SFMM ride mechanic in a dangerous position.

Saturday, February 12, 2005 2:42 AM
Was recently out in Cali to visit Knott's, SFMM, and USH.

On our last day at SFMM, we made Deja Vu our last ride of night. As we were waiting to board next, the train missed the catch wagon on the second spike so the train basically coasted down between the spike and the loop.

A huge group of employees showed up including supervisors and ride mechanics. They manually got the catch wagon to grab the train and pull it back up the second spike.

As the train was released to go through the course backwards, I looked at the one mechanic who was standing on the platform right beside the ride-op controls if he was going to move before the train shot through the station. He just looked at me and smiled.

The train shoots through and he doesn't flinch one bit. He had to have been within inches of this train and it didn't phase him. I know he is used to this being a mechanic but isn't he by law supposed to remain in a safe zone just like the customers and rideops when the ride is in motion?

Just curious. Please don't turn this into a Six Flags doesn't no safety response.

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Saturday, February 12, 2005 2:54 AM
Technically he is supposed to stay in the safety zones unless he is specifically given clearance by Safety, Operations and his Supervisors.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 2:58 AM
Heh.. I'm not going to touch Six Flags, but that mechanic doesn't seem to know safety by your description.

Was the mechanic actually standing on/in front of any kind of yellow lines, posted signs, etc.? It may not have been as close as it seemed from your point of view.

For example, I'm used to taking the subway when I go to Philly (Market-Frankfort, primarily) and as a result, I stand exactly where a door will be when the train stops, just at the yellow safety line, and I don't flinch as it comes in - I just stare straight ahead as it zooms past, slows, stops, and opens the doors, then I step in. I'm not over the safety zones (until it's stopped with the doors open ;) ), but someone who isn't "a regular" may think the same thing about me - too close to a considerably fast-moving train to be safe. The same could be true of the mechanic if he was actually behind the yellow lines.

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Saturday, February 12, 2005 3:05 AM
I really don't think there is such a law. Sometimes maintenance personnel need to be outside of safety zones during operation for whatever reason. Although hopefully they don't do it more often then they have to. When I was a monorailer at DW I had to stand inches away from speeding trains all the time. *** Edited 2/12/2005 8:09:39 AM UTC by kyleds108***
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 3:28 AM
I think this isn't all that un-common thing. While I have never been to SFMM, I have seen this type of thing at Kennywood. I saw two mechanics standing in the middle of the helix on Thunderbolt, working on the track inbetween trains. It freaked me out, but it didn't seem to bother them at all.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 10:12 AM
You'd think that after having a grounds keeper at another park die in the path of an inverted ride that they'd know better. If I was running the place and I saw that, he'd be fired.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 11:09 AM
And of course, the employee who was struck underneath "Scream" at that very park, Jeff. Excellent point.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 11:27 AM
Mechanics do have bypass by Six Flags rules to be in ride areas during operation. While is isnt that smart, technically he wasn't doing anything wrong.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 11:39 AM
I have seen this happen at SFA when a few mechanics was working on a Batwing train. It seems like the norm at several of the SF's parks that I had visited.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 11:51 AM
Must've been one of those rare days when Batwing operates two trains,which as we all know isn't that often.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 12:24 PM
You can hardly compare the Deja Vu situation, where the train was speding thru the station, and Batwing, where trains move in and out of the station slowly.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 12:29 PM
Different Moosh yes, but both were accidents waiting to happen.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 2:12 PM
Coasterfantom2, this thing happens on a ton of differnt rides. The rideops (maybe not all but a few) will be standing less than a few feet from the train as it enters the station. I know this is how it is on nearly all of CP coasters. Also working on the train generally means that the train is stopped, and it is not likely that the mechanic is going to get hurt. Now if they were ridding around the train while it was moving that that is a differnt situation.
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 2:33 PM

Chris the Coaster Freak said:
Mechanics do have bypass by Six Flags rules to be in ride areas during operation. While is isnt that smart, technically he wasn't doing anything wrong.

That is definitely NOT true. The rules have always been in place, but after the accident at SFGAm last year, SF initiated a new, chain-wide system of rules and re-training to keep people out of ride areas during operation, including mechanics. Sometimes mechanics think they're above the rules and that because they work on these rides so often, they know what they're doing and won't get hurt. Unfortunately, incidents like the one at SFGAm prove otherwise. At most parks, it's certainly a terminable offense.

-Nate

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Saturday, February 12, 2005 2:39 PM
You guys are going awfully hard on this guy. If Six Flags would ever try to make him follow the rules, he would probably just go on strike with some of his friends. The last thing they need is an infalatable bulldog on the west coast to match the one in the east. :-)
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Saturday, February 12, 2005 3:51 PM
That really is dangerous, especially with a couple deaths in recent years from peeps being under some B&M inverts.. and especially the employee who was killed on the Revolution at SFMM a few years back.

I was very lucky to have worked on the CP Blue Streak in 92-93, the last 2 years it was still a "classic" coaster, before the new brakes, lap bars, etc... We used to ride the running boards sometimes when the trains were leaving the station to check lap bars (the train had to be out of 'A' block before the second train entered the brake shed - the 'A-set' switch was back there). There were some close calls.

Basically, if you have anything that heavy moving at all (let alone how fast Deja Vu flys thru the station), you're asking for trouble when you get too close to it. A co-worker at the Point was sending a Blue Streak train out, and a wheel ran over the tip of his shoe - split it open, stitches, crutches, it was pretty ugly.

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Saturday, February 12, 2005 6:13 PM
"SFMM ride mechanic in a dangerous position."

Ha! Imagine that. (End sarcasim) ;)

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Saturday, February 12, 2005 10:26 PM
Well seeings how I've seen mechanics riding standing up in some parks. I have to wonder how strict saftey is enforced.

Chuck, and no, they weren't standup coasters.

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Saturday, February 12, 2005 11:33 PM
Although this seems like the ride mechanic may have been in a precarious situation, it's not unheard of for them to be near the tracks during operation.

On Magnum this season there were a couple times when we would stay operational while they brought back a car's fiberglass shell to be re-attached to the car's chassis. They would work on it with trains flying by every couple minutes (faster than if there was 3 train operation at the time, mind you).

Being in the operator's booth, I would cringe everytime a train would go by them because I was afraid that they would either be hit by a train or someone would reach outside of the train and hit them/drag them down the brake run. They wouldn't just stay out on either side of the track either, they would often cross the track (while in operation) to get to the toolbox that's mounted on the railing.

When I think about it though, the ride ops themselves can be in the same proximity to a moving train. Our catwalk that crosses the midway comes within inches of the return track.

*** Edited 2/13/2005 4:34:25 AM UTC by CPgenius***

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Sunday, February 13, 2005 5:01 PM
I'd just be glad I got to finish my ride and someone was actually smiling. He was probably fine, he knows what he is doing. That doesn't mean it isn't against policy, but what can you do.
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