State inspectors cleared the ride to operate again this past weekend, a week after an accident sent 10 people to the hospital with minor injuries.
For now, the ride will be limited to running one train at a time. When the Oct. 7 collision happened, one train had left the loading platform, and another was in the process of loading. Krisann Chasarik, spokeswoman for Cal-OSHA, said those adjustments to the braking system included scraping off some paint that was on some of the ride’s backup — or fin — brakes.
When the ride was installed, Chasarik said, the fin brakes got painted to make sure they weren’t grinding against nearby parts of the train, as the grinding would have been shown by worn-off paint. That paint should have been removed before the ride went into public operation, but wasn’t.
On the evening of Oct. 7, the ride stopped because of a low air-pressure reading.
When the car started drifting back toward the loading platform the fin brakes activated as they were supposed to, Chasarik said, but the paint on the brakes made them ineffective, leading to the cars sliding backward into another train loading on the platform.
Blazey said there’s no history of accidents on the $9 million, two-year-old attraction.
All 10 riders were treated for their injuries and released. The injuries all appeared to be minor, said Dean Fryer, of Cal-OSHA.
On the Pony Express, riders climb atop a horse. Each rider gets secured in a back-and-leg harness. A stampede of 16 horses per train race along a 1,300-foot-long track. Participants hit speeds of up to 38 mph before taking 60-degree turns and a 44-foot drop.