Top Thrill Dragster 2022 Status

More hypothetical spitballing... I wonder what the comparable weights would be for equivalent lengths of B&M, Intamin box track, and Premier track (and anybody I've forgotten).

I know weight is just a single factor that'd have to be considered if you were going to put entirely new track on the existing tower, but Intamin box track has always struck me as slightly overbuilt to put it gently, and I'd be willing to bet it would be the heaviest of said equivalent lengths of track.

For what it's worth, I've also read hearsay on other sites that the 4-way box track allegedly fatigues considerably worse than the triangular/3-way track and that the triangular track holds up worse than the newer, more traditional-ish designs since Intimidator 305 or so. No idea how true this is or isn't since it was very much an anecdotal, "I talked to a guy that totally works for Intamin and not the Dippin' Dots stand" kind of deal.

I could see it being argued that you'd need the redundancy of the Intamin box track to account for both the forces involved and the spacing of the support points of attachment, but then I look at a newer B&M like even Valravn (and yes, I know they're not remotely similar ride experiences or forces involved, but bear with me) and see how much of the track is essentially self-supporting, even and especially for dynamic parts like the inversions.

Just like how you figure there's been close to 20 years of development on launch tech, you figure the same for ride tech, and I wouldn't see any reason why you couldn't completely replace the ride track with the existing support tower via any of the other major coaster manufacturers. Again, this is definitely a place where TCFKATTD's brevity works to its advantage.

Jeff's avatar

Weight is the easy part. The challenge with support structures and the track is how you handle the dynamic forces of a moving thing. If forces place a certain horizontal load on a structure meant to handle a vertical load (arbitrary example), it's gonna eventually break. While I'm not an engineer, it seems visually obvious to me that the Dragster tower is intended to hang a track that consists almost entirely of horizontal motion. You couldn't just wrap track around it without significant modification.

I don't know what it means to "fatigue" but Millennium Force has been running on its four-rail and three-rail track for 22 years, and I'm not aware of any sections that have been replaced. Even the four-rail is still fundamentally a bunch of triangles. (If you look closely, so is the B&M box spine... it's made up of triangular pieces.)


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

Jeff:

I had pancakes for breakfast. Does that mean I'll have pancakes tomorrow? You're creating causation that isn't based on anything.

And you’re creating causation that because you had bad pancakes, you’re never eating pancakes again.

Just because Cedar Fair hasn’t worked with Intamin in 12 years (and 3 CEOs ago) doesn’t mean they’ll never work with them again.

If Intamin was a manufacturer on the verge of bankruptcy, no other park was using them, and they weren’t still spitting out industry leading attractions- maybe you could claim I have no “causation” to work with. But the fact of the matter is that Cedar Point is reimagining a new ride experience for one of the most marquee attractions they’ve ever built, and although you may not prefer Sandor or whoever is running the place now- the most logical choice is that the original ride manufacturer is the one completing this work.

e x i t english's avatar

"Bad pancakes" don't kill, maim, break cables, throw parts at people and need constant replacement - only to have Mrs. Butterworth come forward and talk about "acceptable loss".

Something I have to wonder, what is the logistics of trying to use Intamin track, with a train from another manufacturer. I know that on occasion, parks will switch manufacturers. I would guess that Intamin would try to absolve themselves of any issues that would occur if Cedar Point put someone else's train on the track. Not that this means much, as there has already been a catastrophic failure involving an Intamin train on Intamin track. If Cedar Point does switch things out to go with someone else, the maintenance team will probably be glad to get rid of a perpetual Intamin headache.

cedarpoint2000:

Before, it was mentioned that Wicked Twister’s LIM system required a direct power line from the main land. Does anyone recall if a similar line was routed for the LSM launches on Maverick? Perhaps if such a line exists to supply power for Maverick, they could tie into it for a potential LSM launch for TTD? I’m certainly no electrical engineer, but it’s just a thought.

