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British transfer coach on fire at alpe d'Huez

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
What a season for Skibound! First the girl who drowned in a pool and now this. Absolutely tragic! Very sad news! Hope the injured recover quickly...
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
The coach company is from Newcastle...
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Dia_FindTransfers wrote:
What a season for Skibound! First the girl who drowned in a pool and now this. Absolutely tragic! Very sad news! Hope the injured recover quickly...


And the 13 year old schoolgirl who fell to her death from a chairlift, see BBC News Sad
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Quote:

? ? Alpe d'Huez is open until the 27th. Maybe she means closed at the end of the day ?

No, I mean most of the TOs finished last weekend and staff are due to leave this week. It's a Classic coach, which means it's either Skibound or SkiPlan, and it's staff because they've just finished closedown.
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Tweet from SkiEurope online: Relatives worried about Skibound staff bus crash in Alpe D'Huez can call emergency no 01273 244 650
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What a complete and utter tragedy, how horrific for everyone involved.

Three days ago we were on a transfer coach coming home from La Plagne with our not quite two year old and a lap belt, because my husband didn't want the faff of bringing a carseat with us and I felt partially reassured by forum posts all over the web "what are the odds" and "coaches are inherently safer in an accident" etc etc. We compromised with an inflatable booster in the end. But in a serious accident like this with brakes failing, decent car seat versus booster for an infant could make all the difference to survivability/serious injury. Next time, the carseat comes or we get the Eurostar/Les Arcs. End of story.

So, so sad for them all, especially after working so hard all season, and I wish all those injured a full recovery.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Um, wasn't it Skibound staff looking after us on the PSB? Hope none of them (Matt etc) were on it travelling through Alpe d'Huez Sad

Quote:
The passengers were travelling from Alpe d'Huez and had been on their way home after finishing their ski season working for Skibound in various ski resorts across the French Alps, it said.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
holidayloverxx wrote:
BBC reporting it was a Skibound coach http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22170407


Oh lordy... so it could potentially be the staff from the PSB... Sad

How awful.
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fixx, Sorry... cross post.
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I've sent Matt a message, will let you know if I get anything back.
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dsoutar, So glad your youngest is safe and pray that your other friend is all ok. Got my daughter back at the end of last week after her season, you worry about them all the time they're there and then, god forbid, this happens to these poor souls at the end of the season. Crying or Very sad
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Dia_FindTransfers wrote:
The coach company is from Newcastle...


Co Durham actually.....Classic Coaches. Driver is likely to be a local. RIP. Too much sadness around here this week. Sad
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Coach was local to us , aunt's neighbour is driving in the Alps at the moment.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
It's not Matt or anyone from PSB - they haven't left yet.

He says they just heard themselves, but it might be worse than the reports are yet indicating Sad Now idea how exactly though.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
fixx, thanks for checking.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Schuss in Boots, most likely staff from the Belle Aurore and Vallee Blanche in Alpe d'Huez, plus the Frejus in Serre Chevalier.
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Lizzard, Thanks for the info Smile
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
It is being reported that currently there is only one fatality, the driver. Although several more are in a very serious condition.
It seems to have been on turn 21 (the last real hairpin) towards the bottom of the hill and by looks of it the it could have been much worse. Looking on google street view there seems to be quite a drop to the left of where the bus came to rest, god forbid it went over there on fire. The drop begins roughly where the white van is in the image below.



Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Tue 16-04-13 19:25; edited 1 time in total
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Sad end to a great season interspersed with big chunks of sadness...

Ski in peace Sad
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Latest here: http://www.ledauphine.com/isere-sud/2013/04/16/tres-grave-accident-de-car-dans-la-montee-de-l-alpe-d-huez
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A fire is pretty unusual in a coach crash which suggests a possible fire coming from the brakes. French mountain coaches are fitted with retarders, wonder if this uk one was. It also had a trailer of the type that would have added to the break strain on the coach. A terrible end to a season.
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Aren't coaches like trucks in that a brake failure of any sort means the air brakes get stuck 'on'? The rocks on the corner seem to have done their job like a giant sandtrap all the same, must have shredded the cab though. Sad
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Frosty the Snowman wrote:
French mountain coaches are fitted with retarders, wonder if this uk one was.


Is that like a Jake Brake on US trucks?
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Alastair Pink, no, it works on the transmission, non friction. Often a stalk on the dash or steering column yhat is operated by hand.
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
Alastair Pink, no, it works on the transmission, non friction. Often a stalk on the dash or steering column yhat is operated by hand.


Ah I think that is what the French called a 'ralentisseur'? I've seen a light on the dash board lit up with this word on it as alpine bus drivers seem to leave it on. Translates as "go slow" so makes sense if it is...
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albinomountainbadger wrote:
Frosty the Snowman wrote:
Alastair Pink, no, it works on the transmission, non friction. Often a stalk on the dash or steering column yhat is operated by hand.


