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Musical Pete

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Posts posted by Musical Pete

  1. Don't worry, you're not going mad - the photos were infact taken in May and it reopened in June.

     

    Did you enjoy?...

     

    People occasionally say that the track that passes closely over the lift is gradually getting lower - what these people (who are young) fail to realise is that they are simply growing taller. I mustn't have grown much in recent years, as it's always been the same height for me.

  2. Nice report and great photos.

     

    A couple of points - South entrance is not open this year and may not open again (however you can still exit here). PB are moving more toward the themepark regime, hence the payed admission from next year. Times are changing and they need to move with them. Unlike many, I feel it's for the best - but unlike may I also think outside the box, see the bigger picture and don't think totally as an enthusiast even though I clearly am one, and love the place.

     

    Also, Grand National has recently been having some lifthill problems - the top bullwheel (return wheel) of the left track was recently replaced and the chain didn't seem to like it as it snapped. It was repaired and the coaster reopened, but it makes sense for the current closure to be related to it. They don't close any ride for no reason - for instance, they were severely peed off recently when they couldn't open the Big One because a section of new track had been damaged by the fabricators - they had to play around to get it to fit the structure, and once installed its profile was badly warped (the hill in the middle of your 12th photo). When the trains were being tested, they went over the track with a jolt far too severe for public operation, so they set about cutting, reshaping and rewelding the track in situ to make it safe for operation asap. They sorted it out and it is now running fine (a little bumpier over the hill in question, but a safe bump) but it missed the first few weekends of operation and PB were not happy at all, as it is ofcourse a signature ride, as is Grand National. If there's a problem, they work to sort it asap - they want all rides open!

     

    As an aside, they are also not too happy about the operational problems the Grand National has had since its new system was installed by Kumbak - they are constantly trying to sort it, and one mananger has even said that "Kumbak will not coming back!" because of the problems they've caused.

     

    A post a little over the top for a trip report topic maybe, but I just want to make it clear that PB are not the evil, greedy, heartless people they're made out to be these days. They want everything operational but like every park, sometimes have problems with rides and do their best to get them working again. They never shut a ride just because they don't want to run it.

     

    I hope you get to go back soon and ride the Nash - despite the lengthy parking operation in the station, it has been running all four trains and in terms of the portion of ride from the top of the lift to the final brakes, it's running really well, better than it has for a few years - the new trains run a bit freer than the old ones - you even get airtime on the final humps where you didn't get it before. Untrimmed, pure shake, rattle & roll classic coaster fun - tears round like a bat out of hell, lol. I'm glad it's not in a corporate US park! At one time there was six trains, and before that even eight! - however this required trimming and there were brakes before Canal Turn, which would've slowed the second half down quite substantially. These days in terms of speed and forces, it's probably the best it's ever been. PB deserve respect for keeping a wild gem of a ride, truely wild!

  3. Not that I'm in any way an SFMM regular or know anything much about the situation (I live in England and visited the park once in 2005), but I too have wondered about the codes thing since it was posted. Is Alton Towers' monorail the same model/built by the same company? - this operates fine but ofcourse various regulations and codes are different in different countries, and different states in USA's case. Seems a little odd, but not knowing the intricacies of the situation none of us can really talk I suppose.

     

    All I know is that some rides and attractions in operation today do not meet some of the codes which they would have to meet if built new, and as such have been modified in certain ways to partly comply with regulations while not fully adhering to them. For example, the wood coasters at Blackpool do not meet modern safety codes in regards to kinematic (safety) envelope, which is why the cars were rebuilt in 1988 with taller bodies, to make it harder for riders to stick their arms out the side, thus reducing the risk of a rider's hand striking a piece of structure. Also, the handrails/balustrades do not meet the stipulated safe height, those of Grand National for instance by a good foot - at the moment, this is somehow obviously allowable. Safety cables and track crossing platforms were added in recent years to raise safety standards for maintenance personnel, but the handrails remain the original height.