The feed for Maverick was run along perimeter road and originates from several intermediate transmission lines at the front of the parking lot just past the main gate. Driving along perimeter road you will notice many equally spaced electrical vaults where those feeds were run. I highly doubt these would have the capacity to run both an LSM on TTD and Maverick.

The feeds for WT on the other hand are a potential source of power, although they might not be enough either. The required power for the new Grand Pavilion and Wild Mouse would most likely be tapped off of that feed but those combined would not come close to equaling what was required for WT. I have never installed an LSM launch before so all of this is just guessing, it'll be fun to see how far off all of it is from what actually transpires!

Kevinj's avatar

While not the sexiest or most wild, if I was actually placing a bet on the end result I would put that money on the simplest; new launch system (LSM, I guess, somehow pulled off), new paint, new theme, and obviously new trains. To really jazz it up maybe add a tunnel. Or fog. Or a tunnel with fog. Or a tunnel with fog and some cool lighting.

If I had to bet on just how "crazy" TTD 2.0 could get, the idea (posted somewhere) of adding a back spike and doing the launch Wicked Twister style (with LSM's) up and over the top hat after a backwards launch seems somewhat reasonable, but that's about as far as I think it would get taken.

I don't understand why the moving of Matterhorn and Scrambler would even get brought up, unless someone is grossly mis-remembering where those rides were in relation to TTD.

I cannot fathom a reality where any significant amount of new track is added. Finances aside, there's just too much in the way. The footprint for TTD is pretty constrained.

I would be pretty shocked if Intamin has anything to do with the redo, unless there has been some significant personnel turnover over there. Brandon's (DJ) analogy above tells the whole story pretty well.

Last edited by Kevinj,

Promoter of fog.

Finally Kevinj shows up with some balanced insight, articulates his reasoning behind the possible options, avoids attacking someone else’s theory, and tells us what he could see happening.

Another good reason to remove Wicked Twister, for the TTD project. Inch the probability meter of reimagined (LSM) launch up a little higher.

Maybe you could do dueling launches that dont quite get to the tophat. Say 115 mph with LSM to get you up to 380 feet or so. One forward one backward.

PyroKinesis09's avatar

I know we like to joke about people planning park projects like they were playing RCT, but retheming the ride and changing nothing too major after it injures someone is a very RCT move.

Wicked Dragster 😉

Kevinj's avatar

^^ And I think completely re-doing the launch system alone would be something major. That would need new trains, so adding those makes it even more major, and then anything else (paint/theme) is just icing on the cake.

It would look different, sound different, and feel significantly different with just those alterations alone.

Even the simplest change I mentioned above is major.

From my perspective, adding a significant amount of track and making some kind of coaster-to-end-all-coasters is about as RCT as it gets. In Sandbox Mode. With $$ turned off.

Would I welcome that with open arms? Of course. I just don't think it makes sense.

Last edited by Kevinj,

Promoter of fog.

Yeah unlimited money, unlimited space is more RCT than anything

Since the question was asked (the quote feature didn’t work right on my iPad…)—

ASTM F770-21a:7.3 [Footnote 1] states that replacement parts shall be procured from the original manufacturer; or procured or produced using appropriate original manufacturing drawings and/or specifications; or procured or produced using specifications dreived from sufficient analysis to ensure parts of equivalent function and quality.

So while the manufacturer is, as usual [Footnote 2], considered the preferred supplier, the standard recognizes that it is sometimes desirable to obtain parts in other ways. Also, provided the ride manufacturer provides the specifications, it would allow for the use of OEM parts or possibly even OEM-equivalent parts. When Sellner specifies a Grade 2 bolt for the old style platform hinge in a Tilt-A-Whirl, you need only procure a Grade 2 bolt of appropriate dimensions; you don’t have to get it from Larson [Footnote 3].

—Dave Althoff, Jr.

Footnote 1: “Standard Practice for Ownership, Operation, Maintenance and Inspection of Amusement Rides and Devices”, ASTM International, 2021.

