Abandoned Coasters

Friday, January 5, 2001 5:55 PM
I was just catching the tail-end of a re-run of "Wild Rides II" on the Travel Channel this evening. They were profiling the Comet at Great Escape, and other coasters that were "reborn" from doomed coasters and parks. Throughout this segment, there was mention of about a dozen or so coasters that are abandoned.

My question is, where are these coasters currently? And, what was the result of their abandonment? Do you know of any preservation efforts of these coasters?

They didn't dwell too much on the abandoned coasters (except those reborn and featured in the special). However, it seems that these could be coasters that fell victim to harsh financial times of the parks which ultimately closed, or perhaps were those that either due to design flaws or poor aging, are no longer safe for consumer ridership (examples of the latter could be Drachen Fire and Windjammer.)

As for the coasters that fell victim to the demise of the failure of their resident parks, they either faced the auction block or the wrecking ball. Sadly, I've seen too many "potential" classics face the wrecking ball. On the other hand, others have been purchased and relocated (as was the case of the Comet), or due to the efforts of preservationists, were rehabilitated and subsequently reopened.

I would be interested in hearing your first-hand knowledge of these coasters struggling to survive.

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Neil
Pittsburgh, PA
formerly known as: Seven-of-9
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Friday, January 5, 2001 8:52 PM
Well, congratulations, you're now an official mind reader. I was just going to post about this, but was distracted by dinner. Any way, back on subject, there was a site which turned me on to this, http://www.defunctparks.com. It has a great database of defunct parks which includes many pictures. The most well known defunct park seems to be Idora park. If my memory serves me correctly, I believe I remember a news item on Idora on this site a while back. Any who, one of the memories of the photos (which are kinda depressing) that stuck out in my mind was seeing a steel (most "left over" SBNO coasters are wooden) kiddie coaster that seems it would have not been to bad to restore. The site had a picture of the rolling stock that had been moved into the ball room, and was preserved. It looked virtually untouched. That's when the thought of driving down to Illinois or Pennsylvania (don't quite remember which one) with a U-Haul, and coming home with something to fill up my backyard crossed my mind. It looked to be a Jr. Gemini clone.

I never understood why the parks who closed because of debt didn't just sell off the coasters and all of the rides and use the money to get out of debt. My dad gave me an explanation about the banks that the parks were in debt to taking the property and all that was on it as a substitute for the money they owed. Something along those lines, like a repo-depot type of thing.

Wow, do I have a really BAD memory.

It would be nice to see some of these coasters restored, but some of them looked doomed before the parks even closed. A picture I have in one of my coaster books (The American Roller Coaster, Scott Rutherford) shows a picture of the Wild Cat located at Idora park in 1980, and it looked sad. That was a few years before it closed.

Now that I've rambled on WAY too long and people stopped reading after the first paragraph...
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Friday, January 5, 2001 9:07 PM
Wasn't the WildCat recreated recently?

BTW Intamin your post signature is awesome!

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Randy Hutchinson
You build it, I'll ride it
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Friday, January 5, 2001 10:36 PM
Alot of the older coasters today are rebuilds of past coasters.
I think the Phoenix at Knobels is one of them.
It used to be a different coaster and was just left to rot away.Then it was bought and redone.
Maybe eventually the Kennywood Phantom will turn up somewhere and the old SFGAd Sarajevo Bobsled ride?

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Coaster Chic
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Saturday, January 6, 2001 2:00 AM
Economically, it is cheaper to build a new coaster than to rebuild one that has been left to rot. For example, there is no point in overhauling the Chippewa Lake's Big Dipper or the Idora Wildcat since ALL the wood needs replaced.
**However** if you rebuilt the coasters from scratch over their Origanal location, you most likley would be able to reuse the origanal footers.

Rumors speculate that Conneaut Lake want to rebuild the Idora rides, but I don't see why they just don't buy the rights to them instead...

Elitch is a good example, they found it cheaper to build a new Twister than move the old. Why they changed te design is beyond me. *** This post was edited by john peck on 1/7/2001. ***
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Saturday, January 6, 2001 5:04 AM
ACE's website has a listing of SBNO coasters. As for restoration going on the last one I knew of was Leap the Dips.
Two other coasters that were completely restored in their original spots were the Big Dipper at SFO and the Wildcat at Lake Compounce. I believe both were redone in the mid 80's.
The Phoenix (the Rocket) at Knoebels was the first woodie to be relocated from a defunct park (Playland, San Antonio, TX). Before anything was done Knoebels bored holes into the wood to see the inner condition. Luckily for them the wood was still in great shape and they began the task of labeling and dismanteling. At that time it was cheaper for them to save the Rocket then build from scratch. They bought it for only $500,000 back in 84. A great deal for a top 10 coaster then.
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2000 stats: 135 coasters in 26 parks
Not Too Shabby For A Summer

AOL & MSN IM Name: coasterpunk
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Saturday, January 6, 2001 7:05 AM
There has been several wooden coasters over the years that have been moved. I believe if you check Cartmel's book you find the references to this. Like anything else it was economics that dictated the decision to move a ride rather than build from scratch.
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