pinksmile

Scenic Railway Counterweight

84 posts in this topic

In light of incidents that recently occured at Scenic World that resulted in a police investigation, we removed topics that discussed potentially unsafe or illegal activities. You are of course welcome to discuss Scenic World or any of its attractions, as well as their technical side such as how the counterweight system works, but we can't have topics promoting dangerous pursuits.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More serious than that, however we do not wish to encourage any such behavior, including that which was described in the aforementioned thread. It has therefore been removed, which is a shame because it was a very interesting read. In respecting the attraction owners though, we have decided to remove it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why are people so stupid? Oh well, peoples stupidity keeps me in a job so I guess it's ok. I have a motto which is: "I have no compassion for stupidity", enough said I think. Bussy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Djrappa, yeah it was an interesting read for sure, and in keeping with that mode do you happen to know when the counterweight was converted to a platform that surrounds the barrell as opposed to the standard framework that they had on it for years ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello, I'm the engineer up here at Scenic World. The counterweight was last upgraded in 1994, at which time the counteweight was rebuilt to include walkways on the sides, but it used the same tank as the previous model. Prioir to that the counterweight had a very similar design structurally (but no catwalks) and as I said the same tank. The tank was filled with water at that time and it is now filled with steel to get the extra weight that was needed when the Railway went from 2 to 3 cars. The water filled tank design was installed in approx 1973. I hope that answers your question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks jasicia, yeah it did help. By the way would you happen to know if there are any old photos circulating or archived of the counterweight operating during the 1960's and 70's ?. I am just curious to see what it looked like in those days. Or information on how they maintain it. I have always been intrigued by it for some reason since i was a kid and still am (dont ask me why i couldnt tell you).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't remember seeing any photos of it that long ago around the place, the Managing Director might have some buried somewhere, I would have to get back to you on that one. It is maintained like every other piece of equipment at Scenic World as part of our maintenance program. It is just a piece of mechanical machinery so it gets regularly inspected, greased and maintained. Nothing very exciting about it really. If anyone is interested the Managing Director just finished writing a book about the History of the Mines here including some history of Scenic World and a shale ropeway that went from the current Scenic World all the way across the Jamison valley to the Ruined Castle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That sounds very interesting jasicia. I would love to read that!! The Blue Mountains has a fascinating and rich history!! While you are there though,please ask your Managing Director if there are any plans to open "Orphan Rocker" to the public in the near future....I would dearly love to ride this before i die!!! :rolleyes: Cheers Jobe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, you me and thousands more would dearly love to see something happen in regards to the Orphan Rocker. I mean seriously guys, at least dismantle the damn thing and put it to rest (in theory anyway). All these "it is still in the pipeline" and "when we get around to it " type statements have really worn thin on everyone i suspect, particularly when you consider they have been saying them for over 25 years and still all we have is the track suspended 20 feet in the air racing around the top of Scenic World. The track itself has been painted a different colour over the years for anyone that doesn't know so hey, they have completed maintenance on it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as everyone (including me) would love to see the Orphan Rocker open, you need to understand that we have to run a business. There are other business contraints in place that affect whether it is opened, worked on, pulled down etc. It is not as simple as you might think, especially given the enviroment that Scenic World operates in (eg. GFC, major swings in market origin, and other financial constraints placed on the business). As much as no one likes hearing we would like to open it one day, that has never been a lie, but it has to fit into the business plan, and it would irresponsible of the company directors to approve the expenditure of millions of dollars on a project that the business couldn't afford. Also if you have visited Scenic World in the last 8 years you would have noticed the 30 million dollars or so we spent on redeveloping the site. It desperately needed it and this was the priority so the Orphan Rocker has had to wait, unfortunatley the bucket of money is only so big. In the immediate future (ie the next 2 years), I will tell you it is not in the plan, as the business has other prioities. However we will not pull it down because if/when we do decide to develop this then having the structure already in place makes getting further approvals for such a task much easier. So if it means leaving it there for another 10 years while we make up our minds that is what we will do, and anyone who asks will continue to get the same answer about whether or not we are going to open it. Besides all that... it makes you keep talking about the place! If anyone is interested in the book I mentioned, they are available from our souvenir shop, if you send an email to info@scenicworld.com.au, they can organise payment and mail it out to you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was not out to upset the applecart with anyone, particularly anyone working there, i was just stateing the truth from a Scenic World fans point of view. From where i (and probably others) stand the Orphan Rocker has become a major frustration, in that we have all waited for so many years to see this ride finally completed and commence operation. Sure, there is the whole financial side of things that must be worked out from your side of the fence, but from our side that $30 million that was spent in the last few years should have included completion of the Orphan Rocker. It has been there since around 1983 and should have been up and operating by now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand that fans find it frustrating, I too love the ride and enjoy it immensly having been one of the lucky ones to ride it. I can assure you that we couldn't have spent the $30 million differently or we would have, and to include the rocker would have meant $15 -20 million dollars out of the budget (it is not going to be a cheap thing to get operating). So, if the $30 million had included the rocker there would be no Skyway and probably only half a builidng which wouldn't not have been an intelligent way for us to spend our money. The business couldn't afford to spend the extra $15-20 million so it wasn't done at the time. I'm sure that's not the answer you want to hear, but that's the truth of the matter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
to include the rocker would have meant $15 -20 million dollars out of the budget (it is not going to be a cheap thing to get operating).
Out of interest, with that sort of budget would you be aiming to work on the existing structure, or would it be a case of building a new ride in its place? Obviously you've got some challenging terrain to work with, but there are new coasters that have been built in Australia for less than that...Just interested t'sall. Edited by Gazza

