Saying goodbye to a roller coaster

Tuesday, January 16, 2007 12:31 AM
Ive recently been viewing Kumba pictures and have found the track to be very rusty and worn down. I understand the coaster has several years of active thrilling for show, yet, it leaves me to think of its end. Do take this correctly, however, when would a coaster spell out closed, indefinitely?

What actions are in place, lets say for Paramount, to make an authoratative decision to close a ride down. What would be looked at or investigated on the coaster to finalize such a movement? What kinds of things arrise in a review meeting, for a coasters progress, exciting performance and long lasting reliability for thrill seekers? What different acknowledgements would be taken seriously before saying its time to close down and say goodbye to our beauty ride before it becomes un-safe and unpleasant.

I'm looking for answers geared towards ending a roller coasters life.

CD

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 12:45 AM
If I had to take I wild guess, I would say low ridership. And I think Kumba will be around for a while.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 12:59 AM
So because a coaster is in need of a paintjob, it spells doom for the coaster?

I really am not understanding this topic.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 1:08 AM
Low ridership is the #1 reason a rollercoaster closes. A close second, and somewhat related is maintenance cost. If running maintenance is taking up 1/2 your maintenance budget just for one ride (a la Hercules @ Dorney) that's a chief ingredient for the end of a coaster's life. If something breaks, it depends how much it costs to fix vs. benefit (ROI, if you will...)

It's kinda like a car. As it ages, it gets harder to find parts. If you find yourself spending $500 for brakes, $100 for wiper blades, and it's gas economy has dropped to about 5 gallons per mile, etc. ("running maintenance") then it might be cheaper in the long run to by a new/pre-owned car where brakes are $50, wiper blades $15, and gas economy is 20mpg. Further, if the engine block cracks and the exhaust system is held on by duct tape and the car is 10 years old, will the high cost of repair be worth it? Oh yeah, and for those single people out there, if girls are saying "I'm not riding in that thing" (i.e. "low ridership".. lol) than perhaps it's time for a new ride. :)

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 1:23 AM
^With all that said, Kumba would not be an example of a coaster that would say goodbye.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 2:00 AM
I agree with the aging car analogy, but isn't the main reason we've lost coasters like Orient Express lack of PREVENTATIVE maintenance? It's expensive, yeah, but I loved Orient Express in it's heyday, and supposedly the last couple of years before demolition the ride was TERRIBLE. People are saying the same thing about Timber Wolf. I LOVED the ride when it was new. So I guess my question is- How much ongoing maintenance is a park willing to pay for? Is it better for a park to scrap rides after a couple decades to be replaced by something new and improved, or are we going to appreciate classic coasters? I took an 11-year-old cousin to Cedar Point, and her comment on the brakes of Corkscrew was "That was IT?" I told her the usual spiel about the initial achievements of steel loopers in the mid 70's.

Getting back to the car analogy, I will agree that there is a point where increased maintenance outweighs the nostalgia and historical significance of a ride. But do rides from the 70's, 80's, or 90's deserve less of a park's maintenance budget? It seems like profit has become the PRIME motivation for a lot of amusement parks, and new technological advances are the only thing park executives feel the public is looking for. I personally would love to see a wooden coaster renaissance, where GCI, GG, and S&S were willing to rebuild good Miller, Church, and Schmeck designs from the 20's through 40's instead of just original designs. I'd also love to see more non-looping suspended coasters. WHY hasn't B&M offered their version of the non-looping suspended coaster?

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 2:30 AM
Well, in keeping with the aging car analogy...

When you buy a new car, are you going to get the oil changed every 3000 miles? Most likely. How about when the car is 10 years old and 90,000+ miles on it? Not so much.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 2:44 AM
A coaster is depreciated in the books like any other asset for a company.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 7:44 AM
Kumba is thirteen years old (one of the oldest B&M's) and every time I ride the trains are full. Kumba isn't going anywhere. The ride is smooth and reliable, and BGA doesn't neglect their rides.

I also think maintenance and ridership are the key components for tearing down a coaster. Python was rough and broke down half the time it was operating. The ride was obsolete, and so it went.
Cedar Point still has every coaster dating back to 1964, and I think the maintenance issue also depends on the park. Some parks neglect their rides.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 7:56 AM
^ My car is 17 years old and has 196,040 miles on it. I still do my oil changes every 4,000 or so. It is at the point where my car is worth nothing. (Okay $1000, not bad considering I bought it used for $5000) But.... EVERY car will need new brakes and exhust systems. If I can get away with doing routine maintenance, I'll be good.

