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#342031 - 12th Aug 2009 3:51pm Big Dipper Accident
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
Originally Posted By: BBC News
Two carriages collided at Blackpool Pleasure Beach when one of them became jammed on the rails, police have said.

Thirty people were injured when the second carriage crashed into the back of the first car on the Big Dipper ride on Tuesday evening.

Up to 21 casualties were taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital with facial, back and neck injuries. Among them was a seven-year-old child.

David Cam, a spokesman for The Pleasure Beach, apologised for the accident.

He said: "It's extraordinarily rare that we have an incident like this and it's very sad for us to realise that some people have been injured and we wish them well and a very speedy recovery."

The ride has been closed while the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) investigates.

Horrible, violent and painful ride anyway, but with all the coasters Blackpool has been closing over the past few months, they could do without this...

I wonder if they may get Rollercoaster running again, as its a perfect (and imho much better) replacement for the Big Dipper whilst its out of action, and its SBNO at present. There were question marks over whether it has a current safety certificate, one of the reasons they closed it was being rumoured that they did not want to renew the safety certs of Rollercoaster and Space Invader and they had run out, but Rollercoaster was running for a few months early on in the season whilst the Dipper was having some maintenance done to it.

If the Dipper is down for any great legnth of time, or even has its safety cert revoked, then it could spell trouble for the Pleasure Beach, as they are already seriously struggling, and the rumors were that 2009 is pretty much make-or-break for them, and if they don't hit 2 million visitors this year, they won't make it into next year, which is a big task as they were only saying 1.8 million wristbands were sold last year, and the weather has again been terrible this summer... And love it or hate it, the Dipper is still one of the star attractions there (probably the best known and biggest crowd puller after the PMBO).

BBC News Report

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#342032 - 12th Aug 2009 3:54pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: MattLFC]
AX_125 Offline

Forum Guardian

Registered: 10th Nov 2003
Posts: 3793
Loc: Home
I love all the old woodies at the pleasure beach some of the best coasters in the country.

Gutted if this closes down, can't beat the life questioning ride you get on some of them.
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#342033 - 12th Aug 2009 3:57pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: AX_125]
DavidB Offline
Wiki Guide

Registered: 7th Dec 2003
Posts: 5608
Loc: Bebington, Wirral
Trip, slip or fall? Injury wasn't your fault? Another rollercoaster car collides with you? smirk
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#342034 - 12th Aug 2009 3:59pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: AX_125]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
I prefer Rollercoaster tbh, its not so violent and doesnt give you so much of a headache. I love woodies too, as you say, they are something that can't be replicated by steels, but visitor safety has to be paramount, and lets face it, the amount of accidents Blackpool have had in recent years, they arnt very good at safety.

Im assuming for this accident to have happened, there must have been some serious error or mistake, because usually for more than one set of cars to be allowed on the tracks at any one time, there will be buffer zones, whereby the operators (or indeed automated systems nowadays) can pause a ride using stop brakes and thus avoiding a collision if a set of cars in another buffer zone stops for whatever reason.

I wonder if Blackpool are cutting back on safety, it makes sense if the rumors regarding their safety certs on 5 rides are to be believed, plus all their "downgrading" of everything around the park, there has to come a point where they can only cut costs back so much before they actually do start causing dangerous situations for visitors.

frown

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#342046 - 12th Aug 2009 5:49pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: MattLFC]
purfek Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 23rd Apr 2009
Posts: 431
Loc: oxton
The big dipper will be opening again soon as the hse report is out of the way I suspect it was a combination of operator error regarding sending out the second car (or train) the car stopping on the track is not uncommon the steels on the track expand and contract and over time this causes the screw heads to break off and cause the steels to rise if that rise is at the beggining of a track iron (fairground speak) then the rising iron will point directly at the wheelset and cause it to jamb it could happen to a main wheel or a side friction although its more common on the top steel.
the steels are two inches wide and sit ontop of the track to take the train load.
The pleasure beach insurers are Vulcan the rides are inspected by the insurer every six months, David Cam also pointed out that they do daily checks with their own maintainance team one of which was a young James Rowland (Jims son) and Managing director
(retired last year)
here you can see a youtube video of an old woodie that used to run what was termed a three car service
watch the train as it returns, there is another just in front
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-FNsliTLQQ&feature=related