Ah I think that is what the French called a 'ralentisseur'? I've seen a light on the dash board lit up with this word on it as some alpine navette drivers seem to leave it on. Translates as "go slow" so makes sense if it is...
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
double post
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
albinomountainbadger, in the case of air loss brakes will apply but in cases of constant use the brakes and discs can get red hot and can catch fire as was seen in the grand prix just gone. The brakes lose ftiction. The drop down from Alpe d'Huez is a massive strain on a coach especially with the extra push of such a trailer.

I have often watched the driver on transfer cosches (sad I know) and they usually only touch the brakes for fine adjustment coming into a corner or in unexpected circumstances, the vast proportion of the braking is done by the retarder.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
albinomountainbadger, yup, a light usually comes on the dash when in use.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Electromagnetic retarders: http://www.telma.com/

Exhaust brakes: http://www.pacbrake.com/index.php?page=prxb-exhaust-brakes-4

Many trucks also have a deceleration fuel cut off that is controlled by a lever on the steering column.
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Telmar brakes. back in the day a friend of mine was test driving an old converted bus. The seller said that it has a telmar brake fitted, My friend wound the dash mounted telmar brake switch on to number three. All hell was let loose. The rayburn that was near the back of the bus launched itself towards the front of the bus as the three of us hit the windscreen. The rayburn made matchsticks of the interior of the bus and luckily didn't brake through the forward bulkhead and squish us.


http://youtube.com/v/hsJ5Z7zwZ1M
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Frosty the Snowman, I must be at least as sad as you then because I followed a skip lorry down from Alpe d'Huez last week and noticed that the brake lights only came on a few times in the whole descent. The truck had a Telma (one of the biggest retarder manufacturers) sticker on the back of it. I believe that some of the retarders have an automatic "back off" feature that switches it off intermittently to force the driver to use the wheel brakes and prevent the brake pads glazing and then not being very efficient when you really do need them.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Not the first time time brakes have failed on this descent. My father was coming down this road in a transfer coach in the 1990s when the brakes failed. The driver managed to slow the coach down by ploughing it into the snow banks that were luckily piled up along the roadside. Apparently he was shaking rather badly as he climbed down the steps lighting his cigarette Sad
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Most braking would be done through the engine/gearbox.
Looks like the driver may have sacrificed himself to save the coach going off the drop.
What an awful dilemma.
RIP to him. Speedy recovery to those injured.
Thoughts with all the families.
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it was a bus carrying the snowbound reps and chalet workers back home... brakes failed on the last bend so driver steared the coach into the cliffside to stop it going over the edge.... last we have heard in resort is one person dead (the driver) three seriously injured. Little bit scary, especially when you have to make that journey yourself now as well!!!

Marmotte16, who does your youngest work for?
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
A fire is pretty unusual in a coach crash which suggests a possible fire coming from the brakes. French mountain coaches are fitted with retarders, wonder if this uk one was. It also had a trailer of the type that would have added to the break strain on the coach. A terrible end to a season.


When I first saw the photos I did wonder about the trailer and what effect that could have had in adding force to the coach itself.

Horribly sad situation Sad
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Frosty the Snowman, et al, the huge tank transporters we see on the roads around here doing the weekly shuttle up and down to Catterick Camp have exhaust brakes which you can hear being applied as they slow down on the dual carriageway to come off onto a winding slip road. These are 2/3 year old state of the art trucks and trailers, (HET Osh Kosh traction units and King trailers rented from the Yanks and operated by KBR) therefore is exhaust braking the most efficient 'heavy' braking system these days?
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boredsurfin,

I may be wrong but I suspect those are "proper" engine brakes / jake brakes. We have exhaust brakes on a couple of our trucks and it is basically a butterfly valve at the outlet from the exhaust manifold. Same principle as a car engine stalling when the exhaust outlet gets covered by water. They do slow you a bit but not a lot. The engine brake / jake brake works directly on the engine using the exhaust valves to effectively turn the engine into a big compressor. It opens the exhaust valves just after maximum compression, releasing the compressed air, hence the noise. The noise I suspect is why coaches, as I understand it, go for the Telma electromagnetic type retarders. I know in New Zealand there are specific roadsigns on the outskirts of towns prohibiting trucks from using them at night time. The electromagnetic ones are more suited to automatic control as well, I believe the cruise control on some coaches automatically switches it on and off to maintain a constant speed up hill and downhill.
Horrible accident to happen. I have probably driven up and down there hundreds of times myself.
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boredsurfin, Jake brakes/Engine brakes are similar to Exhaust brakes but they produce more braking force. The problem with both can be noise, something you don't want on a coach journey down 21 hairpins. You can hear the brakes being applied. A retarder is virtually silent, puts no strain on the engine or top end of the exhaust system and produces great results. Cost and weight are the downfall of a retarder.
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Frosty the Snowman wrote:
boredsurfin, Jake brakes/Engine brakes are similar to Exhaust brakes but they produce more braking force. The problem with both can be noise, something you don't want on a coach journey down 21 hairpins. You can hear the brakes being applied. A retarder is virtually silent, puts no strain on the engine or top end of the exhaust system and produces great results. Cost and weight are the downfall of a retarder.
Edit - Skitow sums it up well. We have exhaust brakes too, but they are pretty weak.
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