Last year alone I only put in about $150.
The aveage car owner spends $7000 per year to own. That includes maintenence, depreciation, and gas.

I have replaced things over the years, and I don't find parts very expensive. Honda supports most of their older cars on the road still. Plus, aftermarket parts are your friend.

There's always junk yards, too, to look for parts.

I also know what I have fixed over the years, so why should I buy something else that I know nothing about?

Since the body is rusty, (I don't have a garage) it's to a point where if something major goes wrong, it's not worth fixing, but if I have to replace something simple, I'll do it.

Plus, not having a car payment since June of 1999 has been nice.

Coasters are a little different since the initial investment is so huge, the option to scrap them after a few years isn't justified unless there's real issues, but that can be resolved in court sometimes.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 7:59 AM

dannerman said:
When you buy a new car, are you going to get the oil changed every 3000 miles? Most likely. How about when the car is 10 years old and 90,000+ miles on it? Not so much.

Depends on the owner, again much like parks. I still take my '99 Honda Civic with 99K miles for regular maintenance, and it's going to be with me for a good long time still.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 8:28 AM
Right.. I understand that some people do.. or some people (as mentioned above) may do it every 4000.. but you're the exception. The point I was trying to make is that it varies depending on the owner's perception of value and if it's worth it.

I don't think anyone is thinking of scrapping a ride in its first year, regardless how much money they have to pour in *coughcough*Dragster*coughcough* Other times a relatively short run, such as Hercules (only 14 years for a major wood coaster?) but it was costing too much in maintenance for what the park/company wanted to spend.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 8:41 AM
I don't understand why tou think Kumba would close. From the looks of the ride it looks like it would be pretty fun and even better if they would add some floorless trains on it.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 9:03 AM
I just rode Kumba earlier this week, and it's still running like a champ.
Another major factor that is tied into maintenance, is whether the company that made the coaster is still around. For example, a Schwarzkopf coaster is probably harder to maintain because replacement parts are harder to get. Even for Arrow coasters it might be difficult to get parts (especially the mega-loopers and suspended coasters), which helps to explain Shockwave at SFGAm biting the bullet. However, B&M is still around and still making new coasters each year, so it should be easy to get parts for any B&M coaster. Long live Kumba!
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 9:23 AM
It also depends on the park and what their plans are.

A park like Cedar Point has coasters dating back to 1964 because they are a "roller coaster park" that advertises a lot of coasters, and keeping an aging ride like Corkscrew around is justified because there isn't another coaster in the park quite like it. Busch Gardens Tampa, on the other hand, focuses on a much more rounded selection of attractions (many of them animal-related) and didn't need Python. Add to that the fact that Python was really made obsolete when Kumba was installed 15 years ago, and there was very little reason to keep pouring money into the ride when the space could have been used for something else.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 10:04 AM
I'm sorry, I thought Kumba just received a paint job not to long ago. The last time I saw Kumba, it didn't look like it was in very bad shape.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 10:44 AM
It did, only two or three years ago. Last time I saw here, she looked pretty good.
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 11:21 AM
Kumba was running well yesterday, perhaps not at its BEST...but still miles (and years) from demolition...

Python, she is gone...got a few pics of the construction zone. Ridership was key in that decision, no one ever went there except for the two lonely ops at the station...

Consider also that Python ran almost twice as much as most "seasonal" coasters...BGA had LONG since depreciated the last penny of that ride's value.


dannerman said:A close second, and somewhat related is maintenance cost. If running maintenance is taking up 1/2 your maintenance budget just for one ride (a la Hercules @ Dorney) that's a chief ingredient for the end of a coaster's life.


That MUST be related to the major overhaul of Sonny, no? ;)

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 12:37 PM
Yeah, what's funny about this whole thing is Kumba was painted last January and looks really good!
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Tuesday, January 16, 2007 1:50 PM
That's true... Python was technically something like 90 years old! (going by what Chris Gray once told me about Gwazi being run three times as much as most wood coasters)
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