     

    I think in the case of attractions and structures built prior to modern codes and regulations, in most cases it's more a compromise between original state and modern standards rather than pure, out and out closing down. I'm a member of a local model engineering club (we drive live steam trains on an elevated track with 2.5", 3.5" and 5" gauges, and a ground level 7.25" gauge track) and when we've built both a modern road bridge over the 7.25" track (only small, essentially just for members' cars to pass over), and a railway bridge carrying the same track over a small valley, we have had to conform to modern codes - however, for instance, our original road bridge was half the width of the new one, and didn't have as much headroom, but was allowed to operate with paying public as long as we made it clear to passengers that they should not extend their arms or legs out of the train while riding (in railway terms the original was more a short tunnel than an overhead bridge). The only reason we replaced it was that it was old, worn, had started cracking in places and was leading toward becoming unstable due to the heavy truckloads and plant we'd had over it when we had raised the bottom of the site by as much as 2' in places, to lessen the gradient of our main hill leading up to the bridge/tunnel. We'd have preferred to rebuild as per original as we had proven safe operation with such, but as is had to be a completely new build to ensure strength, we had to conform to modern standards and as such now have a short tunnel that could almost fit a full sized tube train through, which as such is now more of an overhead bridge, with a single 7.25" track running down the middle, appearing quite puny as result. lol

     

    Anyway, back to the thread - I'm enjoying every post, every image and every bit of info. It's a real gem.

  4. Wow, fantastic pics - you lucky sucker!

     

    Vettel made perfect use of the terrain there, quite Miller-esque. A unique ride of its time, with separations and fan turns, not forgetting the turntable too.

     

    Something you never get on new coasters is the station atmosphere of the old ones. The typical shed station of modern wood coasters may suit the whole wood theme - which I suppose is a trend these days (almost like it's a cliche, special thing to have an 'old' style coaster in your park because it's made from wood, so wood becomes its theme) - but the old deco stations really set the ride off. Even when quite plain, the old stations still had a charm with their length, overall roof, seperate load/unload and integrated storage. I know the Whippet's station was quite compact but the turntable, and the swooping turns still made it special - that's another aspect I miss; station turns. Cyclone/Texas Tornado at Morecambe had a 180 degree turn straight out of its station, which was part of the building itself and was roofed all the way round. I also loved how it sat right next to the pavement (sidewalk) too, kind of brash - "here I am, come in and ride me!". You know, the station building of PBB's Roller Coaster used to cover the entire first turn before it was reduced to the fairground style station it has today - it even had a tower. This changed when Watson Road was bridged over in the 60s.

     

    Back to the Whippet and its station turns - I love the way they swooped out, diving to the valley floor through the building itself, like an extreme version of Kennywood Racer's turns I suppose. I love the strange claustrophobic feeling old coasters gave when they sent you out of the station through a tight tunnel, or swooped you down between clolse walls etc. You also get that effect somewhat from and old station with a storage track running right to the front, as being level it rises next to you on the slope as you roll out. The modern shed/shack type stations have no character at all, especially when they're just train length, load and unload in the one position (which I understand for capacity reasons and am not necessarily against) and stand like a big plain box above the ground. For me the long, deep, stylish older 'pavilion' stations actually form part of the ride experience. It's a shame that things have become so utilitarian today. In some situations only a small station can be accommodated, but in most cases a longer, more classical one could be built - and could still feature one-stop load/unload, the rear portion of track that would be the unload position could instead be the transfer and storage area. But then today, coasters just don't feel like they used to either - a track that has a profile far too refined running out of a thoughtless shed of a station. But maybe that's just me...

     

    Don't rush through your closet. Take your time, it's well worth it. It's rare to find threads as good as yours and Shane's. Most forums are just made up of what's currently being built, and countless threads where people slate eachother's personal opinions of a ride... hey I think there's always far too many B&M topics on every site as to me that company while being pure genius engineers, as coaster builders miss the plot and are very over rated, but that's just me being me - give me a Racing Whippet or Montana Rusa any day over a Silverstar or Mantis (former very dull, latter very painful!)...

