Expedition GeForce - Train Failure

mlnem4s's avatar

This is a prime example why I do not like how the Vekoma and Intamin electronic restraint systems work. In the event of a serious accident, and you need to evacuate injured guests ASAP, you could do it on an Arrow or B&M since both operate with mechanical systems (if they aren't damaged from the accident.) A majority of Vekomas or Intamin rides you need to get the battery pack, plug it in, juice it up and then restraints open...then move on to the next car and repeat....very time consuming in a life and death situation. I thought the same thing when I saw the Xcelerator video with the front seat being compromised from the cable failure. The same thing was an issue on the drop tower at SFKK when the cable failed; the injured guests couldn't get out until maintenance got the battery pack to the ride vehicle, plugged in and working. Ridiculous.

First, parks don't "plug in" and "juice up" battery packs... they have them charging up on standby. Second, even on Arrow or B&M rides, maintenance still needs to engage the unlocking mechanism for each car... there isn't a "master" release for the entire train. (Nor would you want there to be in an instance where you need to remove riders via a cherry picker.) With this being the case, would it really take significantly longer to plug a battery into each car than it would to push on a lever? If the restraints you describe operate similar to those on Reverchon coasters, which also use electric power, then the restraints should be unlocked as soon as the battery is plugged in.

Last edited by PhantomTails,

But it is a bit of a gray area...you're relying on stored energy to open the valve, and that is more things to go wrong compared to just pushing a lever. Actually this is one area where designers regularly play fast and loose with the design standard. I don't have it handy right now (wrong computer) but I think it is in ASTM F 2291-09a:5. There is supposed to be a manual release, it is not to require stored energy to operate, it is not to require the operator to climb over the rider, and it is not to require the use of special tools. Hence the foot pedals on the newer PTC trains. :)

Then somebody added a bunch of "unless otherwise specified by the ride analysis" so that the designers could go back to doing whatever they damn well please. :(

It's not my fault; I didn't vote for those changes.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

The pattern continues...

Jeff's avatar

RideMan said:
If I may editorialize for a moment, this is exactly why from a design perspective I much prefer those train designs where the car sits between the rails, with the guide wheels inboard of the rail.

I think that's a pretty easy question to answer. It requires less steel. Even in the event that you have one-piece ties, like those used by Morgan, it's a lot harder to get the most out of the sheet you're going to cut compared to those made for B&M. Intamin doesn't waste anything at all since the ties are not independent of the spine.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Phrazy

mwatts said:

Raven-Phile said:
Well, that's mildly frightening.

I disagree, I think it shows that secondary safety systems work that the car is hanging to the side but did not fall off.

It would still scare the crap outta me. If I were dangling up there, all I'd be thinking is the same company that designed the failed part(s) designed the secondary safety system!

Brandon | Facebook

delan's avatar

RideMan said:
........but I think it is in ASTM F 2291-09a:5.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Quoting ASTM specs by memory? (bows in pious reverence)

kpjb's avatar

mlnem4s said:
The same thing was an issue on the drop tower at SFKK when the cable failed; the injured guests couldn't get out until maintenance got the battery pack to the ride vehicle, plugged in and working. Ridiculous.

Intamin drop towers have manual release points on each seat cylinder. You don't have to have a battery.


Tekwardo's avatar

Oh Snap!

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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

Jeff: It wasn't really a question. 8-) But you're right; it's as Alan Shilke told me when he was showing me the Batflyer prototype: Do you build more complicated axles, or do you build more complicated track ties? Given that you need eight axles and eight thousand track ties, it makes more sense to complicate the train rather than the track.

The question is why the car does not include a set of safety pins, separate from the wheel carriers, to prevent the car from derailing if a wheel carrier goes away. I remember noting in that same IAAPA booth visit that the Batflyer car had a gigantic safety bar on it, but the Mad Mouse car did not, and I kind of wondered about that at the time. The loss of a wheel carrier is a rare event, but when it does happen, the results can be catastrophic!

delan: I was wrong. It was F 2291-09b:6.3.8, including three subsections. I was right about the content, though. :) You have to remember that it was some of the nasty little gotchas especially in the poorly-written section 6.4 that prompted me to want to join ASTM in the first place.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

(edit: "booth" ends with an "h")

Last edited by RideMan,

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

RideMan, would you happen to have any photos showing the Morgan/Arrow safety pins?

It's not a question of whether I have photos, it is a question of whether they are in any condition to present (i.e. digital) and whether I can find them! 8-)

On the Morgan coasters (such as Steel Force) the pins are mostly to protect against wheel loss, so there are fixed pins ahead of and behind each road wheel, and alongside the upstop wheel. It isn't as clear how it is protected against axle loss, although because Morgan uses a beam axle, it can be somewhat protected by just wrapping a wire rope around it. And accordingly there was a case where...I think it was Wild Thing that dropped an axle a few years ago in an exciting minor event. How about this photo from coasterimage.com via RCDB? You can see the pins on the wheel carrier. Somewhere I saw an off-season photo of a Steel Force car that made it real obvious.

It's more obvious on Flight Deck (ex Top Gun) at Kings Island, but hard to photograph. The road wheels are attached to the wheel carrier, but there is a pin attached to the axle which extends out between the road wheels. The older Arrow suspended coasters actually have an arm extending back from the axle with a pin on it to catch the train if the wheels fall off. And of course the Arrow Runaway Trains and Corkscrews don't need much because the entire car chassis actually sits between the rails. If it seems that Morgan trains sit up higher than Arrow trains...it's because they do.

I'll check the collection and see what I can find.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

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