Ugly pictures from Las Vegas re: Big Apple derailment

Various sites have pictures of an obvious failure with the new Premier trains on the Big Apple coaster at NYNY in Las Vegas. Curious as to repercussions for the Sky Rocket trains, as they are on quite a few installations now, including the upcoming Ice Breaker at Sea World Orlando.

Appears to be a failure of the wheel assembly while going up the lift hill. It looks like some type of small (3-5 feet) rollback happened, which crunched a second wheel assembly over the one that initially failed (and jammed between track and catwalk).

Last edited by CreditWh0re,

Waiting for Dave to give his thoughts on this. It seems like it was nasty enough to do a number on the lift stairs, and I'm sure the lift track got some kind of damage.

Fortunately it happened on the lift and with no riders, or else I feel it would have been a similar result as the two Schwarzkopf failures.

Gosh golly, it'd be an awful tragedy if this incident left Manhattan Express damaged beyond economical repair....!

...another Festivus miracle!

kpjb's avatar

Were the trains recently replaced and this was part of the acceptance testing, or has this opened to the public with the Premier trains already?

Last edited by kpjb,


Vater's avatar

I believe the ride closed this month to test the new trains, with an expected opening in February. My question is, how the f does something like this happen?

Here are some pictures for those who might not have seen them yet. I can't even begin to imagine how this might have happened.

from the comments on another site "and this is how the last Togo in America dies, not with a whimper but with thunderous applause".

Since someone called me out already: I don't know anything yet. I've seen the photos linked here but haven't looked close enough to get an idea of what went wrong. It does look like there is some structural misalignment and that begs the question: was that a result, or a cause of the incident?

Weren't the existing trains on Manhurtin' Express built by Premier? So it's not as though they didn't have some idea of what the underside of the train needed to look like...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Was this literally the first time the new vehicle was sent around the course? Or had runs been made prior to this? Was there some sort of clearance issue underneath or beside the train at that spot that was overlooked that caused a collision and this resulting mess? Seems to be about as unlikely of a place for a wheel assembly to fail, second only maybe to the train sitting in the station idle. Certainly the forces on a train throughout the course are going to be far greater than when riding up the lift.


Tommytheduck's avatar

While I've always thought this existing coaster should be removed and replaced with something more modern, smoother, etc, I think we all know that would not happen. Vegas has moved on to a newer, high-class image that does not support thrill rides and family entertainment. (Or even the mediocre hotels on that corner of the strip. There have been rumors of demolishing the Luxor for years and Excalibur and NYNY have been the "bargain" hotels of the strip for decades now.)

Sadly, this will either get fixed and return to its crappy self with nicer trains, or torn down and not replaced. If I were a betting man, which I am, my money is on option 2.

ApolloAndy's avatar

I saw footage of these trains rolling off the top of the lift and over the first hill/turn, so I assume they had successfully completed the course at least once before.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Not debut run. They had been running the course over the last week or so

Tommytheduck said:

Sadly, this will either get fixed and return to its crappy self with nicer trains, or torn down and not replaced. If I were a betting man, which I am, my money is on option 2.

There is always Option 3 - where it winds up sitting there SBNO for a decade

Rick_UK's avatar

I wonder what the numbers look like for manufacturers building rolling stock for another manufacturer - presumably with few options for further orders, all R&D etc is paid for by the customer.

Premier did the same for this ride previously, Goliath at New England and B&M with Steel Dragon.

I know when we looked at new trains for one of our rides, it was prohibitively expensive to do anything other than 'make do an mend' with the originals.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

99er's avatar

Tommytheduck said:

Vegas has moved on to a newer, high-class image that does not support thrill rides and family entertainment.

I've been curious as to how much these casinos are making off keeping their coasters/attractions open. While the cost to operate a single coaster isn't crazy expensive, it certainly isn't cheap either. So even with the high admission they charge are they actually selling enough tickets to turn a profit?


MDOmnis said:
...Certainly the forces on a train throughout the course are going to be far greater than when riding up the lift.

That would be true if you are talking about something causing the ride to fail, but remember there is another factor involved here. When whatever failure happens, happens, the train won't stop if it is on the lift. Let's say a wheel carrier comes loose from a middle car and allows that car to derail as far as the couplers on either end will allow. Out on the course, with nothing supporting one corner of the car, you've got the car dragging on the rail, trying to misalign itself and the adjacent cars, and it's going to lose energy and probably come to a stop out on the course.

On the lift, you have a couple hundred horsepower electric motor trying to drag the car behind the failed car up the lift. If that car jammed up and doesn't want to go anywhere, that motor is still going to push it until either it pushes so hard that it overloads and trips out, or someone notices that something is worng and frobs a scram switch. The misalignment of the right-hand catwalk suggests it was shoved there by a wayward car, and what we can't tell is how badly damaged it might is that supported, and is it bent out of shape, or is it pushed laterally on a support that allows for that and therefore will largely pull back into shape once the wedge (the train) is removed. For that we simply don't know.

No hypothesis from me yet; the scenario I described is more or less hypothetical. But do recall that the reason the Big Thunder Mountain failure was a fatal incident was not because of the derailment of the floating axle on the locononmotive car (which WAS the proximate cause of the incident), but because the derailed floating axle prevented that car from moving on the lift hill, and the lift mechanism tried to shove the rest of the train...and its passengers...right through it.

There is a whole lot of energy involved in a coaster lift hill!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

Thanks for the play by play. I honestly never thought of it like that, but it makes total sense, and makes the reason for the Disneyland accident being as bad as it was make sense. I remember the Raging Wolf Bobs incident that wound up carrying the last riders to ever ride the ride. It came to a rest just before the banked turn next to the station. It wasn't good, but it wasn't catastrophic for the passengers (although it was for the fate of the ride!)

Somehow I don't remember the Thunder derailment as happening on a lift, but rather the momentum of the train drove it under the lead car after the floating axle dropped and wedged in a brake assembly. That's a pretty dim memory of reading the Cal-DOSH report though.

Raging Wolf Bobs was a pretty amazing one to see. Turns out I don't have any photos of it (something about wanting to spend my whole day in the park...) but I do recall that you could see pretty much where it happened, as the brake fin on the derailed car smashed through several ledgers going around that curve. Dumb luck that would happen on the morning of a coaster enthusiast event!

(I didn't get to see it happen, but I saw the damage and the tarped train later in the day)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Last edited by RideMan,

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____

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