Zamperla announces Lightning LSM roller coaster for Playland in Vancouver

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

From the Zamperla press release:

The Pacific National Exhibition (PNE), owners of Playland Amusement Park, announced the purchase of Canada’s fastest launch coaster, supplied by Zamperla. This $9 million CDN project caps off nearly a decade of growth since the Thunderbolt opened and highlights the development of the Roller Coaster Business Unit: today Zamperla has a dedicated team of engineers and its own steel fabrication facility for track and columns.

“This is an incredibly exciting day,” said PNE President and CEO Shelley Frost. “Despite the financial effects of the COVID pandemic, the PNE has displayed its resiliency and innovation by not only surviving the pandemic but by pivoting our business throughout it to emerge in a place to invest in this spectacular ride and into Playland’s future. We know that the new coaster will be an impressive addition to Playland’s ride roster, and we look forward to introducing it to our guests in 2024.”

“We’re very excited to work with the Pacific National Exhibition on one of their largest investments. This LSM (Linear Synchronous Motor) coaster will be the fastest launch coaster in Canada,” added Michael Coleman, Zamperla’s North American Sales Manager. “Playland and Zamperla have a long partnership, and their team started discussions with us over a year ago about their long-term planning and helping them grow the park’s offerings. This year we opened a Gryphon (Skybender at the park), which was a huge success and allowed Playland to market the first ride of its type in the world.”

This new LSM launch coaster will occupy the previous location of the retired Corkscrew coaster, and its experience will perfectly complement the park’s current line-up of rides and attractions.

The attraction will catapult forward riders at speeds of up to 72 km/h (45 mph) over 380 m (1,246 ft) of the track. It uses LSM’s to accelerate the train in seconds. In addition, this project will feature our brand-new Lightning train.

“The Lightning represents the next step of roller coaster design and we will unveil the vehicle at IAAPA EXPO in Orlando, the most important trade show for the attractions industry.” said Adam Sandy, Zamperla’s Roller Coaster Sales and Marketing Director.

“Our engineers have worked to make sure this is the best roller coaster train in the world. We thought about every square centimeter of the Lightning, from the bottom of the wheels to the top of the seat. The Zamperla engineering team kept our core design values at the forefront: safety, ergonomics, the total cost of ownership...and of course pure fun for thrillseekers!”

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There's an interesting thread on Reddit about this. The POV and renderings are almost identical to Senzafiato, an Intamin accelerator that operated at Miragica until the park shuttered in 2018. Is Zamperla now getting into the refurbishing Intamin accelerator coaster business? We know that TTD's track was sent to Genoa...

I'm just not buying that Zamperla is going to be responsible for the TTD retrofit. I'll believe it when I see it.

More signs do point to it not being Intamin with this retrofit. A few weeks back I was also having a discussion with 'someone' about the project, and that they were concerned by whom was being thrown around in discussions that would be doing the work, so now it makes sense if that's the case.

Pretty wild, though. It just seems more risky for the park, but if Zamperla or whomever are taking on all responsibility, warranty or whatever else after the fact... Maybe not so bad outside of the financial risk for Cedar Fair?

At this point, I wonder if Intamin just simply declined any rework on Dragster, which is why they went elsewhere for the refurb. I kind of find it hard to believe that their rumored history with Intamin/Sandor or whatever is the sole reason they went elsewhere.

Time shall tell.

Jeff's avatar

I mean, it could have something to do with the water ride that nearly killed a couple of people on the other side of the lagoon. Or Xcelerator. Or Perilous Plunge.


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Raven-Phile's avatar

It's too easy. I can't bring myself to say it.

Or Maverick.

Or Intimidator 305.

It's all hearsay at this point, but if Zamperla is involved with this project, it's a curious decision. (ElToroRyan says his sources confirm it so we can take it as fact.) I know a couple people who work in ride maintenance and they have nothing good to say about Zamperla. Their rides are built cheaply, break down constantly, and their parts support is borderline incompetent. Should the rumors be true, this screams lowest bidder. I don't believe their new rolling stock has been put on any ride yet, so they're going to debut it on the third fastest coaster on earth?

Or maybe only bidder? The list of companies that could do a project like that is pretty short.

I’m not sure which is worse… picking Zamperla from a list of qualified bidders, or not taking the hint that Zamperla is the only company willing to take on the work.

I feel like Cedar Fair generally plays it conservative these days as far as envelope pushing stuff. I can't imagine they would have signed on for anything questionable with this, especially with the 2021 accident and overall history of the ride.

Given their history with Intamin, I just don't see them letting anybody do something that isn't guaranteed to be a solid job.


I just don't see them letting anybody do something that isn't guaranteed to be a solid job.

But who IS that someone? Literally the only company with experience building coasters this tall and fast is Intamin. And that track record is far from solid.

"I've been born again my whole life." -SAVED

When CP first announced the project my mind immediately went to Mack. While they haven't done anything bigger than a hyper coaster, they have a ton of experience with launched coasters and solid engineering. Obviously my intuition doesn't mean they wanted to or were even asked, but I'd think they would be more qualified than Zamperla.

(Out of curiosity while writing the above, I searched RCDB to see if Zamperla has ever worked with LSMs before, and I don't believe they have!)


But who IS that someone?

I guess that's why my original thought was the entire thing would be scrapped in favor of five new restaurants and a sitting area. Make the enthusiasts mad and bring in more dining revenue all at the same time. I'm still genuinely surprised they wanted to deal with the hassle of keeping any of it.

Jeff's avatar

I agree. I would have just let it go if it was up to me. That's not a popular sentiment among enthusiasts, but the park would be just fine without it.

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There’s still a chance the coaster launches you up to a revolving restaurant at the top…

Supposedly its going around the internets that Premier will be announcing a unique partnership with an "industry legend" to reintroduce a legacy attraction on a grander scale at IAAPA.


Jeff's avatar

Premier could do it, but if the trains are anything at all like those on Ice Breaker, it would be a disaster. Those things are just awful. Their track record with restraints in general isn't great.

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HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

I feel like Intamin finally got their train design right with Velocicoaster. Unless you're short and don't like the taint violation when getting in or out.

But I think we can all appreciate it a time or two...

I just thought of Montezoomas Revenge also fitting the bill for the Premier rumor for its overhaul/refurb.

That makes a bit more sense than Dragster.

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