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#342047 - 12th Aug 2009 5:58pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: purfek]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
So in other words, don't ride the Big Dipper, as the operators are obviously incompetent, or under pressure from the management to run the ride, when it is fully known that trains can stop quite easily with fluctuations in steel temperature, the cicruit obviously has no buffer zones or stop brakes, and they still continue to run more than one train on the circuit at any one time.

Just because an old woodie used to run a three-car service witout buffer zones and stop brakes, does not make it safe to do so... Nemesis can only run 3 trains at any one point, because no more than one train will ever be present in any individual buffer zone, nmeaning that should one fail, the other two can be halted before they cause anymore problems in different sections of the track. Jeeze, Space Invader didnt used to have proper harnesses, but when a child died on it for precisely that reason, did it mean that they should have continued to neglect to install proper harnesses?

This stinks of the usual PBB motto of money before anything else! They wonder why people don't want to go near the place, I for one would be thinking twice about riding the Big Dipper if they are knowingly sending more than one car out without any buffer zones for emergencies, I value my life more than the coasters.

Its funny actually, because I can't recall the last time I saw the PMBO running more than one train at any one time, due to precisely the problems with the zone system on that, though it may have been corrected this Summer?

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#342061 - 12th Aug 2009 7:08pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: MattLFC]
purfek Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 23rd Apr 2009
Posts: 431
Loc: oxton
Matt, there are a couple of things here which apply to all old woodies across the world lets not forget that the pleasure beach coasters are of american design and track set so, what applies here can equally apply to any rollercoaster across the world.
old rides work to a degree under old regulations, simlar to in some respects electrical wiring, safe until desturbed put in under the regulations of that time. The Morecambe train seen in that youtube video did have a buffer and braking system out in the wild. A rising steel is very hard to spot screw heads may look as though they are firm and the only way to tell is to do what is called a track bounce test normally we used to do such tests where the steel pointed towards the travelling wheel even if you carried out such a test it wouldnt stop screw heads from fracturing due to (a) the continual movement of the trains over the steel all day and into the night (b) temperature change will also play a part because as the steel stretches and shrinks the screws are ridged into the timber. Look at how old the ride is! how many accidents has the ride had? not that many the worsed I can remember was when it caught fire. Operator Error
yes, like the pepsi max human error can occur it only takes a fraction of a second for an operator to be distracted what I do not fully understand is that normally all coasters should have a dead man working with him that is to say if you make an error the dead man spots it and corrects it. David said tonight that the other line of protection for all rollercoaster operators is the chain or pull up what we dont understand is why he or his dead man didnt kick stop the chain at the side of the track there is a kick stop. This can happen to any wooden rollercoaster though

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#342064 - 12th Aug 2009 7:18pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: purfek]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
Dunno, I just avoid the Dipper anyway lol cos it gives me headaches and a sore back, but with RC now SBNO it's hard not to want to go on the Dipper, as the Grand National always seems to be having work done to it.

I really ought to venture down the Pleasure Beach this year, ive even done Camelot once, and planning to go again (speaks volumes as I hadnt been since I was a kid, but I enjoyed it immensely, and if im honest, it put's the whole atmosphere and staff courtesy levels of PBB to shame - they have done a tremendous job turning it around, even if they can't financially), but im still miffed by the ride closures that have taken place at the Pleasure Beach. This will only hurt them some more im afraid.

