Smiler track appears to separate, ride closed

Posted Monday, July 22, 2013 10:48 AM | Contributed by CoasterDaddy

According to reports on Twitter, numerous people heard a loud banging noise as a bolt fell from the ride and supposedly landed on the roof of the enclosed queue line. Shortly afterwards, images began to circulate on Twitter showing the obvious gap between two rails on the track, in between the first inverted drop and the first dive loop.

Read more from Towers Times.

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Monday, July 22, 2013 10:58 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

Apparently the theme park gods were pretty upset this weekend. Maybe they're finally tired of TPR?

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Monday, August 19, 2013 10:58 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

That looked pretty serious to me. I wonder if it may end up be like the zero-g-roll on Maverick, where they had to remove that section of track, and re-profile the ride. If anything, they will probably at least have to take that one section out, to see if there is any other damage to it, so they can safely re-assemble it.

Anyone know what the outcome was, or if the ride has re-opened? Seems to be a bad year for park rides all round.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:41 AM

^^ Timber-Rider, it seems like a lot of bad things are happening, but there are usually a few incidents per summer, varying in severity. I will say though that that is the first time I've seen a track separation. Glad no one was hurt.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 9:59 AM
rollergator's avatar

I'm going to agree with Timber-Rider, this season has been pretty atypical in terms of the number of "bad things." Marquee rides that have gone down (just offhand, include Toro, SFoT Shockwave, NTG (with Rattler), Shoot the Rapids, I-305, Smiler. Fires at Camden and Conneaut, Carowinds water problems (loss of water service).

I know I'm missing some...been a pretty busy year, and not in the good way.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 10:48 AM
bjames's avatar

Yeah when I saw the pictures of Smiler it looked pretty disastrous. It's the sort of thing that people that fear coasters are afraid will happen. Was it a construction error, some new guy who didn't know how to weld or something, or was it the engineering? That's a major error for the engineering firm, considering they're supposed to work in double or triple safety standards.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 11:22 AM

The ride was only closed three days...

I rode it shortly afterwards. Most it was okay, but three of the inversions were very violent. I'm guessing one of them was where the separation occurred; it's obvious that the track fabrication isn't exactly perfect there.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:22 PM

That picture looks like a still shot from Final Destination 3.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013 5:12 PM

bjames, that separation is what happens when a bolt breaks and falls out. It wasn't a fabrication error, but it might have been an assembly error.

When bolts are torqued properly, they stretch slightly and behave like really strong springs, holding components together rigidly, so that they behave as a single unit. If the bolt is loose, movement of the bolted parts can apply impact loads that can cause the bolt to fail. Which at a casual glance from several thousand miles away appears to be what happened here.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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