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Six Flags Great America (SFGAm) Discussion Thread


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[Whizzer] Unload was in the first station that is now a series of brakes (It's still there, there are chains up on your right when you get there).

 

I've often wondered how this worked, because currently the trains are longer than that platform. Were the trains shorter when the ride first opened?

 

Also - there's no need for the park to run three-trains on Eagle, the ride just isn't popular enough anymore. I also don't think it's fair to accuse the crew of "stacking" the trains on Eagle, since most of the time they actively wait for the previous train to hit the brakes before dispatching the next one. Even if everyone is ready, they just wait. No idea why this might be necessary (I see it on Whizzer too), but it definitely seems intentional.

 

As for "arrow was the last manufacturer to build high-capacity rides", Raging Bull is a capacity machine .. with three trains running, and an active crew, the line never seems to stop moving. But if you want to see real capacity, head over to Europa Park - those guys are insane with how quickly they move people through rides.

 

SFGAm is definitely having an off year; which is a huge shame. I'd love to see the park more open about the state of things - their facebook/twitter usage is kind of useless at the moment. I'm no hospitality expert, but if something is going on that the park is too ashamed to admit publicly, then that should be the sign that it needs fixing

 

Cameron.

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The way the computers are set up on the older rides make the dispatch intervals different for 2 trains vs. 3. I can't speak for certain on Eagle, but I know for a fact that Whizzer will set up unless you wait to dispatch the train out of the station after the train on the course clears the block brakes right near the lift. This is why you will see the train just sitting loaded waiting to be dispatched.

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^Exactly! When I was a kid, I don't remember feeling "rushed" or anything. You waited behind the line, and when your trained pulled up - you got in. Mom would strap her purse around her shoulder and you would hold on to your souvenir bag. If you had something big like a backpack, it either went on the floor of the seat you were in, or you threw it on the side. It was very basic; it's a huge contrast to how things are done now. I know some of it is needed, but it's nuts. Cedar Point didn't put in air gates on their coasters until sometime in the mid 90s.

 

With air gates, numerous consecutive announcements and extra restraints, people get more nervous. We don't have many problems with people waiting for the subways here in Chicago.

 

Some of it isn't necessary, but some of it is too. The ultimate issue here is simply this - if a park has an accident, even one that is not their fault in any way, the publicity on it is HORRIBLE. I remember a number of years back when Batman at Over Georgia "decapitated" some moron who climbed two barbed wire fences to get his hat, and then managed to stand in the way of the train. Even though the news was pretty good about saying what happened correctly, I *still* know that accident affected attendance at parks. If the addition of idiot proofing reduces capacity by 10% but increases visitation thanks to people not being scared of heading to the park by 10%, they are going to take that visitation increase every time.

 

DJexel - You're right. Viper was planned for four originally too. With Arrow rides, you can tell because they would park one train in the station, and the extras elsewhere, so you can see how many trains it was to run by taking the number of transfer tracks and adding one.

 

I've often wondered how this worked, because currently the trains are longer than that platform. Were the trains shorter when the ride first opened?

 

The trains are the same. I'm not exactly sure on if it has been modified or not, and I don't think I have the resources to check easily, unfortunately. I *know* that they got off there though.

 

Also - there's no need for the park to run three-trains on Eagle, the ride just isn't popular enough anymore. I also don't think it's fair to accuse the crew of "stacking" the trains on Eagle, since most of the time they actively wait for the previous train to hit the brakes before dispatching the next one. Even if everyone is ready, they just wait. No idea why this might be necessary (I see it on Whizzer too), but it definitely seems intentional.

 

This would be the same for any ride like this... all rides are "blocked" where you can have a vehicles and where you can't. If you send a train and it gets too far forward, the ride will shut itself down because the vehicles are in the wrong position. Those positions are points where the ride can be stopped - so for instance, it might be from the top of the lift to the first set of brakes on a ride, or whatever. In cases where they might be actively waiting, it might be due to how the ride is set up to accept the next vehicle.

 

New B&Ms are set up so that this system is helped by the ride. If you dispatch a train before you "should", the lifts will slow to a crawl to give the train before it time to get to the brakes and clear the next stopping poing. It's very rare to see this though, because their load / unload stuff is basically too slow to really let it happen.

