by Danny Miller
Today I continue my Employee Insider blog series by talking about the quirks and breakdowns of Possessed. Possessed is a bit different from Talon because it is a different style of ride and has many safety features that Talon does not have. Today we will get into the specifics of Possessed’s inner working.
Believe it or not, the most common reason for a Possessed breakdown is ride operator error. The way Possessed works is that all fourteen of the guest entrance gates, the two exit gates, and the four operator gates must be closed in order for the ride to dispatch. The magnetic gates lock, and must be manually unlocked when the train returns. However, if the gates are unlocked before the train is in the home position for three seconds, the ride will emergency stop and maintenance is called to reset the ride.
This process only takes a few minutes, but it does reflect negatively on the ride operator and goes on their record. For the record, I have never accidentally E-stopped the ride in this manner. The trains must also be launched within eight seconds of the dispatch button at the rear of the station being pressed, so while rare, the operator can also “break” the ride by talking too long during the pre-launch.
These types of breakdowns do not sound an alarm, but rather trigger what we call the “Silence of the Fans.” If you listen closely while the ride is running, you will hear the cooling fans above the motors. When the ride goes down, these fans shut off like the rest of the ride, so many times, the attendants know that the ride is down before the operator can realize that an error has occurred. On hot days, the LIM motors may overheat and cause the ride to shut down as well, as the fans can not cool them fast enough.
Other types of breakdowns do sound an alarm, but they are pretty uncommon. The usual reason is the one we test for in opening procedures (see Part 1), the light curtain. If the light curtain has its beam broken during the ride, a loud alarm sounds and the train immediately comes to a stop in the launch area just outside the station. At this point the fans also stop, and maintenance is needed to reset the ride.
There is one other type of breakdown that sounds an alarm that occurred while I was operating over the summer, and it had the maintenance crew scratching their heads when they saw it, because they said it had never occurred before and only the head maintenance worker knew how to check to see if it was resolved, causing this one to be a lengthy time of non-operation. It was a “high speed error.”
As the train screamed through the station, the alarm sounded and the train came to a halt, and the display screen read “high speed error.” One would assume that this means the train was going too fast and the ride stopped itself to avoid having the train go too high on the spikes. The interesting thing about this is that both spikes have the “plungers” on the top, which would stop the train should they travel that high, so I was unaware that this type of E-stop even existed. So it would seem that even if an “Impulse” coaster would have enough speed to hit one of the “plungers,” the ride would E-stop before it gets the chance to go that high.
So some of the Possessed breakdowns are a bit more cut and dry and are easier to recognize than the Talon breakdowns, but all in all, Possessed has a lot less that can go wrong with it, it just happens a lot more often than on the B&M rides like Talon. So there you have it. Stay tuned for Part 5 of my Employee Insider blog series for more looks into the behind-the-scenes element of the park.