Washington Post Reporter Writing About Coaster Walkers


I'm a writer at The Washington Post, and I'm working on a story about wooden roller coasters and the workers charged with walking them every morning.

I'm looking to talk to people who have this job; people who appreciate those who do it; people with other thoughts, context, etc., re: wooden coasters and their walkers.

Thanks so much. I can be reached at johnsond@washpost.com ... and I'll hope to hear something from someone -- or many someones -- soon.


I've walked up the llifthill of Nightmare at the now shuttered Joyland in Wichita. Does that count?

I survived a Japanese typhoon and the Togo flat ride of death!!!!!!
The ride ops get to walk the lift and some of the track of their coasters, but I think what this guy wants is the carpenters who walk the entire length of the track to look for problems before the first train of the day is sent out.

What a fantastic job that would be...unless you are scared of heights.

eightdotthree's avatar
My first call would be to an amusement park with a wooden coaster. Most of the people here only wish they could do that sort of thing for a living. :)

You might want to try talking to somebody at Canobie Lake in Salem, NH. They have an old classic coaster called the Yankee Cannonball that's been operating since 1935.

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

Look at the members list of this site. Look Up Chelshire Cat or chelshirecat

He's your man!

Just check out my profile pic. I've walked the entire tracks of Thunderhead and the Rumbler. I never really felt scared or uneasy doing it, just made sure that I made sure of my footing. I never had a load of tools or had have to crawl around. On the Rumbler I swept snow off the rails and walkways thats about it.

I'd love to try and walk an older wood coaster since the walkways are smaller and the hand rails are alot lower.

You should email her coasterpunk. I am sure she'll use you as a reference considering who you work for. ;)
rollergator's avatar
Not sure if this is who Chuck was thinking about but...

Haven't heard from coastercat (Jeff H.) in awhile. I believe he's "walking" the Silverwoodies these days....probably doing some carpentry and mechanic work along the way, LOL.

Why not contact Six Flags America? At the Batwing Media preview in 01', we saw the workers walking the track of Wild One at 6 a.m. in the morning. It's been too long, but we may have seen the workers on Roar as well.
The article is in today's paper.

Thanks, Paula

Paula Werne
Holiday World

rollergator's avatar
Those guys at SFA have been doing a "bang-up job", so to speak...having just gotten back from a trip there, Roar and esp. Wild One are in very capable hands...

Of course, Blue Streak during the C-Mania trip was running better than I have EVER seen it run before...

...and The Voyage, well, it is what it is... ;)

Many thanks to ALL of those who care for our favortie (wooden) coasters...they require more effort, but they pay back that extra effort many times over... :)

Oh, and thanks to Darragh for bringing to light the critical nature of the job these people perform... ;)

^ I was just there on Saturday. Wild One is in great shape. Roar, on the other hand, while not the worst coaster ever, it certainly is in some of the worst shape it's ever been in. I think it's about time for a retracking, along with some GCI Millennium Flyers :)

coastin' since 1985

rollergator's avatar
^Having just ridden Roar West at SpringCon...I think I'll take the PTCs and Roar East. A little rougher perhaps, (not much though, if at all) but an infinitely more aggressive (i.e., fun) ride....

Then again, I am not a big fan of "tame" wooden coasters - unless they're designed to be kiddies/family rides... ;)

^Have you ridden Roar east lately Gator?I swear my last lap on Mind Eraser was smoother.

WO runs smooth as glass for it's age but Roar just runs like complete crap with the only smooth part being in the tunnel section.Stick some M-Flyers on it like HP did with Wildcat this year & it'll be good as new.

rollergator's avatar
LOL, got a few laps in on Roar East just about two weeks ago. Smooth? No, but not overly rough either. Aggressive, yes, defintitely. But I admit to being one that craves intensity in wooden coasters WAY more than smoothness. Might be why I generally ride in the back. :)

If I say a wooden coaster is "too rough for me", that typically means that even any *fun-tensity* is overwhelmed by the roughness (see, Psyclone). Roar West wasn't NEARLY as intense as Roar East, and was relatively speaking, a more boring ride. Smoothness I *might* give to the West-coast version, by a narrow margin, but that's not enough compensation...for me at least. The M-Flyers reduce wear and tear, but I'm beginning to move into the camp of the PTC/GCI fans as far as RIDE quality is concerned....won't know for myself how Ifeel until next season at the earliest...whether that's at Hershey or elswhere... ;)

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