 

Super high capacity rides like Disney stuff, and like what the Whizzer would have been like back in the day would have been set up that when in full capacity, the next stopping point is the only one cleared in the system. So, you HAVE to send the ride at the right time because if not, the ride vehicles waiting in the station cause a stack and the whole system shuts down.

 

As for "arrow was the last manufacturer to build high-capacity rides", Raging Bull is a capacity machine .. with three trains running, and an active crew, the line never seems to stop moving. But if you want to see real capacity, head over to Europa Park - those guys are insane with how quickly they move people through rides.

 

B&M hypers definitely do have a pretty high capacity and are FAR better than most rides built, most of their cataloug is not built with capacity at much of a premium. Arrow built *everything* that they did as high capacity machines... Arrow freaking mine trains have capacities higher than B&M hypers. Adventure Express at King's Island has a capacity of 1600ish.

 

Not saying that the B&M rides aren't decent at capacity, but that they don't as a company focus on capacity as much as Arrow did with every aspect of their business back in the 80s and early 90s. And again, that is because parks with the exception of perhaps the Disney and Universal parks, aren't really looking at capacity like they used to, due to a whole variety of factors.

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The way the computers are set up on the older rides make the dispatch intervals different for 2 trains vs. 3. I can't speak for certain on Eagle, but I know for a fact that Whizzer will set up unless you wait to dispatch the train out of the station after the train on the course clears the block brakes right near the lift. This is why you will see the train just sitting loaded waiting to be dispatched.

 

Actually, all rides have different dispatch intervals based on the number of ride vehicles on it at any point in time. If you have two trains on a ride, and you are dispatching them really quickly and then you have an empty station for a while, that looks kinda crappy. It's much better to space them so they are apart from one another so you don't have a flurry of activity, and then a clear hole where the third train would be. Keeps the line moving smoother, and keeps the potential for downtime less as you have a little bit of time to play with dispatching the next vehicle, since it rolls in and out when it is already ready to go.

 

There are sometimes external factors that weigh on when a ride can be dispatched, and it may be for different reasons. My guess would be that if you wait to dispatch the train until the previous one on Whizzer is through the brakes near the lift, you don't run the risk of those brakes engaging a train. I know that in the early 2000s when I hung out on boards like this sometimes that it was not an uncommon occurance for the Whizzer to be pushed out of that brake in particular. The change could have more to do with the fact that the park doesn't want the embarassment of having to push it out of the brake, so to eliminate a lot of potential for that issue, they make the ride wait until it has passed through that particular section of the ride.

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I believe this. Arrow may have had similar plans for Viper @ SFMM as it has four trains as well: Brown, red, yellow and orange.

Those colors would have been very cool! Didn't they end up all green with an orange stripe?

 

Shockwave at Great America had 4 trains; one was in an accident while on the flat bed truck en route to the park before it opened. I think it showed up later, so there were 2 yellow and 2 red. Later, one train went to GASM at Great Adventure (?) and the existing 3rd train was painted blue. I don't think they ever ran all 4, that would have been crazy. They did an excellent job with 3 though!

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Actually, all rides have different dispatch intervals based on the number of ride vehicles on it at any point in time. If you have two trains on a ride, and you are dispatching them really quickly and then you have an empty station for a while, that looks kinda crappy. It's much better to space them so they are apart from one another so you don't have a flurry of activity, and then a clear hole where the third train would be. Keeps the line moving smoother, and keeps the potential for downtime less as you have a little bit of time to play with dispatching the next vehicle, since it rolls in and out when it is already ready to go.

 

There are sometimes external factors that weigh on when a ride can be dispatched, and it may be for different reasons. My guess would be that if you wait to dispatch the train until the previous one on Whizzer is through the brakes near the lift, you don't run the risk of those brakes engaging a train. I know that in the early 2000s when I hung out on boards like this sometimes that it was not an uncommon occurance for the Whizzer to be pushed out of that brake in particular. The change could have more to do with the fact that the park doesn't want the embarassment of having to push it out of the brake, so to eliminate a lot of potential for that issue, they make the ride wait until it has passed through that particular section of the ride.

Thnaks for all the great info! I think you're spot on with Whizzer. If it were to get stuck on the brake by the lift and you had just dispatched another train ypu'd be in quite a pickle, as I know for a fact that if the computer or the operator stop the train on the lift it is impossible to start it up again, you have to push that train all the way to the top manually!! Bet that would be fun.

