Ninja reopens at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Posted Monday, July 21, 2014 8:38 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The Ninja roller coaster that partially derailed two weeks ago reopened at Six Flags Magic Mountain Saturday after state regulators finalized their inspection of the popular ride. A tree had fallen against the track of the suspended coaster, causing a wheel to come off and the front bogey to derail.

Read more from The Santa Clarita Valley Signal.

Related parks

Monday, July 21, 2014 10:18 AM

The whole situation was handled very well by the park.

Monday, July 21, 2014 10:21 AM

I agree. This is about as freaky as freak accidents go, and it could have been a lot worse. I'm surprised that the bogey derailed though, because (I think) it means two wheels and the safety "hook" over the track failed. That seems extraordinary.

Monday, July 21, 2014 11:56 AM

They probably handled the events after the tree fell well, but they obviously didn't handle inspecting potential falling trees very well before the incident.

Monday, July 21, 2014 12:10 PM

Pete Nelson is only one man...

...and honestly, they're not always foreseeable - so says my roof.

Monday, July 21, 2014 12:11 PM

Because every tree in the forest needs to be inspected and cleared before opening each day? Come on, Krause. You're smarter than that.

This was a total freak accident, and nobody knew the tree was going to fall at the exact second it did, or even that it was going to fall at all. Could have been a gust of wind, could have been dated from the inside by termites with no visible outside damage. Nature happens.

Monday, July 21, 2014 12:16 PM

Come on, guys! With Ninja down, the lines at other rides were artificially inflated.

This was just the latest scheme to sell more Qbots.

Monday, July 21, 2014 2:17 PM

Wake up Sheeple!!!!


Monday, July 21, 2014 8:26 PM

Sorry. You guys could be right. I didn't fully express my opinion above... We don't have enough information to be able to determine if the park inspected potential hazards or not. I have no idea if it is part of their routine or not. I think it should be if it isn't.

It comes back to inspecting trees near power lines. The power companies around my area are responsible for looking for potential problems every once in a while. The land owners are responsible if it is on their property. I would assume that an amusement park would want to inspect trees that could potentially fall within the path of a moving ride every so often.

I'm not saying that accidents like this are 100% preventable. Even though I dislike Six Flags as a business, it could have happened at any park. I even said in the other Ninja thread that it's not a "Six Flags problem," because this kind of thing happens at other parks as well. For example, Kings Island had a collision with their suspended coaster and a maintenance vehicle a few years ago. Parks have problems with stuff like this sometimes.

Last edited by LostKause, Monday, July 21, 2014 8:28 PM
Tuesday, July 22, 2014 12:02 AM

Jeff said:
I agree. This is about as freaky as freak accidents go, and it could have been a lot worse. I'm surprised that the bogey derailed though, because (I think) it means two wheels and the safety "hook" over the track failed. That seems extraordinary.

I saw a photo that indicated that the right-hand wheel carrier was missing from the lead axle. That means there was no lateral control at all on that side, which allowed the axle to translate to the left and come off. In photos you can see the safety hook on the left hand side dangling uselessly.

This sort of incident is why I tend to feel better about the classic track designs that put the guide wheels inboard of the rail.

I find myself wondering if the train would still have derailed if it had the axle design that The Bat (II) has at Kings Island. On that ride, with the larger road- and guide-wheels, there is no safety hook hanging off the axle. Instead, the axle itself extends up above the rail and the safety pin is attached directly to the axle, between the road wheels. The wheel carrier attachment pin is right below the safety pin, and the wheel carrier attaches to the outboard edge of the axle rather than to the top of the axle.

That said, it's nice to see that Arrow's design did hold up nicely after a particularly nasty catastrophic failure. They effectively lost the entire lead axle and still did not drop a car, and nobody was really hurt in the incident.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 3:04 AM

When I was an employee at Kings Island during the Paramount years there were I believe two occasions where a tree fell on the tracks of Adventure Express. One of those times there were riders on the vehicle. So it isn't just a Six Flags problem. Like people have said above, it can happen at anytime with no warning and the only way to prevent it would be to strip the land of anything close to a ride vehicles path. Of course then you would lose all the "charm" of a ride and cause people to complain about that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:33 AM

Solution: Fake trees. Lots of them.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:37 AM

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 11:56 AM

RideMan said:

I find myself wondering if the train would still have derailed if it had the axle design that The Bat (II) has at Kings Island.

I was wondering the same thing when it happened, Dave. That design is first and foremost rigid, whereas I think the ride at Magic Mountain (and Cedar Point) has the outboard hook that also has some play in it, if I remember correctly. To your point, this kind of failure made the hook completely useless.

Sunday, July 27, 2014 9:36 PM

Dave or Jeff,

Can either of you share a photo of the "hook" you are referring to? I looked at some pictures on RCDB and didn't see what you were describing.

I did see the larger guide wheels on the Bat II, but correct me if I am wrong, both rides were made by Arrow yes? If so, was the redesign of the Bat trains a reaction to a different derailment?

Monday, July 28, 2014 8:26 AM

I think it was just refinement, and oddly enough, I think it was the last one they built. The biggest difference that I can detect is that the wheels make solid contact with the track full-time, whereas the old design was kind of loose and you could hear and see the bogies kind of shift around as it navigated the course. Top Flight Bat runs smooth, more like a B&M. Come to think of it, I can't think of any Arrow ride I've been on that runs as smooth.

Monday, July 28, 2014 9:08 AM

Does anyone remember when Wild Thing derailed at Valleyfair? It can happen at any park.

Monday, July 28, 2014 10:34 AM

Does the tree in the right of center of the picture look healthy?

Source: Reddit

While I totally agree that this type of accident could happen anywhere at anytime, I have to wonder what measures parks go through to avoid it. Judging by the tree in the picture, I feel that Six Flags could be doing a better job of removing potential hazards. I can't seem to find a good enough picture of the fallen tree to determine it's health.

Last edited by Blackie, Monday, July 28, 2014 10:37 AM
Tuesday, July 29, 2014 12:45 AM

You can't really see the pin in THIS SHOT because of the angle. But the pin is attached to the end of that arm that is attached to the back of the axle and to the back of the wheel carrier. I think the idea is that the arm will hold the wheel carrier if it separates from the axle, although that didn't work real well on Ninja.

In THIS SHOT taken many years ago of Top Gun, you can see that the safety pin has moved between the road wheels. What is harder to see here is that the pin is actually attached to the axle, and the wheel carrier is sandwiched in between the inner and outer edges of the axle. Actually, looking at it more closely, it looks like the spindle for the up-stop wheel might also serve as the attachment pin for the wheel carrier.

Jeff, to your comment, I am not sure that the new design keeps the guide wheels in contact with the rails, but I think the contact points are further apart...that is, further ahead of and further behind the center of the wheel carrier, and I wonder if that serves to stabilize the axle, just by making the guide assembly a little longer.

I'd embed the photos here, but I don't know the secret code, and the rich text editor doesn't seem to work on my computers. Anybody care to share the tags?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:08 AM


I couldn't get the link to work in the first shot, but did in the second, and have a better understanding now of what you and Jeff were referring to. Thanks for the detailed explanation, as always. :)

I remember thinking that about a decade ago, maybe more, that on a visit to the KI and to the Beast, that I thought they had "cleared out" the area some between the first hill and covered brake run. I remember the trees encroached the second drop more than today. Anyway else remember that, or is my recollection off?


You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2020, POP World Media, LLC