Smiler investigation “pretty much concluded”

The SmilerAn internal investigation into the Smiler rollercoaster accident at Alton Towers has been “pretty much concluded”, CEO Nick Varney has said.

The Merlin Entertainments boss said in a trading update this morning that the results of the investigation would be announced in “due course”.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which is conducting its own investigation, would take considerably longer to reveal the findings of its investigation.

Varney said that reopening the ride was the “aspiration”, although he gave no indication when that would occur.

He added that the reopening of the ride was not linked to the completion of the HSE’s investigation.

As of Friday last week, the ride was understood to still be under a HSE prohibition notice, preventing its use until improvements are made.

Visitor drop off

Varney also revealed that the major fall in attendances seen at Alton Towers was primarily down to first-time visitors boycotting the park.

Alton Towers' end-of-season events are expected to recover some losses

Alton Towers’ end-of-season events are expected to recover some losses

He said that it was expected that the forthcoming Halloween and fireworks events would provide some trading resurgence due to their popularity with local and other established visitors.

Alton Towers was omitted from a presentation slide which showed the Merlin attractions  due to receive a large capital investment in 2017.

However, the company’s chief finance officer said that company-wide capital investment strategy remained unaffected, without explicitly mentioning Alton Towers.

It had been expected that the park’s next major investment would open in 2017, with a preliminary planning query regarding a wooden ride being submitted earlier this year.

Varney said that “exciting new news” regarding a 2016 addition to the park would be revealed at a future time.

Living wage

When questioned over the potential impact of a rising minimum – or ‘living’ – wage, it was said that the impact on Merlin would be “marginal”.

The British government announced earlier this year that the minimum wage for over 25s would rise in increments to £9 per hour by 2020.

Varney said that the projected sub-1% impact on revue would predominantly be due to the overwhelming majority of Merlin’s employees being below the age of 25.

5 comments

  1. micheal says:

    to alton towers the smiller acecdent was a trid#ble acident and saidly now and then these things happen in the amusmeant indestry. but as we know rides at amusmeant parks are so safe there acrtuly safe then anything els safer the travel safe the driving and even crosing the road I know alton towers will recover and thing the media have been unfair to alton towers with there constent negtive news feeds and constily millking it for all its worth I hope thing get beeter soon as and alton towers has my full suport as to me altron towers ant just the best park in the uk but one of the top park in eroupe and is at the top with diseney universal florida parks and with all the other top park alton know what it doing and is still as alway an bisnes model to lerarn from

  2. Jack says:

    I love the Smiler, and would like it to stay open so I can go on it again. Jack

  3. clare says:

    It would be nice to have it re opened again as long as things run correctly this time seems a shame for a good ride go to waste but taking the incident into consideration some people may not agree.

    • Lestat Anslow says:

      I agree with you clare 100% I would like to go back on the smiler and get recorrected after over 3 months

    • Nicola Dale says:

      The irony is the the ride will be safer than it ever was because the staff will be extra careful. There’s no way it could happen a second time, Alton Towers will make sure of that.