staffordshire knot

Why I'm irrationally cross with Alton Towers

We interrupt the usual reblogging with some original ranting…

Today Alton Towers’ record breaking roller coaster “The Smiler” crashed. Injuring about a dozen people and seriously injuring four. An empty car didn’t quite make it around the part of the track known as “The Staffordshire Knot” and another car then crashed into the back of it.

I’m not one of the people on the ride that had their legs crushed by the impact, or their face bloodied. I wasn’t in the queue to hear the crash, or the shrieks of pain. I wasn’t even in the park. I was at work. And worse accidents happen every day.

Yet for some reason, I am really angry with Alton Towers.

Actually I know why. I’m a reasonably geeky fan of Alton Towers. I rode the Smiler the day after its surprise opening. I know the pirate show off by heart, it irks me that there’s a new lego shop I haven’t visited yet. Alton Towers to me is a safe and thrilling place. Until today. And that’s Alton Towers’ fault.

Yes I know it was an accident. But these facts still remain.

1) Empty cars have struggled to get around that loop since Park opening. Today was windy. There were going to be issues.

2) Empty cars are sent round to TEST FOR PROBLEMS. A problem happened. This should not have been a surprise to deal with. Why was there a loaded car sent out while there was still an empty car in the same half?

3) This is a multi-million pound state of the art ride with loads of safety mechanisms in place. There are sensors to ensure that no two cars occupy the same section of ride. Each car has brakes that can stop it safely.

4) These safety mechanisms seemed to work! There’s video footage of the car stopped on the lift hill for approximately ten minutes! But somehow the car was released to crash into the empty car.

5) There are reports of members of the public telling ride hosts about the problem and the ride hosts doing nothing.

For this ride to crash, there needed to be safety screw up after safety screw up. Quite frankly I just expected better.