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Top Thrill Dragster Incident


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30 minutes ago, jsus said:

Also, "Top Thrill Dragster, as you know it, is being retired".

Not "Top Thrill Dragster is being retired.  A new ride experience will open in the future."

If the words were chosen carefully, it is evident that Top Thrill Dragster, the name and its corresponding theme, is not being retired.

Interesting.  Very, very interesting.  Did not expect them to go this route, but it'll be interesting to see what they have in store.

Correct. Quite telling. I think this story is far from over. Some YouTubers and whatnot are reporting that they said it was being replaced. I don’t see it that way. 

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On the somewhat likely chance CP is getting Intamin to do this, I imagine they'll be standing over them with one of those canes they use to yank people off stage if they screw anything up.  

If they intend to keep most of what made TTD itself, I only really see Intamin or S&S be used as they're the only 2 companies to top 100 mph.

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1 hour ago, silver2005 said:

On the somewhat likely chance CP is getting Intamin to do this, I imagine they'll be standing over them with one of those canes they use to yank people off stage if they screw anything up.  

If they intend to keep most of what made TTD itself, I only really see Intamin or S&S be used as they're the only 2 companies to top 100 mph.

Dododo-dragster 0-135 in 2.1 seconds!

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Yeah, that wording is very telling that TTD will still be there in some iteration, and my guess is the change will likely not alter too much of the ride experience. 

Years back, CP announced Mantis was closing and then a few months later announced the changes coming and its new name Rougarou (god, I hate that name). They did something similar with Mean Streak; announced the ride closing and even had a funeral for it. A year later, they announced the Steel Vengeance remake. 

I think if there were major alterations that would make it a completely different ride, you'd see them announce that TTD was going away and then an announcement about the "new" ride shortly after. This seems to say that "TTD will be back," but it will be different, and I wouldn't hold my breath about it coming back in time for the 2023 season. 

Edited by cdubbs727
I originally mentioned I didn't think theming would change; reading the announcement again, my hunch is they'll have to retheme to sell it as a new experience and escape the association with a more problematic ride
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I feel like the coaster is getting a new name, a new theme, new trains, a new launch, a new control system, and the crazy part maybe even an expanded layout after the top hat.  Makes me wonder who is doing the work.  Cedar Fair seems reluctant to work with Intamin which makes me think we will be seeing someone else.

The two big LSM providers are InTraSys and Indrivetec.  Intamin uses Indrivetec, the fins are physically larger and I believe more powerful, they are what was used on rides like Velocicoaster or more importantly here, Red Force.  Intrasys is used by most of the rest of the industry, B&M used them on Thunderbird, Premier on Ice Breaker, and Mack on Copperhead Strike, typically you will see two rows of stators, so if you see two rows it was likely Intrasys.  Other possibilities exist, like an Air Launch system from S&S but frankly I doubt it.

I suspect we will not see an announcement on what exactly is being done until late next year.  Because I believe we are looking at a 2024 project.  Daily operations have ended making it easier to do work, and we might see construction walls soon.

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Here’s my prediction on the matter. S&S is coming in to put an air launch on it. They recently built Tumbili at KD so they have worked with them in the past. I think this also goes into KD getting a coaster in the future called Hypersonic XLC based off, well, Hypersonic XLC. Cedar Fair has gone the nostalgia route recently. The hydraulic gets replaced by air compression (and I wouldn’t be shocked if Xcelerator gets it in the future) for reliability and KD gets Volcanos true replacement 

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I think they stick with Intamin or convince someone like Premier to go LSM's.  Less moving parts, more widely used, a little more energy conservative.  

I also think its highly likely it'll lose height and speed in order to accommodate a more dynamic layout.  They'd need a LOT of track to burn off 120 mph safely, either with a spread out low turn or some sort of mammoth second element, at least in keeping it at 420 ft.  

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24 minutes ago, ThrillKingsOryan said:

Here’s my prediction on the matter. S&S is coming in to put an air launch on it.

Why another air launch when even S&S offers LSM launches these days?

No matter which way they go, if they're keeping the TTD likeness and theme as they imply, and thus a launch, expect to see an all new electrical controls system.  With that, it'll likely have new PLCs, perhaps a new braking system, definitely a new launch system is likely.  To go with the new launch system, expect them to take inspiration from Holiday World's Will Power building for Thunderbird.  That is, a flywheel or similar system to build up the energy to power a launch over time, instead of the instantaneous demand on the grid like WT did, and like Maverick still does.  The current (former?)hydraulic system acts like this, building pressure over time instead of requiring FirstEnergy provide the instantaneous load needed for a launch.  If they don't do that, the increase to the park's electrical bill, added to all the costs of the refurbishment they seem to be doing, and the cost would be prohibitive.

