The Gravity Group unveils new trains

Posted Tuesday, November 18, 2008 2:48 PM | Contributed by Rob Ascough

The engineers at The Gravity Group started with a blank sheet of paper and ended up with the next generation of trains for wooden roller coasters."

"Timberliners incorporate new technology - such as magnetic braking and restraint monitoring - that wasn't even imagined when wooden coaster cars were first developed," says Michael Graham, lead engineer for the project. "When it comes to wooden coasters, The Gravity Group has more experience designing rides than anyone. We've applied that expertise in designing trains that addresses every facet of roller coaster performance and function - from maintenance and safety to rider enjoyment and capacity."

Timberliners are designed to be compatible with existing wooden coasters, allowing a park to upgrade their roller coasters with Timberliner trains.

Read more from The Gravity Group.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 12:23 PM

I think that's pretty cool news. I've been impressed with their track designs, clearly they innovate and improve designs. Hopefully the same will be said of their trains.

And I'm glad because I find ratchet style PTC trains fairly uncomfortable, mainly because of the weird kink in the lapbar that always presses on your outer thigh. Plus they're a pain to get in and out of.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 5:37 PM

I wonder if ANYBODY will use PTC trains on a new coaster anymore.

Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 9:42 PM
a_hoffman50's avatar

That depends on train cost and maintenance cost and if GG makes it mandatory to use their trains on their coasters.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 9:52 PM
rollergator's avatar

If TGG and GCI are buidling their own trains, it doesn't leave many new coasters in the US for PTC....then again, there are many existing coasters in need of refurbished/replaced trains. All the coasters running Gerstlauers for starters, hehe. Seems to me that the single-row trains will reduce maintenance, but probably airtime to some degree has to be sacrificed. Sure was on HP's Wildcat.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008 10:56 PM
Acoustic Viscosity's avatar

Imagine Phoenix with single bench trains. No more Schmeck seat. :(

AV Matt
Long live the Big Bad Wolf

Thursday, November 20, 2008 7:13 AM
coasterqueenTRN's avatar

The new trains look pretty sweet! I can't wait to try them out!


Thursday, November 20, 2008 9:30 AM
rollergator's avatar

Acoustic Viscosity said:Imagine Phoenix with single bench trains. No more Schmeck seat. :(

Blasphemy! Remember, Knoebels is the park running PTCs sans belts. I kinda have to believe DK will keep his park "traditional" for as long as he possibly can. I simply HAVE to! ;)

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Thursday, November 20, 2008 10:14 AM

Theres a huge difference in the way TGG and GCII design coasters for airtime. GCII has very little interest in giving ejector or sustained air. Correct me if Im wrong but thats not what their about. Could they? YES! and their trains would provide it in every seat if they designed it too do so.I have the feeling that even MF trains would float the whole train over that hill after the tripple down on Voyage. Sure there is some whiplash to a PTC. On a coaster like Phoenix these trains wouldn't be much different in ride except for comfort, witch I find Phoenix's trains very uncomfortable. expecially that low seat divider. Ever land on that?

Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:16 AM

Not to suggest that the GG guys are going to make a lousy product (I imagine their new trains will be great), but maybe we should wait to see how it turns out before we assume most parks are going to ditch their PTCs? I'm not saying I'm as big a PTC fan as I once was, but the company has run pretty deep in the amusement industry for about a century and I doubt it's going to simply disappear.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:29 AM
Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

Timberliners are designed to be compatible with existing wooden coasters

That may be true, but I bet they want nothing to do with Son of Beast. ;)

I'd love to know more about how parks decide what is cost effective and what is not. It seems to me the biggest selling factor would have to be how much a park can save on track maintenance. Along with that I wonder if the new trains would be cheaper or more expensive to maintain.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:34 AM

It will depend on a lot of things. Will brakes and air gates have to be modified? There are likely to be many costs associated with switching to new trains, in addition to the cost of actual trains.

How many parks are likely to install Vekoma's new Freedom Flight seats on their SLCs? A while back it was argued that the cost of the upgrade wouldn't make sense for a lot of parks. I see this being a similar situation. A park will likely look into new trains only when the time comes, and I'm sure many will want proof that maintenance costs will decline. Right now there is no evidence of that, although I suspect Gravity Group knows what they're doing and has designed a great product.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:40 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

I doubt many parks will switch to the new trains even though Holiday World and Hershey have proven that parks will do it. But PTC will be getting less new train business than they have in the past. What other wooden coaster designer is out there that doesn't have their own train design to track their designs better. Fact is, every new Gravity Group coaster used PTC trains, now most every new Gravity Group coaster will have Timberliner trains.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:43 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I have to assume that new GG coasters will only run TL's. If they have faster banking or turning or any of the other things GG wants to try out, PC's won't be able to run on them at all.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:54 AM
eightdotthree's avatar

Except that some parks still install PTC trains on their GCI coasters.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 11:58 AM
Mamoosh's avatar

eightdot - which GCI coaster has received PTCs since the debut of their Millennium Flyers?

Thursday, November 20, 2008 1:12 PM

There are only two GCII coasters still running PTCs- SFA's Roar and BGA's Gwazi. There hasn't been a GCII coaster built since Gwazi that has run PTCs.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 2:52 PM

Rob Ascough said:There are only two GCII coasters still running PTCs- SFA's Roar and BGA's Gwazi. There hasn't been a GCII coaster built since Gwazi that has run PTCs.


Thursday, November 20, 2008 3:27 PM
eightdotthree's avatar

Were Roar and Gwazi built before GCI designed their trains?

Thursday, November 20, 2008 3:37 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

Roar East, yes. Roar West was the first GCI to run MFlyers. Gwazi opened the same year.

Thursday, November 20, 2008 6:09 PM

While many of the things on a MF train were GCII, the basic design is from Prior and CHurch some 80 years ago. Look for a video of Coaster in Vancouver BC, They run P&C trains, That coaster, Im told has scary airtime and wicked turns.TGGs trains are simular as well. There is no bind, All the twisting is in the drawbar and not between axles.Chuck


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