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RailBlazer

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  1. It may be insane to you, but Cedar Fair apparently does care and has been doing a lot to Worlds of Fun in preparation for the 50th anniversary. It’s not an accident that a reimagined Zambezi Zinger is opening with the 50th anniversary. The park has been putting more emphasis on restoring theming to Worlds of Fun and started working on this during the summer months of 2022, in addition to any planning that was going on before that time. They’ve announced at least some of their plans at Coaster Christmas at Silver Dollar City over the weekend and it was also in an article in Amusement Today a few months ago.
  2. It will be Worlds of Fun's 50th anniversary and they have working on things over the last several months, so there is no way the ride will open that late, other than some unforeseen issue arising. I was surprised there weren't any footers, at least none that were visible, but I think the groundwork was fairly involved, as they had to remove much of the old Zinger tunnel, footings, etc. And GCI has been busy in Iowa working on The Legend at Arnold's park too. Luckily the Zambezi Zinger 2 is a relatively small ride and the lift is all steel, so I would imagine that should go up fairly quickly. And a good portion of the track is on the ground so that will likely help in getting it built more quickly. The weather is already colder than usual/normal lately, so I hope we don't have a bad winter either way.
  3. A Tale of Two Wolves (and Cats and Snakes) I took a few spins on Timber Wolf tonight and had a much different experience than I have had in a while, so I thought I would share. One thing I would like to point out, as I realized this years ago on another wooden coaster, is you can take two rides in the same row of the same train, but one time in the left seat and one time in the right and have very different rides, believe it or not. And that was definitely the case for me tonight. I nearly always ride Timber Wolf in the right seat, but tonight I rode left seat and in the front row of the last car. The last row was closed, so there was no weight in those seats, which likely added to the car being a little more bouncy in spots. But that ride was far more unpleasant than any ride I had had on Timber Wolf in recent years. It was mostly... shaky or vibrated in some areas, particularly after the first turn through the lift. It happened in a few valleys, but was not jackhammering. There was some lateral roughness in one spot which is likely due to the track's banking which seems a bit odd, so it's likely a bit worn there. There is one pretty crazy airtime hill left after the new overbanked turn and in this row and seat is just was unpleasant and slammed down on the other side. The same happened on the following hill a bit, which is still original to the ride. Some of the track in the later sections of the ride which is new in the last few years has an odd vibration which sometimes has happened on that ride when it gets new track for some reason. Then the last stretch was pretty shaky in that row too. Just the last slight s-curve of track leading to the brake. I had my friend trade seats and we rode again and the right side was noticeably less off-putting, but had a few slams on the airtime hills. So, this is one thing to remember for a lot of rides, especially woodies. And it may account for sometimes if you ride with someone and one person says something was good/smooth and the other says they had a different experience. I realized this on The Rattler when I hit a rough spot in the track on one side of the train, but you could barely feel it on the other side. You would think each row, two seats side by side would feel essentially the same thing, but that is definitely not always the case and it's easy to forget it and/or not know or experience it. But I think this explains part of why some people have had mostly smooth rides on Wolf, while others have had the opposite. Most of the rides I have had are generally pretty damn smooth for a woodie, so when people say it's rough, I am left scratching my head. But it can depend on where you ride more than any of us realize. Prowler can really be a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ride too. In some seats and perhaps depending on if the track is oiled, it can feel like you are riding a on gravel road or that the wheels have flat spots in them. But it can also feel mostly smooth and FLY like it was tonight, with the track freshly oiled. For some reason it was noticeably faster than most rides I've had in recent history tonight and it was wonderful! And speaking of wonderful, if you like airtime, come ride Mamba and ride in the front car, especially third row for more intense or second for less, on those bunny hills. WOW! That thing has been running absolutely crazy lately! Just remember, wind can kill the ride with the big fiberglass cars and how exposed the ride is to the wind. Otherwise, you won't believe it's the same ride. It's as if the ride starts at the block brake now!
