Curse of The Smiler

Since the completion of The Smiler at Alton Towers, the world record-breaking roller coaster has faced multiple mechanical and technical issues.


Before we take a look at the most recent incident, and most dangerous, let’s review its plagued past:

18th May 2013 – (Before official opening) The ride suffered a malfunction during a preview for journalists and celebrities. The train became stuck on the first lift hill and passengers were trapped in their seats for an hour before being evacuated from the ride.

4th June 2013 – One of the trains stalled on the batwing during testing. The Smiler and the surrounding area of X Sector was evacuated and closed to allow the train to be removed from the track.

10th June 2013 – The ride was once again closed due to a train stalling in the same place as before. The cause of the incident was revealed to be a computer error, triggering the trim brakes which caused the stall. Part of X-Sector was closed but not all on this occasion. The ride reopened the following day on 11 June 2013.

21st July 2013 – 48 people were evacuated from the ride after a piece of debris fell from a section of track. Eyewitnesses described the debris as a bolt which dropped off from a section that partially disengaged two sections of track, forcing the ride to close for inspection. The Smiler reopened four days later on 25 July.

30th July through 4th August 2013 – The ride was closed again from 30 July, after cracks were found around the base one of the ride’s supports. The ride reopened 5 days later, on 4 August, but was closed intermittently throughout the day due to further technical issues.

21st August 2013 – The ride was closed again after the ride broke down on the “double batwing” element. The ride faced technical problems and was closed again the following day.

16th September 2013 – Following further short breakdowns, the ride was closed for two days for maintenance.

27th October 2013 – The ride was closed for several hours after a bolt fell from the ride’s track.

The most recent incident which took place on November 2nd, four people on the front row were injured when they were struck by guide wheels which came off as the car climbed the vertical incline. The ride closed while the park investigated the ongoing issues. The vertical incline now has pieces of wood to guide it up the lift hill and The Smiler reopened to the public on 7 November 2013. The Smiler closed again for 30 Minutes on the 9th November due to technical issues. As a result of the ride being closed for two days in a row, visitors were given free 2014 tickets.

A spokeswoman for the park reported to the BBC: “In line with our operational procedures, the ride was closed following the incident at the weekend and we have been working with the designers to review and replace all of the elements connected to this part of the ride”. “We remain committed to ensuring that all of our rides meet the highest standards in all areas and we are sorry for any disappointment caused by The Smiler’s recent unavailability.”

Information from BBC and Wikipedia.


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7 Responses

  1. John says:

    Hell, it’s a pretty complex ride, I’m not surprised it’s had a few problems along the way. I’d still ride it in a heartbeat if I had the chance.

  2. Tyler says:

    I’m just glad it reopened on the 7th – I was there on the 10th, so I got lucky! Had a fantastic ride as well, hopefully it’s a bit more consistent next year.

  3. Anthony says:

    It is a work of art when you are queueing for it. Looking up at the busiest mess of track I have ever seen was awesome.

    Unfortunately, and I don’t like to say it often, I am not very impressed with it.
    A 14-inverted coaster should be just that, but this ride includes a very obvious pause half way around, and then the lift hill takes a good 10-12 seconds to lift you up a not very tall incline. I personally think this takes something away from it, but I guess they did this to avoid riders being too ‘inverted’ leading people to vomit all over their shiny, new (and occasionally broken) ride.

  4. Elliot says:

    and now in 2015 it Smashes into another cart..

  5. idk says:

    nah its cursed by the face

  6. idk says:

    nah its the creepy face

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