Details released by Anaheim police on Disneyland accident

Posted Tuesday, October 7, 2003 4:37 AM | Contributed by Brian Noble

Disneyland employees heard an unusual clacking noise coming from the wheels of Big Thunder Mountain train No. 2 on the morning of Sept. 5 and planned to pull it out of service when it returned to the station, a ride operator told investigators from the Anaheim Police Department. But the train never returned to the station. The locomotive that leads the train lost a "bogie"- the assembly that carries the rear wheels - derailed, decoupled from the rest of the train, and struck the roof of Safety Tunnel One, according to reports by Anaheim police and the county coroner's office.

Read more from The Orange County Register.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 4:49 AM
Wow, if I understand this correctly, the odds of this happening were ridiculously impossible. It sounds like the rear wheels of the car would have to derail, and the coupler between cars would have to break, and presumably there are some kind of chains or cables between the cars as well. Very sad and unfortunate.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 5:36 AM
Maybe the force of the train derailing caused the other devices to malfunction?
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Tuesday, October 7, 2003 6:22 AM
I think onceler is correct that the forces involved in the first failure put stresses on other components that they just hadn't been designed for.

I suspect that the bogie actually stayed on the track. Based on the wording of the original article, what is described as a derailment was probably the body of the "locomotive" lifting off the bogie that was no longer attached. (The wheels stayed on the track, but the locomotive was no longer connected to them) Apparently this put forces on the coupling that caused it to fail. Safety cables commonly used between cars would have enough clack that the front car could lift above the frame of the second car striking the rider even though if the cable didn't fail. The design of the cables commonly used on coasters kind of assumes that the cars are still on the track when the coupling fails. The car body above the frame wouldn't be strong enough to resist the impact.

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