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The Legacy of Summers/Dinn


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It's such a same that Curtis D Summers, a man who dedicated his life to creating a great wooden coaster, would leave behind a legacy of unbearably rough and rapidly deteriorating rides, some of which are gone now.

 

Look at the track record:

 

Hercules: Gone

Psyclone: Gone

Texas Giant: Once one of the top woodies, now with a future in doubt.

Mean Streak: CP's least liked coaster, which will also most likely be torn down in the future.

Predator: Darien Lake's excruciating woodie still stands, mostly because nothing ever gets done in New York State.

 

So who or what is to blame for this unfortunate legacy? Summers' designing? The builders? lackluster care taking by the parks that have/had these coasters? Discuss...

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TG is getting a SF rehab sometime soon. And I've heard from some sources that TG has been running better this year than in previous ones...

 

Mean Streak was "ruined" because the ride was tearing itself apart so CP had to place trims throughout the ride to reduce maintenance.

 

These coasters were huge, which probably led to high maintenance costs. Not to mention these parks really aren't known for having the best maintenance teams in the world. However, I'm not really sure about that.

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Don't forget that the trains play a huge part also. PTC's run best on straight track, not so much on curves. If Mean Streaks trains could be replaced with something like the MillFlyers, then wow. I love MS's course, but it is rough for sure.

 

Didn't it get a rehab this year, by GCI? I haven't heard any news about it, good or bad.

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I love how Mean Streak weaves in and out of itself. I don't think I have ridden any other woodie that does this. Are there more like this?

 

The awesome design unfortunately doesn't make up for the ride. When I first rode it I could not figure out why in the world there was a trim on the first drop. It sounds like this was done for maintenance purposes? That seems like a silly way to fix a maintenance problem vs. actually giving the ride frequent TLC like other parks do.

 

The above list does not look pretty but are there any Dinn/Summers coasters that are still considered great coasters?

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I love how Mean Streak weaves in and out of itself. I don't think I have ridden any other woodie that does this. Are there more like this?

 

The awesome design unfortunately doesn't make up for the ride. When I first rode it I could not figure out why in the world there was a trim on the first drop. It sounds like this was done for maintenance purposes? That seems like a silly way to fix a maintenance problem vs. actually giving the ride frequent TLC like other parks do.

 

It was a financial decision.

 

They were giving the ride frequent TLC. But it was tearing itself apart, and it was costing too much to maintain it. Before slowing it down, it was costing CP over $250,000 a year to maintain.

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^^ The Georgia Cyclone is not that bad, it is rough but still provides great airtime and it sure as heck did not age as badly as it's brother Psyclone. Wild One was rebuilt by Dinn/Summers but I don't think that counts and it is mostly the big Dinn/Summers coasters that aged badly, most of them were just ahead of their time.

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Don't forget that the trains play a huge part also. PTC's run best on straight track, not so much on curves. If Mean Streaks trains could be replaced with something like the MillFlyers, then wow. I love MS's course, but it is rough for sure.

 

Didn't it get a rehab this year, by GCI? I haven't heard any news about it, good or bad.

 

 

From what I understand, GCII did not rehab Mean Streak. I remember seeing that rumor on screamscape last summer, but nowhere on GCII's website do they mention any work done to the coaster. If there was work done on it I would assume that the park would want to advertise that somewhat to draw attraction to the ride.

 

Also, remember that switching trains on a coaster is no easy task. It would be quite costly to first buy the trains, then pay for the reworking of the control and braking systems.

 

The overall design of the structure seems quite flawed in how the forces act on it. If the ride were designed "properly" (which is very difficult to do with all the unknowns that are developed with engineering wooden coasters) the ride would not require trims on the first drop to prevent the ride from tearing itself apart. It seems as though Dinn Corp. built many "revolutionary" coasters in the span of a couple years and before the parks saw how these new styles of coaster aged over a span of even 5 years. Unfortunately for the parks, they are now stuck with these maintenance nightmares.