     

    I can almost breathe in the atmosphere. Nothing like the musty air of a treasure filled closet. It's an air of excitement, an air you can smell. Kind of like domestic gas in a way, though the only reason that has a smell is so you can sniff out a leak. LOL

     

    Yeah, I know, I'm a little odd. I'm obsessed with vintage wood coasters afterall - being odd is present by virtue.

  5. Fantastic video - this is what coasters are all about to me. Good old shake, rattle & roll. What you tend to get on modern equivalents are relatively dull hills, too many turns and lots of spine hammering from ledger over-saturation... lol. I suppose the world having to be super safe these days is the culprit there. Track doesn't flex quite enough as it needs to, to dampen vibration these days (except at Blackpool where my favourite woodies are made from rubber ). I've devised a simple way to give the track all the support it needs while allowing it to flex right, but having no engineering qualifications and little math skills, I doubt I'll get to try it out. Oh the good old trial and error, eyeball days...

     

    Yep, the three surviving mobius racers. I've ridden Grand National far too many times, and have ridden Kennywood's Racer a few times too. Gotta get to Mexico one day, even if the coaster has been somewhat tamed. The modern pneumatic check brake clearly shaves away more speed than the original but looking at the way the train cracks like a whip over a couple of those drops in your video, it is indeed probably a good thing. It probably rides like a bigger Grand National whose speed has increased very slightly with the new cars - very powerful negative force over warped circular hills, with mere 2.25" safety wheels. I have an old one on my shelf.

     

    You know, the Blackpool oldies have no footings as such - the legs sit on a wooden foot (the same section laid flat) which sits directly in the ground, and the whole structure basically stays put under its own load - no concrete, no cleats. The motor room floor of the Maxim Flying Machine is bare sand, last seen the light of day in Victorian times when the whole place was literally a beach. The central column rotates above a reasonable concrete plinth and that's it. I love these old quirks - safe, reliable, simple. Flying Machine has never shifted and neither have the coasters, even by the Irish Sea. Southport's Cyclone did lose its lift in a 1960s gale however, hence the twist it later had - the base had probably pitched over a bit but they simply built straight back onto it, lol. The track in its small dips didn't even really have feet, the laminate sat straight on the ground. No wonder it flexed so much - an example of too little support.

     

    I enjoy modern spline-based profile, but circles do it for me most. It's a tricky balancing act getting them right as they can be too forceful as your Montana Rusa video shows (particularly at 2:29!), but they often got it right before computers were around to 'interfere' (said flippantly) and before anybody bothered with dynamic equations (which I'd like to learn if my brain wouldn't melt). Afterall, John Miller did a great job with circles and a ~1:40 grade (apart from Puritas Springs Cyclone's first drop, radius a bight tight at the bottom!)...

     

    Fantastic topic - the best I've seen on a forum in a while. So much history!

  6. The Mexico City Racer (aka La Montana Rusa) is a ride that had intrigued me from the moment I first read about it in Robert Cartmell's New York Times article, "The Ultimate Roller Coaster."

     

    I immediately wrote to the builder - National Amusement Device – asking for information. To my surprise (I was a just a wee lad at the time ), NAD founder Aurel Vaszin responded with a letter (see below) and a number of brochures and photos. He also gave me contact info for NAD’s successor – IADI. That letter is included as well.

     

    The photos that follow are from Vaszin and my own camera. I was fortunate enough to ride the Racer in 1989, before CCI tamed the ride’s excessive negative-Gs. Sadly, during the same period, they also butchered several of the six (!) beautiful NAD Century Flyer trains. Someone should pay dearly for that crime against history…

     

    Enjoy this look back at one of the most impressive racing coasters every built.

     

    Cheers!

     

    -S

    That post is pure bliss - your own photos especially. I didn't realize the trains had been altered so much (though opening in 1964, I should've known it had Flyers). I actually prefer the garish colours too, it's almost magical... yes I'm odd.

     

    I'm yet to get to Mexico myself and while I know that CCI did some work on the coaster, it doesn't seem too altered from the photos and video I've seen (including one of those "World's Greatest Rollercoaster Thrills in 3D" DVDs). I can see the check brake before the second turnaround, but the profile seems to remain original - the same straight lines and circles as before (oh how I wish coaster profile hadn't become as fluid as it has today - modern profile often gives a dull ride when running slow, but the old geometry always delivers, whatever the weather, literally!). I expect that aside from that brake, the ride would feel pretty much as it would've done on opening. Gotta get there one day!