  4. I really have no idea why people are saying Timber Wolf is rough as much of the ride is so tame now, it's pretty dull. It used to be a very rough ride, but the difference now is night and day. There is one airtime hill which is still the original profile and it can throw you and the train around, but that is one quick hill. The very end of the ride still needs to be retracked, but that is a very short section. Other than something being off with a train or something (I will say the last row of the train tends to shake side to side, so maybe that is part of the complaints), the rough comments just make no sense. I typically do not ride over a wheel/axel, so that may make a difference (like that last row), but with so much of the ride replaced, it's practically a new ride, other than the trains.
  5. The rebuild of Timber Wolf started in the off-season of 2014/2015 and has been an ongoing process every off-season since, except for one year around 2017. They just retracked a pretty large section of the ride after the long 180 degree turn under the first 180 turn. At this point pretty much the entire ride from the first drop to almost the end has been retracked except for two hills in the second half of the ride and a bit right before the brakes. The first half of the ride was "re-engineered" to make it smoother/maintenance friendly, but nearly all of the Wolf's original bite has been removed here, except for some of the first drop. The helix removal and its overbanked turn replacement were the silver bullet to Wolf, as that turn is smooth, but about as dull as it could be. That is at least partially due to brakes which are likely necessary for one the original hills which still remains after the new turn, as it still can deliver strong airtime, even with brakes. The remainder of the ride is mostly the same as it was from the beginning with less obvious changes and/or still the same profile. The ride is pretty much a family ride at this point, but smoother overall and less jarring for its riders.
  6. Have you ridden it this season? It has been running the fastest it probably ever has and I am not exaggerating. A new control system was put in and the chain does not slow as the train goes over the top of the lift. And the mid course brakes have been light to non exsistent. I had a ride a few weeks ago in the evening and could not believe the final hills. The reviewer here said the last stretch "wasn't that great." I usually ride in the third row or even second row and get great air on those hills. The change has made many people enjoy that ride so much more. I hope it stays that way. Two train ops started yesterday and it appears that it was still running about the same, as I saw empty trains heading back as fast as full trains used to, if not faster.
  7. I don't mean to suggest it's a GCI "issue", but it's something that I only notice on their trains and don't on PTC trains for example. I think some parks know how to avoid the issue and some don't, for lack of a better way of putting it.
  8. I definitely think that the rough riding "flat wheels" thing on Prowler is related to maintenance. It's possible that is has something to do with the wheel bearings, but I'm not sure. I have felt the same thing on a few other GCI coasters too. I don't think I have ever felt it on the fairly few rides I've taken on American Thunder and same goes for some rides I had on Renegade a few years ago. I did notice a minor version of it on Mystic Timbers when I was there recently, but it was only on one of the rides I took. It's strange how it can be bad in some seats/cars and not in others, which is why some people have have crappy rides and others aren't bad. Prowler has had A LOT of trouble with this over the years, which is a shame as when it's running fast and smooth, it's such a good ride. As for Timber Wolf, most of the trouble with it has been due to track which was in need of replacement and/or a few other things. A significant amount of the ride was re-engineered by GCI and rebuilt and/or retracked starting before the 2015 season up until before this season. The park did some of the work I believe, at least on a short section this year. Overall, the ride is FAR smoother than it was for many years. I do not like to ride in the back seats of the cars, so I can't speak for how those seats feel, but it's way smoother than it was overall. They did skip over a few sections in the last half, mostly near the end of the ride, so those may get rough again. But the work GCI smoothed out the track to make it way more rider and maintenance friendly. It also is mostly a much tamer ride. Unfortunately, there are trim brakes in three spots, though they vary as to how hard they are on. One hill in particular still gives a lot of airtime, even with the brakes, so I do not see the brakes easing up until that hill changes. And the helix was removed, so there is less track to use up the energy.
  9. I think it's likely that some cars on one or both trains have wheels which are riding rougher than others. That said, both trains have been on during all of my visits.
