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Flea

TR: Early openings!

19 posts in this topic

I made a last minute decision to go to Wonderland today (Sorry Andrew!), due to the re-opening of Demon. I was dropped off at approximately 2pm, allowing 3 hours of re-ride fun on Demon. I approached the ticket booth, and as expected, Demon was not on the closed rides list. So I got my stamp, and entered the main plaza. Something smelt new.. I looked to the left, then to the right and BAM, there it was. Super Hero Headquarters had opened 14 days early from the orginal opening date. While I expected this expansion to be much bigger than it currently is, it still gives the plaza a roomy feeling it never had. The "echo" area has now been beautifully painted with every Marvel character. On the ceiling of the new area are painted comic strips (called "The Rise of Super Hero Headquarters"), which is certainly worth a read (although you do look a bit silly when doing so!). This new expansion really is great, photos will come next week. After spending 30 mins looking at Super Hero Headquarters, I decided it was time for my Demon fix. While walking to the coaster, I noticed that the park was packed. The atmosphere was electric, every ride had atleast a 10 min wait... I felt like I was in a new park. Anyway, after spending 15 mins in line for Demon, I chose car no. 6 to sit in. Was the ride any different? No. Demon now suffers from major speed vibration and headbanging, and now even stronger brakes. Next up was Space Probe. I was allocated to cabin no. 3, not the best of cabin's to sit in, but it'll do. It seems that speed vibration has also cursed Space Probe. It was the worst ride I've ever had on SP, so I veered away from the ride for the rest of the day (that's a first!). I'd just like to point out that there is a new ride op on the crew, but I forget her name. She is very enthusiastic, and gets the cars dispatched fast. She also screams out "How was your ride?" (much like the Cedar Point ride ops do), which is, ofcourse followed by a loud cheer. It was now 3pm, so I headed down to goldrush to watch the IWA Pro Westling match. Despite the lame commentators and extremely small ring, this co-ed tag-team match was excellent. It had me on the edge of my seat (bench) through the whole match. Maybe I should start watching wrestling again... For the remaining hour, I rode Demon again, had my late lunch, then left the park. In my opinion, Wonderland has really surprised me in their preparations for Summer. The park looks stunning (the new colours in Transylvania have really surprised me, they look great on a sunny and busy Spring's day). I can't wait to see Wonderland in Summer, I think they will cope very, very well. Photos will be available next week at OzCoaster.net, ~Flea

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Just one question Flea... Super Hero Headquarters is just a shop right? Thanks for the info on Demon, shame about it being more shaky and the stronger brakes (The stronger brakes particularly, I thought they were way too strong already). Interesting what you said about space probe too, was there much wind about or what? Must have been bad too get you off space probe :D

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Just one question Flea... Super Hero Headquarters is just a shop right?
Right. A heavily themed extension to the main plaza, with every marvel product you can think of!
Interesting what you said about space probe too, was there much wind about or what?  Must have been bad too get you off space probe  :D
There was little to no wind at all when I went on, so I don't know what was wrong with the ride. However, later in the day they did close off cabin one due to the winds, which then caused one hour lines for Space Probe. ~Flea

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Right. A heavily themed extension to the main plaza, with every marvel product you can think of! ~Flea
You'll be the parks marketing manager one-day flea ;) I'm still surprised about Space Probe though, drop towers are not traditionally rides that suffer from shakiness. Maybe extensive downtime is in order :twisted:

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No. Demon now suffers from major speed vibration and headbanging, and now even stronger brakes. Next up was Space Probe. I was allocated to cabin no. 3, not the best of cabin's to sit in, but it'll do. It seems that speed vibration has also cursed Space Probe. It was the worst ride I've ever had on SP, so I veered away from the ride for the rest of the day~Flea
Vibration and head banging? I've never really noticed it on the Demon beofre - does anyone have any theory as to *why* this has occurred? Is it because whoever serviced it did a really bad job, or as mate tells me, if they re-do the bearing and rollers it takes some time for them to soften a little? I am not an engineer so have no idea. As for SP - I have never had speed vibration on it either, but have noted a somewhat slower (as it appeared) cabin (which I alway avoid if possible) no# 2 isn't it? Cheers, Michael

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It could be the new wheel thing, although I didn't really notice any new wheels on Demon. All Vekoma's are pretty rough, no matter how much you maintain them. My theory to why they are rough is because of the minimal contact the upstops, and side wheels have. When they do get used (through loops etc), the train jolts, therefore creating headbanging. I could be wrong, but that's just my opinion. As for Space Probe, all sides operate at the same speed (Gravity is the "motor"). It all depends how much weight you have on the car. ~Flea

