Retracking? Why is it done? What exactly is it?

Saturday, November 3, 2001 6:07 PM
What exactly is retracking? Is it the removal of the track and replacement completely? and why is it done..?  I can see for wooden coasters, but steel? How is the vampire being completly retracked; and why?

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Spelling and grammer does not need to be corrected if the message gets across!

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Saturday, November 3, 2001 7:08 PM
Retracking (at least for a wood coaster) is exactly what you envision. It involves removing the existing laminated rails then rebuilding new rails ply-by-ply.

Retracking is usually required when a ride becomes "rough" or when the inside gauge becomes so uneven or damaged that the train "shuffles" extensively.

Ideally, retracking would only be required in limited areas where a "soft spot" in the track lumber results in a single jolt. Spotted early and replaced immediately, the problem usually goes away.

More often, the problems with the track are simply an indicator of other more serious problems, including out-of-square structure or uneven settling of the foundation system. No amount of retracking cam bring smoothness to a wood coaster suffering from these problems. Unfortunately, those problems are often left undiagnosed, and a new track is installed. After a while, the new track will suffer the same fate and require replacement.

When the underlying problems in a wooden coaster aren't addressed properly, they can become a black hole of endless maintenance and headaches.

When coasters are given the care that they need, they can provide years upon years of reliable entertainment for the whole family.

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Sunday, November 4, 2001 6:52 AM
You'll hear a lot of people complain about how park X should retrack coaster Y, but that isn't necessarily the solution to a ride's problems. Cedar Point's Mean Streak is perpetually retracked year-round, and it doesn't help.

Caring for a wood coaster is an art, I'm convinced, and there aren't enough people in the world who really understand it. Holiday World had the right idea. They hired away one of CCI's people, and he's like the "friction police."

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com
"As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who you are. If you can believe, there's something worth fighting for..." - Garbage, "Parade"

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Sunday, November 4, 2001 12:27 PM
But what about for steel coasters?
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Sunday, November 4, 2001 12:39 PM
Jeff's right. Both of SFMM's woodies *have* been retracked countless times, it usually doesn't changed the way the coaster rides(not by much anyway), but rather is done more for structure purposes.
I think most people use the word re-track incorrectly as what they really mean is *re-build*.  Very expensive and difficult to do. Most parks would rather spend that time and energy on a new project.
Aren't the trains usually the problem anyway?
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I'm a reasonable man, get off my case, get off my case. -Radiohead(Amnesiac)

*** This post was edited by DWeaver on 11/4/2001. ***

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Sunday, November 4, 2001 8:50 PM
Steel coasters can't be retracked, the only way they would is to manufacture completely new track pieces and replacing them. What some coaster companies do, (I think it's the company, but it may be the park) is rehabilitate duuring the winter. I saw this happening to B:TR last winter.
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Drive to theme parks for the food, stay for the coasters!! Knott's Fried Chicken
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Monday, November 5, 2001 5:07 AM
Wild One at SFA was retracked in 99 when the park became six flags.  The park gave it air gates, retracted the entire thing, and removed those slide brakes and replaced them with friction brakes (squeeze type).  It made the coaster smoother, but didn't take away from the airtime or the enjoyment.
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So...you can't handle a rollercoaster huh? Well...you ARE the Weakest Link! Goodbye!

Number 1 Batwing Fan!

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Monday, November 5, 2001 5:44 AM

Jeff said:

Caring for a wood coaster is an art, I'm convinced, and there aren't enough people in the world who really understand it. Holiday World had the right idea. They hired away one of CCI's people, and he's like the "friction police."

Parks MUST understand that!  A wooden coaster is WAY cheaper as an initial investment, but WILL require long-term care.  Jeff H. is one of the few people who will RIDE the coaster, then go and inspect the "rough spots" to locate and eliminate the problem at its source.  Most parks can't seem to figure out the cause of the rough ride - they end up treating symptoms and leaving the underlying "disease" untreated.  "Re-profiling" becomes necessary when the park fails to re-track in time, or when the ride really shows a lot of wear in the underlying structure.  This shouldn't happen nearly as often as it does...
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rollergator - intent on improving the "guest experience" - coming soon to a park near you



*** This post was edited by gatorwoodie on 11/5/2001. ***

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Monday, November 5, 2001 9:12 AM

coo man chu said:
But what about for steel coasters?
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Steel ones can also be reprofiled and retracked. PGA's Demon has been modified, the first drop is about 45 degreed now, it used to be about 60. (It's easy to see since now the angle of the drop is about the same as the angle of the lift) Why they did this I don't know, it eliminates the airtime on the drop.(They also took out a lot of scenery, including the rock formations around the loops)
 
-djansi

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Monday, November 5, 2001 9:38 AM
Your initial question asked about steel coasters, not wood, so that is what I will address.

Basically, steel coasters can and do wear out.  Although they use nylon and poly wheels, the running rails do experience thinning in spots where upstops, running or guide wheels exert great pressure.

Often, parks have maintenance staff capable of repairing "soft spots" on the track by welding or soldering.  Just recently I watched this process being performed on a critical area within the PKI King Cobra helix.  The ride was closed for a day while the work was performed.  Thanks to the handy craftsmanship of the staff, the ride was again operational within a day.

Rust can also wreak havok on steel coaster track.  Just like anything metal. Rust eats away at it, and if the track goes ingnored can develop weak spots.

Part of the inspection of a coaster involves the checking of such weakened areas.  I also have been told that steel oaster tracks are also "x-rayed" from time to time to make sure that nothing unusual is going on in the inside of the spine/running rails.

Often, a section of track can be deemed unrepairable, and the manufacturer can be called upon to duplicate the section for the park to replace.  Although semi-rare, it does indeed occurr. 

When PKI was building Face/Off the park used their main parking lot to store the track.  Along with the Vekoma track, other coaster track appeared.  Some suspected it as an unnamed 2nd coaster that was "secretly" being installed.  The truth is, it was a section of track sent from Arrow to replace a spot on Adventure Express.

Typically park maintenance and inspectors are familiar with, and know a coaster well enough to watch trouble spots.  How do they learn?  Well, it's easy to determine where stress is on a track just by following where the inertia pushes.  Also, painted rails help too.  When the paint wears away, those in charge know those spots carry greater pressure from the trains and keep watchful eyes on them.

None of this even begins to mention cracks, which can and do appear on steel coasters.  Mostly located in welded or bonded areas, cracks arise from weak spots or spots of great pressure.  Weak spots within the metal in a solid state are succeptible to cracks if there is a flaw in the liquid by which the steel originates.  As I understand, the rails are formed from the liquid state, then once solid are "bent" or formed into the desired shape. 

Imagine a bubble in a glass plate.  Should enough pressure be placed on that bubble, or flaw in the glass, it is highly likely a crack, chip or break would occurr.


Does that help?
Shaggy

*** This post was edited by Shaggy on 11/6/2001. ***

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