  10. OK, so Prowler is a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde roller coaster (I've had many rides like you describe and some really great ones too) and I am still trying to figure out exactly why and how it can change, in some cases very quickly. Here are some of my experiences on it this season and a bit from last. They did some re-tracking before last season and some the year before. After that work, the track was in good shape and I had some of the best rides I'd had on it in awhile, last season. The track overall has been in good shape this season too, other than a little spot near the end of the ride, I noticed last time I was there. This season, I've had mostly "square wheel" feeling rides on the few times I was out there this summer. Then I went to the park on a Friday night for Haunt maybe three or four weekends back and... WOW! Completely different ride! It was flying and smooth! The main difference that was obvious is the track had been freshly greased. It was so good and smooth, no square wheels that is and it was excellent! People were very enthusiastic that night when the trains were coming back in. I met a friend out there late Sunday before they closed, just two days later, expecting the ride to be at least good and it was back to square wheels and average. I was amazed how different it was and my friend was skeptical that it had been so good on Friday. I went again the following two Friday nights and had mostly the same experience with greased track and fast, but a minor amount of square wheels, mostly on the final turn into the brakes. My friend met me out there on the second Friday and experienced Prowler like it CAN run, but often doesn't. We rode several times that night. And the thing just seemed to get faster, especially after the turnaround and really flew into the brakes, which was so great and like it used to do when it was new. Friday nights during Haunt *might* be the time to give it a try as that has been the time to ride lately. Of course, it's hard to say if it will be like that each time. Another odd thing, was during Winterfest the three years we had it, the ride flew around the track and was smooth, at least in the seats I rode in. I do think sometimes the square wheel thing can be worse in some seats more than others. It doesn't seem like just greasing the track would make it change so drastically, but in my experience it has. The square wheel thing is something that GCI coasters do and PTC coaster don't. I've felt it a bit on a few other GCI rides. I so wish WOF could get this figured out and get it running like that all the time as it is a great ride when it runs like that.
  11. I'm curious when you started riding Prowler as it did develop the wheel issue you describe, but it mostly didn't start doing that until roughly five seasons in, give or take. I'll comment more on a later post.
  12. I have voted for the Golden Ticket Awards and have never been instructed to vote for any specific ride or park, etc. Contrary to popular belief here, that is not how the Golden Tickets work.
  13. They have already GCI'ed roughly seventy percent of Timber Wolf. The only parts of the ride which haven't been done are the hill after the new turn which replaced the helix (this hill still has a lot of airtime), the hill just before the mostly flat 180 degree turn, the 180 degree turn to the brakes. The worst part of the ride at the moment is the section that leads to the brakes after the right hand 90 degree turn. That section has been bouncing and jack-hammering really badly lately. The last I heard the work was to take two more seasons. As for Prowler, the valley in the turnaround is probably the worst spot and the two right hand turns shortly after that are probably needing some work too. I hope they will be working on those sections soon. I think one problem is they do accelerometer testing at least once a year, if not more, but the rides don't always perform the same all the time. The last hills on Timber Wolf were fine at the beginning of last season, but shortly after they were awful again. It's as if the structure and track were more solid early on, but as the train and the heat worked on it, it softened up and it was bad again. So if they tested it early, they wouldn't have the readings from the rougher rides. Prowler got IPE wood on the outside of the first drop this year and I think the turns in the back would benefit from that wood as well.
  14. Just curious if this was just a joke or you didn't think Prowler had a major malfunction.
  15. Prowler's roughness has been very strange in that it can be rough in one seat or maybe row and then not so in another. It often seems to be related to the trains, more than the track. And I am not really sure what the issue is that can cause it to feel the way it can feel. It feels like there are flat spots on the wheels or like the wheels aren't spinning freely, maybe an issue with wheel bearings? And it seems like the roughness can vary from somewhat mild to really unpleasant. This is something I only feel on GCI trains and not on PTC trains. I recently rode Invadr at Busch Gardens and noticed a mild version of the same type of train roughness or flat spots on the wheels feeling that Prowler has. Invadr is still new, so it's definitely not track related. I believe they are using parts of trains from Gwazi, so that might explain why the trains don't feel like GCI's do when they are new. I have not felt this odd feeling on American Thunder at SFStL or Mystic Timbers. I first felt it on Thunderhead several years ago, but the ride was down when I was there recently, so I didn't get a chance to see how it feels now. I did get a ride on Prowler in late Sunday and noticed two turns on the back end had some minor track work done that also helped to smooth them out a bit as they had been getting pretty ragged recently. It's also worth mentioning that we all ride these coasters on different days, different times of day, in different rows, etc. Many coasters don't give the same ride every day and Prowler is a good example. I've had really unpleasant rides on it this year, some slow rides (yesterday was very slow middle of the ride to the end without a full train), but I have also had some really great rides that were mostly smooth and very fast. Sometimes when the track is freshly greased or oiled, the trains seems to run more smoothly and fast. I think many of us have different experiences on coasters due to several factors, so keep this in mind when you see other reports that don't match with your experiences.
