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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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 1:11 AM

Konstantine, as I understand it, the Splinter chassis is identical to a Timberliner lead coach. And both are based on the LoCoSuMo design (Indiana Beach) but designed to solve an unexpected problem with those trains: they don't track well going straight. Since LoCoSuMo doesn't have any straight track, it isn't a major problem on that ride.

Now Chuck has clearly seen more of the Timberliner than I have (mostly I've seen drawings, diagrams, and the test footage from the Raven) but from what I have seen, I can tell you that at the very least, the axle design is about as right as it can possibly be. I'm a little leery of putting the seats over the axles, especially after riding Diamondback and noting how that ride differs from, say, Nitro, just because all the seats are between axles and the cars are a little longer. But I think they've got a configuration that should work pretty well.

I just wonder what I'm going to hold on to! :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 2:11 AM

I thought Voyage ran 3 PTC trains. The article says they are getting 2 of these new trains.

So is the Voyage now a 2 train operation permanentally or will they add a 3rd in the future?

If I missed a response to this, sorry.


My favorite MJ tune: "Billie Jean" which I have been listening to alot now. RIP MJ.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 8:50 AM
Jason Hammond's avatar

There wasn't any official response as far as I know. But, I did comment on it just before this thread closed. It's the las post.


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 10:01 AM
DaveStroem's avatar

One of the release/news story quoted Will as saying that the 3rd train did not add much to capacity. I don't understand his logic, but am willing to give him the benefit of doubt.


Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 10:24 AM

It's kind of odd, really...

Loading the PTC trains is complicated enough, what with stowing loose stuff, getting people in, digging out and fastening the seat belts, setting the lap bars, and then checking everything, that from the time the second train arrives in the station until it is ready to go, the first train has progressed far enough that it will have to wait for the third train to fully enter the station before it can leave the safety brake. In other words, except during HoliWood Nights ERT, if they are running three trains, they end up stacking two of them, if only for a few seconds.

When running two trains, the first train will arrive just as the second train is leaving the station.

Of course, if loading the new trains is as fast as it's supposed to be, it might be possible to actually gain some efficiency with a third train. But that's a big "if". Never underestimate how slow some people can be getting in and out of a coaster seat!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 10:56 AM

This will be interesting. I find it a bit surprising that 4 year old trains are being replaced, though there is a market for used trains.

I also find it a bit funny, as I think about loading, about the length of the voyage and only having two trains, considering I remember the days of Blue Streak at Cedar Point rarely stacking and when Gemini routinely ran 6 trains without stacking. My how things have changed, both with the public and seat belts.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 11:44 AM

Bucket seats are not my favorite for experiencing airtime. I hope its just as good as it is now.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 12:10 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

(begin sarcasm)

Oh. My. God! You're right, RavenTTD! I sure hope Will and the folks at Gravity Group -- self-admitted coaster enthusiasts -- considered that before committing to the new trains!

(end sarcasm)

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 2:58 PM
Pagoda Gift Shop's avatar

Okay, I'll bite. What difference does a bucket seat make? If it's airtime, you're going up into the restraint no matter what, right? Won't the negative G's be the same?

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 3:50 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

Correct. Negative Gs exist regardless of how one is restrained or what kind of vehicle one is in. You'll feel the sensation of weightlessness if restrained with a lap bar and seatbelt, buzzbar, OSTR...heck, even if you're held down to the train with duct tape, bungee cords, handcuffs, a mouth gag and black roofing tar!

And let's be serious: I strongly suspect that while it may feel like your rising way up off the seat in those extreme airtime moments it is not really as much as it seems.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 4:41 PM

Moosh! Leave the the S&M outta this! This is a family site! Keep it PG-13 please! ;)

That sounds about right on describing negative G's.


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

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 6:17 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

S&M? I see no mention of feather boas and fishnet stockings!

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 7:15 PM

Mamoosh said--

Negative Gs exist regardless of how one is restrained or what kind of vehicle one is in. (...)

'Moosh, I beg to differ, and this is one of the rather contentious issues that very few people seem to really understand. Although the best explanation of how to deal with it came from a 9-year-old kid on the Villain.

Negative G's only exist under particular conditions...a negative-G force only exists in a condition where the natural freefall associated with zero-G is acted on by an outside force. For the coaster, that means a negative-G force only exists when the train is riding on its up-stops, and this is where the effect on the rider is very critically controlled by the nature of the seat and the restraint.

When the train begins to exert a negative-G force, the rider experiences a zero-G freefall until the rider is redirected by the restraint, or the train catches up. The practical upshot of this is that if the ride generates a *significant* negative-G acceleration, the rider will be far more comfortable if the restraint allows for some motion. If you are pinned to the seat by the lap bar, you will immediately experience the -G force and end up with bruised thighs. if you have a couple of inches of clearance, you might not even get far enough to touch the lap bar at all. This is, of course, why I, a self-proclaimed airtime lover, don't much care for El Toro.

Or, as the aforementioned 9-year-old put it, "it doesn't hurt nearly as much if your lap bar isn't so tight!"

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Wednesday, November 11, 2009 11:18 PM

Mamoosh said:
Correct. Negative Gs exist regardless of how one is restrained or what kind of vehicle one is in.

Yes you will have negative g's but depending on the seat it can feel awkward or even uncomfortable. At a bare minimum it may not feel like I am free falling 100 feet without being inside a coaster train like the first hill in the back does now.

I never said they should consider my opinion to change the trains just like I am not going to consider your posts when I make up my mind if this makes it a better ride or not.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009 4:49 PM
Mamoosh's avatar

RavenTTD said:
...just like I am not going to consider your posts when I make up my mind if this makes it a better ride or not.

As well you shouldn't! The only way to know for sure how these trains effect Voyage is to experience them. It just makes me laugh how many people complain about PTCs (hallow divider, don't track well, lab bar keeps lowering) and then when something new is offered suddenly everyone is up in arms and worried the ride'll be ruined.

I, for one, have faith that Will and the guys at Gravity Group know what they're doing.

Last edited by Mamoosh, Thursday, November 12, 2009 4:50 PM
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Friday, November 13, 2009 6:28 PM
phoenixphan :-)'s avatar

Voyage is built by Gravity Group correct? Then who would know better than the ride manufacturer what trains will track best on their coasters? This is why I feel that GCI's with the Millenium Flyers are great rides... they know the demands of their designs, and are not placing square pegs is round holes.


Real men ride wood... coasters that is!
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