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Don't be discouraged from going if you haven't been to Dollywood, it's a great park even without Lightning Rod, every one of their rides are top tier. I know Lightning Rod has been a huge pain for the park (as with most RMCs), I'm personally hoping that this means Lightning Rod will be able to run two trains constantly.

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27 minutes ago, KIjames said:

thank you for posting this. I might have gone over the holidays 

You're welcome. I'm super curious to what they are revamping. Besides the brake check I thought it ran really nice this summer. But that's been my first time riding it so I can't compare to other seasons. 
 

 

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Hopefully they can get it working consistently. 

At this point, I do think they need to look at a standard chain lift.  For a coaster to be having this many problems 5 seasons in is crazy.  For coasters like TTD it is a little more understandable because of the force of the launch and height.

With Lightning Rod, I have noticed from being at the park the last couple of years that they seem to be promoting it less and less and not even having as much merchandise.  For a ride that is supposed to be a headliner that is a little strange.  I think that tells you that Dollywood has lost faith in it.  When they add their next coaster it needs to be something extremely reliable.

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26 minutes ago, Rivertown Rider said:

Hopefully they can get it working consistently. 

At this point, I do think they need to look at a standard chain lift.  For a coaster to be having this many problems 5 seasons in is crazy.  For coasters like TTD it is a little more understandable because of the force of the launch and height.

With Lightning Rod, I have noticed from being at the park the last couple of years that they seem to be promoting it less and less and not even having as much merchandise.  For a ride that is supposed to be a headliner that is a little strange.  I think that tells you that Dollywood has lost faith in it.  When they add their next coaster it needs to be something extremely reliable.

LR was a prototype since it was the first ever launch wooden coaster. A launch system was never used on a wooden platform before so it was something new. However, I doubt other parks will look into a launch wood coaster after the headaches LR caused. 

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1 hour ago, rhyano said:

Don't be discouraged from going if you haven't been to Dollywood, it's a great park even without Lightning Rod, every one of their rides are top tier. I know Lightning Rod has been a huge pain for the park (as with most RMCs), I'm personally hoping that this means Lightning Rod will be able to run two trains constantly.

I've been before. Way back when I was a little kid. Thunderhead was the star attraction then.

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3 hours ago, rhyano said:

Don't be discouraged from going if you haven't been to Dollywood, it's a great park even without Lightning Rod, every one of their rides are top tier. I know Lightning Rod has been a huge pain for the park (as with most RMCs), I'm personally hoping that this means Lightning Rod will be able to run two trains constantly.

I would disagree with the top tier part. They only really have 5 adult coasters. The other 4 are kiddie/family coasters. Out of the remaining 5 you have a wing and a GCI and I prefer Thunderbird and Mystic Timbers. That leaves 3. Tennessee Tornado is a smooth but short Arrow looper and to me not worth the drive. Mystery Mine is a unique Euro fighter that everybody should ride at least once. But it is rough and a bit of a head banger. That leaves the amazing but Son of Beast level of unreliable that is Lightning Rod.

I was going to go to Dollywood in November for an RMC Christmas which is a Coaster Crew event but now that is unlikely.

2 hours ago, Rivertown Rider said:

Hopefully they can get it working consistently. 

At this point, I do think they need to look at a standard chain lift.  For a coaster to be having this many problems 5 seasons in is crazy.  For coasters like TTD it is a little more understandable because of the force of the launch and height.

With Lightning Rod, I have noticed from being at the park the last couple of years that they seem to be promoting it less and less and not even having as much merchandise.  For a ride that is supposed to be a headliner that is a little strange.  I think that tells you that Dollywood has lost faith in it.  When they add their next coaster it needs to be something extremely reliable.

Would a chain lift even work? Doesn't the ride need to be going about 40 mph when it crests the first hill?

I wanted to buy a Lightning Rod shirt back in July but the selection was small and the only one I liked was only in a kids size. The employee would not go back and look for me either and she said they only sold Lightning Rod merchandise in that one shop beside the ride which I also find a bit odd.

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The reason I go to Dollywood is for the complete package.   To me, anyways, they have a pretty good ride selection, but its complimented very well by the rest of the park- the shows, food, staff, atmosphere, the combination of all that combined is why I feel its a leg above any other park I've been to and is my favorite park.  

