it will have?". I wonder if it re-opens, we will see some kind of bumper on the fron and rear of cars. This is purely speculation, but it would be a simple upgrade in theory.

From what I can remember there are already some kind of shock absorbing buffers on the back of the cars (I believe that is what they are, please correct me if I am wrong) but its suprising they wouldnt have any around the front, seems it is just a metal rail and a metal logo protecting the first row.

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They need attenuators on the front and rear of the carriages, not the electronics type, there's another type they used in Indycars a few years ago, the result was after they fitted them, nobody has been paralised since. I won't bore you with a technical explanation of how they work, but this type of device would be a great quick fix., and they're realitively light, so shouldn't compromise speed.

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Just read that link and it definitely seems one of the most fair, until I saw a link to this article, also by the Guardian, at the bottom of the page...

 

http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/03/human-error-likely-in-alton-towers-smiler-crash-former-staff-claim

 

I can't quite believe any former staff members would think it wise to say anything like this to a newspaper, knowing what the GP are like. No matter how bad the feeling may be towards Towers when they left, they must know this is only going to make it worse for the poor staff that were working on the ride at the time. Though I must admit this is one of the first articles I have seen a newspaper make a link to Gerts and the Texas Giant incident, but it still isn't made nearly as much of a deal of as the Smiler's past, which isn't nearly as bad.

 

Is it actually protocol to wait until all test cars are back before starting to send occupied ones again? I guess it would be common sense.

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You would think so, but isn't the Smiler essentially two tracks together? So would protocol be back to the station, or past the second lift hill at the midway station?

I've often wondered just how long you could make a coaster, if you have four or five lift hills in it.

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Well at that point it wasn't either so even if it is the second lift hill they still broke the rules.

 

 

But I assume as long as you'd like as long as you don't get bored...

 

 

EDIT: There is now actually a petition going round to get Kay Burley sacked after her interview... Gaining signatures at an alarming rate. Going by the comments it's both people who have a grudge against her anyway, as well as those like us who know she didn't have a clue what she was talking about, that are signing

https://www.change.org/p/sky-news-sack-kay-burley-after-awful-interviewing-of-alton-towers-ceo-nick-varney

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Just signed that petition and got a fair few of my friends to do it too. In other stuff, there's a Stop the Smiler page already on Instagram. First of all, this person should stop this account and second of all, they should get a grammar lesson.

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Petitions to get Burley sacked of fruitless. All it does is create free advertising for Sky News. Ofcom received 900 complaints for an interview she did with Peter Andre in 2010; this will be no worse.

Equally, 'Save The Smiler' and 'Ban The Smiler' campaigns will never get enough people behind them for them to make any serious impact. Merlin no doubt are already aware of how people will feel, but it's very hard to see then getting rid of Smiler. We've seen with plenty of rides that Merlin are willing to put in a serious amount of time, effort and money to get rides working; Smiler will be no different - when they're legally allowed to operate it, they will.

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Unless there is evidence that this was a little more than Human Error and more a case of "terrible maintenance/incompetent staff members", I seriously doubt a criminal law suite would go anywhere.

If this was a case of being beyond anybody's control, all a law suite would do is compensate for the injured.

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People at work today thought they were dismantling Saw and Smiler. The press succeeds as always. They are dismantling the two Smiler carraiges to get them off the track, onto a lorry and to Buxton for the HSE to analyse. Saw isn't going anywhere and I highly doubt Smiler is. Heck, Towers might even be able to open Smiler later this season once the HSE investigation is complete, the park rectify the problem and its retested.

 

Also hate this "procedures weren't adequate" quote from that interview. No, of course they were, otherwise this freak accident would have happened sooner and more regularly. Plus, the park wouldn't be able to run the rides without safe procedures and protocols. We all go on about how we live in a world ruled by H&S with walls being put up everywhere and seemingly unnecessary additions being added to everyday life. Do people honestly believe that theme parks would be exempt to strict rules, of course not. Merlin have closed Saw as a precaution, they didn't have to. They are adding these new protocols that they have created quickly to all their rides without being made to do so. HSE are happy with the other rides minus Smiler, Merlin didn't have to but they have to avoid this ever happening again. They could have quite easily tried to hide the fact but they aren't. Reassuring the public that they are increasing safety is a good thing to do.

 

Anyone moaning about closures, just urghhhhh (not aimed at people on here, just generally). People have been seriously injured, Merlin are putting safety first and ensuring this never ever happens again. The odds are they could run all their rides including Smiler right now and never have an accident like this again, because it's so unlikely. But, Merlin aren't taking any risks and are reinforcing and hardening any protocols in place.