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The age-old "Why Vekoma's are rough" discussions. This is one I've always been fond of (and I've participated in enough at ThrillNetwork, CoasterBuzz and Westcoaster :)). New wheels do take a while to wear in, but they certainly won't be rougher than old wheels. See the graph I've attached out of sheer boredom to get an idea of the smoothness of a coaster with new wheels in relation to time (yes - I was very bored). You'll find it takes some time for an Arrow or Vekoma coaster with new wheels to wear in and peak its smoothness, and it'll slowly deteriorate over time. Cyclone's a great example for Gold Coast locals, and I'm sure Demon is the same. As for the idea of upstop and guide wheel spacing. It's a pretty popular argument, but there's a few things I'd like to say about it. The spacing of upstops doesn't contribute at all to roughness. Unless you felt the train drop and make contact with the upstops while upside down, this wouldn't make a difference. My best argument to put to rest the idea of spring-loaded side guide wheels solving the roughness issues is actually Runaway Reptar at Dreamworld. It's a Vekoma coaster that uses spring-loaded guide wheels, and I can tell you that it's far from smooth. If that ride were going any faster than it currently does (i.e. the speeds of a ride like Demon at 75km/h), you'd be beaten to a living pulp from the headbanging. They'll slightly dampen any heavy jolts, but they won't magically make them disappear. Flea, I know the jolts you're talking about in the loops etc. on Demon, and it's because of not-so-great engineering and transitioning, it's really not much to do with spacings with wheels. Though these might lessen the jolts, much of it comes from the sudden curve into the loop and the sudden shifting to the side of the track in the loop. Through the boomerang though, springs might prove more useful, but still, it's not going to do a whole lot. Softer restraints and more open cars would be the easiest way to fix this problem... or just keeping the wheels fresh enough. As for Space Probe, in a perfect world (conveniently remove friction), the speed will be directly equal to the acelleration (9.8m/s²) and the time it spends freefalling (before it hits the brakes). Of course, it's not a perfect world, and friction does take its toll on gondolas based on how much weight there is in it. The roughness sounds to me like it's coming from a lack of rail greasing. I know Giant Drop can often give a good rattle on the way up - thankfully it never does on the way down, as it's painful enough on the way up going slowly (it can sometimes give the neck a bump in an awkward way). If you look closely at the running rails of a Giant Drop from Intamin, you'll see they've got a good thick coating of grease, which allows the smooth and nearly frictionless descent (and is also why Giant Drop's so grubby and oily beyond the oil rig theme). Another day... another overly long essay on coasters. :)

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Flea, Your right about the Vekoma's, I guess I never took that much notice after spending too much time on TBB! LOL Head banging and jolting on coasters is nasty at the best of times unless you work out some way to let yourself be *floppy*. (well that is what I do on rough rides, particularly TBB..) As for SP, when I was younger and was attending Wonderland every other weekend, the rumour or what we thought was that car 2 or was it 3? Anyway was slightly slower and slowed down to stop before the others. It was probably urban legend or something! :D I think we used to make the assumption that car No#1 was the best as it was always used and therefore had the least resistance. :mrgreen: You make me feel old.... Although when I was your age I was doing the same things! Hah Ha! Cheers mate, Michael

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Richard, Thanks for the explanation! I have few questions though. Would subsidence, flat spots on the track and worn damper springs have an effect? I can remember the Demon was at Expo 88 (that is where it came from?) and they had nothing but trouble with it, in fact I had been stuck on it when attending Expo. You would think it wouldn't be too much of an engineering evolution to replace the contact wheels and casings with variable weighted / loading springs specifically designed for such environs. It probably comes down to money of course. But in theory it shouldn't be a problem to engineer. Which is why some woodies are smoother than their metal counterparts in my mind. [wood taking forces v's metal and concrete] With the BD, I know what you mean about the jolting on the uprising. Is this because the cabin is so wide? I'd be interested to know what the difference between SP and BD's track width per car. Cheers, Michael

