Bayern Kurve Questions.

I was wondering if anyone remembers the original Bayer Kurve at Kennywood or other parks to answer a question. I was going through one of my Kennywood Memories book and saw an object that I am not sure if it was painted on or a station booth. It is a circular tower in the middle right of the ride.

I have attached a link witha an example picture.

Also, what is the center line that attaches to the cars for? When I was young I thought this was way made it move. I now know that is no the case.

Thanks in advance... This is probably up Rideman's alley...

Mamoosh's avatar

I would think it is the electrical connection to power the headlights and the mechanism that raises/lowers (or, tilts if you will) the cars. I close?

That's entirely correct. You can see the device better here:

PhantomTails, give us another link; that one is a 403 (Forbidden). That must be your private link to the photo.

The Bayern Kurve uses two (actually the patent shows three) drive units to push the cars around. One unit is on the right-hand side of the ride, roughly opposite the doghouse...that is to say, it's on the high side of the track, but not at the peak, right about where Car #14 sits for loading and unloading. The other unit is diametrically opposite the first. If the doghouse is at the 10:00 position, then the drive units are at about 2:00 and 8:00. Each drive unit has two pair of pinch wheels driven by either an electric or hydraulic motor (not sure which, though I think it's electrical).

Back when Cedar Point had one of these things (ca. 1970-1984) they had the full scenery package. This included a tower which was mounted in the middle of the ride and offset to the right-hand side. On the top of the tower is a little round basket. On the front of the basket was a large white rectangle emblazoned with Anton Schwarzkopf's business address and telephone number. Inside the basket were two figures (I always assumed they were "broadcast announcers") who mechanically bounce up and down. I last saw one of these towers sitting next to the Bayern Kurve ride at Old Indiana Fun Park.

In the original design, as the ride operated at Cedar Point (and as I most recently saw the ride operate at Canada's Wonderland) there is a multi-conductor electrical bus-bar that is mounted below the inboard rail. A set of contacts ("brushes") were attached to the train near the 9th axle. Those contacts provided power to the headlights, taillights, and tilt motors, exactly as Mamoosh described. There was no cable running from the train to the center of the ride, which was a good thing as such a cable would very quickly get tangled up in the "broadcast booth" and the tunnel-like wall in front of the track at the top of the ride.

Bus bars and brushes tend to be a royal pain in the you-know-what to maintain, and as anyone who has seen Kennywood's ride can tell you, the car mechanisms are dodgy enough without giving them yet another reason to fail. I presume that is why ultimately the bus-bar running along the track got replaced with an "extension cord" running from the train to the center of the ride, where it operates on a system of slip rings, which on the smaller scale found at the center of the ride tend to be more reliable.

Personally, I wish Kennywood's refit had included restoring the full scenery package and the bus bar arrangement, but those parts are probably virtually impossible to obtain these days.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Jeff's avatar

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kpjb's avatar

RideMan said:
The Bayern Kurve uses two (actually the patent shows three) drive units to push the cars around. Each drive unit has two pair of pinch wheels driven by either an electric or hydraulic motor (not sure which, though I think it's electrical).

There are three drive units, but each is just one pair of tires. If you notice at Kennywood, there are two pairs of pinch wheels on each side, as you pointed out. One of them, though, (on the Pirate side) is painted bright red. This is not a drive unit, just a brake. The other three are the drives (which also serve as brakes, btw.) They're all electric. No hydraulics on a Kurve.


Now that the expert has joined us... :)

Something I have often wondered about the Bayern Kurve...

Are the brakes controlled by a foot pedal or something? It seems that I've often seen the operator in the doghouse looking like he's jumping up and down on something...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

I worked on Kennywood's Kurve from 1983 to 1986. On that particular model, the brake was indeed a foot pedal. Also, the button for the horn was located on the floor right next to the brake pedal. Both worked on compressed air. This was a fun ride to operate!

kpjb's avatar

Yeah, the brake is a foot pedal. Press too hard, and it squeals when it stops. Don't press hard enough, and you have to restart the ride to get it back off the top. It's one of the only rides left that the operator has to actually "operate" the ride. One of the many reasons that there are few of these left.

