HSE removes Alton Towers’ Smiler trains for tests

The SmilerThe Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has removed the two trains involved in Tuesday’s crash on The Smiler ride at Alton Towers.

The theme park has been served with a Prohibition Notice by the HSE, preventing the ride’s use until action is taken to “deal with the cause of the failure”.

Neil Craig, Head of Operations for HSE in the Midlands today said: “The Notice is specific to the Smiler ride and does not affect other rides at the park.

“HSE expects the park operator to apply any early learning from the incident to wider risk management at the site.”

He added that the decision to re-open Alton Towers was one for Merlin Entertainments to take, and is not being made by the HSE.

Meanwhile, it has been announced that the park will remain closed for a fourth consecutive day on Saturday, the park’s busiest day of the week for trade.

Other ride closures

Two trains collided following a stationary empty train being hit by a vehicle fully-laden with 16 park guests in Tuesday’s incident.

Two men, aged 27 and 18, a 19-year-old woman, and a 17-year-old girl, suffered serious leg injuries and according to reports remain in hospital.

Merlin has taken four of its other rollercoasters out of operation in the UK.

Saw – The Ride, of similar design to the Smiler, has not operated since Tuesday’s collision.

It has been announced that the Chessington World of Adventures rollercoasters Dragon’s Fury and Rattlesnake have also been taken out of operation.

Merlin chief executive Nick Varney said: “Whilst the investigation into the causes is continuing, we have identified a series of additional safety protocols that we are implementing immediately across our multi-car rollercoasters.

“This has been a devastating experience, and we are committed to learning the lessons from it.”

The Saw and Smiler rides would be closed for the “foreseeable future”, Varney added.

Following the HSE’s impounding the Smiler trains and its associated Prohibition Notice, it is not expected that the rollercoaster will operate again this season.