At least 20 hurt in Big Dipper crash at Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Posted Wednesday, August 12, 2009 12:13 AM | Contributed by Jeff

About 20 people have been injured in an accident involving a ride at Blackpool's Pleasure Beach. They were treated by paramedics, with some suffering suspected broken bones and neck injuries in the incident on the Big Dipper on Tuesday evening. Two cars reportedly crashed into each other, 20 feet off the ground.

Read more from The Lancashire Evening Post.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009 1:08 AM

Does this coaster, or any of the other classic wooden coasters at Blackpool, still have a manual braking system?

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 3:38 AM

Not sure about the braking on Big Dipper as I've not been in the park in almost 12 years due to mobility issues (typically, I'll be there this coming Tuesday - see ya soon Gator!)

The brakes weren't the issue with this collision as there are no mid-course brakes on the coaster. From what I can gather, one car came to an abrupt halt on the final turnaround and the car behind rear-ended it.

Last edited by invy, Wednesday, August 12, 2009 3:39 AM
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 4:06 AM

None of the woodies at Blackpool are manual braking - as far as I'm aware the only ones are the Scenic Railway at Margate's Dreamland (soon to be Heritage Park) and Great Yarmouth's RollerCoaster at their Pleasure Beach. Both are brakeman mid-coaster.

I was quite surprised to read one just stopped on the final turn, when I saw this on the news this morning I was expecting it to be a rear-ender from one jumping the brakes immediately before the station.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 6:28 AM

Assuming it did happen with a train stalled on a turn and not in the station or brake run, what the heck were they doing as far as blocking on this ride? I admit that I know nothing about this coaster, but unless there's something I'm missing, shouldn't the second train have never come off the lift hill if the block ahead wasn't clear?

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 7:50 AM

The second train was reported to be empty so maybe they were removing it before the park closed, it was due to close at 8pm and the accident happened around 7:45-7:50pm.

Incidentally, the Zipper Dipper is manually operated, and possibly the Wild Mouse.

I was at the park on Monday and they were only running one train on the Big Dipper. It must have been busier Tuesday if they had two trains on. The ride was running fantastic, so it will be a shame if this incident closes the ride, but I don't think it will - the ride has a good safety record, and accidents have occured on the Grand National and Big One.

Whilst I was at the park, the Wild Mouse broke down with one car at the bottom of the lift and one at the top - surely that must be an error, because there is only one additional block on the ride (aside from the lift and brake run). I think the ride shutdown because of a block violation, which was probably down to human error. The ride operator told the people in line "The rides broke...Everybody clear off."

Last edited by Grant, Wednesday, August 12, 2009 8:46 AM
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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 1:00 PM

Something still stinks. Given the number of casualties, it has to have been a collision of two trains (not two halves of a broken train as has happened on The Big One, for example). But for that to happen, there had to be a block violation.

I don't care if they were taking one train off, the second train should not have left the lift until the final brakes were clear. There is only one operational rule to blocking systems' and it goes back almost to the beginning of multi-train coasters: Thou Shalt Not Allow More Than One Train Into Any Block At Any Time. Not ever, not for any reason.

Either something broke, or someone screwed up. This is one of those accidents that is not even supposed to be possible.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 3:59 PM

invy said:
Not sure about the braking on Big Dipper as I've not been in the park in almost 12 years due to mobility issues (typically, I'll be there this coming Tuesday - see ya soon Gator!)

Bet I see you first... ;)

Hope everyone is OK, etc. Seriously messed up - if one train was being removed from the ride (changing to single--train ops), the other one should be "stationary", or to paraphrase Dave, *at a minimum of one block away*.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009 4:41 PM

Been out all day so just catching up - has there been an update stating it was two trains that crashed? The impression I got from news reports was that it was two cars of the same train that collided after one car jammed on the track - feel free to correct me if I'm wrong :)

Hope all involved recover well and quickly no matter what, the video footage I've seen of the aftermath looked pretty traumatic.

Bill - you don't know what the beard is doing at the moment so I might be able to skip right past you at the entrance to my beloved Nashie ;)

ps - Dave, Big Dipper running three cars takes up to 24 riders per train and I'm pretty sure it's run with four cars per train on occasion. Just had a look at rcdb - pics of it running three car trains and four car trains on there. Last time I rode it I'm pretty certain it was running four cars, last ride we had was back seat, we got hauled around the tight turnaround into the first drop which was pretty rough and my riding mate ended up with slight whiplash from it.

pps - just read the update on screamscape, big oops on the part of the park if that's the case :(

Last edited by invy, Wednesday, August 12, 2009 4:52 PM
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