Alton Towers has once again been forced to close its new roller coaster, The Smiler, after two track sections came apart in the summer heat.
Riders waiting in the queue for the ride on July 21 report hearing a loud noise, after which a bolt fell from the ride's track and landed on the queue line's roof covering. A noticeable gap of several centimetres can now be seen between two sections of track, between The Smiler's first inverted drop and first dive loop.
No riders were hurt in the incident, although the occupants of two trains are said to have been evacuated. The Smiler was subsequently closed, and is likely to remain out of action while the the incident is investigated. The UK's current heatwave has been suggested as a possible cause, with The Smiler's track being exposed to extremely hot temperatures for the first time.
Twitter user Lyne Skeels posted the photo below showing the damage to The Smiler's track:
— Lynne Skeels (@LynneSkeels) July 21, 2013
Fan site Towers Times reports that other elements of The Smiler have also been affected by the heat, including the 3D projection system in the ride's station and the exterior patterns on the ride's queue line shop.
The Smiler, which had previously been known by its codename of "SW7", has shattered the world record for the most inversions in a coaster's circuit with a total of 14. Its circuit also features two lift hills, and is located alongside the existing Oblivion roller coaster in the X-Sector area.
You can find out more about Alton Towers' new addition by reading Theme Park Tourist's in-depth review of The Smiler.