Footnote 2: Throughout the ASTM Committee F24 standards, the manufacturer is consistently treated as the ultimate authority on the safety related aspects of the ride. Bear in mind, however, that the Manufacturer for this purpose may not be who you think it is, and is often tied up with the entity which did the design and engineering work on the amusement ride or device. In particular, Disney and Universal often take on the role of manufacturer for their attractions which might be built by other companies.

Footnote 3: The Tilt-A-Whirl platform hinge bolt is the famous contra-example to the general rule that bolts used on amusement rides are Grade 5 or better. This is so that the bolt will wear out before the hinge does, as bolts are cheaper than hinge plates. Also, Larson bought Sellner a few years ago.

—DCAjr

Last edited by RideMan,


/X\ *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\_/XXXXX\_/XXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\__/XXXXXX

It’s hard to invest that kind of money in new trains (music and lights), new launch, and not get a different “ride experience” that can be marketed as new (but if this is what we get, I hope Kevinj gets his tunnel and fog).

Sure- they can market a new ride, ala Rougarou, but did Rougarou really make a difference on ROI? It’s still a walk-on attraction (I am still glad they made the change!)

I think of the story of Magnum where it was actually a board member that proposed the ride be pushed over 200’.

If I’m a non-enthusiast investor on the board and I’m presented the new trains, new launch, new color, new name for $15 million I’m saying “That’s Dragster with a different color.”

(not worth the investment)

If I’m seeing all of the above + a new layout for $30-40 million - I’m green lighting what would be the most epic coaster they’ve ever created.

And why not? Disney launched Rise of the Resistance as a statement to the industry and world “we build the best immersive ride experiences in the world” and people come to pay a premium to see it. They supplement it with Olga’s Cantina, and the endless merchandise options- but there’s no doubt- Rise is the star ⭐️ attraction that keeps them pouring in (thank God I’ve stayed a loyal pass holder through COVID)

I think the park has done an outstanding job rounding out the offerings since Kinzel left. I am all for every single restaurant (we loved our breakfast at French Quarter this summer), the new shows and parade, Forbidden Frontier, Snake River Expedition (one of my former theatre students starred in the attraction this year!), Breakers refurb, and I am absolutely ecstatic about the new Boardwalk next year. But all of these attractions serve one purpose- they supplement what Kinzel built, and the attractions that had similar ‘89-‘07 DNA (Gatekeeper, Valravn, Steel Vengeance).

I take my kids to the park every single summer and spend crazy amounts of money on food and lodging- I am the ultimate Breakers fanboy (this year’s standout meals were actually Bay Harbor and Tomo- they were both right up there with Disney, just make sure you get a reservation for Tomo 😉). My daughter also convinced me to take her parasailing 🪂 and it was amazing seeing the park from that vantage point (I slid the card and looked away)!

Cedar Point is the Roller Coaster Capital of the World. They will never deliver that dark ride we all hope for, they don’t have the team to maintain it- nor the capital to make it worth it. America’s RollerCoast resides in a small little town on Lake Erie- and while yes, most of the folks come from the midwest, unlike it’s sister parks in the chain, it’s still a good 90 minute drive for the vast majority of its daily attendance- and it is imperative they make investments that continue to convince folks to drive that 90 minutes (I have an essay in me somewhere that argues Top Thrill Dragster is what killed SFWoA, but I’ll save that topic for another day).

They have an amazing opportunity with the potential of that 420’ tower- and I believe they’re going to make the most of it.

Everyone is allowed to dream big with this of course, but just don't be pissed off and disappointed when it inevitably doesn't match those expectations.

Jeff's avatar

Tilt-a-Whirl:

avoids attacking someone else’s theory

You're confusing attacks with disagreement. If you aren't into debate, man, the Internet is not for you.

