Investigators say axles never replaced on Expoland coaster

Posted Monday, May 7, 2007 9:29 AM | Contributed by Jeff

An amusement park where a roller coaster derailed on Saturday, killing a passenger and injuring 19 others, had failed to replace any of its axles for 15 years, leading investigators to suspect that the metal axles were worn out, police said. The derailment occurred at Expoland in Suita on Saturday after one of the axles on the "Fujin Raijin II" roller coaster broke.

Read more from Mainichi Daily News.

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Monday, May 7, 2007 9:40 AM
Well that seems like a blatant management/maintenance problem. However, how often are axels replaced? I would think that if there were no problems they might not be, unless they have a shelf life, however that didn't seem to be the case.
*** This post was edited by Willh51 5/7/2007 9:40:58 AM ***
Monday, May 7, 2007 9:46 AM
I didn't know that axle replacement was part of regular roller coaster maintenance. I know that most people don't replace their car axles on a regular basis.

Then again, the park seems kinda strange. What's with painting all the big coasters white? ;)

Monday, May 7, 2007 9:49 AM
When I looked up the coaster at, the trains were red. The post accident pics, the train is blue. So am I to believe that they changed the color of the trains & restraints, but did not change an axel for 15 years? Wow. That is rather terrible.
Monday, May 7, 2007 10:08 AM
OK, let me ask, how do you say 'manslaughter' in Japanese?
Monday, May 7, 2007 10:41 AM
Aren't we getting a little dramatic here? After all, we don't really know who's at fault here.
Monday, May 7, 2007 10:57 AM
Ok, let me ask, how do you say 'typical under engineered Togo' in Japanese?
*** This post was edited by DanLinden 5/7/2007 10:57:45 AM ***
Monday, May 7, 2007 11:34 AM
I don't know if you can really blame Togo for that. Yes, perhaps Togo didn't design the axles with a long fatigue life; however, at the same time the thing might have just been a material failure (then you would be blaming the steel manufacturer).

Rob's right, we do not know who is at fault just yet.



Monday, May 7, 2007 12:00 PM
I can't completely disagree that we can't assume blame on anybody yet. But it can certainly be narrowed down. The rider and ride operators cannot be blamed. Togo could be blamed, but not changing a part out for 15 years really is not their fault. That same theory goes to the steel manufacturer as well. That narrows it down to the park itself. The one comment that I did not understand: why would the park need to be told in a ride safety guide to change the axels at a certain point? Wouldn't the park engineers also suggest to change it? Other parks have changed the axels. Why not this one?
Monday, May 7, 2007 12:34 PM
That's so odd because I always assumed that the Japanes parks had a much higher standard of safety when it comes to their rides when compared to most US parks.

Clearly it seems like the park is at fault as it was their responsibility to check the axles,along with other components during the annual tear down/reassembly during the off-season.Had they done so they might've been able to detect any hairline cracks in the axle,or mounting brackets which hold it to the train,as well as any possible defects that might've been present in the steel during the fabrication process of the component itself.

Monday, May 7, 2007 12:55 PM
I'm surprised a single-point failure can cause a derailment - that's kinda scary.
Monday, May 7, 2007 12:55 PM
Why do we have to "blame" someone? It's a tragedy.

Good grief...we are sometimes so quick to gather the pitchforks and torches and scour the countryside for who is to blame.

Monday, May 7, 2007 2:05 PM
I wonder if the amusement industry will step-up axel inspections due to this.
Perhaps visual inspections are done every time a wheel is changed.

Fixing blame is a natural thing for people to do. It's often cheaper than fixing the problem. Either way, I think that coaster is toast.
Best wishes for all involved...

Monday, May 7, 2007 4:20 PM
That's so odd because I always assumed that the Japanes parks had a much higher standard of safety when it comes to their rides when compared to most US parks.

Interesting commentary…care to share the factors that led you to such conclusion? This is no attempt to belittle…just personal interest in what could lead someone to this type of conclusion.

*** This post was edited by Jeffrey R Smith 5/7/2007 4:20:47 PM ***

Monday, May 7, 2007 5:36 PM
I think there's a perception of safety on a cultural level in Japan. Steel Dragon was closed for 3 years after a wheel fell off. Compare this to Wild Thing, which had a similar incident, yet wasn't closed for nearly as long.
Monday, May 7, 2007 7:52 PM
This is so sad, I really hate to hear news like this. The good news is that statiscally these events are so rare.

Speaking of Togo, I believe they also provided Kings Island with the King Cobra which operated for several years. I vaguely remember an incident in 1984 (the first year King Cobra opened), when a wheel fell off causing the ride to partially dislodge from it's track. Nobody was killed, but several people suffered from minor injuries. The problem was apparently corrected, and the ride reopened before the end of KC's first season. Does anyone else remember this?

Monday, May 7, 2007 7:53 PM
Steel Dragon was closed for three years due to what can best be described as a superstition in their culture, not due to safety issues.

*** This post was edited by Mamoosh 5/7/2007 7:53:52 PM ***

Monday, May 7, 2007 8:45 PM
Finally I knew something like no inspections on the coaster. which he mechanics are crazy not to replace the break axles and If they did replace the axles the coaster would't rash.*** This post was edited by Twistercoasterman 5/8/2007 11:26:04 AM ***
Monday, May 7, 2007 8:53 PM
If Mantis derailed but it won't because its more advanced and if it did that will be very bad to Cedar Point's amazing attractions and make attendance really drop.*** This post was edited by Twistercoasterman 5/8/2007 11:29:07 AM ***
Tuesday, May 8, 2007 3:51 AM

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