The Rattler @ SFFT

Wednesday, October 31, 2001 2:19 PM
I was looking at pix of The Rattler @ Coaster Gallery and that coaster looks tremendously fun. But, Joel says that it has been heavily modified since it's opening back in 1992 I belive. I'm wondering if anyone ever went on it when it first opened and when the first drop WASN'T 40 above the water.
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Countdown: 4 Days Until Six Flags Magic Mountain.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2001 2:28 PM
While I did not have the privilage of riding it back in 92, I have spoken to many who have.  The general feeling is that it was simply amazing that first year, and perhaps one of the greatest coasters ever built.  Then it took a non stop downhill slide (kinfd of like a coaster hill) and is a shell of it's former self.  The snake shed its skin, and only the crappy leftovers remain.
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- Peabody
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Wednesday, October 31, 2001 7:25 PM
Yea, it was so great that it cost the park millions in injury lawsuits.  That's what drove the changes, not some insidious plot to deprive us of a great ride!  Apparently the park was in a 'coaster arms race' with Cedar Point at the time, tried to 'one up' CP on height by making design changes on the fly and ended up with a ride that could become nasty, depending on temp, humidity, etc.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2001 10:02 PM
They defanged our precious Rattler!
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Titan Laps: 148
http://www.sfotxtreme.com
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Thursday, November 1, 2001 5:31 AM
I've seen the official accident reports, and it ain't pretty my friends. This is what happens when you modify a coaster beyond it's original paramaters, and then ignore safety consultants advice.
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Thursday, November 1, 2001 5:55 AM
i rode the rattler the first season it opened and the first drop was so steep from the back seat you could not see the bottom. that is probably the cause of all the accidents,people wacking their heads on the front of the morgan trains. the second drop was good, but the helix was slow and not exciting. the drop into the tunnel was good as was the ending. i have not been back since. virginiareelfan

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Thursday, November 1, 2001 6:21 AM
Here is some very interesting reading on the Rattler history.  The layout was changed in order to compete with Mean Streak.  The changes caused excessive G's in the pull-out at the bottom of the first hill.

http://members.aol.com/rides911/rattler.htm

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Thursday, November 1, 2001 8:28 AM
For those of you who are interested, the pics Gold Rusher refers to start at: http://www.coastergallery.com/2001/FT13.html
I think that Rattler was built by an inexperienced coaster design company.  They did indeed try to set records with Rattler, and I think this might have been unwise.  As I have said many times on CoasterGallery, you don't have to be the worlds biggest coaster to be the best.  (Well, I do love Millennium Force, but I also think Phoenix is one of the best woodies around!)
I generally keep my negative reviews of coasters out of the Gallery, but I will tell you that I was not impressed at all with Ratter.  It looked AMAZING, but boy was I dissapointed after the ride.  It was rough, lacking in airtime, and there were so many trim brakes that the ride nearly came to a complete stop in the helix.  (Does any one else know a ride with FOUR trims?)
Just remember, the above is just one dumb guy's opinions!  I still would love to hear someone who rode it early in its life.
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Joel Rogers
CoasterGallery.com
http://www.CoasterGallery.com

*** This post was edited by CaptainJoel on 11/1/2001. ***

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Thursday, November 1, 2001 9:25 AM

jimster said:
Here is some very interesting reading on the Rattler history.  The layout was changed in order to compete with Mean Streak.  The changes caused excessive G's in the pull-out at the bottom of the first hill.
http://members.aol.com/rides911/rattler.htm

omg, thats absolutely repulsive, if i were rollercoaster corp of america, i would be *so* embarrassed.  also, coaster corp of america built SOB didnt it? and they are having problems with that ride too, so im thinking their buisness aint gonna go anywhere now...

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Thursday, November 1, 2001 10:05 AM
Jimster, thanks for the link to those documents from Morgan and RCCA.  That was an amazing sequence of events to read about.  As one of the letters reads, "hindsight is 20/20," but really, what was RCCA thinking?

Obviously, they were presented with an enormous challenge in redesigning The Rattler on relatively short notice to compete with Mean Streak.  And what an incredible boost it would have been to the company to successfully design such a huge, unique wooden coaster... I'm sure they wouldn't have wanted to refuse the design changes and lose the contract altogether.

This case ultimately demonstrates a failure in foresight.  If you're a new park, and you want a signature record-breaking ride, don't pussyfoot around.  Blow your competition out of the water.  Considering the amount of time it takes to design a ride, have the foresight to design something that won't easily be topped in the time-frame of the design process, in this case, 1-2 years.  From an engineering standpoint, it seems ridiculous that RCCA attempted to make these design changes without considering such things as the design parameters of the Morgan trains.  But, again, I'm sure there were pressures for RCCA to keep the project.

I've only ridden The Rattler in it's new form, and I couldn't help but think what a truly awesome ride it could have been had it been designed properly the first time.  The RCCA website has a scrapbook of The Rattler's construction - there are some beautiful pictures there of what once was.

http://www.rcca.com/rattlerscrapbook.html

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Thursday, November 1, 2001 10:46 AM
RCCA has built several rides long before Rattler.  They built the Great America Scream Machine at SFoG (even before there was an RCCA, but the people who built it started the company).  GASM is one of my favorite woodies.  I don't think they're inexperienced... sometimes you run into problems when you push the envelope, though...
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Thursday, November 8, 2001 11:40 AM
Rattler...my #1 woodie....what category, I have NO idea.

Sorry...flashback to Robb Alvey's movie.

Rattler looks like such a great ride.  I really need to get down to Texas and hit all 3 SF parks!

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Bomb Squad Technician

If you see me running, try and keep up!

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Thursday, November 8, 2001 11:54 AM
I thought Rattler was a Pierce, I'm wrong I guess. I have always seen pictures of the ride and the rocks and stuff, looks very appealing.
Never mind, it is a Pierce, I checked rcdb, RCCA(?) is that the outfit?
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Thursday, November 8, 2001 12:07 PM
Go to RCCA.com and you'll see that they had a large part to do with its design and construction
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Thursday, November 8, 2001 5:59 PM
Lol, Very well said, Peabody. I hate to see coasters that are great at one point get tamed. It's probably even worse for those who rode it before it was tamed, and then came back to find it in shambles. That nagging feeling of what could've been there must really suck.

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The roughest part of a B&M is having to get off.

*** This post was edited by RagingBullGuy on 11/8/2001. ***

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