Last edited by kpjb,


I recently added a pic of the one at Carowinds. It was called the Wild Bull, lasted from 1978-98.

kpjb's avatar

That's really odd, seeing it without any kind of backdrop.


Carrie M.'s avatar

Yeah, all of the "folks" are hanging out in the middle of the circle. Looks different, but it does allow for the ride to be seen from all sides by park patrons.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

By the looks of that picture without all the backdrops and such, I guess they could have called it "Barren Kurve". I know, bad joke and I will take whatever anyone throws at me with a smile. :) Looks like the same people who redid Old Mill at Kennywood were at work here with all those plywood cutouts.

Anyways, I think I can see the original electric that Rideman mentioned in his post.

Last edited by Bill2,

RideMan - you mentioned in this and I think a previous post somewhere back that the original Kurve had a tunnel of some sort at the top of the hill. Cedar Point's ride had no such feature, it was exactly as pictured in the above referenced Schwarzkopf link. (I had forgotten about the little bouncing guys in the tower!) Or am I reading you wrong?

While it may have been necessary, I think once the power cord became widely used it spoiled the look of these rides. One of my favorite scenic elements, too, was the little painted gallery of spectators across the top of the hill - some of them were so strange in their odd winter coats and hats.

You gotta hand it to Schwarzkopf back in the day for some flashy flats. The scenery on rides like the Skilift, Caravel, Calypso, Cortina Jet, and Waltzer? Fabulous - and so retro/kooky. And the reason is obvious- traveling independent showmen needed as much of that as possible to draw the customers and their money in. Here, mainly at parks but even at fairs, POP is the norm. So a lot of that backflash is eliminated, the rides are built bare-bones, and simpler themeing is involved.

It wasn't really a tunnel, as the top was uncovered, and whatever it was on the inboard side was mostly low enough to see over. But I recall that there were scenery elements on the inboard side of the track, and I thought that they were supported at the top by a series of spacer bars where the tunnel roof would have been if it had actually been a tunnel (which it was not).

I *thought* it was the little dudes in the gallery, although it wouldn't make much sense for them to be in front of the track, or maybe a row of painted pine trees or something like that. But certainly Olympic rings and such.

On Kennywood's machine, there is...or was...a series of rectangular holes in the backflash above the 'peanut gallery', note also the now-disused brackets across the front of the covering beneath the hill.

I'm with you on the old-school flash. Give me more of it! :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Absolutely. As far as CP's Kurve goes, it did have the rings and that strip of yellow lights along the inside of the bank, but the top was completely open. If I recall correctly, there were also little cut out pine trees on the infield, along with the crows' nest. But 1970 was a long time ago, and after all, it was the 70's...

And Dave, did you ever see the Sprung Schanze? Around that same time it played the Ohio State Fair one year then moved to Zoo Park the next year. (Owned by Gooding I imagine) It was trouble for them, but when it operated it was very cool with lots of flash. I would swear by appearance it was also a Schwartzkopf ride, but it's listed as a Mack on Victor Canfield's list of amusement patents.

It ultimately wasn't that long ago; the Bayern Kurve ran at Cedar Point from 1970-1984. It went away the year that Avalanche Run arrived, because Avalanche Run displaced Wildcat, and Wildcat displaced Bayern Kurve and Schwabinchen, and Schwabinchen displaced the Rotor. Never mind that the park also had a Trabant....they could have replaced Trabant with Schwabinchen and put the Bayern Kurve in place of the Rotor.

Never heard of the Sprung Schanze. Got any photos available? I never visited the Zoo Park until the Wyandot Lake years, and that was a little before my time anyway. I was born in 1970... :) Anyway, even if it was Mack, it could have been a Schwarzkopf design...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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