 

^Not only the large coasters aged badly. Pegasus (49') might be on the way out at Efteling due to rough ride and low ridership, Psyclone (95') at Magic Mountain was very rough pre-quake from what I hear, Predator (95')beat me to a pulp, Thunder Run (90') required the removal of a bunny hill at Kentucky Kingdom, the list goes on and on.

 

A positive word for Dinn Corp though, I really like Thunder Run...

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I rode Texas Giant back in March and if THAT was it running good, I dont want to know what it was like running bad. It was really rough, which is a shame considering it "looks" fun.

 

I happened to enjoy Psyclone and Georgia Cyclone is in my top 5 woodies so YMMV.

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From what I understand, GCII did not rehab Mean Streak. I remember seeing that rumor on screamscape last summer, but nowhere on GCII's website do they mention any work done to the coaster. If there was work done on it I would assume that the park would want to advertise that somewhat to draw attraction to the ride.

 

Also, remember that switching trains on a coaster is no easy task. It would be quite costly to first buy the trains, then pay for the reworking of the control and braking systems.

 

The overall design of the structure seems quite flawed in how the forces act on it. If the ride were designed "properly" (which is very difficult to do with all the unknowns that are developed with engineering wooden coasters) the ride would not require trims on the first drop to prevent the ride from tearing itself apart. It seems as though Dinn Corp. built many "revolutionary" coasters in the span of a couple years and before the parks saw how these new styles of coaster aged over a span of even 5 years. Unfortunately for the parks, they are now stuck with these maintenance nightmares.

 

^Not only the large coasters aged badly. Pegasus (49') might be on the way out at Efteling due to rough ride and low ridership, Psyclone (95') at Magic Mountain was very rough pre-quake from what I hear, Predator (95')beat me to a pulp, Thunder Run (90') required the removal of a bunny hill at Kentucky Kingdom, the list goes on and on.

 

A positive word for Dinn Corp though, I really like Thunder Run...

 

Yeah, I guess that was just rumored...since we heard nothing about it beyond the Screamscape rumor.

 

I Personally think it would be a great investment to put the MF trains on it. I guess their Cost-Benefit-Analysis says otherwise, but imagine Mean Streak 2.0. All new trains, new brakes (magnetic), retrack & re-bank the necessary sections, new marketing campaign - all for a few million dollars (vs. XX Million dollars for a brand new coaster). In 2011 it will be 20 years old, so those fixes would be a great present for its birthday.

 

Blue Streak was rehab'd with all new mechanical equipment...and at some point MS will require it (needed it years ago I think), so heres to hoping that they do it correctly.

 

Georgia Psyclone - Love it. But do Dinn & Summers get credit for it? All they did was execute someone elses design.

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Mean Streak was not "rehabbed" this offseason, at least not to the extent that some people think it was. All that was done to it was wood replacement, such as on the hand-rails, and wherever else needed, which is a regular off-season maintenance procedure on all coasters at Cedar Point with wooden structures (Blue Streak, Gemini, CCMR, etc.)

 

Wood was also added down the center of the track on the majority of the course. My guess is that it acts as even more bracing and support to the wooden structure, which, if that's it's purpose, further strengthens the idea/point that Mean Streak is slowly, but surely, tearing itself apart, and Cedar Point is doing all they can to both delay this process and lower maintenance costs as much as possible.

 

If Cedar Point ever does decide to fully rehab Mean Streak, one can't help but wonder if in 10-15 years after it's rehab, will it just go back to the way it was? Wouldn't Cedar Point have to completely restructure the supports in most areas, because isn't that one of the main problems, it's not supported correctly, so it's shaking itself apart? If all that's done is a re-track, that wood would eventually get old and weaker, and wouldn't we eventually be back to square one?

 

I don't know, but if that is the issue, that it's not properly supported for the forces the trains produce, causing it to slowly rip apart over time, then perhaps it's better to start from scratch by demolishing it and building a whole new, more modern wooden coaster. I don't know if simply re-tracking, adjusting the banking and turns, and getting new trains would resolve all problems.

 

In my opinion, the current PTC trains are still very good trains still seemingly in good condition and well maintained. Replacing them with MF trains might not solve much, if anything. Hersheypark put MFs on Wildcat, the original GCI coaster, and in my opinion it's still rough as hell.

