Kennywood to retire Log Jammer

Posted | Contributed by YoshiFan

From the press release:

As Kennywood's 2017 Summer Season winds down and we look ahead to 2018, we've come to a very hard decision: the Log Jammer will retire at the end of this season.

To celebrate 42 years of our favorite logs, Kennywood invites friends, families and Pittsburgh visitors to enjoy one last ride down the 53-foot drop chute before the summer season comes to an end on September 17.

While we know that the Log Jammer is a beloved ride for many of our guests and has been for us as well, we're looking forward to exploring exciting new developments in that corner of the park in future seasons.

Read more from Kennywood.

Related parks

James Whitmore's avatar

The uphill rise immediately following the first drop is unique. Or is it? Does anyone know of any others?

I think the logs at BGT have a similar feature.

Both of the flumes in Orlando do it.

I know Splash Mountain's rise after the drop is on a dry piece of coaster like track before returning to the wider flume. For the life of me I can't remember if Ripsaw Falls has a section like this too. Log Jammer is the only "traditional" log flume I know of that had a section like this.

I checked Stanley Falls and turns out I lied. There's a mid course drop, but no uphill.
And now that I think of it, when Log Jammer was first built the "coaster hill" feature got some attention. In fact, early on they may have had the nerve to refer to the ride as a coaster. ;)

What I wonder is, with the removal of the Log Jammer, what the local perverts are gonna do.
(Anyone else see that story? And if so,... too soon?)

Am I remembering wrong (it's been about 12 years) but doesn't Family Kingdoms flume have an uphill after a drop. I can't remember if it was water like Kennywood's or like a coaster. I just remember being surprised, but it's been quite a few years and a lot of parks in between so I may be mixing parks up.

rollergator's avatar

'Retire" is an interesting choice of words, considering how the log flumes are getting a little long in the tooth. Seems like we've lost quite a few of them in the last few years. I saw some speculation that it's getting difficult to find parts. Maybe the cost of fiberglass has gone up? As rides age, maintenance needs increase. Load/unload is not great for capacity. The insurers probably don't like having people get down into boats, risking injury.

Anything else? I remember being sad about Alton's going away, it had the coolest "logs"...tubs. :~)

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

LostKause's avatar

Rip Saw Falls has an uphill section just after the last huge drop and just before the splashdown. It is one of the greatest moments in a log ride ever created, in my opinion.

The uphill section on Kennywood's ride was unique in that there was no rails or track guiding it. The log simply rolled up the trough. It was pretty cool. Some log rides have downhill sections with no tracks, running in the trough, but I don't recall any of the running uphill afterwards besides the Kennywood ride.

I did a ton of research on the Arrow Spillway Drop last year and ventured out to Kennywood for the first time to ride it and take pictures. That was for an article I wrote about Arrow flumes.

To resume what I gathered: The first confirmed Spillway Drop was in 1973 on the Powder Keg flume at Carowinds. Due to the ride configuration and the fact BGW had one later, I strongly suspect Stanley Falls at BGT also had one when it opened in 1973, but can't find photo or video evidence. Later, the Sawmill Log Flume at SFGADV and Le Scoot at BGW also opened with Spillway drop elements, but all of the above 4 had it removed in the late 1970's-early 1980's and the ride reconfigured with either standard drops or just downhill trough.

Two Spillway Drop survived: the log flume at Fuji-Q Highland in Japan that has an unknown opening date and Log Jammer at Kennywood. I was lucky enough to ride the flume at Fuji-Q in October 2007 and in the process, I took the only photo that survived of that particular element while riding the pedal monorail around the ride. The ride closed down weeks after and was replaced by an equally odd Rapids ride.

For those that ask about Splash Mountain, a variant of the Arrow uphill segment was done using rails and it worked out so great at Disneyland WDI integrated it in the rides at Tokyo Disneyland and WDW. Hopkins then started using the same element on their rides: examples include Menhir Express at Parc Asterix and the flume at Family Kingdom.

One very interesting innovation is the drop/rolling turn/drop element first seen on a new Interlink flume in Ireland this year. Its at the start of the ride and on this video around 2:10

Last edited by Absimilliard,

Thanks for the post, it answered all of the questions I was unsure of!

Any idea as to why so many parks had the spillway drop removed?

It was a major operational gambit as you required a ride operator at the drop capable of stopping the next logs in case one did not clear the uphill portion. This was a manual thing and when you have an element where there is a risk of valleying, how much do you think insurance liked it? It was fine for a few years, but as the parks got more reliant on their insurance company rulings and premiums, the Spillway Drop disappeared.

