Six Flags Wooden Coasters

Saturday, April 15, 2006 2:37 PM
Why don't the Six Flags Parks grease their wooden coasters? I know someone will come behind me in 30 minutes or less and say that this is an absurd and stupid question, but I have to ask. I am still learning a lot about roller coasters, as I have only been on 325 of them in my life of 39 years. I have been to every Six Flags park in the United States and I can count on one hand the wooden coasters that I will ride in any of their parks. It has always been my understanding that these rides need grease on them in order to be properly maintained year after year. Am I wrong about this? *** Edited 4/16/2006 4:49:50 PM UTC by coasterkitty***
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 2:42 PM
I'm curious, who did you hear this from?
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 2:46 PM
They keep a lot of there coasters in shape and greesed. But they keep a lot of them not in shape.

Take SFA
Wild One, is in GREAT condition,
while Roar is horrible.

and its not just Six Flags parks.
Hershey Park
Lightning Racer - Smooth as silk
Wildcat - Neck Cracker.

I dont think its the grease or whatever that is on the track, its other elements of the ride that make it rough (or whatever you are posting this question about grease). Also It could be the Manufacterer.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 2:51 PM
There is actually a Kennywood video called Kennywood Memories that shows a crew greasing the Thunderbolt and says they do it every day. Let's take Holiday World, Knoebel's, and Kennywood. All these parks have wooden coasters where you can normally see the grease on the tracks. All of these parks have wooden coasters that run more smoothly than a lot of the Six Flags wooden coasters. When you go to a park, do you think the wooden coasters are supposed to squeak when going around the corners? *** Edited 4/15/2006 9:14:27 PM UTC by coasterkitty***
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 3:12 PM

coasterkitty said:
as I have only been on 325 of them in my life

Not to get this off topic but that's actually a pretty amazing track record that would be much higher (I'm guessing) than your average coasterbuzzer.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 3:28 PM
I posted in another topic that Six Flags should put some serious money into greasing and maintaining their wooden coasters. I just wanted to start this new topic about the matter. I posted my coaster count to let people know that I am not bashing Six Flags. I just want to know why a lot of their parks don't grease wooden coasters. It's not just Six Flags, there are other chains that are even worse. It's just Six Flags owns a lot of parks. Greasing a ride helps the train run more smoothly on the track, and it only makes sense that it would put less wear and tear on the track. If a train is squeaking on a roller coaster track, I just don't see how it could be properly maintained. It may be cute at a Halloween event, but not on a day to day basis. I just think it is a matter for the new Six Flags Team to consider. *** Edited 4/15/2006 7:37:31 PM UTC by coasterkitty***
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 3:32 PM
i like wooden coasters that are rough.. :)
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 3:32 PM
I think what you'll find is that really, the vast majority of wooden coasters are not mantained the way they should be, or at least could be. Really, there are only a handful of parks in the world where the wooden coasters run close to perfect, and one of those is of course Holiday World.
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 3:38 PM
Vic_SFKK, do you really, truly like rough, poorly maintained woodies (1), or do you like INTENSE woodies (2)? There's a pretty clean distiction between them, after all, and frequently people who don't like woodies because they're "rough" don't have enough experience with the later to realize that "intense" wood isn't necessarily "rough" wood.

1) Villain of late; Georgia Cyclone (of late anyway, from what I've gathered); William's Grove Cyclone

2) Villain when it first opened (arguably, anyway); Georgia Cyclone (at least when I was there, I've heard it's gone downhill); Legend; Tremors; PNE's Coaster

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 3:41 PM

matt. said:
I think what you'll find is that really, the vast majority of wooden coasters are not mantained the way they should be, or at least could be. Really, there are only a handful of parks in the world where the wooden coasters run close to perfect, and one of those is of course Holiday World.

You are exactly right about that. I just hate it when I love a ride one year, and then it is a whole different ride the next year. Parks like Holiday World prove that these rides can be properly maintained. I guess it's just more complicated when you have so many parks to maintain at one time.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 5:13 PM

Blink3020 said:
I'm curious, who did you hear this from?

Well, if you really want to know, here's your answer. I worked at Six Flags Over Georgia in 1982, 1983 and 1984. When the Scream Machine was retracked in 1983, the ride ran much faster than it originally did. The answer to slowing the coaster down was by NOT adding grease. By August of that year, the Scream Machine's trains had to 1 by 1 go in the shop. The park had to replace the cracked road wheels and the guide wheels which had been ground down to the hub of the bearing assembly. The head of Maintenance, at the time, told me that this had never happened in all his years at the park. Metal against metal, without lubricant, causes extreme wear on the track and the wheels. Try running your car with no motor oil in it and see what you get. That is how I know about greasing and maintaining rides.