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The above list does not look pretty but are there any Dinn/Summers coasters that are still considered great coasters?

Here's the list from RCDB (for Summers as a contributor):

Georgia Cyclone, SFOG (operating)

Hercules, DP (gone)

Jupiter, Kijima Amusement Park (operating)

Mean Streak, CP (operating)

Mighty Canadian Minebuster, CW (operating)

Predator, DL (operating)

Psyclone, SFMM (gone)

Raging Wolf Bobs, GL (not operating, probably done for good)

Scooby's Gasping Ghoster Coaster, CW (operating)

Texas Giant, SFOT (operating)

Thunder Road, Carowinds (operating)

Thunder Run, SFKK (operating)

Timber Wolf, WoF (operating)

Wild Beast, CW (operating)

Wildcat, Lake Compounce (operating)

Wolverine Wildcat, MIA (operating)

 

Of the ones I've ridden (Mean Streak, RWB, Texas Giant, Thunder Run, Timber Wolf, and Wolverine Wildcat), I would say that his current representation is not terrible, but I obviously have limited experience. Mean Streak is terrible. I hate it a lot. They should replace it with a compact GCI.

I really liked RWB a lot. Then again, I only rode it once and that was in the front row. The second (and last) time I was at GL was the day it derailed or whatever and closed forever.

I barely even remember Texas Giant. I didn't ride it last time I was there and the first time, I was like ten. But I liked it then.

Thunder Run was great. Best ride at the park. Not that that says much. Chang is pretty good, too. Problem is, TR's crew is horrible and they only run one train. Great airtime, though.

People dis Timber Wolf all the time, and I really don't know why. The upward helix sucks, true, and I'm not much for the ending, but there's some fantastic airtime in there, and it really isn't that rough compared to stuff like Mean Streak.

Wolverine Wildcat is okay. Nothing outstanding. It would probably be better if it didn't live right next to Shivering Timbers, which is, of course, far superior in every way.

 

That's my take.

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^ Mean Streak is a big coaster. It opened as the world's tallest and fastest wooden coaster in 1991, and is still in the top ten today. I think it's because it was simply going too fast for the structure to handle, and a lot of wood supporting the coaster was breaking under that massive stress over time from the trains traveling too fast, hence why the trims were added to slow it down, reducing the amount of stress.

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Mean Streak is a fine ride, if you know how to ride it. The line is typically shorter than Magnum's, and I feel the ride's a longer experience (and absolutely great at sunset).

 

The structure itself is very solid (same with Blue Streak, if you ever look at it), but the trains are where the majority of the problems come into play with it. They're just not comfortable for a lot of guests. Cedar Fair won't buy new trains, as that would be the type of huge investment in older infrastructure they just don't typically do (see also: Cedar Creek Mine Ride's old lap bars, which should be given the Preimer single lap bar upgrade that a few other mine trains have these days). Since Maverick opened back there, the ride's been doing better ridership-wise anyway.

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"Mean Streak is a big coaster. It opened as the world's tallest and fastest wooden coaster in 1991, and is still in the top ten today."

 

What top ten list are you referring to? Certainly not Mitch's annual wood poll. Mean Streak isn't near the Top 10 in that poll...heck, I bet it's not even in the Top 40!

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Mean Streak is a fine ride, if you know how to ride it. The line is typically shorter than Magnum's, and I feel the ride's a longer experience (and absolutely great at sunset).

 

There is no "way" to ride it. No one good seat. You can ride loose or you can ride rigid. The trains will still track the rails exactly like it usually does. Itll still jar and jackhammer. Its not like an Arrow where you can hold your head against the restraint in the right direction so the jolts are minimized.

 

The structure itself is very solid (same with Blue Streak, if you ever look at it), but the trains are where the majority of the problems come into play with it. They're just not comfortable for a lot of guests.

 

They arent? PTC's are comfortable for me and my 270lb friend who barely fits. I dont see how they make the ride uncomfortable. ANY set of trains (without a retrack) is going to track like garbage around and it will still suck and jar and jackhammer.