Tilt-a-Whirl:
Disney launched Rise of the Resistance as a statement to the industry and world

I think you misunderstand Disney. A lot. They certainly don't care about impressing the industry. Their guiding principle in attraction design (some Eisner-era stuff not withstanding) is storytelling. They don't use technology unless it serves that end, and they're not making statements with it.

Tilt-a-Whirl:
They will never deliver that dark ride we all hope for, they don’t have the team to maintain it- nor the capital to make it worth it.

Because pancakes? I mean, they didn't have the team to make anything other than ****ty food, and here we are. And if they spend $30 million on a roller coaster, they can't afford a dark ride? Legoland built a dark ride a few years ago, and they didn't need to spend that kind of money.

The reason people disagree with you is because your position is arbitrary and not based on anything grounded. You seem to think that decisions are made on precedent and allegiance to some marketing statement from 20 years ago.


Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

djDaemon's avatar

Tilt-a-Whirl:

If I’m seeing all of the above + a new layout for $30-40 million - I’m green lighting what would be the most epic coaster they’ve ever created.

Ignoring for a moment that VelociCoaster travels the second half at ~60MPH, meaning TTD with added track would need so many trim brakes, I would venture to guess that the theming is a nontrivial part of what makes VelociCoaster "epic." It doesn't seem like your budget accounts for any of that.

But again, I don't see what's so "epic" about coming down from a 420' hill into a long bank of trim brakes. It seems like if they wanted to make a VelociCoaster-type ride, it would be a better use of cap ex just build a VelociCoaster-type ride from the ground up, rather than graft it onto an existing, unsuitable structure.

And doing that wouldn't preclude them from also spending a few million on a new launch for TTD, which would probably efficiently squeeze out another 20+ years of ROI.


Brandon

Jeff:

Weight is the easy part. The challenge with support structures and the track is how you handle the dynamic forces of a moving thing. If forces place a certain horizontal load on a structure meant to handle a vertical load (arbitrary example), it's gonna eventually break. [...]

I'm by no means an engineer either, but I'd like to think I've got enough of a grasp of the basics to know that there's a disproportionate amount of engineering/structural failures that are primarily the result of only accounting for a static load and not the dynamic load/live load. Take your pick of bridge disasters, for one, and in a very basic sense the structure of a bridge is probably the closest analogue to a roller coaster structure in a way. You also have an awful lot of cases where part of the swiss cheese pileup was something being changed along the way, or something being retrofitted to the structure that wasn't accounted for in the original design. The Sampoong Dept Store collapse in Seoul is an extreme example of that sort of thing.

I guess all that was a very wordy way of saying, I can totally understand why one would be leery about retrofitting the tower that was specifically designed for a certain style of track and to take certain loads in certain conditions at certain places. But going back to what's been a recurring motif in this thread, while I'm sure the appropriate modeling could be done from an engineering POV to make it work, would it be worth the time and the expenditure? It's really hard to say until we see any further disassembly on the Dragster structure.

I don't know what it means to "fatigue" but Millennium Force has been running on its four-rail and three-rail track for 22 years, and I'm not aware of any sections that have been replaced. Even the four-rail is still fundamentally a bunch of triangles. (If you look closely, so is the B&M box spine... it's made up of triangular pieces.)

Yeah, the original topic I got that from was also pretty vague about what the OP meant by "fatigue", but yeah, structurally, the four-rail and three-rail track are basically subdivided Warren trusses ad infinitum.

This is more speculation and spitballing, but I also kind of wonder if part of the reason MF has been comparatively solid and reliable is out of the tendency for earlier models of most things to be a lot more overbuilt and redundant, because the manufacturer hasn't yet figured out what's unnecessary or where they can save money and such.

MF would've been the 5th or so Intamin coaster to have the box track (I thiiiiiink Volcano was the first but feel free to correct me otherwise) and I'm guessing it would've been designed concurrently with the three Supermen that all debuted more or less around the same time as MF (and which, as far as I know, have held up just as well as MF has).

Last edited by That Crazy Dan,

Closed topic.

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