Major rehabs underway for wooden coasters...what's the rub?

Thursday, January 14, 2010 3:54 PM

Texas Giant is perplexing to me, as I understand that the park felt the ride needed a major rehab (to the tune of $10M)...but what trains are they putting on the ride? Exactly!

Cheetah at Wild Adventures is also getting a major renovation ("$1M refurb" the signs all say). But the reports that OzCat's trains provided a great deal of hope for the smoothness....until WA posted to their FB account that Cheetah will continue to run the same nasty G-trains it's always had.

Just cant seem to figure out why you'd go through the time and trouble, and expense, only to slap some poorly-engineered trains back onto a newly-rehabbed ride...weird.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010 4:51 PM

Then on the other hand, you got your wooden coaster that needs no rehab and the park is going all out for new trains to further increase the already mind-blowing experience!

Allow me to commiserate, rollergator. I'm of the mind that trains can certainly make or break the ride. A poorly engineered train can essentially ruin a good or passable ride, cause wear and damage to the track, and make further rehabs (and sometimes re-profiling) necessary! I'm not good with numbers, and have no idea how much a new set of trains would run as part of a total rehab package, but maybe the final cost encourages park owners to cut back in that area. After all, they can't open for business with a half- built ride, but they sure can with those old-assed trains!

I dunno...

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Thursday, January 14, 2010 4:55 PM

I'm of the opinion that a well designed and well maintained wooden coaster will NEVER need a "major" rehab.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010 7:29 PM

RCMAC...the OzCat trains are on-site. They're costing HFE nothing to run them on Cheetah. The freight is already paid.

Even IF (hey, I can hope) they're moving OzCat to Valdosta for 2011...then it still makes sense to run the clearly superior train on Cheetah in '10. And the two rides are so dissimilar it's not like moving, say GL's Big Dipper into CP next to Blue Streak.

But MF trains sitting idle while WA's fairly aggressive Cheetah runs Gerstlauers?? Bananas! Seems like an absolute no-brainer, even considering their rehab is "only" $1M.

Puyallup's Coaster is also getting the major rehab over three seasons....but it's keeping some of the nicest trains in all of wooden coasterdom.

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Friday, January 15, 2010 1:25 AM

kpjb said:
I'm of the opinion that a well designed and well maintained wooden coaster will NEVER need a "major" rehab.

Jack Rabbit - well maintained since 1921
Racer - well maintained since 1927
Thunderbolt - well maintained since 1924/68

Proof if I've ever seen it. Just sayin'.

Last edited by BBSpeed26, Friday, January 15, 2010 1:26 AM
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Friday, January 15, 2010 8:43 AM

Re-tracking vs. an extensive structural rehab are two different things. Every woodie will be re-tracked over its lifetime (several times depending on how long it lives), but that's just proper maintenance. :)

Gator, something to keep in mind... Although WA already has the GCI trains on site, they would still need to pay to have the braking/controls system modified in order to accommodate the GCI style of trains. And there are likely legal/insurance ramifications for using GCI's trains on a ride that wasn't built with them in mind. I don't think they would be allowed to just plop 'em on the ride and go without GCI signing off on the deal... $$$$

That said, I agree it is silly to continue to use trains proven to eat your ride, after investing a bunch of money to fix the ride when there is a way lower maintenance solution so easily available. And although SFoT doesn't have new low-maintenance trains so easily available, it's ludicrous for them to spend so much money with the intent to make the ride more enjoyable (specifically citing smoothness), and not invest in trains that will help ensure it stays that way. The G-trains are going to eat that thing up.

Back to Cheetah... I'm very curious to see how the MF's would change the dynamics of the ride. They had a very negative effect on Hershey's Wildcat, but that was a GCI layout. This being a more aggressive CCI layout, the single-bench cars might pack some punch. I've only ridden Cheetah right after its last track over-haul and it was surprisingly good, but if they ruin this one, I won't be too disappointed.

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Friday, January 15, 2010 2:09 PM

I expect SFOT to use the new Gerstlauer trains and looking at Mammut and Falken over in Europe, they don't have any maintenance issues and the rides are still smooth. Comfort wise, they're a major improvement over the PTC.

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Friday, January 15, 2010 3:45 PM

^^Matt said: "...they would still need to pay to have the braking/controls system modified in order to accommodate the GCI style of trains. And there are likely legal/insurance ramifications for using GCI's trains on a ride that wasn't built with them in mind."

Agreed on all counts....but if GCII is on-site, virtually rebuilding the coaster anyway, then I'd imagine getting them to "sign off" on such an arrangement doesn't seem out of the question. Braking and controls systems' modifications might be pretty costly, but WA has HFE behind them, and they're already into the third(?) significant rehab on Cheetah. Just saying it seems very much worth the additional investment once you've gone this far...(kinda like once you've torn the car engine apart, might as well replace anything that cheap and easy while the engine is in pieces).

Last edited by rollergator, Friday, January 15, 2010 3:46 PM
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Friday, January 15, 2010 4:57 PM

Wait a minute...what trains are going on Giant 2.0?