I feel if you're going to Dollywood just for the rides, you're missing out on a whole lot of good stuff. 

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I need to go back sometime and see Wildwood Grove and heck everything out again but want to wait until it can be more normal. Hoping maybe to doa  family trip to the area next holiday season

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11 hours ago, Hawaiian Coasters 325 said:

LR was a prototype since it was the first ever launch wooden coaster. A launch system was never used on a wooden platform before so it was something new. However, I doubt other parks will look into a launch wood coaster after the headaches LR caused. 

RMC’s are about as reliable as they are made out of wood...                                                        
 

They’re not.

8C4DE94E-A269-402A-8B15-BF4B7CD98123.jpeg

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Lightning Rod has actually been down for around a month now.  Rumors at the time pointed to damage that prompted the park to contact RMC who told them to shut down the ride.  Over the years the ride has had issues with potholes in high stress areas and there were a lot of people complaining earlier this year about a new one.

I know people keep placing blame on the launch but I suspect it’s a track issue.  Reports out of RMC a year or two ago were they wanted to stop using topper track and were pushing customers to use IBox and they were going to charge extra if someone really wanted topper track.

Currently I have seen a lot of speculation that at least some of the track on Lightning Rod is going to be replaced by IBox and I suspect they are right.  We might be looking at the first RMC conversion of an RMC coaster.  I have no idea how much of the topper track is going to survive but I really do not think the entire coaster is going to be topper track next year.

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20 hours ago, Kenban said:

Reports out of RMC a year or two ago were they wanted to stop using topper track and were pushing customers to use IBox and they were going to charge extra if someone really wanted topper track.

I would just completely take it off of my product list and refuse to build it if anybody was asking me to. I know they want to keep business but if they're not comfortable building a certain type of coaster no amount of money should sway their decision.

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5 hours ago, SonofBaconator said:

I would just completely take it off of my product list and refuse to build it if anybody was asking me to. I know they want to keep business but if they're not comfortable building a certain type of coaster no amount of money should sway their decision.

I did not say that RMC was not comfortable using it.  It’s still safe and my understanding is they are willing to use it if if the track can do the job and the park is determined to use it.  But frankly there is nothing topper track can do which IBox cannot, and they would prefer to just use IBox.  The only reason I can think of using topper track is marketing.

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1 hour ago, Kenban said:

I did not say that RMC was not comfortable using it.  It’s still safe and my understanding is they are willing to use it if if the track can do the job and the park is determined to use it.  But frankly there is nothing topper track can do which IBox cannot, and they would prefer to just use IBox.  The only reason I can think of using topper track is marketing.

I gotcha. Topper track is comprised of a thinner rail with wood planks underneath where I-box is just pure steel.

What are the chances they'd switch LR to I-Box? They could go from the world's 1st and only launched wooden coaster to the 1st and only launched hybrid.

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1 hour ago, flightoffear1996 said:

How is a launched wooden coaster any different that a launched steel coaster.  Wouldn't the launching components be the same? 

The launch itself is the same, the difference is the location of the train.  Launches and magnetic brakes need more precision in the location of the train then wood has typically been able to provide.  A slight misalignment can cause serious damage to the launch or for the launch to not push the train properly.  There have been cases where a bent launch fin has done a million or more dollars of damage to a launch system.  Wood has a lot more flex to it, and trains deform the wood, it also changes size due to the weather.  Steel just does not have these issues.  Basically this is why before topper track no one was willing to even try a launch, just too much that could go wrong on a wood coaster.

Take a look at the brakes on Racer or The Beast and you will see an angled section at both ends to make sure the fin aligns with the brake.  Magnetic fin brakes do not have these angled sections they just have to align correctly every time.  My understanding is the components are just too fragile to have any alignment assistance.  Although you will see a piece of angled rubber before the brakes on Mystic Timbers.

During coasterstock the designer of Mystic Timbers explained why the brake run is not level and instead leans to one side.  This forces the train onto one rail due to gravity.  Then since the train has to be against the rail and they know the offset of where the brake fin is located on the train.  Which allows them to correctly position the brakes.

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