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Marks Barfield's i360 tower closed – again

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The Marks Barfield-designed i360 tower in Brighton has been forced to close again – the latest in a series of breakdowns that have plagued the seafront attraction since it opened last summer

According to a BBC report, the observation tower was shut yesterday due to a ‘temporary fault’ and will not reopen until tomorrow (28 March).

In September 180 people were left stranded part way up the seafront structure for around two hours, while just days later around 200 people were stuck at ground level after a problem with door sensors.

Last month the attraction, which was recently shortlisted for RIBA South East regional award, had to close its doors for a four days after a ’damaged data cable’ resulted in passengers being trapped in the observation pod for more than an hour.

A spokesperson for the tower’s operator, British Airways i360, said: ‘The British Airways i360 pod is closed today (March 27) while technicians investigate the cause of a fault. We would like to offer our sincere apologies to our customers for the inconvenience caused. Tickets for flights today will be valid for three months. The Belle Vue restaurant and our shop remain open as usual.’

Marks Barfield refused to comment separately on the problems.



Earlier statement from David Marks about the problems in September

On Thursday 8 September, the British Airways i360 pod stopped because of a load imbalance. Investigations reveal that the load and balance system settings were too low, which meant the system was over-sensitive. When the pod was near full capacity this triggered the default safety mode and the brakes were automatically applied.

To mitigate this, we operated to a lower capacity until we were able to adjust the settings and upgrade the software. This was done yesterday [September 12]. This evening, technicians will check the new load levels and test the settings to ensure the pod is now operating to the weight and balance levels for which it was designed.

On Sunday 11 September, one of the sensors around the pod docking stations at boarding level gave a false reading to the control system, which again put the pod into safety mode by activating the brakes. All the sensors have now been checked and adjusted where required, and will be monitored regularly.

We have a highly qualified engineering team on site during all operating hours and we are confident that these same issues will not happen again.

We are running final checks tonight and will announce in the morning our plans for reopening.

We would like to assure our customers that their safety and comfort is our number one priority and apologise again for any inconvenience caused.



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In numbers

Height of tower 162m
Diameter of tower 3.9m
Height to diameter ratio 40:1
Travel height of pod 138m
Pod diameter 18m
Weight of tower, cladding, ropes, pod and chassis 1,350 tonnes
Weight of foundation 4,150 tonnes
Number of passengers per ride 200
Driving power 160 Kw
Speed of ascent/descent 0.4m/second
Duration of ride 20 minutes
Viewing distance from top 26 miles
Ticket price £15

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