Jeffrey Seifert said: I don't recall a Wildcat roll back in New Jersey. Perhaps you are thinking of the Wild Wonder at Gillian's? That was a Zamperla Zig Zag coaster (wild mouse), and Gillians sold the coaster to Magic Springs after the fatal incident. However there was a Wildcat rollback prior to Bell's at Worlds of Fun on their Schussboomer back in the late 70s or early 80s.
Thanks for the correction, my memory is a bit hazy. Was the Worlds of Fun rollback also a fatal accident? I can't seem to find any info on this. I actually remember seeing a show years ago on ride safety and this came up, thought it was a Wildcat but it may have been the Zig Zag.
That had to hurt rolling backwards and instantly being whipped around those non-banked turns at the bottom of the lift hill. How fast do you think they were going? I suppose it depends how far up the hill the car was before rolling backwards.
Also, wouldn't the kicker wheels on the track leading to the lift hill stop or at least slow the car down before hitting the cars in the station?
CPcyclone, I suspect that's the reason Cedar Point's Wildcat incident involved minor injuries while Bell's incident resulted in fatalities. Cedar Point's Wildcat is a newer design which has the two kicker wheels (or is it three?) between the base of the lift and the holding brake at the downtrack end of the station. On Bell's machine, the holding brake was on the kicker wheel halfway around the curve, and the run from that kicker wheel to the lift is downhill (i.e. no more kicker wheels) so the car coming backward down the lift would have hit the waiting car at full force. I'd expect that at Cedar Point the two kicker wheels would have made a lot of nasty noises when the car hit them.
--Dave Althoff, Jr. (the above is mostly speculation, of course...)