The life of a pre-dawn mechanic on Alpengeist

Posted Tuesday, August 26, 2003 5:10 AM | Contributed by supermandl34

Virginia paper publishes a feature on the early-morning ritual of a team of mechanics that inspect and repair the giant Alpengeist roller coaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Read more from The Daily Press via The Centre Daily Times.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003 5:23 AM
I had no idea that much work went into inspecting rides everyday. Is that like that at every park or just Busch Gardens?
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 5:30 AM
Excellent feature. One of the best I've seen on the subject. The author did a nice job getting the terminology right.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
DELETED! What time does the water show start?

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 5:39 AM
Very interesting and informative... I have a newfound respect for the people that ensure that these rides are functioning properly.

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-Rob
A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 5:59 AM
I'm curious how you would go about inspecting a track on an inverted. Would they have to bring out a cherry-picker and just move it around the course?
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Jeff-Jeff
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 6:09 AM
Agreed, great article.

The most amazing part, though (unless I read it incorrectly), is one of those guys gets LESS THAN FOUR hours of sleep a night? Incredible!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 6:18 AM
It's actually quite nice to see a piece of how WELL a park ensures a guests safety. Most often if you read an article on this subject it is questioning whether the park does the necessary inspections, not detailing how well they are done.

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NICK

Tha whistles go woooooooooo!

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 8:37 AM
A great in depth article,& that's just describing the maintenance procedures for one of the park's coasters.

I kinda feel sorry for Jenkins though,he doesn't get to sleep on an average night until around 11 pm only to have to get up as early as 2:45 in the morning to report to work,where the whole process is repeated day in,day out.

It's also interesting to read that it can take upwards of 6 hours just to inspect & perform preventative maintenance on just one ride,usually from 4 am to around 10 am & that's with a 3 member team for just one of hundreds of rides that BGW operates.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 9:37 AM
Martha Stewert only gets 2 hours of sleep :-)

Its a good thing that they release somehting that will ensure roller coasters are extremely safe and that they're inspected every day. All Ive been reading is this crap about "Are Roller Coatser Really Safe?" and all this stuff about poeple getting hurt or dying on roller coasters. And most of the time ITS THEIR OWN FAULT! I was extremely impressed and surprised how much work goes in to these rides. I never would have guessed 6 hours of inspecting!

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"Before you insult anyone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you do insult them, you'll be a mile away and have there shoes.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 10:24 AM
Hundreds of rides? Count one more time...

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(The other) Shaggy

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 11:12 AM
Amazing article. I'll have to print this out and save it.

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Missing the Fallen:
King Cobra 1984-2001
The Bat 1981-1983

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 12:03 PM
Hmmmm....trusting the safety of the ride to a guy who gets less then 4 hours sleep?------------------
Ripple Rock Amusement Park
Flying Scooter coming soon!*** This post was edited by millrace 8/26/2003 4:05:59 PM ***
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 12:47 PM
"Such detailed inspections are done on hundreds of rides and motorized features of the park by two dozen teams before the park opens each day." You can't just count the rides Travio. There's individual cars, vehicles, etc on rides and many other things that aren't even a part of rides (metal detectors, etc.) that require mechanical inspection and work.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 3:01 PM
Super article, wish we'd see more like it. Major props to these guys and others like them.

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"You're afraid of heights, but you love roller coasters...yep, you're weird alright."
A friend's response to my constant yelling at the top of Power Tower. And I'll ride it again and again...

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 3:05 PM
It was a nice article - I wouldn't say "amazing" though....

I would like to spend one day shadowing a coaster mechanic. I have a friend who's husband is one of the maintenance crew for Millennium Force; she brought in all these pictures of her husband on the top of the lift hill during the construction process; he had some great pics. She asked him if I could shadow him and he said no. Bastard.

I thought there was a little too much attention paid to what that guy's hands were doing during the article. hmmmmm...... even the description of the guy wiping the sweat off his face........ Not that there's anything wrong with that......;)

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"That's DOCTOR Evil. I didn't spend six years in evil medical school to be called 'Mr. Thank You Very Much.'"

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 4:10 PM
It's the details that make you feel like you're there. That's good feature writing!

We have a mechanic for a well-known park right here on the site.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
DELETED! What time does the water show start?

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 7:43 PM
Really?

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Rejection is one thing, but rejection from a fool is cruel!
-Morrissey

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Tuesday, August 26, 2003 7:44 PM
Why would you shadow him if you aren't being trained or anything? Seems to me like a distraction.

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2002/2003
KWTM

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Wednesday, August 27, 2003 6:08 AM
It's always interesting to read how other parks go about their inspection proecesses. I do like the details mentioned that go into each step of inspecting trains and brakes. Although three people working on Alpengeist for 6 hours each night does seem a bit excessive, from my experience.

Touch is an extremely important part of any inspection process for a ride and I think the author picked up on this in his mentioning hands so often.

As for how much sleep the one mechanic gets, anyone who works those types of hours can tell you that everything that seems "normal" about sleeping goes right out the window.

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James Draeger
*** This post was edited by Draegs 8/27/2003 10:10:05 AM ***

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Wednesday, August 27, 2003 10:16 AM
I would logically think that it just means they go to bed earlier if they have to wake that early. You figure if they have to be at work by 4am, it means they probably wake up at 3 at the latest and probably go to bed at 7 or 8 in the evening. I liked the detail in that article, it was very well written.
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"You know its a good ride when you come into the final brake run wiping tears from your eyes."
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