The bulk of the structure will likely remain.  Unsure about the station staying put.  The name and theme are likely to stay the same, meanwhile much of the rest will likely be gutted and replaced.

7 minutes ago, silver2005 said:

I also think its highly likely it'll lose height and speed in order to accommodate a more dynamic layout.  They'd need a LOT of track to burn off 120 mph safely, either with a spread out low turn or some sort of mammoth second element, at least in keeping it at 420 ft.  

The cost just to bring in cranes tall enough to hack off the top of the tower would likely be prohibitive; at that point they likely would just tear down the whole topcoat while they're at it...

Side note: Freep (their domain is freep.com) doesn't understand that the ride isn't being scrapped altogether...

image.png

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I'm going to go way out on a limb here....

 

Lsm takes more space to achieve speed... but what if...

 

We see a multi launch. Forward halfway up the tower, reverse through station (new spike near existing photo booth) and forward launch through existing layout (Maybe more layout added but highly doubtful)

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2 hours ago, specialk141 said:

I'm going to go way out on a limb here....

 

Lsm takes more space to achieve speed... but what if...

 

We see a multi launch. Forward halfway up the tower, reverse through station (new spike near existing photo booth) and forward launch through existing layout (Maybe more layout added but highly doubtful)

That would probably need to run one train to do that as they can't just dispatch the train and load the next train in the station if the reverse launch goes through the station. The only way I could see a swing launch system is if they were to build a new station closer to the brake run and do a switch track after leaving the station (like Ice Breaker) that connects to the current launch. 

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5 hours ago, specialk141 said:

I'm going to go way out on a limb here....

 

Lsm takes more space to achieve speed... but what if...

 

We see a multi launch. Forward halfway up the tower, reverse through station (new spike near existing photo booth) and forward launch through existing layout (Maybe more layout added but highly doubtful)

Just strap some rockets to the back and call it a day.

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I'd say that Red Force is the example to examine. With the difference in length of launch, TTD could reach the speed necessary to clear the top hat. Also, El Toro Ryan on YT has an interesting and logical video on the announcement. I don't see the layout being altered much, except to accommodate the LSM launch. We may see a re-theme, but doubtful on the addition of any extra track. The price tag for Dragster has already been 25 million, not to mention the subsequent money spent on launch cables and fixes to its other issues. A new LSM launch will be costly as it is. 

El Toro Ryan Re-imagined explanation

 

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With the tower being the only part of it that's a visible, dramatic skyline element, I wonder if they might just remove the coaster part all together and install the same Drop Tower system on it that Kingda has. They said "ride experience" which is vague enough to consider elimination of the coaster part entirely. The utility markings could be for removing things for the coaster, like power to the station, transfer, motor house, etc.

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25 minutes ago, PKIDelirium said:

With the tower being the only part of it that's a visible, dramatic skyline element, I wonder if they might just remove the coaster part all together and install the same Drop Tower system on it that Kingda has. They said "ride experience" which is vague enough to consider elimination of the coaster part entirely. The utility markings could be for removing things for the coaster, like power to the station, transfer, motor house, etc.

There's a Drop Tower already on the same midway....

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Whats wrong with two Drop Towers in a park?  KI has two - Drop Tower and Kite Eating Tree LOL.

This one would be a free fall instead of cable-driven and a lot taller.

They have more than one coaster LOL and they had two sets of antique cars for example.

I think it is an intriguing concept that was proposed and not one that many have considered - it seems everyone is gravitated towards it being LSM and still being a coaster, but this is a concept that could happen and would certainly be less expensive than new trains, adding some track and LSMs.

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For no particular reason or any justification at all, I have a feeling that the structure will not be made into a Drop Tower-only attraction.  I have loved the ride experiences of Lex Luthor: DOD and Zumanjaro, and wouldn't at all be upset if a similar Drop Tower was added to the Dragster structure as a part of this reimagined attraction.  But I just have a hunch that the structure will still incorporate a roller coaster, Drop Tower added or not.

As for the announcement regarding the ride itself, I fully expected a statement like that to distance the park from the "Top Thrill Dragster of old" from a PR standpoint.  Regardless of what exactly will be done, they needed to clarify that it won't be the same as it was before to help decrease the association of stigma of the original ride, with whatever is to come.

