Kennywood Racer Question

Reading the TR's of Kennywood got me thinking. The Racer at Kennywood right now has three trains on the track, two running the course and one spare stored in the station. As both sides of the station have a transfer track, theoretically the ride has the capability to have 4 trains running. While this has never been the case when I've visited the park, has the ride ever ran 4 trains at once (i.e. two trains on the course and two in the station). Seeing as the trains stop on the brake run outside of the station, it doesn't seem like there is a reason why it could not handle 4 trains, other than the fact that there isn't a need for that additional train.
Ive been going to kennywood for 21 years now, and for as long as I could remember they've always had two trains running the track with one spare on the side. My grand parents remember that at one point they had four trains running, but that may have been before they purchased the newer trains. If my grandfather was still alive today I would ask. Long ago, before they had their current trains, the Racer (along with the Pippen) had trains with three cars, four rows per car. Ive always wondered why they didnt have a fourth train. It wouldnt make sense for them to purchase three new trains instead of four, so maybe one was damaged somehow. Perhaps there was a fire in the racer's station? If i had time i would investigate.
They received new trains from PTC the year before last, so they could've ordered 4 if they wanted to. While the ride has enough blocks to support 4-train operation, remember that the ride is still manually operated--Kennywood would need to install a computer (and possibly caliper brakes) before it could safely operate 4 trains.
I doubt in our lifetime we ever see the 4 train gig again. The Racer, while a spectacular ride, is a short ride, and even with flush loading, you can't push the trains out.

The old trains with fixed bars, you just jumped in, and away you go. Now its buzz buzz click click buzz, and the seatbelt whole bs is just time consuming. Even on their busiest days, the whole line pretty much stayed in the building.

Ever since the new PTC cars arrived, now we have a q in the midway, which took business from Bonanza and the Taco joint.

To do 4 trains, their would have to be a check brake before the final drop, then the stop brakes would be the blocks, and which would have to be set a full stop for the train.

Kennywood can move lines, but you would end up with trains always on the lift, which causes stress on the motors, lift chain, and on and on to more down time.

Remember, the ride was built when the park was doing 150,000 to 250,000 people, not 1.4 million. The ride is 80 years old, and has to be treated as such.

Before the 3 PTC trains were added in 1982 (2 added) & 1983 (1 more added) , they did have four original Miller trains from 1927 operating. Usually, they only needed two, but, occasionally, on very busy days, the park would have four train operation. Back then, patrons actually were allowed to gather on the center platform, then hop in as soon as the trains arrived back in the station. Nothing more than a loose fitting leather strap (similar to what they used to use on the Jack Rabbit) was all they used for a restraint on the old Miller trains. It offered very quick turnaround times for the ride, and offered incredible capacity, especially since the old Miller trains had FOUR benches per car! The PTC's, even without the safety belts, take much longer to load than the old Miller cars ever did.

Before Pay-One-Price admission, rides literally had to pay for themselves by people purchasing tickets to ride them. So, technically, the more trains running, the more tickets could be sold due to the increased capacity. Once POP admission started, ticket revenue and ridership for a ride became less important in the way the park made money. Sure, it's important to keep the queues moving so guests can theoretically spend more on the midways. However, enticing people to ride to help boost revenue became less of an issue and eventually dissapeared entirely. The park still makes the same money with admission whether the Racer is running 2 trains or 4 trains. Why the park bought only three is because they use the third as a spare train, in case of a mechanical issue would happen with one of the trains.

It's true that the park bought 3 new trains from PTC last year. They had no reason to purchase a fourth as their operation of the ride remains the same. The seatbelts on the newer trains are now mandatory by PTC for safety issues for all newer trains installed with a 'buzz bar', which is why they were added to the new trains last year. Kennywood is only complying to their safety request for operational reasons. It helps make the insurance companies happy for both Kennywood and PTC.

Will they ever get a fourth train? It's possible, I suppose, especially if attendance and crowds warrant it. Perhaps with the proposed new expansion, they may consider it if the crowds get continually larger, as they hope. For right now, three trains is all that they need.

Great Post on the Racer's history Brother Dave.

I’m curious to know what was wrong with the 2nd set of PTC’s from 82-83 that needed to be replaced. They seemed fine to the point when I rode the last few years I didn’t even notice the new trains (I thought they just repainted, added seatbelts, and new padding). It’s not like parts for older PTC’s are seemingly hard to find.

I thought the PTC's were just refurbished.
They were originally sent back to PTC for refurbishment. Upon further inspection by PTC, they felt that it was more cost effective for Kennywood to buy three new trains than refurbish the older ones as the costs would be about the same. [Three new trains also came with a 'factory warranty' from PTC. ;)] *** Edited 7/23/2007 1:38:06 AM UTC by Brother Dave***
Brother Dave, when you coming for a visit?
Rick_UK's avatar

PhantomTails said:
They received new trains from PTC the year before last, so they could've ordered 4 if they wanted to. While the ride has enough blocks to support 4-train operation, remember that the ride is still manually operated--Kennywood would need to install a computer (and possibly caliper brakes) before it could safely operate 4 trains.

Grand National operate at Pleasure Beach with four trains for years and years manually before the fire put an end to the manual breaks.


Nothing to see here. Move along.

I think the answer is somewhere in the above posts. I've been to Kennywood on tremendously busy days the the Racer hardly ever has a huge line- 10, 15 minutes at the most. Considering the changes that would have to be made to the ride to enable two sets of trains to run, I don't think the end result would be worth it. As was said, the ride is short and since it takes so long to load each train, another set of trains would spend a lot of time on the brake run before the station is cleared of its two trains.

Agent Johnson said:
Brother Dave, when you coming for a visit?

Someday soon, I hope! :)

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