     

    As for it originally having six trains - so did Grand National, infact, I have it on good authority from a PB manager that at one time, Grand National ran EIGHT trains! Ofcourse, there didn't used to be safety blocks - and I'm told that even with six trains, you'd be on your toes as a brakeman to ensure there were no bumps in the station (the huge sprung buffers on old cars were there for that very reason). There did used to be a check brake leading into Canal Turn, similar to Montana Rusa's modern brake, but it was just a slower, set with a winch so wouldn't act as a stop block (same as the brakes before the final dip before they were replaced with magnetic units).

     

    Wood coasters are my thing. Vintage wood coasters are even more my thing. RACING vintage wood coasters are TOTALLY my thing and you my friend, have completely made my day! lol

  7. I don't see how with decades of operation and tens of millions of riders how all of a sudden backwards riding is unsafe. It's so obviously NOT unsafe. Though I can understand the legal implications of going against PTC's recommendations for their trains.

     

    If they're actually interested in safety, how about making the frontwards Racer not give you those Mike Tyson kidney punches it's so famous for.

    I know it doesn't quite add up, but it's just the way the world is these days. Safety authorities and insurers make some strange demands today. Sadly it's the way our cultures have become.

     

    As for the kidney punches, I agree. It's a facet of wood coasters today that I really don't like, but I accept that it's the way things are. Things are done with structural design that are a bad move to me, the increased number of ledgers placed beneath the track lead to a rough ride. It's done to require less track maintenance as the laminate isn't allowed to flex so much. However, you then feel every vibration through the rigid track, and any tiny error in the height of the added ledgers causes a nasty jolt. At high speed under increased centripetal load, it doesn't half hurt... welcome to Meanstreak...

  8. Simple answer - nobody. Rides are built with a safety envelope these days. The kinematic envelope of the car has riders and their arms (and legs for suspended coasters) added to it, and the structure is built to clear this envelope. If any part of structure encroaches on this safety envelope, it must be modified before operating. Older rides however, frequently flout it which is quite funny. It's a case of new things having to conform to modern regulations, and old things being allowed to stay as they are in a lot of cases. Silly, but true.

     

    Allen and Cobb coasters with the taller handrails, built from the late 70s onwards don't actually have a safe envelope as their trestle legs are on 8' centres and you can touch the handrails and passing structure with your fingers. GASM at your home park for instance, had its handrails raised a foot as Allen built them 2'6" tall before regulations stipulating 3'6" came in, and as the structure uses the old 8' centres, the legs and handrails are slightly too close to the cars - that's why some Allen/Cobb coasters now have pads fitted to the cars to make it harder to stick your arms out the side.

  9. Wow, you can tell this is a coaster site - nothing but moaning about just about everything.

     

    I remember both sides of KI's Racer being very rough, but it's nothing to do with the direction you face. It's simply due to the oversupported nature of most wood coasters these days. John Allen built a typical 9' spaced structure, but over time the maintenance people decided there needed to be a few more bents put in to lower track maintenance and hey presto, a spine jarring ride. It's a common trait with the corporate parks, CF is no exception - and apart from this issue, I've enjoyed their parks I've visited.

     

    Backwards riding is fun, I used to ride the Texas Tornado at Morecambe as a kid and often rode the backwards front car. It's seen as a safety issue today as the coasters weren't designed with backwards riding in mind - not that they'd be structurally any different if they were - it's just something that insurance people don't like. A shame, but not the end of the world by any means. I sometimes wonder whether coaster enthusiasts actually live in the real world...

  10. One of the videos loaded straight away (the front POV) and the other will supposedly take several hours. I'm using RealPlayer's new flash download feature (great for saving YouTube vids, too!).

     

    What a fantastic structure! I prefer the simpler, circular geometry of older coasters, I don't like slpine curves and high banking much - but I do love Balder, and I can't deny that I love the structure of these modern Intamin woodies. They're very precisely designed, yet look more random than most vintage coaster structures. It's certainly never going to be a bad thing having another of these in the world!

