Superman reopens at Six Flags New England, investigation results announced
Posted Sunday, August 19, 2001 6:31 AM | Contributed by NewEnglandThemeParks
Six Flags New England reopened its Superman coaster following a collision of two trains in the station that caused more than a dozen injuries. Investigators say a ruptured air supply caused a brake failure that allowed the train to enter into the station at an undetermined speed less than 20 mph.
Hmmm... that doesn't seem right to me. My understanding of the Intamin braking system is that air needs to be applied to pull the brakes open, not keep them closed. Not only that, but I thought there were separate tanks for each brake, in which case the train may have skipped the brake run, but certainly not come in with that much force.
It seems as though someone up at SFne is trying to cover something up, what I have no idea. I would have to agree with Jeff that brakes need air open them and when there is no air the brakes are closed. This is just a simple safety item. Kind of like Vertigo at Cedar Point, there needs to be air to unlock the harnesses, no air it will not unlike. If it were the other way around and something happened to the mechanism than something tragic would happen. This article sounds fishy to me!
I was looking at Darien Lake's S:ROS earlier this season and I thought they looked like they were "driven closed" brakes because the air cylinders were in the extended position when the brakes were engaged. If that is the case, a ruptured air line could easily cause this failure, because the only thing holding them up is air pressure. It would have blown with pressure applied, which would explain why the train slowed down a little before it came into the station. They said they heard a "bang"; an air line blowing at 100 psi sounds like a gun going off.
If that's true, that's putting way too much confidence in a pneumatic system.
And I would say I've lost some confidence in these engineers.
The correct setup on brakes could be an air to open/spring to close cylinder with the solenoid output energized (brake not applied). Losing output power would then spring the brake to the closed position. Those tanks you see everywhere are called "accumulators" and simply put, store presssurized air.
If it was an air line failure as they say, more than likely they're talking about the pneumatic line running from the energized port of the solenoid to the brake cylinder (brake open). Typically, this line is not monitored for air pressure (at least in any application I've seen) as it is coming stright from the accumulator (which is easily monitored). If (and this to me is a big if) the line was cracked or opened enough to reduce the air pressure in the line but not fully allow the solenoid to spring to it's normal position (brake closed), then this would be the case.
If that's not the case, then improper monitoring of air pressure at the accumulator could be the case. Tough to say -
*** This post was edited by Mango Madness on 8/19/2001. ***
That's the question - how are the brakes driven to the engaged position? It would require a spring on the brake itself - whether on the bracket or in the cylinder - to create a true fail safe system and drive the brakes home if an air line failed. I don't remember seeing such a thing. And how many tanks and solenoids are on the system? Is someone here more familiar with the way Intamin builds these things?
I need a closer look at the system. I know - COASTER TRIP! :)
Engaging the brakes (in a true failsafe system) would require a spring in the cylinder - air pressure would open the cylinder (open the brakes), and loss of pressure would close the cylinder because the spring retracts (close the brakes).
If a solenoid failed in the "energized" position, and continually applied air to the cylinder, this could be a problem as well. Hard to believe this one also, but a possibility.
I personally haven't seen this on an Intamin coaster so I can't say for certain how it is built, sorry.
No, no, no. You all have it worng. The brakes on superman are magnetic, but in order for the brakes to work, they are pushed up against the track. When the brakes are released, the air pistons holding the brakes against the track are released, causing the brakes to lean away from the track. Therefore, when the air supply was ruptured, there was no way for the magnetic brakes to be pushed back against the track.
I think scoaster is right. When viewed from the recent CP documentary show, you clearly see those magnetic arms come up along the side of the track and slow down the train. After the train passes by, the magnets retract back. In the event of a power loss, these brakes would automatically stay in the up position along the side of the track and thus slowing the train down. I haven't seen SROS in person, so I'm not 100%
I agree with jeff on this one. But I always thought that these brakes were powered by motors, not air tank thing's. Cause if you read paul ruben's article about the fail safe brakes, there's never a mention of an air commpressed brake!?!
They have admitted to an air line rupture. The brakes are magnetic; the magnets didn't fail, the air cylinders (or "pistons" as scoaster called them) that operate the brake brackets did. The question remains - why did they fail in the disengaged, or "down" position?
It still sounds like they popped up like the were supposed to, started slowing the train, and then the air line (which would have been under pressure at this point) blew that holds them up. That would have let the air dump out of the cylinders, allowing them to fall back into the disengaged position.
I don't believe there's a "cover-up". It sounds like they've admitted what happened.
I have a hard time believing that the brakes' unpowered position is open. Not only would that be illogical, but it would be different from the way the brakes work on Millennium Force. I don't see why Intamin would change the design.
------------- Jeff Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com "From the global village... in the age of communication!" Watch the grass grow: http://www.sillynonsense.com/subdivision/
*** This post was edited by Jeff on 8/19/2001. ***