Let this be today's coaster maintenance lesson.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 5:15 PM
i agree with coasterkitty..i have ridden many wooden coasters and it its really sad when go to ride a ride that u think is going to be really good and u get off the ride and shaken so bad cuz its soo rough that u loose a tooth or pass a kidney stone

if a ride doenst look greased or u see people coming off the ride looking like they are in pain it makes me not want to ride it

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 5:56 PM
There is an exception the SF horrible wooden coasters rule: SFGAm, Viper has simply gotten better every year and the American Eagle (if they would just kill that midcourse trim) is operating well too.
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 6:15 PM
coasterkitty, the worst part about that story about GASM is that first of all, while the ride might have picked up speed, it wasn't necessarily going faster than it should go, it was going faster than it had been going. That's two different figures.

Second, with a PTC train, a better way to slow it down than by not greasing the turns is to pack *MORE* grease into the wheel bearings. That will slow a PTC train down faster than almost anything else. that's why Certain Parks have developed a technique for greasing their PTC trains that involves greasing four wheel sets per day, so that the entire train gets greased once a week, but it takes a week to do the job. that makes for more consistent performance from day to day.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006 7:40 PM
"Coaster" at Playland has a grease device at the front of the train that would grease the track/wheels all day long. I think it might still be in use too.
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 7:41 PM
Viper has not gotten better every year. It is definitely slowing down.
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 9:05 PM
I thought Roar at SFA ran really well opening weekend. It also might have helped that they retracked the first two layers of wood. And Wildcat at HP has been running really good in the past couple of years as well.
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 9:34 PM
Roar was pretty good, but I am sure it could be great with some more love and maybe the real trains.
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Saturday, April 15, 2006 9:40 PM
Six Flags is giving La Ronde a lot of money to maintain Monstre... Greased all the time, no trims, 4 trains running most of the time... retracked completely twice in 4 years and they even gave maintenance some money in 2002 to rebuild one of the Morgan train to figure out a way to reduce maintenance on it!

Worst maintenance goes to Parc Asterix in France. You got a CCI that is never greased, squeels like a subway train when you're stranding 200 feet from the ride and it never got retracked since opening in 1997! The excuse for the lack of grease? Grease make it go too fast like SFOG claimed! The wooden in question is Tonnerre de Zeus.

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Sunday, April 16, 2006 12:15 PM

RideMan said:
coasterkitty, the worst part about that story about GASM is that first of all, while the ride might have picked up speed, it wasn't necessarily going faster than it should go, it was going faster than it had been going. That's two different figures.

Second, with a PTC train, a better way to slow it down than by not greasing the turns is to pack *MORE* grease into the wheel bearings. That will slow a PTC train down faster than almost anything else. that's why Certain Parks have developed a technique for greasing their PTC trains that involves greasing four wheel sets per day, so that the entire train gets greased once a week, but it takes a week to do the job. that makes for more consistent performance from day to day.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


Not to steal your thunder, DAVE, but we could not stop the train with the brakes up from the beginning of the shed to the end of the brake run. YOU GOT THAT? THE TRAIN JUST WOULD NOT STOP!!!!!! That is how I KNOW it was going too fast. I don't think John Allen designed a ride that runs continuously because it can't be stopped. The CHEAP AND EASY WAY TO SLOW DOWN A RIDE IS TO NOT GREASE IT. No man hours are used that way. I love your take on "the problem with your story..." I was there and I don't remember you on the crew. Since I was the Team Leader, I really think I would remember you. The Cannon Ball at Lake Winnie uses the same rolling stock as GASM and it was built several years earlier. It also gets a DAILY dose of grease. In the nineties, Lake Winnie had the Cannon Ball's trains checked for stress as well as wheel wear. They found the guide wheels to have less than 1/8 inch of wear on them after nearly 30 years of operation. I have been riding roller coasters for over 30 years and I have always learned that rides which are not greased tend to not run to their full potential. Maybe you enjoy that grinding on metal feeling a poorly maintained coster can give you. I do not. And please don't give me that "you might as well be writing a Stephen King book" reply again. There is more than one way to slow down a ride, but that's how they did the GASM back in the 80s. I also have the abused wheels that were given to me by the head of maintainence, since they were worthless to the park. If the squeaking, squealing sounds are the original way that these rides were meant to run, then why don't they call them roller squeakers.

Another thing, I've been on 325 roller coasters and I have learned a lot over the years. This really happened on the GASM and I can assure you that none of this is made up. *** Edited 4/16/2006 4:27:22 PM UTC by coasterkitty***

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