The Gravity Group offers precut track, more durable and faster to install

Posted Sunday, September 26, 2021 11:24 AM | Contributed by Jeff

From The Gravity Group:

The Gravity Group has created an alternative track system that is both economical and more exact. Best of all, the new track system from The Gravity Group is made of wood – preserving the integrity of a wooden roller coaster. The new engineered precut track is by design up to thirty times stronger than the traditional wooden roller coaster track. The track is precut at The Gravity Group facility by precision CNC equipment to the exact shape determined by the ride design. The additional strength and precise shape ensure that the track will deliver smooth rides and indefinitely be maintenance friendly. Additionally, this engineered precut track is economical and easy to install in prefabricated pieces with predictable, excellent results.

Six hundred feet of this track has been installed on Kings Island’s Racer in 2021. The park’s staff and guests have been vocally exuberant about the new ride experience from the engineered precut track. This new track is now patent pending and will allow The Gravity Group to refurbish classic rides and produce new ones in a way that preserves the experience and integrity of the beloved wooden roller coaster. The Gravity Group is confident that this will be the new standard for wooden roller coaster track in the not-so-distant future.

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Sunday, September 26, 2021 11:26 AM
Jeff's avatar

What can't you do with a CNC machine these days? I noticed in the photos that it looks like they're still clamping wood together, only the pieces appear to be vertical.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Sunday, September 26, 2021 11:37 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

So...is this meaningfully different from Intamin Prefab? And what's going on with El Toro, now that I think about it?


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Sunday, September 26, 2021 1:10 PM
Jeff's avatar

Intamin uses solid blocks of wood, I think. This looks like "sideways laminate" of precut wood.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Sunday, September 26, 2021 1:58 PM
LostKause's avatar

Racer's ride experience was greatly improved with the new track. I would love to see them continue to install this new track on the rest of the ride. The improvement is really noticeable on the ride because you can compare the new track to the old while riding it.

I recommend that you guys try out Racer if you find yourself at the park. The new track causes the train to crest the hills faster, and you get some great airtime.

I can think of a few more wooden coasters that could use this.

Is it sacrilegious for me to suggest that The Beast needs this track?


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Sunday, September 26, 2021 2:05 PM

LostKause said:

Is it sacrilegious for me to suggest that The Beast needs this track?

Yes. But outside of that, I bet there are plenty of mediocre wooden coasters that could get a whole new life with this, and that's pretty cool.

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Sunday, September 26, 2021 2:45 PM
Schwarzkopf76's avatar

LostKause said:

I recommend that you guys try out Racer if you find yourself at the park. The new track causes the train to crest the hills faster, and you get some great airtime.

Sure enough Gravity Group would be the one to add (back in) traditional-style air time to an old coaster. You can see in this picture the lowered bent locations on the first speed bump; thus decreasing the profile radius and increasing the air time: https://thegravitygroup.com/wp-content/uploads/TheFuture.pdf

Very happy to see this after watching another wood coaster group remove air time from a slew of rides over the last decade. Good job Gravity Group! And - the it's still a wood coaster.

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Sunday, September 26, 2021 5:24 PM

Jeff said:

Intamin uses solid blocks of wood, I think. This looks like "sideways laminate" of precut wood.

Cordes, the german wood mill who fabricate wooden track for Intamin and Gerstlauer in the "prefab" configuration used marine grade plywood that is glued together, then cut, pre-drilled and then painted over with a sealant. This was the original fabrication method, but for the redo of Colossos at Heide Park, they glued together dozens of thin layer of pine wood which are then cut to the appropriate shape and angle. This video shows a cutout of the new Cordes track at 3:00: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yFYR74fgoU


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Monday, September 27, 2021 12:09 AM

Two things I see in the photos…

First, it looks like the end of the section has a pattern of overlap joints just as is appropriate for traditional wood coaster track construction. The Cordes track has distinct track joints with steel connections; I expect that if a ride were fully tracked with the Gravity Group system it would not be obvious where the track joints are.
Second, it looks like the Gravity Group product may be a rectangular rail section, meaning or at least implying that the overhang layers are either constructed in the traditional way on site, or are a separate piece installed after the rail is down.

Sadly, the Racer is one of only two (the other is The Beast) Cedar Fair wood coasters I cannot ride, so I can’t comment on how it runs.

—Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Monday, September 27, 2021 10:02 AM

A negative with this type of precision machined pre-fab is downtime when track work needs to be done. Instead of being able to repair sections as needed, it requires having to place an order and wait for your piece of track to arrive in for install.

I thought that was part of the reason why the Intamin Pre-fab never really took off? It looks to be a very similar track design, in which you are at the mercy of a shop to produce your track (versus your carpenters to immediately work with raw material on the spot to make corrections).


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Monday, September 27, 2021 10:25 AM
Jeff's avatar

If it's 30x more durable, then I suspect routine replacement is a lot easier to predict.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, September 27, 2021 2:52 PM

Racer was running very well a few weeks ago. I approve of this product.


I develop Retro Games for macOS, iPhone, and iPad when not riding coasters.

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Monday, September 27, 2021 4:58 PM

SteveWoA said:

A negative with this type of precision machined pre-fab is downtime when track work needs to be done. Instead of being able to repair sections as needed, it requires having to place an order and wait for your piece of track to arrive in for install.

I thought that was part of the reason why the Intamin Pre-fab never really took off? It looks to be a very similar track design, in which you are at the mercy of a shop to produce your track (versus your carpenters to immediately work with raw material on the spot to make corrections).

The Cordes Pre-fab wooden coasters are too expensive to buy compared to traditional rides. Gerstlauer used the track to sell a wooden coaster to a german park in 2007 and since then, pushed hard to use the "Hybrid trains" (seen on New Texas Giant and Iron Rattler) on new pre-fab rides, but parks were not interested.

On the Intamin side, T-Express was a specific request from the park where Everland knew they had to replace Eagle Fortress, their Arrow Suspended Coaster. They walked up to Intamin with a specific request: Combine El Toro with Balder, as we want both. Budget was not an issue and since then, T Express is kept in pristine shape with many carpenters on staff and regular track replacement. Intamin still would build a pre-fab wooden coaster if a park wanted to, but the cost difference make that a very unlikely proposition.


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Monday, September 27, 2021 5:56 PM

If that Dorney park gravity group is still gonna happen, I would love for the entire coaster to feature this track.

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Monday, September 27, 2021 6:16 PM
sirloindude's avatar

I don't think that Dorney Park Gravity Group wooden coaster is going to happen because I've not heard of any Gravity Group wooden coasters elsewhere closing.


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Monday, September 27, 2021 6:35 PM

SteveWoA said:
A negative with this type of precision machined pre-fab is downtime when track work needs to be done. Instead of being able to repair sections as needed, it requires having to place an order and wait for your piece of track to arrive in for install.

I thought that was part of the reason why the Intamin Pre-fab never really took off? It looks to be a very similar track design, in which you are at the mercy of a shop to produce your track (versus your carpenters to immediately work with raw material on the spot to make corrections).

That was always my argument against the Intamin/Cordes track. On the other hand, I would like to know how they are handling that cap section. A perfect example of what can happen overnight is when Son of Beast valleyed in the big helix. As I understand it, they removed some track steel, and chopped out a section of the top layers of the rail on one side with a Sawzall, removed the train with a crane, then rebuilt the cap layers in that section and still were open with the park the next day. I'm thinking most of the mid-season repairs are going to be to that cap layer; plus because Gravity Group's track appears to connect with conventional track in a conventional way, it probably can be patched on-site with conventional track construction.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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