Kings Island posts story about the creation of The Beast

Posted Thursday, June 30, 2016 8:17 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From the blog post:

When The Beast opened to the public April 14, 1979, it was acclaimed America’s ultimate roller coaster. It broke all existing records as the longest and fastest ride in the world. It is still listed in the prestigious “Guinness Book of World Records” as the longest wooden roller coaster in the world at 7,359 feet.

The idea for building The Beast actually began as a dream of re-creating one of the Midwest’s most popular old coasters.

Read more and see photos from Kings Island.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 9:38 AM

I would enjoy reading more content about attraction origins and past versions of parks.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 11:52 AM

Enter John Allen of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. Allen came up with a special device for launching the coaster cars

Excuse my ignorance, but what special device is this referring to?

The Beast is still one of my favorite coasters because of its uniqueness.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:18 PM

was the Beast the first wooden coaster to use tires to propel the train out of the station? Seems unlikely but maybe that's what they are referring to.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:19 PM

Doesn't The Beast have a tire driven propulsion system to get it in and out of the station? If so maybe that's it.
And hardly what we'd call a "launch" by today's standards, but technically....

Last edited by RCMAC, Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:20 PM
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Thursday, June 30, 2016 2:13 PM

Actually, I think launch is the right word. The device John Allen came up with wasn't for the station, it was for the long brake shed which was previously used as a block. I'm guessing if the train was stopped there, it would need more than just a rolling start to complete the course, hence the launch tire system. You can see the tires on either side of the track at around 2:35 in this old POV video.

I'm not exactly sure when they eliminated that block, but it might have been in 2002 when magnetic brakes were installed. That explains why the first lift is so slow, because the train has to wait for the second lift to clear instead of the brake shed block. I don't know if a new block was created at the end of the ride or if the brake shed was just an "extra" block that was removed.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 3:48 PM

You can see them in the last seconds too, on the long brake run. It must be cold and empty, because it barely makes it up the hill to the final run.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 4:43 PM

I never noticed the drop into the final helix was different. It used to bank just before the helix entrance, now it banks nearly the entire drop.

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Thursday, June 30, 2016 6:42 PM

That's because originally the helix and the first turn out of the tunnel had about no banking whatsoever. Well, very little. The laterals were quite intense. When the curves were reprofiled with some track-saving banking the approaches changed too. And the tunnels were completed.
I rode The Beast on opening day and it was without a doubt the best and most unique ride anywhere. People just went nuts for it. I had tickets for the Friday the 13th preview and went but it was freezing, raining, there was one train operation, and the line was a mile long. So I had to wait and go back on Saturday. Thinking back, those preview riders probably got the best rainy, night time Beast ride ever.

It looks like the film might be of one of the first runs ever. The ride is really slow, I'm sure it was cold, and there's evidence of construction and workers still all around. It's great to see the pond under the station, and the keel boats off in the distance.

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Friday, July 1, 2016 12:19 AM

Yeah I noticed how very slow that POV is and wondered how many cars were actually in the train. The date of the POV would seem to be March or early April, which could be pretty cold also.

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Friday, July 1, 2016 3:12 PM

I've got to wonder a couple of things. Was the training running 4 bench PTC cars. My understanding from an ACE article a few years ago was that the Beast was originally supposed to have 4 trains on it, each train being made up of 4 bench cars, but later on was changed to 3 trains of 3 bench cars. It only seems as if one train is on the track, and there are spots where the constructions doesn't look completely finished. It this maybe one of the 1st runs with 3 bench cars before the other trains were even there, or was it maybe a run with 4 bench cars that showed it didn't work quite so well.

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Friday, July 1, 2016 3:35 PM

Wow! I have never seen that video before. I rode the Beast, but it had been open a few years before I would ride it. I have never seen it before the tunnel was built.

I could be wrong, but I thought it ran 4 trains back in that time, which was '82 or '83. Memory is a little fuzzy on that.

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Friday, July 1, 2016 5:26 PM

It ran 4 bench cars for several years. I think until the advent of the individual orange lap bars/headrests. For the longest time you could see the holes in the station floor where they had to realign the queue gates. I haven 't been in years to know if they've replaced the flooring or not.

There were attempts to run 4 trains, only in testing, but the spacing never worked right. I don't ever remember it actually operating with 4 trains.

Last edited by CreditWh0re, Friday, July 1, 2016 5:28 PM
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Friday, July 1, 2016 8:13 PM

It originally had 4 bench, 5 car trains. I think capacity per train, at 40, was the largest ever for a wooden coaster. And the train colors gradually changed from red in the front to green in the back. It's always run with three trains.
I'm not sure why the change, unless the original configuration was hard on the trains and the track. Maybe it was the weight. The station was designed with ceiling/roof support poles positioned exactly where the spaces between the cars fell. When it went to three bench, six car trains, 36 riders, it screwed up the gates as they didn't line up with the seats anymore and there was nothing to do about it save for rebuilding the station. They had arrows on the floor directing oncoming riders to the corresponding seats but it got and still does get confusing to some.

Last edited by RCMAC, Friday, July 1, 2016 11:21 PM
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