My baseless prediction is that they will change the launch system, get new trains, and make whatever changes to the operating system that would be necessary to accommodate those two things.  It just makes the most sense that their campaign to reduce association with last year's incident might emphasize safety and a complete change from the aspect of the ride that "caused" the incident.  

I do wonder, though, if we will be waiting until 2024 for these changes.  I'm sure they would want to capitalize on the marketing opportunity that it will create, so I have a hard time thinking that we will see these changes made by the start of next season.

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39 minutes ago, ziplock said:

My baseless prediction is that they will change the launch system, get new trains, and make whatever changes to the operating system that would be necessary to accommodate those two things.  It just makes the most sense that their campaign to reduce association with last year's incident might emphasize safety and a complete change from the aspect of the ride that "caused" the incident.  

I do wonder, though, if we will be waiting until 2024 for these changes.  I'm sure they would want to capitalize on the marketing opportunity that it will create, so I have a hard time thinking that we will see these changes made by the start of next season.

An LSM launch with a new control system and other new mechanical systems (e.g. brakes), and of course new or at least modified trains to match, would go a long way to improving both safety and reliability.  That is, so long as an LSM launch would be powerful enough to get the train up to speed in time.  Safety issues basically all come from the hydraulic launch, with the enormous tension on the steel cable being a huge one - early on, there were cable snaps that injured riders.  The flag plate that broke off may well not have been necessary if the trains themselves were better designed with areas detectable by the proximity switches.

Then there are other things they seem to constantly need to address such as the retractable brakes not functioning properly.  Those could get upgraded to a more reliable system.

Any additions to the course would be a bonus, though there's not really any room to add on unless they were to remove something else.

They could reasonably complete a comprehensive gut and replacement of the mechanical and control systems, including the launch, in the 2022-2023 off-season.  That said, we don't know when management decided on the refurbishment they did, when they signed the contracts, and how long it will take the relevant vendors to get the components ready and installed.  Especially with the ongoing supply chain nightmare.  Basically, don't expect to see TTD reopen before 2024, until the park says otherwise.

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On 9/6/2022 at 6:32 PM, jsus said:

To go with the new launch system, expect them to take inspiration from Holiday World's Will Power building for Thunderbird.  That is, a flywheel or similar system to build up the energy to power a launch over time, instead of the instantaneous demand on the grid like WT did, and like Maverick still does.  The current (former?)hydraulic system acts like this, building pressure over time instead of requiring FirstEnergy provide the instantaneous load needed for a launch.  If they don't do that, the increase to the park's electrical bill, added to all the costs of the refurbishment they seem to be doing, and the cost would be prohibitive.

Not necessarily true. Backlot, Flight of Fear, Wicked Twister, Maverick, Copperhead Strike- they all use an AVC (Adaptive VAR Compensator). This is basically a capacitor bank that can hold a good amount of energy- which levels out the instantaneous demand from a LIM and LSM system. 
You can see this system pretty easily outside Backlot- it’s just behind the transfer table. FoF’s is located outside the building and is visible from Orion’s exit. 
You have to remember- energy is energy. It doesn’t matter if it’s supplied by hydraulic accumulators, compressed air tanks, or capacitor systems- the amount of energy it takes to get the train to a set speed is the same no matter the method. Since all of these would use electricity to gather their energy, the electric bill would be nearly the same for each, allowing for the efficiencies of each system (e.g. the hydraulic launch is X% efficient versus an air launch Y%.)

If we didn’t have these sort of voltage compensation methods, we’d have to increase the conductor sizes quite a bit from the utility. It’s usually easier to install one of these systems than it is to upsize your primary and secondary conductors. 
 

Heck, even Delirium uses one like a hybrid car- the end of the ride cycle recharges the capacitors while slowing the gondola down. 
 

Here’s an article on the S&C Purewave AVC system if you are curious. https://eepower.com/news/sc-electric-installs-avc-compensator-for-recycler/

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And the other way, Tomb Raider/Crypt used a bank of equipment to bleed off excess energy every time the locomotive-type brakes on the ride were used in the form of sound and heat.

If anyone remembers loud screeching coming from over there while in Beast's queue, station, or waiting on the brakes, that was the source.