  11. Nobody's ridden the cars yet, the old train is still currently running. If you've ridden similar cars with bars and belts, that was the Grand National running the new PTC cars (which has seatbelts because PTC don't supply cars without them, they're now considered a vital restraint by PTC so PB will not remove them, even though they didn't actually want them).

     

    As for airtime - while it's true that RC doesn't offer much, it's also true that if there is some, the cars WILL allow it - you can't say the Big Dipper has no airtime, and they are the exact same cars. Also, there are no belts on them, just the same bars the Dipper has (you can remove belts from the topic title).

     

    There's actually nothing wrong with the old cars apart from the fact that there's no room for lapbars to be fitted to them - hence the reuse of disused Dipper cars. They want to run a second train so I'd assume they have enough cars for it, and I expect we'll see that one being prepared once the first one is in operation, which is going to happen sometime soon.

     

    The cars do look lovely, and while not as classic as the older cars, they're more comfortable and actually have leg room...

     

    Being a PTC fanboy I welcome the change anyway. I love the deep, boxy nature of the PB's PTC cars. When bought in 1980 they were of standard design with normal, lower bodies and buzzbars. PB fitted 6" deeper bodies in 1988 to make it harder for riders to stick their arms out (I know the guy that did the work, lol), as the old coaster structures don't have a safe kinematic envelope - their legs are on 8' centres whereas the legs on modern woodies are set at 9' or more, to prevent you being able to strike any of the structure with your hands while riding. They also reused the buzzbar solenoids to fit their own lapbars. I love it!

  12. Ha - no friend of mine has wanted to date me. Infact, I always get the old "I'm sorry, I just don't want to jeopardize our friendship" line. I suppose that'll just be an excuse, but either way it gets old and and a little annoying.

     

    Lifelong single? - pah, try another third of your age added on. I don't think what I had at 15 was really a relationship - I thought it was, but ultimately it wasn't too great. It also wouldn't have been legal over here and that's partly why I didn't let things go far - she infact went over the top several times and tried to genuinely rape me (and she was a year younger). LOL - you don't hear of that often, it's usually the other way round. Not that either way is good ofcourse. Just funny to say it like that I suppose.

     

    Good luck, hope it turns out good for you...

  13. ^^Awesome interview with Dave...

     

    ...Oh and congrats Brooke, I'll be pulling for ya.

    I beg your pardon, pulling?...

     

    Indeed what a great interview, what a great woman, tells it like it is - this, to me, is very admirable and I'm the same. I just cannot stand lies and fakeness.

     

    Congratulations, if you read this Brooke. You're a very refreshing person!

     

    Note to self: get famous and have TPR credit...

  14. this thread is going nowhere since 80% of TPR are repulsive to the opposite sex!!

    LOL sadly this is the case within any enthusiast group of just about any kind - most members are male, and seemingly just not attractive to females. There's a high incidence of autism across the spectrum within enthusiast groups. I'm no exception... doh...

     

    No, the butt smiley doesn't mean I'm gay (hey, can a butt smile...?!) but I am single, and not through choice... lol.

     

    I'm a nice guy living in West Yorkshire, England. Pleasure Beach Blackpool is my favourite park, on par with Liseberg. Very different parks, but equally lovely to me. I also like railways (have my own 7.25" gauge steam loco) and am musical, hence the name - though I'm sure there's people here more musical than me and they don't shout about it, but then I am a bit neurotic, insecure and narcassistic. I'm still a lovely guy though!

     

    I'm a great listener, I'm friendly, I'm not violent or nasty, I don't hold grudges, I don't get bitter, I never play mind games, etc. Nobody wants me though. I had a girl when I was 15 (and no, I never actually 'had' her) and that's the extent of my whole love life. I thought I loved her, and she fell out of love with me and in love with Jesus, quite literally (the beardy twunt) and it took me two years to get over a one year 'relationship' - because I'm a socially retarded, useless tit. But I am still a really nice guy!

