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Ian-S

The Smiler Incident 02/06/2015

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34 minutes ago, Mer said:

The "control room" presumably being the console where the operator is, where the CCTV screens are right next to the control panel (same with any ride with CCTV). I can't help but feel like we still have unanswered questions here. How can both the engineers AND the operator not have spotted the train? I'm surprised at how little focus there's been on that in the news reports (although I've only read BBC), I mean the engineers not being familiar with the ride/not having read the manual is one thing, but you don't need to be trained on something to look at a CCTV screen and see a train rolling back and forward.

 

From what i understood from the court case the problem come with the confusion between the number of trains on the track - the engineers resetting it thought there were 4 and accounted for 4 trains when of course the 5 with on the track and stalled. 

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That extended video reminds me of something that happened on the swarm at summer nights, basically the brake run did it's job just a little too well and we were left stranded on the last turn hardly moving, eventually after 10-15 seconds physics took over and the train continued on the run down round the rest of the corner to the second brake run and we trundled into the station most people none the wiser to how close we'd just been to being stuck.

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:o The full expert report is available to download on the HSE website, in the zip file link at the bottom of the page:

 

http://press.hse.gov.uk/2016/alton-towers-owners-fined-over-smiler-crash/

 

After reading in some news articles that this report found engineers felt pressured to reduce downtime as it related to bonuses(!), I googled just to see if the report was available (as I know with air crashes, you can view the AAIB reports online) and found it. Obviously due to freedom of information, names and quotes from staff have been fully blacked out, and the report is only on the first 33 pages. The rest contains:

Fairground and Amusement Parks - Guidance On Safe Practice 

Amusement Devices Safety Council - Safety of Amusement Devices: Design

(Which still could be interesting!)

 

As for the downtime affecting bonuses - the news articles that mentioned this referred to Stephen Flannagan, who compiled the report, so presumably is correct (haven't read the report yet so don't know if it's mentioned in there or will be a blacked out quote). Makes the whole incident even more messed up to be honest. 

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Merlin bonuses for salaried staff are notorious amongst many people who work/worked there.

Not just downtime, but ipad survey scores and attendance figures too. This is amoral when the ipad survey questions are so vague and don't relate to individual departments, yet affect everyone, and attendance figures are often set greedily high which can get hugely affected by things not under anyone's control like weather. 

There is high pressure to get the bonus when people are already severely underpaid well under the average salary for high pressure and high responsibilty jobs.

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Having just read the report - yes it clearly states the bonuses thing

 

I've print screened the main parts, although it's still worth having a look at the whole thing. 

 

The part about one of the engineers actually going out to the second lift hlll but still not seeing the stalled train...just wow. 

 

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 it is bad yes but I'm willing to give them a small amount of slack as even being a geek it was difficult for me to see the valley area through the track from the second lift hill by the toilets the other week, I can't imagine the view is any clearer down by the track.

 

Unfortunately you cannot blame Merlin for having performance related pay, blame capitalism for that.

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Is the bonuses thing really that bad though? As much as it's a good headline I'm not sure you can directly link that and the accident - the ride had been shut an hour and had a long queue - I expect the engineers were keen to fix the ride as soon as possible regardless of what ever bonus they get.

 

I also doubt that it's very unusual - I expect engineers in other industry's will have similar payments for hitting targets.

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14 hours ago, Coaster Jamie said:

£5 million isn't anywhere near enough in my opinion.  Despite the fact that Merlin's response after the crash was, on the most part, good - I think that the complete lack of safety protocols and appalling procedures that caused the crash deserved a much higher fine than £5 million.

 

The fact that the crash was so avoidable is the worst thing, with the correct procedures in place it simply wouldn't have happened.  Now that the full details have been released it really makes you think though; how many rides at Merlin parks were running without the correct safety procedures, and for how long?

 

Probably not an issue as such, The Smiler being a relatively new ride would not have the procedures as ingrained as say, Nemesis where rules and guidelines are  twenty years young. If we remember they closed all their multi-car rides too to update procedures, procedures they thought were adequate before the incident. Certainly when I operated Fury and Rattlesnake, there was a lot of reliance on visual checking combined with the CCTV to ensure all cars were counted for in a shutdown.

 

The 5 million figure sounds low but I suppose if we think of the amount of money that will paid to the victims for potentially the rest of their lives, the profits that were massively hit across the UK theme parks and that Merlin from day one have never said they were innocent shows that the fine was appropriate. I know some have laughed when it was said that Merlin wasn't an emotionless, corporate entity, but lets face it, other companies such as Six Flags would rather have endless court appearances and not take the blame for incidents in their park. Merlin did the right thing by saying they were at fault and I find that commendable. Just a shame it took the loss of limbs to see that.

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Was I naughty to laugh at a certain person yesterday who while walking up (fairly normally for someone with one leg) saw a camera and suddenly started walking with a heavily pronounced limp?

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So even though money won't bring her leg back she's still going to sue the park because....... Reasons?

 

Mean she already had compensation pay for that shiny leg of hers that many others who have lost a limb (lost a limb) would never have the chance of getting...

 

Further attempts to become relevant because the well is running dry since the park have been charged... I've no idea what she expects to happen...

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Didn't see the interview but my eyes nearly rolled out the back of my head when I saw the trailer on breakfast, those two are a good fit for each other, they don't just share the same first name.

 

(As you can probably guess I'm not a fan, I know someone who works with Victoria Derbyshire and they're not too complementary of her).

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3 hours ago, MattyMoo said:

Vicky Balch is back in the papers today doing a nude photoshoot because obviously a lingerie shoot wasn't enough publicity...

 

This post is useless without pics...

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