By Michael Mander

It seems a statement we’ve heard a million times: The Smiler has reopened. Most recently, a bolt fell from the track onto the queue line below. But why is everything going wrong? And what effect is it having on the park?

Disaster struck for Alton Towers on the 21st July, when a small piece of debris fell from The Smiler track, causing a gap to form between two pieces of track.

Airgates were one of the first to break the news, and were followed by many major media outlets.

A recent Ride Rater report shows all the way the media covered the incident, which will strike fear into the hearts of many: especially Alton Towers executives, who will now have to face the terrible publicity the park has received.

Today, The Smiler reopened following an investigation by Alton Towers. reported that The Smiler had queue times of 75 minutes at 3pm.

Early in June, Airgates spoke to an Alton Towers spokesperson to ask why the ride kept breaking down:

“Whilst the majority of new rollercoasters experience issues to some degree when they first open, the difference with The Smiler is the complexity of these as it employs such cutting edge technology.”

“We are always looking to push the boundaries of ride technology to make ride experiences even more exciting for our visitors.”

“No amount of planning or pre-programming of the ride can prevent [technical issues]. The Smiler is an extremely complex ride.”


Michael Mander

I mainly cover Thorpe Park, Alton Towers, Adventure Island, Paramount London and other attractions in the south of England. Contact me at:

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