     

    I also have little confidence, and aren't too good at promoting myself, you might have guessed. I'm probably not as bad as I make out; my tone is partly fueled by a desire to find someone and the fact it just doesn't happen.

     

    Seriously, I'm an alright guy and am not as weird as I make out. Part of the problem is likely that I'm so into coasters and trains, etc. But, it's proven to work as an advantage for some couples so who knows. I just gotta find someone, and if they have similar interests, then great!

     

    Who knows what the future holds?

     

    By the way, I don't QUITE 'get' the whole donkey thing. I mean, I'd much prefer a human woman. If I were to ever get THAT desperate, I think I would have to kill myself.

     

    I have a sense of humour by the way. Possibly not the most favourable, but I seem great at making people laugh and smile so that's gotta be a good thing for relationships...

  15. I suppose Americans don't listen to English - again, Millennium Flyer cars would be far too heavy. There would need to be extra structure added (say goodbye to a smooth ride); the cars would need flanged wheels, to the correct gauge; and the heavy cars would batter the relatively delicate track. It'd end up rougher than it ever could with the Morgan cars. In reality a full retrack with new structure would be required by GCI to run their cars upon it, and I would doubt that ever happening.

     

    Lovely looking coaster. I've ridden the other Giant Dipper, which may or may not give a better ride (I found it quite dull) but I prefer the layout and look of this true Prior & Church version. There's a nice pic of it floating around the net taken when new with nothing around but sand, reminiscent of early PBB photos. This probably has a better form of foundation however - PBB's big woodies sit straight in the sand, no concrete, just a wooden foot - some are even above ground and just sit still with the weight above.

     

    Found that pic:

     

    More here ofcourse:

    http://www.giantdipper.com/history.html

     

    I'd love to get back to CA some day...

  16. Interesting. Nice to see that they're laying the track as per original - the pics showing the first drop up close show that they have two lines of wood curving down the ledgers. Prior & Church track was built up of 15/8" square section until the top three layers, which were sawn from flat. The square stuff is butt and lap laminated - one is end to end with sides parallel to centerline, the other is diagonal whereby the square strip starts at the laminate outer point and ends at the inner point or vice versa. The layers are built up in this fashion because it offers full flexibility in both axis, the diagonal lap lamination adding extra strength. The very top layer is either sawn from flat or made of three square pieces side by side, ontop of which the steel rail is fixed.

     

    Millennium Flyer or any other, seemingly suitable modern cars aren't suitable at all - the structure wouldn't be able to take the load. The original wood cars were lighter and the minimal chassis and fibreglass bodies of the Morgan cars are the only ones suitable today. If you want Millennium Flyers, you'll have to say goodbye to the smooth ride (which I'm sure is given, I've not ridden this Giant Dipper) as more structure would need to be added. The more you stiffen a coaster the rougher it gets, and putting heavy cars on it, which is ofcourse the reason for strengthening it, means you can say goodbye to track that stays smooth - so the track roughens up and the structure holding it doesn't move, it gets rougher and rougher and a great ride becomes useful as firewood. lol

     

    Nice pics. It's cold, wet and windy in England...

  17. Most famous is the Mexico City Racer. Before CCI castrated it, that was a mean machine. Designed with "circles & straight lines," as a good friend and current woodie designer describes the ride's engineering, the Racer had THE most intense and violent airtime of any coaster I had EVER ridden. IAD obviously used the Racer as inspiration for Colossus.

    The day that 'circles & straight lines' stopped being the coaster ethos, was the day that coasters began to get tame, and lame. Ofcourse, the mediocre coasters of today cater to society's cotton wool expectations, threatened by our compensation culture (it's bad now in the UK, and I blame the US, you lot started it!:p).

     

    I haven't ridden a single GCI coaster that excited me for instance. Smooth, over engineered and dull. Turns, turns and more turns - John Allen was right in reckoning turns don't do much for people - they really don't overall, they're a cop-out - as are parabolic hills that on a bad, slow day give no discernable negative force. A circle always gives you air, fast or slow. You shoot up in the front car hitting the arc, and shoot up in the back car leaving it - and on a good day you can actually float right over, as well as getting the strong pops entering and exiting.