 

Test car wise, once engineering are happy the ride is good to go, it is handed back to rides even if a test car is still on track as the system is showing all clear and fixed or whatever. People in the queue will just want to get on, and often see the ride testing and go "oh but it is working" so once it's safe to do so they'll load. The stall is unlikely and has happened four times since 2013? Just like Saw stalling, it's rare and usually only happens in strong wind or something. They wouldn't have been expecting it to stall, and if it hadn't then everything would have been fine. It wouldn't surprise me if a new protocol in place is to ensure all test cars are stacked up on the blocks leading to the station before loading passengers. Shall we start blaming mother nature for producing wind that presumably stalled the train? Let's petition against that and interview it! I'm sure Burley would scare her away. 

 

Freak accident, Merlin have learnt from it and are implementing new procedures straight away and are ignoring profits or anything. Towers doesn't need to remain closed any longer than it has (as the Smiler trains were being removed Friday according to the report) so Varney really does want to find out what's wrong before opening (plus, opening on an off peak day may be easier on the staff and so on). They are ensuring it'll never happen again. If it was down to protocol, staff, a serious of unfortunate events or bad luck, then Smiler can't be held to blame as it could have happened on any of the multi car rides, it's just bad Smiler already had some bad ish press before it.

 

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It may have been rushed but it was a huge success and I'm sure if Towers opened tomorrow along with Smiler it'd still get a queue of people.

 

Less reports on someone having lost a limb though, and the lack of press on the others injured can only be a good sign that they are recovering well which is great to think!

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I'm just wondering what other impacts will be caused if the ride stays closed for the rest of the season, will the sanctuary open, and if it does will all the smiler paraphanaliea be removed? Will it affec the opening of the Shrek attraction? (I know its a few months away and isnt roller coaster based, but the fact its linked to merlin, could it be affected?)

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There are a few major things that have annoyed me with the reporting of the accident involving The Smiler so far,

so I thought I'd whine about them on here.

 

Firstly are the constant attempts to form a link between the few minor incidents that have occured in the past, and the

events that we witnessed on Tuesday. The attempts to form this connection only show how willing the media is to attempt

to dig for evidence to build their sensationalist claims against Merlin, and generally annoy me as they completely

disregard the technicalities of the ride and the lack of connections between a block system and guide wheels on a lift hill.

 

The second point sort of follows on from the last sentence of the first point, and that is the lack of understanding or research

into the engineering of the ride and therefore what could have gone wrong. I cannot recall a single news outlet discussing or

even properly mentioning what a block system is or how it could have failed in this incident. Instead, this has been replaced

with meaningless speculation by the media with no evidence to back up their theories or claims.

 

Finally, the thing that perhaps annoys me the most with the reporting is the number of untrue, or evidenceless claims.

It seems so far that there hasn't actually been a source that has confirmed the potential leg loss of a rider and lots of the media

has absolutely focused on untrue claims or rumours spread by eyewitnesses or just general internet users (because we can

ALWAYS trust the internet).

 

On the other hand, I do respect The Guardian for their good reporting that hasn't focused on speculation, rumours and a lack of

technical understanding or knowledge.

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I have been reading through The Guardian and I think it's the only news source that makes any sense of the situation http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jun/06/alton-towers-shut-rollercoaster-crash-smiler

Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk

On the other hand, I do respect The Guardian for their good reporting that hasn't focused on speculation, rumours and a lack of

technical understanding or knowledge.

That would be because it's not a crappy, right-winged, sensationalist tabloid; it is a broadsheet (which are more serious and intellectual and known collectively as "quality press") and has a centre-left, social liberal political stance ^_^

List of UK newspapers

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That would be because it's not a crappy, right-winged, sensationalist tabloid; it is a broadsheet (which are more serious and intellectual and known collectively as "quality press") and has a centre-left, social liberal political stance ^_^

List of UK newspapers

 

If I may wander off topic for a mo, I don't think the political leaning of a paper is necessarily indicative of its quality. It's hard to argue the Mirror is any less obnoxious than the Sun.

 

It has been frustrating seeing the sensationalist nonsense being churned out and lapped up, a bit of balance and sense would be nice. The general public don't really have a hope of understanding what has actually happened and forming an informed and rational opinion on ride safety in general with all this being thrown at them. Surprisingly, one of the most informative and level headed articles I've read on the incident is this one, looking at some of the financial implications, which is from the (usually worst of the bunch) Daily Mail.

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