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that track has now been there for 20 years, it is safe to assume that some track work would have to be carried out if the Rocker were to be opened, and given that there is over 800m of track which is pretty long for a coaster the cost of the track and civil works in the terrain we are on would be substantial.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting thread. Just wanting to confirm however, are there CONCRETE plans at some point to move towards opening the "Orphan Rocker" in the future? Are the delays towards its opening soley based on monetary issues or are they technical problems that need to be resolved also? I understand that the outlay for what is essentially a family owned and operated business would be huge, but the marketing appeal and and the uniqueness of the ride plus its 20 year infamy would see it become an instant success and would see people travelling from all over Australia and the world just to ride it. I am sure that it would more than pay its way and coupled with the other attractions at Scenic World, would become a must do destination. Cheers Jobe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jasicia, please tell me if you can, why did Scenic World get the Orphan Rocker's complete track line installed all those years ago, to then just stop dead with completion ? Surely they had the finances and all the safety issues etc to complete the ride in the beginning, or they would'nt have started building it in the first place. Right ???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The project didn't stop dead after the track was finished. The Orphan Rocker was built on site at Scenic World and was the first roller coaster as far as we know to have been built completely in Australia. This meant that the coaster was an evolving beast with trial and error involved in getting everything right. The interesting thing about the standards is that when the coaster was first built there wasn't an amusment standard in Australia. The first version of AS3533 (Amuement rides and devices) came out in 1985 as far as I know (by then the track and train was already built). Because the Orphan Rocker was not open at that stage it then had to comply with that standard before it could open. That lead to quite a bit of rework in the electrcial systems and the train. The evolution of the rides systems and trains continued on for about 10 years after that time as modifcations were made for reliability and passenger comfort. The coaster was only being worked on during weekends when management had time, which is why this took so long. It was never anyone's full time job, or I'm sure it would have been open long ago. Eventually Scenic World decided to concentrate it's money and management's time on finding a new way to get passengers in and out of the valley as the Railway was reaching capacity (hence the building of the cableway), then onto the completion of the upgrade of the rest of the building and finally the Skyway. It not a very exciting story, which is probably why there are so many myths out there about it. To answer Jobe's query, the best I can give you is what is written above. In the next 2 years, we will not be developing the Rocker, after that I cannot tell you, that is up to the board of directors and the vision they have for the business. It might seem like putting the Rocker in would be a great money spinner, and everyone in Australia would come, but there are lots of other factors and it isn't quite that simple. However, I am always happy to hear that there are people keen to go on it, as if you guys aren't out there then it definatey wont happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that update jasicia it makes a bit more sense now. I just hope we all get to see this thing up and running at some stage. Anyway, did you have any luck in finding out from your managing director if there are any old counterweight photos lying around or archived somewhere ? I hope he does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
post-2114-1266916062_thumb.jpg Perhaps of interest to some, another recent photo taken on 30/9/08. post-2114-1268614317_thumb.jpg A closer view taken on 30/9/08. post-2114-1269037306_thumb.jpg Photographed directly underneath on 30/9/08. post-2114-1269514775_thumb.jpg Top view taken on 30/9/08. post-2114-1270183786_thumb.jpg Here is a photo taken on 30/9/08 of the previous counterweight (minus it's weight barrell) that was in operation between the late 1980's and mid 1990's. post-2114-1270268181_thumb.jpg Front view of the previous counterweight taken on 30/9/08. I always prefered the yellow and black signage that was attached to the side of the counterweight, as opposed to the green and white one they currently use. post-2114-1270360950_thumb.jpg This photo is for anyone who has ever wondered what the counterweight track cable is connected to in the valley. Taken on 30/9/08. post-2114-1270645859_thumb.jpg The slimline counterweight designs that they used in the past, looked so much cooler than the current (platform) model they use, in my opinion. It is surprising that they did'nt take on the (platform) design years before they finally did, as it is obviously designed that way for ease of maintenance. Taken on 30/9/08. post-2114-1270933337_thumb.jpg This photo was taken of the counterweight in it's top position near the cliff face. I realise it is crappy quality, but it is a long way away from the bottom anchor point in the valley. Notice how much slack there is on the counterweight track cable. From any other angle it never appears to have that much slack. Of interest to some perhaps ? Taken 30/9/08. post-2114-1271327420_thumb.jpg This is a photo of the recently installed counterweight track cable support frame, as opposed to the old iron wheel type that was used for years. Taken on 30/9/08. Edited by Gazza

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Parkz Crew

    Support Parkz... join the Crew for:

    • Ad-banner free viewing
    • Parkz Crew profile badge
    • Extended editing
    • See who's liked your posts
    • Purchase discounts

    Join Now from $20/yr

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.