It's almost like the gods are conspiring to knock PBB out of business as fast as possible, would be a crying shame to see it happen, but they've been on the decline and reluctant to invest for many moons now. They would, imho, have been better selling Traumatizer and getting something else instead, Infusion, as with all Vekky SLC's, is just utter bollox, and cost them as much as the PMBO in total, when you consider the original cost of the ride, and the relocation costs. It's done nothing for the park or its image, except leave them in even more of a sorry state financially.

frown

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#342077 - 12th Aug 2009 8:02pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: MattLFC]
purfek Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 23rd Apr 2009
Posts: 431
Loc: oxton
Matt, I am sure the ride closures were not taken lightly I shouldnt really say this in an open forum but I suspect the problem with the rollercoaster was in effect the same as with the Grand National the braking systems are blind and as a result this impacts upon the insurance value. It doesnt mean there not safe it means that the insurance regulations (risks if you like) have become too high. The Grand National changed to a compressed air system with track sensors (breaking) years ago the national like the rollercoaster used to run on what was termed blind breaking. On the Grand National you had a set of three lights that each one flashed and you opened the break and eased the car into it the breaks on the national were normally locked closed and worked in reverse.
The breaking for the rollercoaster beleive it or not is round the corner before the return bend again it worked off a combination of a light but also had cctv so that you could see the train advance over the break.
I am not sure of the exact reasons for closure or indeed if it is permanent or if the combination of ride closures = a footprint for a new larger steel coaster.

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#342083 - 12th Aug 2009 8:33pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: purfek]
Pete_Robbo Offline

Keep It Real !!
Wiki Guide

Registered: 11th Aug 2008
Posts: 6640
Loc: Wirral
scary shocked shocked shocked
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#342113 - 12th Aug 2009 11:00pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: Pete_Robbo]
BMW Joe Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 30th Apr 2006
Posts: 12369
Loc: Birkenhead
The Big Dipper rocks.

IMO, one of the best rides at BPP, I could spend all day on it.

Apparantly it had problems earlier on in the day and had to be clsoed for a while?

I'd be a bit p*ssed off if I was involved in the accident and found that out afterwards.

Operator error, but could have been a lot worse
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#342127 - 13th Aug 2009 12:34am Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: BMW Joe]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
Originally Posted By: BMW Joe
Operator error, but could have been a lot worse

Say's it all if you ask me; quite simply, two trains should not be on the track at any one point, unless they have automated systems - they may have got away with it this time, but im afraid as much as we all hate queueing and enjoy coasters, safety must be first and foremost.

As I say, they stopped running more than one train on the PMBO for a while because of concerns/problems relating to their zoning system, it should be implemented on the Big Dipper.

Have they actually said it was Operator error as yet? I can't really see how the Operator can be blamed, if the track has no zoning system - by rights, it should have an automated failsafe in any event, iirc, even the ald Alton Corkscrew had one retro-fitted in the 90's and that was only so they could run one train on the circuit whilst the other was coming out of brake run! It's about time PBB got with the times, and put customers safety first.

They have already had one histroically recent death as a result of their shitty attitude regarding safety, and that is one too many in my book. It must never happen again!

frown

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#344712 - 25th Aug 2009 4:16pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: MattLFC]
Nienna Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 28th Apr 2008
Posts: 101
Loc: wirral
Went to Blackpool on Sunday. The Big Dipper is still out of action. The roller coaster is still going strong though.
I heard a very disgruntled ride employee and a security guard dicussing the profits for this season. According to their source... the pleasure beach so far has taken 16 million in entrance tickets alone!! Not sure how correct this is.. but these two men were complaining that they should have got a pay rise if these figures were true!!

Had a great time there.. entrance fee is still good value for money compared to some other fair/them parks and queues not too big etc

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#346336 - 1st Sep 2009 6:51pm Re: Big Dipper Accident [Re: Nienna]
MattLFC Offline
Wiki Master

Registered: 14th Aug 2004
Posts: 22315
Loc: Moreton/Beirut/Mobile
16 million raftl raftl

Blackpool would struggle to sell 16 million wristbands in 10 years loooool! They only had circa 6 million visitors a year upto last year, when it was totally free to enter the park; now you have to pay to get in!!

Their problem is price, and lack of BOGOF offers imho.

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