Five suffer minor injuries as trains collide at Canobie
Posted Friday, July 27, 2001 4:45 PM | Contributed by Gemini
The Yankee Cannonball suffered a brake failure that caused a train to ascend the lift and collide with another train, causing five injuries at Canobie Lake Park in New Hampshire. According to park officials, the ride has manual skid brakes. The coaster was built in 1930.
See the story and video from KOIN.
In fact, if you go to that site that was posted here last week with the PTC tour photos (I think it was, oddly enough, sixflagshouston.com) there is a photo showing a whole bunch of steel castings that are basically square with four ridges and three steel fingers attached in the center. If I had the exact photo URL I'd post it but I'm at home so I can't go get it. Anyway, those are the chain clutch assemblies found on the bottom of PTC trains. The two outer fingers, the simple rounded rectangular ones, are the anti-rollback dogs; the longer center unit with the round notch on the end is the chain dog. (There is no chain dog on the lead car, which is why a couple of the clutch assemblies in the photo don't have chain dogs). It's called a "chain clutch" because that is exactly what it is. It's an overrunning clutch assembly that allows relatively unimpeded motion in one direction but prevents movement in the other direction. The practical upshot of all this is that if the train is moving faster than the lift chain, it will not engage. Once the lift chain is moving faster than the train, the dog engages. And if the chain breaks, as Jeff well knows, the safety dogs prevent the car from moving backwards, but because the train is now *effectively* moving forward faster than the chain (actually the chain is moving backwards), the chain can slide right out from under the train.
The other practical benefit to not locking the chain dog to the lift chain is that when the train gets to the top of the lift, and starts accelerating down the other side, the chain dog can easily disengage from the chain as soon as gravity makes it necessary.
By "manual skid brakes" does that mean the Yankee Cannonball has the "Big 'Ol Brake Levers" or does it mean it has pneumatic skid brakes operated by pushbutton or valve handle?
There was a similar accident on the Thunderbolt at KW in July of 1999. The brake run before the turn into the station used to be manual brakes. Operator error caused the train to overshoot the manual brakes and wrecking it into a loading train, which was forced out of the station and stopped on the lift. Now there are automatic brakes there.
On the Yankee Cannonball at Canobie Lake Park, those "big 'ol brake levers" are in place, however, they are not used to operate the train. The operator uses modern controls on a control panel mounted on a podium while the "big 'ol brake levers" move on their own as if a ghost was operating them. It's fun to watch and imagine how it was originally operated.
I hope that the ride is not closed for too long as I was hoping to ride it later this summer since it had recently been retracked. However, I pray that the injured passengers are alright, and I know that Canobie would not reopen the ride until they are sure that this could not happen again.
Manual braking should not be used. Like said before they will probably get rid of it and the coasters that do have it should get it changed if possible. Employees that work coasters with manual braking should always be on guard and watching out at the coaster, instead of talking to each other.
I live 25 minutes from Canobie Lake Park. I went there two weeks ago and I am going there tommorrow. I am not afraid to ride the Yankee Cannonball. There were no malfunctions or anything like that. The ride operator was the one that malfunctioned. He/She somehow didn't push the brake valve. You don't use the brakes with a huge long lever, you use valves and buttons to operate the ride. The train went through the station without stopping and bumped the other train on the lift hill. The speed of the train going through the station had enough speed to catch the other one that was not that far up the lift. Everytime I go to Canobie, they only operate one train. I have never seen two trains running at once. Maybe it was too much for the ride operator to handle for some reason. That is how the story goes.
That almost happened a couple times when I worked on the Blue Streak at CP a few years back. (Even though I'm NOT a fan AT ALL of the overhaul they gave the ride.) One time during the rain, I had the brake all the way down, I was sitting on the floor holding it, and the train hurtled right past me. A thunderstorm had just started and everything was wet. The 2nd train just left the station. If the guy at Brake #1 (load brake) wasn't paying attention, then booom!!!
The brake run, or drag brakes, at the end of woodies should catch a train, but if it's raining... I hope this isn't the end of skid brakes.
Its a shame all of the negative press coasters have been receiving lately. Like the other people that said its good thing that no one was severely injured. I am sure they will probably just run one train from now on? I am sure someone else knows more than I do since I have never been at that park.
A bit off the direct topic, but im curious about the accident mentioned by Beeman65. He stated that when the returning train on Thunderbolt hit the loading train, that it pushed the loading train up the lift hill. The only problem is that on the Thunderbolt, you start by diving into the valley. The lift hill is not until half way through the ride. Was this a typo? Just curious.
I was wondering the same thing myself. I live in Pittsburgh, and remember the accident, but this is the first I've heard that the loading train was "pushed out of the station". I tend to believe this is incorrect, as the "accident" happened at a fairly low speed, but I suppose it's POSSIBLE.