Steel/Wood Lifetimes

Thursday, May 13, 2004 5:04 PM
Why do wooden roller coasters have longer lifetimes than steel?

http://www.cincypost.com/living/1999/beast070199.html

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Thursday, May 13, 2004 5:17 PM
I "wood" (pun intended) assume that because replacing wooden beams is a lot easier than fabricating a new peice of steel. That being said, the Little Dipper at Memphis Kiddie Park has been around since the mid 50s. Granted, it is not the size of Top Thrill Dragster, but it is steel none the less. Any good carpenter can trim wood to replace boards supporting a coaster.

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Thursday, May 13, 2004 5:48 PM
They don't, It's just easier and much cheaper to replace wood where and when it's needed than new sections of steel track.

Please remember that most old woodies have probably been rebuilt almost totally from the ground up twice in thier lifetime with several track replacements.

Chuck, who still says thats cheaper over 80 years than one 25 million dollar steelie that dosn't work reliably :) *** Edited 5/13/2004 9:49:16 PM UTC by Charles Nungester***

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Thursday, May 13, 2004 6:02 PM
I really don't think it's a good comparison to make at this point in time, simply because wood coasters have been around so much longer than modern steel rides. There are plenty of older steel coasters around, like the early loopers.

As long as they aren't removed for expansion reasons, I think you'll see quite a few modern steel rides around for a long time. Also, the replacement idea isn't making sense to me...while you can easily replace wood parts, how often do you hear about a steel ride needing a new support or piece of track because an old one has worn out?

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Thursday, May 13, 2004 6:18 PM

1EyedJack said: Any good carpenter can trim wood to replace boards supporting a coaster.

I wouldn't say any good carpenter. You actually need to know what your doing when you retrack a wood coaster. If you don't do it just right you will get a horrible ride and will need to replace that section again sooner than if done corectly.

As for the structure thats easier to rebuild then retracking a ride.

As for wood and steel lifetimes the oldest wooden coaster is over 100 now but it did ave an entire overhaul back in 99. There are some steel coasters left from the 50's like the High Speed Thrill Coaster, and Matternhorn.

I guess it all depends on how much money a park wants to sink into keeping an ageing ride up and running. Look at the HSTC at Knoebels. There are a few spots where pieces of plates were added to the track to fix bad parts.

*** Edited 5/13/2004 10:26:05 PM UTC by coasterpunk***

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Thursday, May 13, 2004 6:35 PM
I was refering to the structure wehn I made that comment. You are correct in that it would take a very knoledgeable person to do a retracking.

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