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Friday, January 15, 2010 5:52 PM

I believe the theme of this new woodie rehab trend is the idea that parks are beginning to be proud of what they have in these cash-strapped times. No longer it is financially feasible to have low ridership on large and expensive to operate wooden coasters. This rehab trend has more to do with than just that. Nowdays, a new large coaster or replacement coaster is not exactly in the budget for many average parks. Therefore in order to keep guest interest and introducing a "new" thrills consistently, refurbishment is the easiest method. Now, 10 million dollars for a rehab may seem pretty steep, but instead of having nothing new, SFOT's best interest was be to make what they have the best experience possible within their financial means.

Relating back to expensive rides with low ridership. If I was paying the bills at Cedar Point, I would be very upset to see all of my rides having considerable lines except my expensive marquee wooden coaster. If this is the case for the similar coaster, Texas Giant, then SFOT's decision was perfect.

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Friday, January 15, 2010 5:52 PM

BBSpeed26 said:
Jack Rabbit - well maintained since 1921
Racer - well maintained since 1927
Thunderbolt - well maintained since 1924/68

Proof if I've ever seen it. Just sayin'.

Yeah, the people at that park are pretty awesome.

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Friday, January 15, 2010 7:56 PM

Texas Giant is getting Gerstlauer trains.

When GCI built Roar II, the first ride to get their trains, one of the contract stipulations (I believe this was reported in either Rollercoaster! or ACE News) was that the ride be constructed so that PTC trains could be dropped on it if the experimental trains did not work out. That suggests that by the same token, a ride built for PTC or Gerstlauer trains should be able to run the GCI trains with little modification.

Don't know that for certain, but it stands to reason.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010 2:12 AM

Absimilliard said:
I expect SFOT to use the new Gerstlauer trains and looking at Mammut and Falken over in Europe, they don't have any maintenance issues and the rides are still smooth. Comfort wise, they're a major improvement over the PTC.

But keep in mind that Mummut's trains (which I've heard run smoothly, but have some shuffling problems) are running on prefabricated track, like the Intamin plug-n-plays...

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Saturday, January 16, 2010 2:35 AM

RideMan said:
That suggests that by the same token, a ride built for PTC or Gerstlauer trains should be able to run the GCI trains with little modification.

An argument further supported by The Boss, when it ran with the PTC trains from Screamin' Eagle initially (weren't the G-trains delayed or something?) And then there's the Colossus/Psyclone train-switching for the Halloween event. Almost certain everything is pretty much standardized (*offer not valid on Sonny).

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Saturday, January 16, 2010 10:14 AM

Mammut does not have prefabricated track like the Intamin rides. Holzbau Cordes used a different method. They built the track right on site like the traditional method, but they laminated the track with glue like they did with the prefab track. This new system is kind of like a cross between the old and new.

Cordes was one of the firms that was considered for the Giant, but instead Six Flags is going to try something else.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010 12:53 PM

DantheCoasterman said:

Absimilliard said:
I expect SFOT to use the new Gerstlauer trains and looking at Mammut and Falken over in Europe, they don't have any maintenance issues and the rides are still smooth. Comfort wise, they're a major improvement over the PTC.

But keep in mind that Mummut's trains (which I've heard run smoothly, but have some shuffling problems) are running on prefabricated track, like the Intamin plug-n-plays...

Falken, which is the other coaster running the new trains, is a traditional wooden coaster built by S&S. Once again, no issues with track and trains, except that GCI came in and like for Boulder Dash, fixed the problems with the design.

I have no doubt those trains will do a great job on Texas Giant and would be ideal replacements for old wooden coasters that run PTC 3 bench trains.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010 1:16 PM

Absimilliard said:

I have no doubt those trains will do a great job on Texas Giant and would be ideal replacements for old wooden coasters that run PTC 3 bench trains.

After that, I am now more hopeful for Giant than I have been since the rehab was first announced. Thanks!

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Saturday, January 16, 2010 1:20 PM

Jeffrey Seifert said:
Mammut does not have prefabricated track like the Intamin rides. Holzbau Cordes used a different method. They built the track right on site like the traditional method, but they laminated the track with glue like they did with the prefab track. This new system is kind of like a cross between the old and new.

Same thing that JP Hinde is doing on the Puyallup Coaster?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Monday, January 18, 2010 1:01 AM

rollergator said:
Absimilliard said:


I have no doubt those trains will do a great job on Texas Giant and would be ideal replacements for old wooden coasters that run PTC 3 bench trains.

After that, I am now more hopeful for Giant than I have been since the rehab was first announced. Thanks!

Here is a picture of the trains running on Mammut, http://www.rcdb.com/4065.htm?p=21644 . As you can see, open front, padded seats and the most important, simple L bars that don't need a seatbelt to work. The tracking issue on Mammut was an odd occurance when I rode, as people who rode the week before and the week after reported perfectly smooth rides. There is also no issue for the train running on Falken.

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Monday, January 18, 2010 1:22 PM

^Ah, OK. I'd seen the pics before, but it's hard to tell what padding feels like from just a picture. And we've all endured some pretty hard-molded seats before. Lack of seatbelts would be a MAJOR plus for capacity.

RideMan said:
Same thing that JP Hinde is doing on the Puyallup Coaster?

That explains perfectly the "shop on site" reports from the various websites reporting the rebuild (thanks to Lisa Z, NPN, and others). It'll be fun to see how this new method works out in terms of ride smoothness and intensity.

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