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Jobe

Scenic World Trip Report 2013

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Just got back from a trip to the Blue Mountains and a day visit to Scenic World. I know that their recent addition of the new Scenic Railway train has been reported on Parkz earlier in the year but there hasn't been an update since so here is a short report and some pics on what is happening at the site. post-30-0-60612400-1380861786_thumb.jpg Firstly to the Scenic Railway. This is the 6th "Red Devil" train to grace the track. It has been custom built for Scenic World. I have to tell you that this new train looks fantastic. I did think that the fully enclosed doors would take away from the experience somewhat, especially considering that its predecessor only had chain barriers to hold you in, but to my surprise, it didn't. The much hyped "seat regulator" allows you to choose 3 settings-laidback, normal (52 degree angle), or cliffhanger (62 degree angle). Whilst it is great to be able to choose your seat setting, I did find this to be a tad gimmicky and really doesn't add much to an already awesome experience. The front of the train is also fully enclosed with steel mesh similar to what you would find in modern security doors. Whilst being enclosed, it still allowed you to feel the rush of air as it descends onto the Jamison Valley floor. One thing that has changed on my last visit, is that the Scenic Railway no longer accommodates prams or strollers. This was allowed on the previous train but now all prams have to utilise the cableway to reach the valley floor. The station at the top has been completely redone and has been elevated by around 2-3 metres from its original position. This has serious consequences for the Orphan Rocker track, but more on that later. post-30-0-59676300-1380861885_thumb.jpg The station on the valley floor has also had a very nice refurbishment. It has been extended from the original to allow for extra patrons and to seamlessly join to the adjacent Skywalk. The Skywalk, follows 3 km of elevated walking platforms in some of the prettiest scenery you will find in Australia. This makes for a fantastic overall experience as my family explored every inch. We had a nice picnic lunch as we traversed our way through the forest floor and we saw plenty of bird life along the way. The track meanders around to the cableway which you can then board for the trip back up to the top. The Scenic Skyway is also very popular and the current car, made in Switzerland, replaced the original car in 2004. The original served from 1958. The biggest difference between the current car and the old car, is that now there is a station on the other side where you can depart and take in the various walking trails to Echo Point and Katoomba Falls. Previously the trip was a one way journey. What has changed however, is that ( on this day at least) the car no longer stops half way. This was to allow the passengers plenty of photo opportunities of the nearby Katoomba Falls. However, this maybe because of the large amounts of tourists and also the fact that it was school holidays and in non peak time this practice may continue. post-30-0-82421000-1380861943_thumb.jpg The other biggest change for the park has been the introduction of a family pass that allows you to ride all 3 attractions all day. This gives you a wristband that utilises barcode technology to enter each attraction. It is very well presented and was a VERY popular choice amongst the multitudes of visitors on the day. post-30-0-06611500-1380861991_thumb.jpg Of course, as coaster enthusiasts, we all know about Orphan Rocker. I asked several attendants on the day general questions about the coaster and its possible fate. Whilst I do not have much to add to what has already been reported on this very site, there is some bad news but also hopeful news as well. Firstly, let me tell you that the material condition of the track does not appear to be very good. It is in need of a good paint but also in several areas the track has been completely overgrown by trees and bushes. This has been left to just sit and it is obvious that it has not received any attention for a long time. post-30-0-67251000-1380862040_thumb.jpg post-30-0-24178300-1380862079_thumb.jpg post-30-0-20378700-1380862122_thumb.jpg post-30-0-32834600-1380862180_thumb.jpg post-30-0-14687900-1380862247_thumb.jpg post-30-0-98016200-1380862293_thumb.jpg post-30-0-59398000-1380862340_thumb.jpg post-30-0-13350800-1380862450_thumb.jpg post-30-0-29392300-1380862556_thumb.jpg post-30-0-88405000-1380862598_thumb.jpg post-30-0-95344200-1380862662_thumb.jpg As you can see by the above pics, this coaster will need serious investment and serious work in order to open. That's just taking into account the clean up of the track perimeter. This was fairly typical of the condition along virtually every section of the track. From the vantage point of the cableway, where the coaster traverses the cliff and then comes back round to the hill lift, the track was engulfed by undergrowth. You just could not see it, it was virtually invisible. Secondly, in order to open, the track and coaster is going to need MAJOR structural modifications. As I stated above, the coaster track used to run parallel with the Scenic Railway loading/unloading area. However, with the refurbishment of the Railway and the new station being elevated above the original, this has meant that the track in its existing form , will need to be torn down and re- engineered in order to firstly, build a new load/unload station and secondly, be far enough from the present station for running clearance. The footers from the new station intersect where the current coaster track runs. The below pic illustrates my point fairly graphically. post-30-0-58741600-1380862746_thumb.jpg As I stated earlier in my post, I asked virtually every ride attendant/Scenic World employee about the future of the Orphan Rocker. Now I know that ride attendants are not the most reliable source of information but what I did glean was quite informative. Virtually EVERY person I talked to stated that there are definite plans to open the coaster in the near future. However, one supervisor/manager was much more forthcoming. He stated that every ride in the park had an operating life of just over 30 years. The oldest of these rides, The Scenic Cableway, is 12 years old. Now that all 3 attractions, culminating in the recent Scenic Railway refurbishment, have had investment spent on them, the Hammon family can now turn their attention to the opening of the Rocker. During the recent Railway refurbishment, they had the option to remove the Rocker but this was not done for 2 reasons. The first is, that the Katoomba Council will not allow a new construction coaster to be built but will ALLOW the refurbishment of the existing structure. The very fact that it is still standing means that the Hammon family have definite,slowly gestating plans for the structure. Of course, this is not going to happen quickly. There has been serious investment in the site in recent years, including millions spent on the refurbished railway. It is going to take at least 5 years for a return on investment, but the supervisor did say that this return is progressing quicker than originally planned because of the popularity of the attractions. It is not inconceivable that within 5 years, work and plans could begin on stirring the Orphan Rocker to life. Scenic World is a fantastic day out for the whole family. It is uniquely Australian in what it promises, and is a truly international attraction. The staff are fantastic, all local, and obviously love working there. It is a shinning example of what a humble family business can achieve over decades of hard work and dedication. You have to remember that this is a privately owned, family business who have spent MILLIONS bringing to life what Scenic World is today. The introduction and opening of The Orphan Rocker will only enhance a fantastic experience and firmly put this place on the international map. If you have never been, please take my advice and go and visit- it is a fantastic place to visit for the young and old and really utilises the beauty of the Blue Mountains and the Australian landscape to its fullest advantage. A great day!