 

 

The problem is the trains but not how they feel. Its the fact that PTC's are heavy trains and without proper maintenance, they will tear up not so much the structure, but the running rails. Voyage is experiencing that now and needs bolsters every year to anchor certain spots as the running rails are shifted around. Holiday World invests in the ride to maintain it, Cedar Fair generally does not. If you did stick Millennium Flyers, it would still suck UNLESS the ride was retracked. The supports are fine - I actually think its oversupported.

 

 

But I think another problem was initially at the inception of the ride. We compare to TGG and especially GCI in terms of tracking and thats terribly unfair. These 2 companies have been around the block and have developed new and better ways to install the track and as a result their rides last longer. GCI especially is amazing at their handiwork and combined with the light and articulating trains, the forces exerted are minimal.

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But I think another problem was initially at the inception of the ride. We compare to TGG and especially GCI in terms of tracking and thats terribly unfair. These 2 companies have been around the block and have developed new and better ways to install the track and as a result their rides last longer. GCI especially is amazing at their handiwork and combined with the light and articulating trains, the forces exerted are minimal.

 

Yeah, I agree. It definitely gets one thinking. Perhaps Cedar Point jumped the gun a little and Mean Streak was built slightly ahead of its time? Maybe we wouldn't even be having this conversation if Cedar Point decided to put off the construction of a massive wooden coaster until, say 1998-2003.

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Voyage is suffering a similar affliction. On the walkback I listened in to a conversation with Korey and one of the lead Mechanics, Dennis. They explained where the track was developing some serious kinks and how they were working with the ledgers to unkink it. They also mentioned and explained what bolsters were and I knew after my first ride this thing would be a beast to maintain. Or, as Dennis called, "The Monster".

 

PTC's + fast speeds + G Forces arent good. I think the D&S rides werent initially made with respect to what the PTC's could do, nor were they kept up. I think now theres a better understanding of what these trains do to the track and it seems that TGG has altered the way they design along with how its built to maximize the coasters life. Itll still beat itself up, especially rides like Voyage or Boardwalk Bullet but not as quickly. MS went to hell really quickly...and has never recovered.

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The Dinn/Summers wooden coasters definitely do get a bad reputation, but for whatever reason, I have enjoyed most of their work so far.

 

Thunder Run was very good IMO...Charles Dinn helped rebuild Phoenix and Wild One which are two of the best traditional wooden coasters. I hated Georgia Cyclone and Mean Streak, but for whatever reason found Predator bearable. Thunder Road IMO is mediocre, and Wilde Beast and Mindbuster aren't great. I really like Wildcat at Lake Compounce, but apparently it has gotten rough recently.

 

I think it has to do more with how the parks take care of the rides than how it was origionally built. If John Fetterman worked at Canada's Wonderland, the assbuster and Wilde Beast may be just as good as Phoenix is.

 

I really don't know what to make of their legacy. When clearly, they produced some of the worst wooden coasters out there, they also rebuilt three classic wooden coasters that are all running pretty good (and one is running amazing).

 

Certainly they aren't the best minds in wooden coaster history, but at least all of their rides weren't failures like RCCA.

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...Thunder Run (90') required the removal of a bunny hill at Kentucky Kingdom...

 

What bunny hill? When did this take place?

 

Mean Streak was running very well on Tuesday and Wednesday. My first ride was in the 2nd to last seat, and it was MUCH better than I remembered. The trims still suck, but there were two moments of weak airtime, and the ride was completely bearable. Second ride, we rode in the 2nd row---that was really bad. Rode it a third time in the front row of the 5th car, and it was good again (though we had to cover our faces the entire ride to avoid eating millions of bugs). I've come to the conclusion that if you don't ride Mean Streak on a wheel seat, it won't be half bad. On the other hand, if you do, you might as well schedule an appointment with your chiropractor.

 

I've ridden many of the S&D creations, and a few I actually like are Thunder Run, Scooby's Ghoster Coaster (CW), and Mean Streak. Both Minebuster and Wilde Beast are terrible, though.

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