     

    A parabolic hill tends to need lots of speed to produce a good float, and thus needs to be set lower than a circle - a great ride could be built by the likes of John Miller topping at 60', with a long track full of circular hills that all gave great, strong but safe force. The designers back then used every inch of height that they could, and made a long worthwhile track out of it. Coasters today start tall, and quickly get low. Their ebb is too steep; turns are used more to eat up the energy, and a 100'+ 'traditional' coaster can have less linear trackage than a 60' vintage coaster and be much less fun!

     

    Parabolic hills and a mess of high banked turns - total cop out. It's a shame that the man who claimed turns don't do much, was the man who started the process that made hills do little, too. Somewhat humorous though is the fact that John Allen claimed his newer, bigger hills to be parabolic "because that's the way objects naturally fall" - yet they WERE circular, they were just made up of more than one circle - they were compound curves. KI's Racer's big third hill, from which the tracks split, is clearly a two-radii compound curve, as are the arcs up into the turns - the latter very evident in a roughly side on photo of Rebel Yell, there's a few kicking around the net taken from atop Anaconda's first drop. The positive centripetal, single circular curve curls up and reverses directly into a large radius that at around 20-25 degrees switches to a smaller radius.

     

    John claimed hi tech parabolic geometry but couldn't get away from circles. Arrow never could until close to their eventual demise, and their coasters are among my favourites - give me one of their classic loopers or hypers over a B&M or Intamin any day, B&M especially - how can you make a huge, fast coaster so forceless and boring? - well I suppose you do what your customer wants, and if parks today want pseudo thrills i.e huge, seemingly terrifying structures carrying a track which in reality feels to give you not much more force than sitting motionless in an armchair, then that's what you design for them. To me it's such a waste - you're going to spend all that money, use all that material and do all that work, and you end up with a ride marketed as thrilling and white knuckle, which isn't as fun as riding a bicycle. All you have is height and speed - too much of both, with no force in the mix. Doh!

     

    People rave about Magnum having great airtime, and its hills are perfect circles. The first drop is even a tri-radial compound curve, you feel the radius step up from small to medium, then from medium to large as you inch over. That admittedly works well for a first drop where you start from a low speed, and drop to a steep declivity - it's not too comfortable to curl a circle right down to 60 degrees in a coaster hill, so this is a case where a compound or or parabolic 'style' curve is useful - but after that, you get the best thrills from circles & straight lines, and today's designers just seem too scared to do what worked so well for their predecessors. Perhaps it's a case of dumbing down to appease insurers; a case of being big headed with the computer technology at your fingertips, or both - but the coaster geometry of today, if it does anything for me, it annoys me more than anything else. But then I really do need to get a life. I have this wild idea that I'll one day be selling brand new, traditional circle & straight line, out & back woodies. Perhaps if our cotton wool society were to ease and I were to get some engineering qualifications I'd have a chance - a traditional wood coaster built with traditional geometry and traditional structure gives a true shake, rattle & roll ride that nothing else can offer, afterall.

     

    Coasters have lost their way - I wish someone would build a new out & back woodie, with three row PTC cars, unarticulated, hell even four row if PTC were still brave enough. I used to think that stress fatigue must be an issue in the longitudinal chassis members of these cars but there's many three row examples still in operation (Grand National's new cars are unarticulated too - they simply couldn't have a heavy chassis as the structure can't take it, so PTC were forced into territory that PBB said they weren't fond of - making a light, twisty chassis - which had been their norm essentially upto the 1990s). PB also have Big Dipper's four row 'flexicars' (as I once read someone call the type) in operation, infact three of them are now adopted by Roller Coaster and will make their debut next month. There's a lot of aluminium in those chassis, and those cars run fine over some nice circular hills (well, they're badly warped but look the type to have been drawn circular on plan, they were just built very roughly!). I'm living in the wrong time for coasters, I'd have been great in the 1930s or the 70s revival.. though the former would be easier as I'd need no qualifications to call myself an engineer. LOL

     

    New coasters are all fun, some more than others.. but sadly only a small few are as fun as the oldies. They just don't build them like they used to - too dull, and with too much structure. You don't NEED that number of ledgers holding the track - the track NEEDS to flex more than you now allow it to. You also build the laminate too deep and too chunky (to take the cars that are built far too heavily) and you make a coaster that quickly becomes unmaintainable by the customer and rides like a jackhammer until your company comes in to fix it, then go away for the problem to come back. Wood track needs to flex, wood coaster cars need to be lighter, and the hills need to be circular. Where did it all go wrong?... probably largely to do with corporate operations...