Edited by Jobe

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Thanks for the trip report. Much appreciated and great to get some info updated as always.

It looks like to me, particularly in that last photo, that for that footer to go in, they've had to cut some track out, but then they've joined the two seperated pieces back together again with some really basic pipe and weld? WTF?

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That close up of the track doesn't make it look very substantial anyway...Thin running rails and crimped welds...Looks about as strong as set of monkey bars:

r-MONKEY-BARS-DANGEROUS-large570.jpg?6

Anyway Jobe, I reckon you should submit that bit of crappily joined track to rcdb...It deserves to be one of those images that becomes famous amoungst the enthusiast community for its hilarity.

Edited by Gazza

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Thanks for the trip report. Much appreciated and great to get some info updated as always.

It looks like to me, particularly in that last photo, that for that footer to go in, they've had to cut some track out, but then they've joined the two seperated pieces back together again with some really basic pipe and weld? WTF?

No problems, happy to contribute where I can.

Yeah that was the reason I took particular attention to that spot. I was exactly like you- I could not believe what I was seeing......it is seriously a wtf moment!!

That close up of the track doesn't make it look very substantial anyway...Thin running rails and crimped welds...Looks about as strong as set of monkey bars:

r-MONKEY-BARS-DANGEROUS-large570.jpg?6

Anyway Jobe, I reckon you should submit that bit of crappily joined track to rcdb...It deserves to be one of those images that becomes famous amoungst the enthusiast community for its hilarity.

However there has to be a reason that they have taken this action. It is obvious that in order to get that footer in for the station, the original coaster track has been dismantled and then re-welded with what looks like smaller, inferior pieces. The only reason I can surmise at this stage is perhaps that they wish to maintain the integrity of the entire structure and that it was safer to have the track connected together at that particular point??

Anyone else have any ideas?

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Told you guys that "Ranger" guy on youtube was legit.... He told me this stuff several months ago. Must have been one of these workers you spoke to.

But anyway, I'm glad it's now not just a silly "colliric rumour" and someone else has gotten some really great info on it, as well some awesome pics. Thank you Jobe!

Kinda hope some coaster firm takes it on as an interesting project. Would love to see it get done, but I personally think they need a good firm to get behind it. Kumbak would be great...

I think the problem is mostly raising the millions of dollars of cash needed to refurbish/fix/rebuild it. Would need modern coaster trains as well.

Speaking of rides being worked on for years and years, Melbourne Star will re-open by March 2014(so I'm told)... they finally started testing the wheel(without the carriages) again earlier this month, it turned again for the first time since it was shut..... They installed the carriages over the last few weeks and testing with Carriages can begin sometime soon. Even if the reconstruction is completed soon, I was informed it will still not open until early next year, so that it has an extended summer testing period and ING can be confident it doesn't suffer problems again. Hence they still refuse to actually announce the opening date, or their exact detailed plans for it's reopening.

