Painted brake fins blamed for Pony Express accident at Knott's, ride reopened

Posted Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:35 AM | Contributed by Rick_UK

Knott's Berry Farm has reopened a roller coaster involved in an accident that injured 10 riders after making adjustments to the ride following an initial state investigation. The investigation says the brake fins had been painted, preventing the brakes from stopping the train in the rollback that caused the collision.

Read more from The LA Times.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 11:57 AM

What were they painted with? Non-Caloric silicon based lubricant that creates a surface 500 times more slippery than any cooking oil?

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:53 PM

The same stuff Clark used on his snow saucer. ;)

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 12:54 PM

Yup, that's where that's from :)

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 1:33 PM

Okay , that was really an intelligent thing to do. You don't ever put any kind of coating on a brake surface, no matter how much you think that it "looks bad". Someone will catch it big time for either doing it and /or having it done.

Last edited by Dutchman, Tuesday, October 19, 2010 1:36 PM
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 2:05 PM

Has the ride been repainted since installation? I just can't believe this issue only came up now.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 3:20 PM

Yes, I believe it has gone through a routine refurbishment at least once since being installed.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 3:24 PM

It was unnecessary to paint the ride at all, since no one can see the silly thing (glasses policy grumble # 341). ;)

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 3:40 PM

I didn't think that Cedar Fair ever painted anything in it's western themed areas. That's just part of the theme itself. ;)

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 5:14 PM

To me, the more disturbing thing is to learn that they don't perform a short-shot test every day to verify the function of the rollback protection braking system. I have to wonder if those brake calipers have *ever* come into contact with a brake fin. Anybody who can see the ride might be able to see the brakes open and close on every launch, but in the history of the ride have those brakes ever been called upon to stop a train, even in testing?

That this isn't, or rather, wasn't a routine test seems to me to be a really, really odd thing. Hmmm...what does F 770 have to say about that.....

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 5:36 PM

RideMan said:
To me, the more disturbing thing is to learn that they don't perform a short-shot test every day to verify the function of the rollback protection braking system. I have to wonder if those brake calipers have *ever* come into contact with a brake fin. Anybody who can see the ride might be able to see the brakes open and close on every launch, but in the history of the ride have those brakes ever been called upon to stop a train, even in testing?

That this isn't, or rather, wasn't a routine test seems to me to be a really, really odd thing. Hmmm...what does F 770 have to say about that.....

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

That being said, I'm not sure a test would have helped here. Tests in the morning are usually conduced on empty trains. This rollback was of a full train. An extra 3600 pounds of people would increase stopping distance.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 6:41 PM

True, that. But then, unless the paint had been applied the day of the incident, a few hard stops would have knocked the paint off the pads by now, even if the trains were empty. And if the train came back through all those brakes in a test, they'd already know it would *definitely* be inadequate with a loaded train.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 7:36 PM

I bet they've modified their ops manual now. And really, those tests should be taking place with a full contingent of water dummies to simulate operational weight anyway.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 9:04 PM

Although that might not be necessary. Those daily tests are usually more to verify proper function. Making sure the brakes can stop a fully loaded train is something that needs to be part of acceptance testing, and probably periodic testing, such as when components are replaced. But it wouldn't necessarily have to be daily. The daily test is to make sure the components are working...at that point the design has already been verified by the acceptance testing. If the ride doesn't otherwise require ballasted daily testing, I'm not sure that conducting this one test ballasted would be necessary PROVIDED THAT the ride did pass the test ballasted as a part of an acceptance testing procedure.

I hope that is somewhat understandable...!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010 9:06 PM

Believe it or not, I think I got all that. Either you're dumbing down your explanations for the technically unwashed masses, or me iz getting more smarter. ;)

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 1:30 AM

I wonder if this will start the companies having it on the fins,, much like smoke detectors,, "do not paint".

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 9:35 AM

RideMan said:
True, that. But then, unless the paint had been applied the day of the incident, a few hard stops would have knocked the paint off the pads by now, even if the trains were empty. And if the train came back through all those brakes in a test, they'd already know it would *definitely* be inadequate with a loaded train.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

That being said, does Pony Express have multiple brake fins? (I doubt it). The reason I ask is I would think that just normal operation would have knocked the paint off by now and / or they would have had problems with trains running blocks if this is truly the root cause. That is, unless the brake fins are magnetic, at which case there is not necessarily any contact between the fin and the brake device.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 10:37 AM

Raven-Phile said:
What were they painted with? Non-Caloric silicon based lubricant that creates a surface 500 times more slippery than any cooking oil?

lmao, later dudes!, let er' rip, hang 10

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 11:18 AM

Yep, same stuff they used to grease I305's rails.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010 11:30 AM

Hey man, you can't expect me to remember all the way back to April, now. :)

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