The Voyage will be first to use The Gravity Group's new Timberliner trains

Posted Monday, November 9, 2009 10:27 PM | Contributed by Jeff

[Ed. note: The following is a press release. -J]

The #1 Wooden Roller Coaster in the World will feel faster and a lot smoother in 2010, thanks to a new set of trains, engineered by the same team who designed the record-breaking coaster.

“When the engineers at The Gravity Group told us they designed Timberliner trains with The Voyage in mind, they definitely got our attention” says Holiday World & Splashin' Safari president Will Koch. “The Voyage is extreme and we want to keep it that way season after season. These new trains will help a lot.”

Koch says the Timberliner’s wheels are engineered to steer through curves as they move along the coaster track, creating a smoother ride and less wear and tear on the track. The seats are ergonomically designed for greater comfort, including an exclusive seat-suspension design. The padded seats will also accommodate wider-hipped and longer-legged riders.

“Since the trains will ‘track’ better, riders will experience a much smoother Voyage,” says Koch. “That also means there will be less ‘rolling friction,’ so the ride will quite possibly be even faster when it reopens in May.” The Gravity Group’s engineers tested a prototype Timberliner at Holiday World last spring.

The Voyage is 1.2 miles long and provides a record 24.2 seconds of “air time.” This steel-structure wooden coaster, ranked the #1 Wooden Coaster in the World by Amusement Today for three years running, includes a record five underground tunnels (some are double, creating eight “underground moments”), a series of dramatic drops (including a 66-degree angle of descent on the first drop), three 90-degree banked turns, and multiple track crossovers.

The Voyage’s two new trains, which will each seat 28 riders, will be manufactured in Indianapolis. The Gravity Group is headquartered in Cincinnati.

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Monday, November 9, 2009 10:35 PM

Nice! :o)

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Monday, November 9, 2009 10:41 PM

This is great news! Hades, you're next!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:20 AM

Should read, First to announce using Timberliners. Its very very possible other parks opening much earlier might have them on their rides for next season. :)

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 11:26 AM

There was a rumor of Knoebels' Twister receiving Millennium Flyer trains from GCI nezxt year but I wonder if its actually Timberliners?

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 12:01 PM

Mamoosh said:
There was a rumor of Knoebels' Twister receiving Millennium Flyer trains from GCI nezxt year but I wonder if its actually Timberliners?

Don't know, I know Dick don't like Seat Belts at all. MF have belts

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 12:30 PM

Don't get me wrong, I'm completely open minded about them. However, has anyone actually been on one of these things?


What about the safety device, how will that play. Great that it accommodates fatter people, but what is the ride experience like. Remember, B&M once made wood coaster trains too.

I have the utmost respect for the Gravity Group, but we don't know (from released information) if these trains are designed from an enthusiast post of view, or a park owners perspective.

Again, curious to see the cheerleading with (at least from what I have seen) little to NO information about what these things are actually like.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 1:16 PM

I think part of the reason everyone is so excited, is because the guys at Gravity Group are enthusiasts themselves. I doubt they would build something that they themselves wouldn't want to ride.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 2:39 PM

CreditWh0re said:
Don't get me wrong, I'm completely open minded about them. However, has anyone actually been on one of these things?


What about the safety device, how will that play. Great that it accommodates fatter people, but what is the ride experience like. Remember, B&M once made wood coaster trains too.

I have the utmost respect for the Gravity Group, but we don't know (from released information) if these trains are designed from an enthusiast post of view, or a park owners perspective.

Again, curious to see the cheerleading with (at least from what I have seen) little to NO information about what these things are actually like.

My Brother and some others were privileged to have sat in the trains. He said they were very comfortable and sitting next to a person of equal size their shoulders did not touch. Anyone who knows us, Know's we are large. To the point of not being able to ride Intamin hypers, drop towers ect. Rob said it was comfortable. They did sizing of the bar and noticed what fits large is a problem for smaller and vice vs and actually redesigned the bar on the spot. Putting skinny rail people in and large people. A woman with wide hips was there. as well.

