Walking down from Gatekeeper at Cedar Point

Monday, June 14, 2021 9:41 AM
Jeff's avatar

I'm not going to post this as "news," since this happens from time to time. (Have I ever told the story about walking down Superman after the chain broke at Six Flags America? 🙄) But the photos are interesting because apparently they have everyone strap on a belt and tie off with the steep lift, which makes sense.

Photos: https://www.cleveland19.com/2021/06/13/guests-escorted-off-cedar-po...tops-hill/

Fortunately the train is near the top, so I imagine they can winch it over the top, but what a pain in the ass that has to be to reinstall the chain. I wonder how it's done, and if they need a crane.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, June 14, 2021 10:56 AM

The lift doesn't seem any steeper than a regular staircase by the naked eye, but it definitely would make sense to have those safety procedures in place just for guests' reassurance.

Edit: found online that its a 40deg lift, which is right about a standard rise/run on a stair tread.

Last edited by cmwein, Monday, June 14, 2021 10:58 AM
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Monday, June 14, 2021 11:10 AM
Jeff's avatar

I forget the rise/run in inches for standard home construction, but it works out to 36.5 degrees or something like that. I think the distance until you stop falling if you trip is the bigger concern than the angle.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, June 14, 2021 11:11 AM

Precisely.

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Monday, June 14, 2021 12:36 PM

Must be an illusion as it sure seems steeper than a normal stair when I see it to the side while riding it

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Monday, June 14, 2021 1:14 PM

Something, something, "security theater"....

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Monday, June 14, 2021 1:21 PM

I wonder if the fall protection for this is a steepness of staircase thing or a Cedar Fair thing.

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Monday, June 14, 2021 2:56 PM

I think as Jeff said it is a distance thing. If you fall on a normal staircase at the most vertical distance is 10-12', here it may be 100' or more and less survivable.

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Monday, June 14, 2021 3:00 PM

I am unsure my legs would work on an open-air staircase 150' above the ground, so tying me off is the least they could do.

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Monday, June 14, 2021 3:10 PM

While it probably wouldn't be excessively steep, because of the height and my poor balance I think I would like to be connected to the structure if I'm walking down it in that situation. Personal preference....

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Monday, June 14, 2021 3:59 PM
Jeff's avatar

On my Superman walk-down, they had staff in between us. That lift, eyeballing it, looks closer to 30 degrees, and it wasn't particularly scary, I guess knowing the guy in front of me would break my fall. 😀 On Gatekeeper, there's something psychologically weird about the width of the steps. Being tied off would be fine with me.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, June 14, 2021 6:44 PM

When I was a geeky coaster enthusiast teenager I always said I wanted to have some sort of walkdown. Now it seems a little less desirable, but I also feel like my inner geek would still be psyched to do it.

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Monday, June 14, 2021 6:50 PM
Jeff's avatar

I did a walk down on Everest, which is funny because it's just a conventional stairwell in a block tower. Then at the bottom you get out under this vast, open mountain, with tubes of rock work held up by coaster supports. That's was wild.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, June 14, 2021 7:53 PM
OhioStater's avatar

BrettV said:

When I was a geeky coaster enthusiast teenager I always said I wanted to have some sort of walkdown. Now it seems a little less desirable, but I also feel like my inner geek would still be psyched to do it.

Cedar Point has a thing for you.

EDIT: Nevermind It says they take the elevator up. Weak! Ha.

The only ride I got to walk down from was Firechaser Express at Dollywood. I think we were about 20 feet off the ground on a mid-course brake. Not very thrilling but we scored free quick-queue thingies (whatever they call it there).

Last edited by OhioStater, Monday, June 14, 2021 8:25 PM

Promoter of fog.

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Monday, June 14, 2021 9:12 PM
Jeff's avatar

Looks like both Busch parks aren't offering the drop coaster climbs anymore. That's a bummer.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Monday, June 14, 2021 9:23 PM

Jeff said:

I did a walk down on Everest, which is funny because it's just a conventional stairwell in a block tower. Then at the bottom you get out under this vast, open mountain, with tubes of rock work held up by coaster supports. That's was wild.

You sparked my memory that I did have a walkdown once on Jurassic Park River Adventure at IoA. Right before the drop there was a ride stop or e stop and we had to walk down. But it was a few steps and then into a staircase that could have easily passed for the stairs in my parking garage at work

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Monday, June 14, 2021 11:10 PM

As for re-installing the chain, I know from watching them do it with Magnum in 1989. IIRC, Magnum's chain weighs 7 tons. They attached the end of chain to a cable and ran it up and back down and used a tow truck to pull the lift chain through and once it was back at bottom, they connected both ends. No crane needed.

I am not sure what the differences are between the chains used on Arrow and B&M. Chain breakage seems pretty common. I remember when Chang's broke on 2nd day of operation...with me on it. Heard and felt a loud bang as the train slammed into place and then metal scraping metal...even without being able to see, I knew what it was. When a ride-op got to us and I asked "was it the chain?", he replied, "you'll see" and smiled. Of course, once I was back down to station, I had my camera out taking photos. :)


Jerry - Magnum Fanatic
Famous Dave's- 206 restaurants - 35 states - 2 countries

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Tuesday, June 15, 2021 9:24 AM
Jeff's avatar

That's what I remember as well... the abrupt and loud sound of the train landing in the anti-rollbacks (moving backward a few inches), then the sound of the chain moving very fast through the nylon lined channel under the train. I was in the second to last seat, and was not surprised when I looked over my shoulder at the chain piling up at the bottom. Even funnier was the first ride op to come around, a teenage kid who literally jumped back when he saw the chain. Then he did a little shake like a sprinter getting ready to run, and started sprinting up the stairs. He got about a third of the way up before he had to stop, exhausted.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Tuesday, June 15, 2021 10:26 AM

I assumed it was because of the steepness that the harnesses were needed. When we did walkdowns on Magnum (almost 20 years ago - I am old!), we didn't have to use them. It was supposed to be an employee, two guests, another employee, two guest, etc. But when the power outage happened in 2003 and there were 5 or so coasters that needed to be evaced all at once, that restriction wasn't followed and it was like employee, 6-8 guests, employee, etc.

As of yesterday, the train was still up there. There was a crane, maybe two onsite since the afternoon it happened. Given the angle of the lift and the weight of the train, I'm not sure how they approach getting it over the top. Thought a winch at first, but whatever it is would have to be pretty beefy. I'm wondering if there's any way to just leave it up there and get the new chain installed and let the new chain carry it up. It would seem like that would be challenging/impossible since accessing the chain dogs while it's up there would be hard, but I'm not really sure. I'd like to know more about the process.

There was some discussion on another forum about why it took so long to start the Gatekeeper walkdown. Someone suggested they had to secure the train which sounded like bunk since there are anti-rollbacks under every single car on a B&M. I know you do have to wait for supervision and maybe management to show up, but I imagine they were there pretty quick with the chain breaking. So I'm not sure why the evac didn't start within 15-20 minutes. Maybe just getting enough people together, getting the harnesses, etc.


-Matt

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Tuesday, June 15, 2021 2:26 PM

I know when riding both Gatekeeper and Valravn you can see signs near the top of the lift that say something along the lines of "if evacuation occurs beyond this point train must be secured". Not sure if the front of the train was beyond that or not.

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