 

So in that case, you'd be pushing 2 different trains!

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On the curve above the brake run (the right hand curve after the pond drop, and before the final helix) there used to be a brake. The brackets are still there, but the brake itself is long gone. There was also one on the high curve after the first drop. A friend in the know told me that Anton designed his rides with NO trim brakes, that those were in fact block brakes. I haven't verified that for myself, so not sure about those. The brake we KNOW is both a trim and a block is the large straight one next to the lift.

 

Revolution at SFMM also has a few of those non-straight brakes at the tops of hills. Revolution had 6 trains at opening, and could run 5. Magic Mountain used to buy and extra train for each of their coasters - to ensure capacity if one train were to go down. I was also told those old (and wonderful) Anton coasters including Whizzer and Revolution were built to run 5-7 trains each. For more than 5 trains, it took a manual operation, while 5 or less could be run by the ride "computer" (PLC = Programmable Logic Controller). There are some videos of Revolution going into the loop while another train is "threading" the loop. I assume those were for show when the ride was being run manually by maintenance, or someone from Intamin or Schwarzkopf. (Wouldn't it be funny if it was Anton himself!? Geez I'm a nerd.)

 

Here is another great picture. One train at top of lift, one going up 4th hill, one in transfer, one coming into the station and I think there may be one leaving the station:

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Those colors would have been very cool! Didn't they end up all green with an orange stripe?

 

No they still have their respective color stripes however 1 of the trains has a vinyl wrap advertisement on it now. Not sure what color though.

 

Seeing the Whizzer makes me miss the Zambezi Zinger @ WoF. Loved that thing as a child.

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No they still have their respective color stripes however 1 of the trains has a vinyl wrap advertisement on it now. Not sure what color though.

 

I never realized that. Now the geek in me needs to go look for pictures of them!

 

Seeing the Whizzer makes me miss the Zambezi Zinger @ WoF. Loved that thing as a child.

 

Holy cow, yeah! I always explained Zambezi as the "slightly smaller but more rambunctious brother of Whizzer." The hills were all much steeper, and there was good air time in a few places. And that tunnel!

 

523886_235146366611003_748752728_n.jpg

 

I'd love to get to get to South America and ride it in it's new home. Since we were talking capacity and all that fun stuff, you can see four trains (even though one is in transfer) in this picture:

 

 

That was a crime removing such a great ride. It was very popular with everyone it seemed.

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Hey, am i the only one who thinks that they should build Green Lantern First Flight in the old station where Iron wolf is, or they could take out the bumper cars in Orleans place and put Green Lantern there. With Superman, Dark knight, and Green Lantern all in the same place, they could rename Orleans to "Hero Plaza" or some crap like that. Actually that's a pretty good idea. Great America, you should do this for next year

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Hey, am i the only one who thinks that they should build Green Lantern First Flight in the old station where Iron wolf is, or they could take out the bumper cars in Orleans place and put Green Lantern there.

 

Now there's no way I can be absolutely sure about this, but I'd wager that yes you are the only one who thinks that

 

First off, as Jon mentioned, Green Lantern is low capacity. Second, it's a horrible horrible ride. The great people of Chicago and Milwaukee rejoiced when Iron Wolf left - none of us want it replaced with another horrific torture device!

 

Personally I'd love to see the Iron Wolf space filled with something like Sky Rocket at Kennywood - or perhaps even something Maverick-esqe. Or - if this really is a trust and true Universe - that space would be filled with about 5 Bayern Kurves!

 

Cameron.

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Hey, am i the only one who thinks that they should build Green Lantern First Flight in the old station where Iron wolf is, or they could take out the bumper cars in Orleans place and put Green Lantern there.

 

Now there's no way I can be absolutely sure about this, but I'd wager that yes you are the only one who thinks that

 

First off, as Jon mentioned, Green Lantern is low capacity. Second, it's a horrible horrible ride. The great people of Chicago and Milwaukee rejoiced when Iron Wolf left - none of us want it replaced with another horrific torture device!

 

Personally I'd love to see the Iron Wolf space filled with something like Sky Rocket at Kennywood - or perhaps even something Maverick-esqe. Or - if this really is a trust and true Universe - that space would be filled with about 5 Bayern Kurves!