Someone from Ocean Park in Hong Kong once told me that they used to not even have any kind of ride control system on their log flume. It was the old school operation method where the ride ops in the station dispatch boats by lowering the brakes and the ride ops before the drop and at the top of the lift hill can't do much more than press a button to lift a brake or stop the lift hill. When they hired Premier Rides to come install a ride control system on their 1983 Arrow-Huss Flume, Premier had to wire the ride for the first time ever and install PLC's, a proper ride panel, etc. It was a challenge as it was one of the last Arrow flume to have the split loading station configuration and it worked. They originally had the same style of boats as Jet Stream at SFMM, but in 2001, they had Interlink, a British-French water ride supplier supply them a great new fleet of wooden logs for their ride. Even when they closed down that section of the park, they reconfigured the paths so that the flume remains open and it will be there for many more years. It was a flume that had gotten a lot more use than Log Jammer and many others (year round operation in a tropical climate, multiple Typhoons hitting the ride, etc.), yet in this case, the park upgraded the ride and it will now be a nice transition to their new water park.

Did Log Jammer require a new control system? Are the ride supports in poor shape? Are the boats still water worthy? Those are many challenges that face old Arrow flume and it looks like Kennywood prefered to go in another direction. BGW instead decided to preserve Le Scoot and did a similar upgrade to what Ocean Park did to theirs.

The "Coaster Drop" on the WDI Splash Mountain, Intamin flumes and Hopkins flumes are not as prone to valleying because of the steel rails and if you notice, you end up a few feet lower than where you started, making sure you always have enough speed. They have ride control systems and they will automatically stop logs before the Coaster Drop.

Bonus: Did you know Hopkins once built a Flume with a dry Helix Drop in Japan? When I was writing my article for my blog, I happened upon this picture that I shot in 2009 at Space World. Alas, the park is closing in December this year and it does not look like the Flume is on sale...

Last edited by Absimilliard,

That doesn't make sense. The same is true for flumes without the uphill portion - the log could also not clear the runout on a normal flume ride. The one with the uphill portion is no less safe. I worked on the Arrow flume at SFOT and the runout had a photo eye that a log had to clear before the next log could exit the lift. It was controlled automatically and the lift operator was just there to monitor.

Jeff's avatar

Yeah, I was gonna say, most flumes I can think of worked that way, with the gate or floor lifting thing at the top of the drop that would activate if the block wasn't clear.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Phrazy

Tekwardo's avatar

I just ride the Hopkins flume this week at Space World. There are actually two flumes in the complex. The helix was AWESOME!!

Website | Flickr | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

kpjb's avatar

There's a brake before the spillway that Will stop the next log if the one in front hasn't cleared the section. It has always been automated.

We still keep an operator there, but technically you can operate the entire ride from the tower above the final drop.

Last edited by kpjb,


I was wrong about the ride operator as I assumed it was like many old Arrow flume I encountered where the ride controls are either very basic or non existant. The large Arrow flumes did have a control system and the one in Kong Kong was basic enough not to require one even if it opened in the 1980's.

I just looked at the Spillway Drop patent and it was a lot more complicated than I first though. Going through it, I noticed that in addition to the brake that can either be gates or a lifting skid brake, a dam was installed before the Spillway Drop. In order to get the ride "primed" and to have the water flowing over the uphill segment, enough water has to accumulate behind the dam and once it reach a certain level, it opens and the water goes down and back up. Sensors also monitor the water level so that if it dips below a certain level, the brake will automatically activate until it properly builds back up.

kbjb, how long was the start-up of the ride if the ride e-stopped or before the park opened?

The operators around the drops on flumes did lead to a funny situation at Parc Asterix. When Hopkins supplied a flume there in 1996, the park was actually intrigued and wondered why Hopkins had installed two operator panels around the ride? One before the Coaster Drop and the other at the top of the big drop. Hopkins had designed the ride like an American park was going to operate it, but Parc Asterix instead installed cameras around the ride and the panels only used by maintenance now. The operator in the station has like 10 cameras to monitor and he can keep track of riders and stop lift hills or activate brakes when needed.

Hopkins sensors on this are physically activated: long "straws" are mounted at the end of the Coaster Drop and main drop runouts and its only when the boat has gone over them the next one can clear the small conveyor belt and be released.

I remember Log Jammer at SFMM when there was a operator before every drop just to make sure you were sitting down. They could stop the ride too and several boats run into each other which was not a big deal.

Both BGT and BGW flumes had spillway drops

Tampa's was removed first, Williamsburg's much later

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2024, POP World Media, LLC