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12 hours ago, DeltaFlyer said:

Not necessarily true. Backlot, Flight of Fear, Wicked Twister, Maverick, Copperhead Strike- they all use an AVC (Adaptive VAR Compensator). This is basically a capacitor bank that can hold a good amount of energy- which levels out the instantaneous demand from a LIM and LSM system. 
You can see this system pretty easily outside Backlot- it’s just behind the transfer table. FoF’s is located outside the building and is visible from Orion’s exit. 
You have to remember- energy is energy. It doesn’t matter if it’s supplied by hydraulic accumulators, compressed air tanks, or capacitor systems- the amount of energy it takes to get the train to a set speed is the same no matter the method. Since all of these would use electricity to gather their energy, the electric bill would be nearly the same for each, allowing for the efficiencies of each system (e.g. the hydraulic launch is X% efficient versus an air launch Y%.)

If we didn’t have these sort of voltage compensation methods, we’d have to increase the conductor sizes quite a bit from the utility. It’s usually easier to install one of these systems than it is to upsize your primary and secondary conductors. 
 

Heck, even Delirium uses one like a hybrid car- the end of the ride cycle recharges the capacitors while slowing the gondola down. 
 

Here’s an article on the S&C Purewave AVC system if you are curious. https://eepower.com/news/sc-electric-installs-avc-compensator-for-recycler/

Interesting - would've expected something like that but I was unaware of what exactly went into the buildings next to each launch for Maverick, WT, etc.  My main point was that if they're going with another launch, they'll need a new energy storage system of some sort.  That will likely require extensive modification or replacement of the existing hydraulic motor building.

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15 minutes ago, Shaggy said:

CP has installed a wooden wall around TTD.  Rumor is they are beginning the process of removing the Grandstand.

image.png

 

I wonder if this is some sort of hint about the launch being removed.

I am not saying will but the point of the grand stand was to watch riders launch and fly up the top hat.

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Wicked Twister had a dedicated 34kV power line installed.  It was the only attraction in the park on that power line.  There also has to be a decent amount of power at TTD already to power the hydraulic pumps, likely enough with a storage system.

I am VERY interested in what coaster company is doing this.  Because I am doubting it is Intamin.  First Cedar Fair has been very reluctant to work with them on anything for several years and has been steadily removing rides they built.  But Intamin, recently within the last few days, removed TTD from their website.  Maybe it’s because the name will be changing but it’s a marketing website, and normally they remove attractions when they close, but it’s definitely not because the launch might be changing they already listed it as an LSM launch and have for several years.

I remember that people were seeing markers in the woods behind TTD.  The assumption was a rerouted queue.  But I am not ready to rule out ride design modifications.  Could just be a new transfer track and storage so that the trains are no longer stored in the middle of the ride.  Could be adding some elements to utilize the speed and add something extra to the ride to help justify the expense and make it a more marketable change.  New trains, a new launch, paint, changing the name, etc does not feel easy to market.  Add elements and they can market it as a new coaster.  It would also fit with the idea of reimagining the ride.  I would think being able to market this work as a new coaster will be important.

What I would do is a wide sweeping turn to the right where the brake run starts right now.  Follow the shore around the water past Iron Dragon.  Airtime hill over the water onto Adventure Island.  Go around the outside of the island, have a few elements and finally an airtime hill back across the water into the brakes.  Would need to go through, under, or over Millennium Force, but there is tons of space to do so safely.  Just put a metal tunnel around the track.  The other big issue feels like the rafts which were built where shoot the rapids was located, it comes really close to the edge of the island.  That and the trees that would need to be cut down to do this.  The goal would not be to make the longest coaster in the world, just make it so it’s no longer 17 seconds long,  right around 40-45 seconds from launch to brakes would be perfect.

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Other companies lsm launches are like 60 to 70mph.  How would Cedar Fair feel like they could trust somebody to to nearly double what they have done?  

Don't say an s&s air launch.  It's unreliable with loads of moving parts as well.  They had an attraction in Europe that ran like 3 days before being defunct.

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14 hours ago, Coastercrush said:

Other companies lsm launches are like 60 to 70mph.  How would Cedar Fair feel like they could trust somebody to to nearly double what they have done?  

Don't say an s&s air launch.  It's unreliable with loads of moving parts as well.  They had an attraction in Europe that ran like 3 days before being defunct.

Intrasys used to provide the LSM and LIM launches for Intamin before some employees left and formed Indrivetec.  Intrasys was the company behind Superman the escape later renamed Superman escape from krypton and tower of terror II.  So actually both of the big LSM providers have hit 100 MPH.

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