Rob said they were very well padded equivalent or better than a MF train and that the seat was concaved where the padding actually came into the middle (Kinda a form fit divider without being a hard hindering divider like the PTC.

Safety of course was NUMBER ONE PRIORITY, As they said, Their kids will be riding them. Im pretty sure Mooshing will be significantly reduced and some of the airtime that PTC bars allow (Expecially for larger people. Looking at it, It kinda reminds me a little of Phantoms revenge bars but that may not be the case.

From the preview and sizing's both parties agreed the meeting was beneficiary GK got to fine tune measurements and stuff and were going to change some things. Enthusiast got to see, sit in and find out about the future of wood coaster trains :)


It will be a different ride. Im certain better in many areas and something may be missing in areas your formerly hated, Or loved, Based on your taste. I love Mooshing but I also hate having my ribs cracked by a low PTC SIDEBOARD.

Sorry to sound so negative on PTC but IMHO they have nobody to blame but themselves..

I easily believe that coasters like Beast probably have close too if not more than a hundred grand in maintainence and grease a year. Every three years would pay off a TL train and track could last four plus years instead of some places replaced twice a year.

HUM?

Last edited by Charles Nungester, Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:00 PM
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:17 PM

Thanks Chuck for your second hand review. I wonder if Cedar Fair would consider putting these trains on SOB. GG could have a goldmine on their hands.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:28 PM

delan said:
Thanks Chuck for your second hand review. I wonder if Cedar Fair would consider putting these trains on SOB. GG could have a goldmine on their hands.

SOB IMHO is a afterthought. If they plan to keep coasters like Ghost Rider, Beast, Mean Streak, Timber Wolf running smooth. Id certainly be doing the number crunching into the savings vs cost. EXPECIALLY if the existing trains are wore out. Like they are on several of them.

SOB, Well, I've been told nothing and its still out my back window.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 3:47 PM

Charles Nungester said:


Every three years would pay off a TL train and track could last four plus years instead of some places replaced twice a year.

And what is this claim based on? Until the trains actually run for a year, how can anyone claim to know what the savings will be?

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 4:16 PM

Hopefully, Knotts is on the list for these!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 4:40 PM

We don't know what kind of savings there will be. But we can look to Great Coasters, particularly to their coasters at Hersheypark, for some direct comparison.

Hersheypark had GCI build them the Wildcat, which ran PTC trains. Then, GCI came back and built the Lightning Racer. Both rides built by GCI, both rides have force profiles that are reasonably similar, so the design and the construction should be comparable between the two rides. Both rides feature GCI's industry-leading build quality, so the comparison between the rides should be somewhat fair.

My understanding is that the Wildcat had to be re-tracked at least twice in the time that Lightning Racer had to have less than twenty linear feet of track replaced. Clearly, Hershey crunched the numbers and determined that it was in their best interest to put the GCI trains on the Wildcat.

Now that's the difference between a PTC train and a GCI train that has a short wheelbase and can track reasonably well. I happen to know, however, that during the design phase for the Timberliner trains, a number of configurations were modeled, including the GCI train configuration. Gravitykraft tested, and then rejected the single-bench trailered approach, noting that while it does represent an improvement in tracking accuracy, the actual tracking error...that is, the degree to which the road wheels are not parallel to the rail...is still significant, especially compared to the steered-wheel configuration of the Timberliner train.

So if converting from a PTC train to a GCI train can result in a significant reduction in wear and damage to the track, does it not stand to reason that the Timberliner might actually be even more compliant to the track than the GCI train? And if that is the case, would the Timberliner not potentially run better than the GCI train? And that means that if the GCI train results in an improvement in maintenance requirements over a PTC train, could we not expect *at least* a similar improvement in converting from PTC to GravityKraft?

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 6:08 PM

All well said, RideMan...