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Any anomalies in the track would surely have an effect on the dynamics of the ride. It wouldn't really take more than a slightly less smooth section of track to really slow the train enough to cause problems. Vekoma wouldn't let such things pass though (as "bad" as they are... :)), and certainly not in the short time it ran at Expo would it have caused any fatigue problems that might cause depressions or anything in the track (I doubt even today that any track has been replaced on Demon because of damage). The problem associated with adding spring-loaded wheels isn't so much with an incapability to add them to the trains, but rather with the way it'll effect the dynamics of the ride. Contact means friction, which means slower speeds, which essentially means even more valleying in the boomerang - which happens enough as is. They tried to get spring-loaded wheels happening on the Giant Inverted Boomerangs (Deja Vus), but that lead to repeated valleys in the boomerang, so clearly they've not yet worked out how to accurately simulate the friction that springs add to a ride. I know for certain that SFMM's Deja Vu removed the springs to increase uptime, and I'd guess that the other parks followed suit. From a technical standpoint, there is absolutely no difference between the train on Demon (an old model Arrow train) and that on Big Dipper/Cyclone (newer style Arrow train). Aside from the bubbly look and a few aesthetic and comfort changes, it is the same train as the old ones (Vekoma did add certain things to make the cable lift system and other things work correctly). Same track guage, same wheel guage, same cabin width, same seat and restraint height etc.

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Interesting Richard! Not sure whether you thought I was comparing the Demon to the Big Dipper / Cyclone but I was actually referring to the difference between the Big Drop / Space Probe cabin width and associated tracking. Do the Vekoma trains use rubber mounted contact points on the trains? Or more specifically, what type? I'm just curious and can't seem to find any technical information anywhere. Cheers, Michael

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Not a problem - interesting parallel nonetheless. :) From an actual design standpoint, the Giant Drop's structure is identical to Space Probe's, just larger. The track guage is larger, but that just means the gondola's contact points are also wider. As far as I know, there's no technical difference. What exactly do you mean by "rubber mounted contact points"? If you're talking about the wheels, yeah, all the wheels are all steel with a rubber (or plastic) compound tread. Interestingly, Thunderbolt at Dreamworld uses steel-only upstops (the rest are a very hard plastic wheel) - to prevent damage to the track, they'd use an alloy that's a softer metal than the track so that the wheels will wear instead of the track (Mohs scale, everyone). Regarding rubber compounds for wheels (again, I hope I haven't interpreted it wrong), I know that many modern coasters use a fairly recent product (maybe 6 or 7 years old) from DuPont known as Hylene PPDI. I don't know if Vekoma are using this on wheel replacements (Arrow shifted to it a few years ago), if not , it'd just be the standard poly-eurethane that most coasters used. This is fun. Keep 'em coming! 8)

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Richard, I was actually referring to the type of wheel assembly mount, the bits that attach the wheel assembly to the car. Kind of like the rubber mounts that most engines attach too on a modern car to minimise vibration. Another alternate example would be the compound that Ciityrail used here in Sydney on the City Circle line and on the Harbour Bridge. It's a similar scenario they did whereby the track mounts are laid in concrete with a rubber sort of 'o' ring that stops vibration and noise of metal with metal contact. Now, in your mind, reverse the application process to have the rubber compound used as a contact meet between the coasters wheel assembly and carriage. It would be so much easier to explain if I could draw a diagram! I do know that the rubber mounted track mounts worked a treat for Cityrail - to the point where you used to hear trains trundling along CQ and the Bridge from a long distance - now it's virtually silent. They are strong enough to not allow any lateral or horizontal movement of the rail track but still take extreme forces and manage to buffer the vibrations of all of Sydneys rolling stock - from Tangara trains to the more generic S & R sets. Actually the smoothest ride on any Cityrail train is from the tunnel exit at CQ to the Station proper, with virtually no movement and a near perferct 5 cm gap between a Tangara's doors and the station floor. OK, my point being that surely a compound similar to that used by Cityrail, reversed designed for wheel mount contact would be suitable for reduction in coasters vibration? In theory it would at least minimise the vibration and have a dampen effect on lateral movement to a point whereby it wouldn't be so jarring. You could also *y* mount your contacts with the wheel assembly with cross bars in a *X* config that would provide additional stability and vibration reduction - much like a car - but without the need of shock absorbers and still providing the rigidity needed. How easy is it to be an armchair engineer? LOL Michael

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does anyone know any current ride closures and rides that will actually close within the next 2 weeks does anyone know if the bush beast is open and if not does anyone knoe when it will open? because im planning to go to wonderland next friday with a group of ffiends and the only rides we are concerned about is the bush beast, demon, bountys revenge, snowy river rampage and the space probe well they are about the only rides we will go on

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The Bush Beast is currently closed, but should be open for when you go (apparently opening on the 27th September). Snowy River Rampage was closed when I went on Wednesday, but I suspect it would have to do with the water pumps again, no biggie. Everything should be open for when you go. Hope this helped, ~Liam

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