Heck if that can open again, anything is possible with the Orphan Rocker!

Edited by colliric_855

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Enough horn blowing RWC. What Jobe has posted is interesting, but no more rumour than the crap you came forward with a few months ago. I made a visit there several years ago with similar discussions had and similar details revealed.

Until I see them start work on it, it's still just a rumour and nothing more.

On a different note Jobe - the big thing to remember with the old railway is it used to be the only mechanised method of descending into the valley. Making it non-stroller friendly killed much revenue opportunity - so naturally they would accommodate it on the train.

The Cableway (isn't it still called the Sceniscender?) Provides a better, safer option for the strollers, and therefore when they redesigned the train, they didn't allow for it because they had an alternative.

Only issue I see is that now instead of having multiple options for strollers in case of maintenance or breakdown - now if the sceniscender breaks down, there is no option for strollers.

As far as the cruddy weld, I'd say it's been hit nail-on-the-head... So long as the track is complete, the attraction structure is too... This coaster is stuff of legend, and i'm sure scenic world has already approached Katoomba council for permission to demolish and start again with modern technology and manufacture. I assume they're wanting to preserve some heritage idea of the coaster (holding a record for taking the longest time to open i guess only stands if it were actually to open one day?), but my guess is the same - they've done a dodgy weld job in order to keep it 'complete'

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ust

As far as the cruddy weld, I'd say it's been hit nail-on-the-head... So long as the track is complete, the attraction structure is too... This coaster is stuff of legend, and i'm sure scenic world has already approached Katoomba council for permission to demolish and start again with modern technology and manufacture. I assume they're wanting to preserve some heritage idea of the coaster (holding a record for taking the longest time to open i guess only stands if it were actually to open one day?), but my guess is the same - they've done a dodgy weld job in order to keep it 'complete'

Actually I'd guess it's even more simple than that. Looks like they just can't be fucked putting that important looking central bit(is that a break?) in Storage and risk having it sit around for years on end. So they've just welded it in place to make sure they don't lose it. Unless that was what you ment by "keeping it complete"?

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Enough horn blowing RWC. What Jobe has posted is interesting, but no more rumour than the crap you came forward with a few months ago. I made a visit there several years ago with similar discussions had and similar details revealed.

Until I see them start work on it, it's still just a rumour and nothing more.

I agree wholeheartedly AlexB. Please don't think that what I was posting is meant to be taken as canon/or confirmed truth. As I stated in the trip report, the information is gleaned from several Scenic World employees and is definitely nothing official. I am horrified to think that RWC would use it to back up his "jump to conclusion" ramblings!!

The only thing I can say at this point that could lend credence to strengthen this speculation, however, is that now that every ride has had investment poured into it, Scenic World are now free to pursue the dream of working on Orphan Rocker. It appears that the stars COULD be aligning for this ride. Other than financial reasons, of which I touched on in my first post, the next few years could be the best chance for Orphan Rocker to be finally worked upon.

On a different note Jobe - the big thing to remember with the old railway is it used to be the only mechanised method of descending into the valley. Making it non-stroller friendly killed much revenue opportunity - so naturally they would accommodate it on the train.

The Cableway (isn't it still called the Sceniscender?) Provides a better, safer option for the strollers, and therefore when they redesigned the train, they didn't allow for it because they had an alternative.

Only issue I see is that now instead of having multiple options for strollers in case of maintenance or breakdown - now if the sceniscender breaks down, there is no option for strollers.

This is true and a good point. Especially given the fact that since 2004, there has been a reason to WANT to travel to the valley floor. The 3km of Scenic Skywalk is very wheelchair and pram friendly so it makes sense that the Cableway is the preferred option for the transportation of these devices. In event of a breakdown of the Cableway, The Railway could be utilised for prams and strollers as a backup as it did before. What I didn't add is that when we went on our 3rd trip on the Railway, a wheelchair bound passenger was allowed to journey down on the train with his chair next to him, so there should be no trouble accommodating prams etc, if the park desired that. It would definitely affect the capacity of the ride, if this rule was relaxed.

The Sceniscender name has been dropped and the ride is now on all official marketing material as the Scenic Cableway.

As far as the cruddy weld, I'd say it's been hit nail-on-the-head... So long as the track is complete, the attraction structure is too... This coaster is stuff of legend, and i'm sure scenic world has already approached Katoomba council for permission to demolish and start again with modern technology and manufacture. I assume they're wanting to preserve some heritage idea of the coaster (holding a record for taking the longest time to open i guess only stands if it were actually to open one day?), but my guess is the same - they've done a dodgy weld job in order to keep it 'complete'

Yep agree also. This is what I was alluding to in my initial trip report. Looking at my pic, it is really the only reason that makes sense, given the quality of the job.

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