  16. And just to clarify, I was referring to the original version of Texas Giant when I mentioned the incident, but the new one has a brake run pretty similar to the original I believe.
  17. I am just stating observations I've made after nearly forty years of riding roller coasters and seeing things that didn't always work out for one reason or another. I don't claim be an engineer or to know more than engineers, but sometimes my guesses play out as I suspected. One of the most obvious mistakes I have seen and knew it wouldn't work was on Viper at Magic Mountain. I saw photos of the ride being built and the 180 degree turn after the first loop only had vertical supports. It looked really nice, but I knew from looking at it, it wasn't going to be enough. And it wasn't as they added a lot of extra support to that turn after the ride had been running for awhile. As for Steel Vengeance, the brake run looks pretty tight from what I have seen online and will hopefully see in person in a few days. I would guess they are wishing they had a little more room to work with.
  18. I thought the brake run to the station looked awfully short/tight to have all three trains on and give them some breathing room. I've wondered if extending the brake run a bit might happen down the road/during the off season if they feel the need for it. Timber Wolf's accident wasn't because it had a short brake run. A train stopped in the first set of brakes and wouldn't move. The lift didn't stop the second train from going over the lift, so there was nothing to stop the train after it left the chain. One coaster that had a minor collision early in its life was Texas Giant. It was raining when it happened and the train slid in the brakes a bit and hit the train in front of it. The odd thing about the brakes to the station on that ride was there was a big gap between the second train stopping point and the station, but very little room between the second train and the third train coming in behind it. After the incident, they moved the brakes forward for the second train (why it wasn't designed that way makes no sense) and added more brakes for the third train and even one in the valley before the brakes, to make sure the train would stop. Knowing about this made me wonder about the Steel Vengeance brake run.
  19. And that is basically my point. How comfortable can they do three train operation? Those blocks look pretty short or tight. I would think the drive tires were there to help expedite the trains moving forward to keep things moving quickly. Now that those are gone, it appears things will move more slowly. Realistically, I think the brake run needs to be longer to make it completely "comfortable". .
  20. As I see the before and after video of the brake run changes and other POV footage, I am wondering if the brake run is long enough for three train operation if the trains have to stop completely in the first brake. If that train hasn't cleared that brake before another gets to the mid-course brake, the mid-course would have to stop the train there. I guess they can slow the chain to remedy this to some extent, but that brake run looks pretty short. And what if all three trains have to be at the station at the same time?
  21. And this is a big problem, as some people are getting good rides on Prowler and some are getting bad rides. It seems that certain seats or rows or cars are having problems that cause a rough ride, but it's hard to say exactly what is causing it. I have tried bringing it to the park's attention for the last several years, but the roughness continues to happen. I have seen a growing number of comments about Prowler being rough and people not wanting to ride it, after getting some pretty awful rides and the roughness tends to fluctuate in severity. And I have experienced really good rides and really bad rides, so I know for a fact that this is happening. I've had some friends have the same experience as well. I had a bad ride in the next to the last car on one train recently, so I tried the same row in the other train. The other train in that row was totally fine. So that pretty much shows the issue is train related, as there was hardly anything on that second ride worth commenting on in regards to the track. I hope a cause and solution are found sooner than later.
  22. It appears they are only replacing the helix and not retracking the rest of the ride after that. You can see where the new track meets the old track on the small hill after the old helix. I am surprised they aren't finishing the ride as there are a few areas late in the ride that need some love, especially the last few hills before the brakes. Maybe they will do the rest of the ride next year? We shall see.
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