 

Cameron.

 

 

I personally wouldn't mind a Blue Fire clone. I've never ridden it but It looks amazing, smooth, and cool.

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Hey, am i the only one who thinks that they should build Green Lantern First Flight in the old station where Iron wolf is, or they could take out the bumper cars in Orleans place and put Green Lantern there.

 

Now there's no way I can be absolutely sure about this, but I'd wager that yes you are the only one who thinks that

 

First off, as Jon mentioned, Green Lantern is low capacity. Second, it's a horrible horrible ride. The great people of Chicago and Milwaukee rejoiced when Iron Wolf left - none of us want it replaced with another horrific torture device!

 

Personally I'd love to see the Iron Wolf space filled with something like Sky Rocket at Kennywood - or perhaps even something Maverick-esqe. Or - if this really is a trust and true Universe - that space would be filled with about 5 Bayern Kurves!

 

Cameron.

 

well i thought it would be cool to get an Intamin ZacSpin in my little old theme park in the MidWest. I guess i didn't think about the capacity of the ride or the roughness because, well i have never been on one. Also, naming it after a comic book character that had a movie that just straight up bombed at the box office probably wouldn't be a good idea. But i guess a Sky Rocket ride would be cool. or, i duno just throwing things out there an Intamin Strata Coaster? Ha! Just joking that would never happen!

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I rode Iron Wolf in 2010 and is #11 on my list of 27 steel coasters I've ridden.

I honestly didn't think it was too rough, but it wasn't that special to me.

Raging Bull is the only steel coaster I've ridden that completely blew me away.

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Though I haven't ridden it but based on the opinion of most TPR members something compact like iSpeed in Iron Wolf's spot would be ideal. It's compact enough to fit in that spot.
Personally I'd love to see the Iron Wolf space filled with something like Sky Rocket at Kennywood - or perhaps even something Maverick-esqe. Or - if this really is a trust and true Universe - that space would be filled with about 5 Bayern Kurves!

I agree 100%. There are already more than enough B&M's in the park. I'd love to see another Intamin sprinkled in, and some form of blitz coaster for fit in perfectly in that spot I would imagine. Nothing wrong with you Bayern Kurve idea either, Cameron!

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SFGAm is my home park and I would love to see a compact Intamin added to Wolf's former spot. However, the spot is definitely more tight then what some people realize but removing the Wilderness Theater would provide a bit more room. I think an Intamin would be a great addition to an already great collection of roller coasters at the park. The only Intamins at SFGAm are V2 and American Eagle. I believe Eagle is the first Intamin coaster (besides Jr. Gemini) ever built but I could be wrong.

 

Here's a look at the former spot of Wolf and you can see the Wilderness Theater off to the side (left) that they could remove to make more room...

 

1335249906_ScreenShot2013-06-03at2_31_26PM.png.0fee2ef39ab90f6b540cb6da96a8e430.png

 

I wish they would remove Winner's Circle Go-Karts in Yukon (though it was built recently) which looks very ugly to the area and move the kids attractions from Camp Cartoon to that space. That would create even more room on the side of the pathway where Wolf was for a bigger coaster.

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It is also my home park and I was trying to think of a way to open up some new room for a coaster to go in Iron Wolfs land and then some. I wad thinking what if they could move all of the rides including Spracely Sprockets Rockets that are are in Camp Cartoon and move them to Hometown Square. I think they could fit all of the rides and the coaster in the spot where the 3 point challenge and ladder climb game is. It could be called Hometown Park just like the kids rides and kiddie are there used to be, ahh the memories. With the then they could remove the Wilderness Theater and then we could add a great and big roller coaster coaster in that spot. thoughts on that idea?

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It is also my home park and I was trying to think of a way to open up some new room for a coaster to go in Iron Wolfs land and then some. I wad thinking what if they could move all of the rides including Spracely Sprockets Rockets that are are in Camp Cartoon and move them to Hometown Square. I think they could fit all of the rides and the coaster in the spot where the 3 point challenge and ladder climb game is. It could be called Hometown Park just like the kids rides and kiddie are there used to be, ahh the memories. With the then they could remove the Wilderness Theater and then we could add a great and big roller coaster coaster in that spot. thoughts on that idea?

 

 

I don't think a Coaster would fit in Hometown Park.

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