Rob Fendler wrote:
...I hope this doesn't affect the future operation of other ride-on miniature railroads.
I think I know what you mean, Rob. I'd hate to hear of train ride closures. But people are precious and fragile. Besides the one fatality, there were other horrible, life-destroying injuries. I think it's important to find out precisely what happenened here, not to burn someone who erred, but to help reduce the likelihood of similar catastrophies in the future.
As to the cause, I think it should be pointed out that even if the inspector had run the train, it might not have brought to light the problem. The engineer test ran the train prior to the fatal crash, and apparently found nothing seriously wrong. I don't know whether test runs simulate loaded condtions with dead weight added to the cars, but even so, there is a difference between unmoving dead weight, and the dynamic loading of real people.
Also, they mentioned that the train had been running for fifty eight years. I'm afraid they may find a predictable fatigue failure is at fault.