Shivering Timbers at Michigan's Adventure

Aaronosmer's avatar

Apparently there was some sort of collision on Shivering Timbers this past Saturday. Interesting reading the guest's take on the entire experience.

I figure she is specially calibrated to know what a 30 mph collision with a stationary object, with brakes on, feels like.

That lady is clearly adding some extra drama for effect, but it looks like it was more than a 2-3mph station bump based on that damage.

Does this mean Michigan's Adventure gets Cedar Point's rain policy now?

Given the damage and how it lifted the rear of the car up the way it did, I'm guessing that wasn't a light tap. Maybe not 30mph, but that had be a pretty firm hit at a decent pace I'd think.

Last edited by SteveWoA,

I semi-retract my comment above. I did not look at the pictures of the damage. I would agree that it was not a bump but rather a pretty decent impact, but I don't think it was anywhere close to 30 mph.

In the last picture it looks like there was enough force to drive the up-stop through the wood and break through the top top layers of laminate, at least partially.

Total lack of brakes likely would have been catastrophic. I'm guessing the train got slowed or stopped from the ready/ waiting brakes before the turn into station, then released in error. Slow but a lot of energy with a multi ton train..

Looks like a good case to have CF legal counsel on site. ;)

Aaronosmer's avatar

Per the Facebook comments, it sounds like the train was sitting on brake run for 10 minutes or so, and that it was manually released. Like others have said, no way it was going 30 mph, but obviously enough to cause some damage.

That sounds like it could have been one of those things where it set up/e-stopped and it went into manual mode to get the train back to avoid having to do an evac from the brake run.

I looked at a POV earlier. The brake run is round a corner from the station and the train does pick up some speed – I'd say it would have been doing somewhere between 5 and 10mph, and going from that to zero in a split second would hurt.

Its been quite a few years since I've been to MiAdventure. As I recall, the ride picks up quite a bit of speed (relatively speaking) between the holding brakes and the station. Based on how fast I remember the ride going into the station, I would guess that what is seen there is probably about what it would look like if a stopped train were released from the holding with a parked train in the station.

I just wonder how this could have happened. At a very high level, it is my understanding that the rides have three modes. 1) Automatic - what you typically see for rides. 2) Manual - you can move the trains around, but blocking is still enforced. This can be used to reset block errors, or transfer trains. 3) Maintenance - trains can be moved around regardless of what blocks say.

This shouldn't be possible in modes 1 and 2, which is all the normal ride ops should have access to. The only thing that I can think of that would cause that is for a maintenance worker to have tried to run the ride in maintenance mode, and override the blocking system. I would wonder, why someone ran the ride without blocking with people on the ride. It seems that this lesson should have been learned from Smiler. After an incident like that, I would have assumed some sort of managerial person would have come to the ride, and based on what was shared no one did.

^On Smiler, I don't believe they could physically see the train that had valleyed.... This seems like they released the wrong train since you can see both from the station.

When I referenced Smiler, I was referring to overriding the blocking system while there are passengers on the trains. The lesson learned there is that the blocking system should never be overridden while there are passengers on board. Its just too easy to make a mistake, and have the trains collide. Its bad when your dealing with a couple million dollars worth of hardware. Its orders of magnitude worse when you are dealing with peoples' lives.

In this instance, the track has a pretty gradual slope. It takes the train many seconds to get up to speed / back to the station. From looking at POVs, it takes 10 seconds + to reach the end of the holding brakes. Assuming it was releasing the wrong train, whoever released the brakes had plenty of time to see that the train they meant to send wasn't moving, the wrong train was moving, and close the brake again. Again, this goes back to what I said above, the blocking system shouldn't be overridden while there are passengers due to it being too easy to make an error.

Whatever happened to Timber Rider?

Bakeman31092's avatar

To achieve 30 mph, ignoring friction, you would need an elevation change of 30 ft (the fact that the numbers match is purely coincidence). If you account for friction then of course you would need a bit more.

Hard to find a picture of the brake run and station together, but from what I could tell the elevation difference is no more than two bays vertically, with each bay being 6 ft, so 12 ft total. It’s probably more like 8-10 ft, which is in the range of 16 mph. Pretty nasty for sure, but certainly not a 30 mph collision. At that speed, according to RCT, the train would’ve exploded in a spectacular fireball.

Also very bad form for the park to do nothing about it, at least according to this woman’s account.

Jeff's avatar

Meh, given the amount of attention that she seems to be after, I'm not sure I buy that she was entitled to anything more than she got. Sounds like nothing short of Camille coming out and giving her a hug would have been enough.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

eightdotthree's avatar

I've bruised my knee that bad just getting out of PTC trains before. :)

Bakeman31092's avatar

I don't really look at it that way. You have to separate the facts of what actually happened and what a proper response from the park would look like from the borderline hysterical response from someone that has an inflated sense of entitlement. If a train full of passengers collides in the station with enough force to derail a car and break the track, the park should do something to right the wrong of such an unpleasant experience that was brought on through no fault of the patrons. Will there be some people for which no level of response would be enough to satisfy them? Sure. But that doesn't mean your policy in the event of a major malfunction involving riders should be to have your 19-year-old ride op shrug their shoulders. I don't know if that's what happened, and yes it is hard to view this woman as an accurate conveyor of information, but if we can get past the hyperbole, it still sounds like the park's response was inadequate. I know that when Dragster gets stuck at the top, there's a whole army of silver tags waiting to greet the riders when they finally make it down.

Last edited by Bakeman31092,

I was thinking about this some more, what would cause the back of the car to lift up like that? In other words, what caused the front of the car to nose dive? And with the damage that was done to the track by the upstops of the front car being driven upwards, shouldn't the rear of the train in the station have had some pretty significant damage? Maybe it was damaged and there are not any pictures of it.

When I was evac'd from Dudley's at the bottom of the first lift hill, right after leaving the station, due to someone jumping out of one of the boats, I received 7 express passes from the crew member who assisted me to get out of the boat and back to the loading area. The boat bumping into mine did not even do the slightest bit of damage. The damage done on ST was significant and I'm sure felt more painful than 2 boats bumping into each other. But, what does CF do?.... "crickets"

Fun's avatar

Very interesting topic here- what are you “supposed” to get when a ride physically breaks with you on it? Your ticket refunded? What if you have a season pass and you’ve used it 10 times already? Do they give you an overpriced slice of pizza and soda? I don’t have any answers. I can understand giving exit passes to make up for lost time, but being a passenger on a derailed train doesn’t seem as straightforward.

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