     

     

    This thread is great, I'm loving the scans. People often use the phrase "they don't make them like they used to" far too much in life - in many cases progression and technological evolution is the right thing, healthcare for instance. A roller coaster though just doesn't feel like a roller coaster if built new today, there's no shake and rattle, there's just roll. If they were built right, they'd feel right, but everybody's lost the plot with advancing technology at their greedy fingertips...

     

    Long live John Miller's and Ron Toomer's uncalculated circles... lol. I'm just a looney. Ignore me. I'll never get anywhere...

  18. I personally found Psyclone smoother and more fun than Marine World's Roar... work that one out! Even those odd B&M trains were more comfortable than GCI's MF trains - their lapbars are nasty. As contrast, PTC bars have never given me a problem, and there's no chance of them causing me pain now I've lost a bit of weight - that's the key in ride comfort - most enthusiasts are somply too 'large'!

     

    GCI, I don't rate them very much. Their engineering is near on perfect, space age in wood. However, they're really talented at producing dull coasters that age poorly. Again, work that one out - a 1920s Miller coaster drawn by pen on paper, with simple circles and 10 degree banking provides a better thrill than a 1990s - 2000+ CAD engineered GCI super fluid structural masterpiece...

     

    Sorry, I'm just biased. I am indeed August John Mueller reborn, though I do have a soft spot for Balder.

  19. I've ridden Lightning Racer, Wildcat (before refurb), Gwazi, Thunderhead, and Roar at SFMW as it was at the time. Gwazi and Wildcat were hellish and I wouldn't blame the PTC cars - it's the track that's the problem. The method of construction using short cut-out boards in the laminate, leads to lots of eventual movement no matter what cars run on the track and nomatter how much or little structure supports the track. As the months go by, the boards shift and loosen and the track that started secure and smooth, becomes unpredictable and rough. Prior, Church and Traver knew better than this - they used square section timber to build up the laminate, producing smooth curves in both axis with the laminate finding its own smooth profile - not a single sawn out board in the turns to make them bumpy. Their flanged wheels are a good idea but irrelevent - 'modern' style Miller patented underfriction track would also fair fine built this way - the top boards that hold the side rails would still have to be short and cut to shape to make the wheel surfaces secure and stable, but with the firm, smooth square-built sub laminate beneath, the roughness problem with boards loosening wouldn't end up anywhere near as bad. Gwazi fell into the same category as Wildcat concerning this issue, to me. My pragmatic engineers' mind thinks about these things all day long. Wish it wouldn't.

     

    The other coasters were comfortable but dull as hell, apart from Roar - and you certainly can't blame PTC cars for this. It was just as rough as Gwazi and Wildcat. The track was just as 'loose' under the wheels, and with the increased amount of wheels of GCI's trains, combined with the weight of the chassis (which inch for inch look to be heavier than PTC), the problem must likely be worse with GCI cars than PTC! Roar did nothing but give me a headache due to the severe vibration, in all seats.

     

    There's a few things bad about modern wood coaster structures that other people seem blind to. They're bulkier and contain more bents - bulk is good, but you must manage the track's dynamic movement correctly, and inserting bents every two feet beneath the laminate during positive centripital curves isn't the best way to achieve the required, safe support as any tiny descrepancy in level, made worse by movement over time, simply causes shocks to be sent up riders' spines (yet because of the short boards used to build the curves, the structure has to be this way - so a 'snowball' of a problem arrises). A lot of engineering is like this now - however there's cleverer ways of ensuring a structure manages it's forces than simply putting more of it in...

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