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  1. Chris Halpin

What goes on at Alton Towers behind the scenes?

You may think over the winter when Alton Towers is closed the staff all get a well earned break, but for some of them that's when the work really gets going.

One hundred and fifty full time maintenance workers spend five months inspecting and overhauling all of the rides, to make sure they're set and safe for the season.

Our reporter Chris Halpin went behind the scenes ahead of opening this weekend, to see what they've been getting up to.

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Alton Towers winter maintenance workload in numbers

There are 12,000 bolts on Smiler which need checking over the winter Credit: ITV News Central
  • 50,000 bolts on roller coasters checked
  • 2000 roller coaster wheels are changed
  • 120,000 hours of maintenance takes place
  • 150 full time technical staff work on site
  • 3 miles of roller coaster track climbed & inspected

Ever wondered how you fix a roller coaster? Well that's exactly what hundreds of staff have been doing since November when Alton Towers shut down for 2014.

And although you think staff might get a break, over the last five months maintenance workers have been very busy.

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Passenger on Alton Towers ride describes 'absolute fear'

A man who says he was a passenger on the Smiler when some of the wheels flew off has told ITV News Central of his "absolute fear".

Kevin Hayes-Heath told ITV News Central that he was in the front row of the carriage and was "bombarded by the fibre bearings which were splitting and breaking up at the highest point of the ride".

An Alton Towers spokesperson has apologised for the ride closure and says an investigation into the incident is ongoing. They say "all of the rides and attractions are expected to meet extremely high standards, technologically, mechanically and in terms of the end experience".

The health and safety of all of our visitors is our absolute priority.

– Alton Towers spokesperson

Smiler ride closed after several people hit by flying wheels

The Smiler ride was closed yesterday afternoon when some of its small plastic guide wheels became detached. Most were caught in the netting below the train but several hit passengers on the front row of the train.

Two were treated by park staff and all four people stayed at the park for the rest of the afternoon.

The park says:

As you would expect from the UK's most famous Theme Park, all of the rides and attractions are expected to meet extremely high standards, technologically, mechanically and in terms of the end experience and a full investigation is now on-going to determine when the ride can re-open.

We are of course very sorry for any disappointment the ride's temporary closure is causing but the health and safety of all of our visitors is our absolute priority.

– Alton Towers spokesperson
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