But it looks to me from this picture on Gravity Group's blog (http://thegravitygroup.com/gravitycast/wp-content/uploads/voyage_timberliner.jpg) that they're single bench trailered trains?

And not the steered wheel trains here: http://thegravitygroup.com/gravitycast/wp-content/uploads/splinter-car.jpg

Is the render incorrect? Or will the actual trains be different?

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 6:13 PM

It is my understanding that it is the same. There is only so much you can show in a rendering.

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 6:15 PM

True, but IMO that's either a bad modeling job (making one row and simply repeating the form...

Or it distinctively/deceivingly looks single bench. haha

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 6:29 PM

Fun said:


Charles Nungester said:


Every three years would pay off a TL train and track could last four plus years instead of some places replaced twice a year.

And what is this claim based on? Until the trains actually run for a year, how can anyone claim to know what the savings will be?

Well it is a assumption But coasters like Lightning Racer and Thunderhead have had very little track replacement in 9 years and the Gravity Kraft should wear even less because the trains are significantly .lighter than both PTC and MF trains. Conneaut Lake used to claim their wood maintainability on the Blue Streak at about 30 g a year and thats using under the table Amish carpenters. Now consider they basically retrack a Blue Streak worth of track on Beast every year with Union carpenters. Add it up! They've been basically re tracking from the second tunnel to second lift and the helix almost every year and some of that mid section gets done twice a season. Im guessing about 2500 ft of track here.

I didn't say any park had too. I said they should consider crunching the numbers, Where its worth it. They should, Where its not............

PTC has a wonderful product in the fact that all parts are replaceable. I think it was about 25 years after the trains were run on Beast, that I began to see NEW Chassis and that was only on some cars. Even then, some of the ORIGINAL wheels were being used. They are not poorly made, However they are 1920s technology even PTC modified by making the rear axels articulate. Beast and Racers trains are OLD style that have fixed axels on all four corners and DO NOT TURN.or even slide very well :)

Last edited by Charles Nungester, Tuesday, November 10, 2009 6:31 PM
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 6:44 PM

Konstantine said:
All well said, RideMan...

But it looks to me from this picture on Gravity Group's blog (http://thegravitygroup.com/gravitycast/wp-content/uploads/voyage_timberliner.jpg) that they're single bench trailered trains?

And not the steered wheel trains here: http://thegravitygroup.com/gravitycast/wp-content/uploads/splinter-car.jpg

Is the render incorrect? Or will the actual trains be different?

You can see in the videos of Raven testing, The one where its in the station, They roll it forward. Even GCII MF trains have one guide wheel and do not turn, They pivot with the train. Timberliners have *Two Guide Wheels on EACH SIDE* connected by a drag link that actually turn as the track turns. Not slam into it and then follow it, A ton of the problem with heavy lateral force woodies like SOB, Ghost Rider, Texas Giant, Mean Streak ect is. Keeping the track IN GUAGE. Didn't TG have a car come out of the track this or last year? A big reason for the gauge getting spread out wider is the latteral forces the trains themselves exert on them. Expecially when they can't steer. As Rideman pointed out the difference in maintainence vs a GCI with PTC's and a GCII with MF trains is huge. I'd love to see the numbers between Roar East and West or Gwazi Vs Lightning racer on cost to maintain. I bet its significant.

Chuck, hoping to see pics of those visiting IAAPA sitting in the new Timberliner. From those who have, The review is FANTASTIC!

Fun, I understand your questioning and I even believe it might hurt some of the ride forces that you come to love. You really don't know how many people I've seen ride Voyage and say thats the roughest coaster I've ever ridden. It's not rough at all IMHO its demanding as HELL! and being slapped around in a plywood box is TOO MUCH FOR MANY

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009 9:44 PM

Hopefully the change won't hurt the ride as drastically as the change to Wildcat. That went from an intense, hardcore ride to a tame, family ride. I say they should keep one of the PTC's around for special events. :)

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