Trains and Shipments

By , October 19, 2016
Paul Brenckle

Hello again,

Last time I left off with getting to work on trains. Well, that sorta happened.

Sept 24-30
I mainly worked on the Kings Island trains. I finally got to assemble a few guide wheel weldments and then mount them on the chassis. Occasionally, the weldments do not fit due to the coating on them, so you need to take a brillo pad to that area on the chassis. Fun fact, there is a difference between a cap screw and a bolt. Basically, there is a flat washer face under the bolt head of a cap screw, where as a bolt is lacking a flat washer. They are also forged differently, but in our case, it is better to use a cap screw on the trains to conserve space. Once all the weldments were put in, the upstop wheels needed to be put in. There is no easy way of tightening the nut on the upstop wheel axle, it takes about 3 minutes per wheel. Putting on the magnetic brake fins is one of my favorite parts. You have to shimmy the fin around to get the spacers and cap screws to fit just right. Sometimes it takes 10 seconds, other times 60 seconds. All in all, its great to see the trains come together from the ground up. On Friday the 30th, Dan was out for the day, but left work for Ian, Tim, and I. We got to mount all the lap bar cans and put the lap bars in the GhostRider train. Also, not all of the lap bars precisely, so we had to use an emery cloth to get them down to the perfect fit. It was interesting to do this without Dan being there to help. While we were getting the lap bars put on, our project manager at Busch called and needed truss plates for the Station ASAP. We had planned on a trip to Dollywood, so they had us stop at Busch on the way home because it was faster than setting up a small shipment.

Oct 3-7
Next week I noticed that Busch Gardens went vertical. It was great being part of that process and nice to see that construction ensued after the parts were delivered. One of the days I got to assemble all of the seat dividers for GhostRider and set them aside for future use. I also got to drive down to the vendor to pick up some bolters for the seat side foam. We received updated quantities on hardware and brackets for Mystic Timbers, which was helpful for an upcoming shipment. That week an engineer from Busch Gardens came up to see how everything was coming along for InvadR. They are refurbishing the old Gwazi trains, but everything from the floorboards up will be new. That Friday was opening night for the Elysburg haunted house, I wore a mask and (hopefully) scared people in the basement of the house while Dan terrorized everyone at the slaughter barn.

Oct 10-14
Last week, it dawned on me that last minute shipments are normal, and you can never fully relax. To get these shipments ready to go, I worked with Ryan, Bob, and Clair to make sure everything that we sent was correct. It involved a lot of hustle and questioning to get it right. Ian and I also quality checked a delivery of brackets and got them stacked on heat treated pallets to ship out to China next week.

Over the weekend I went to Cedar Point with the Penn State TPEG and the other interns for an amazing tour of Raptor, Valravn, Dragster, and Maxair. This week I’m taking off to see family for a day, then I’m off to Scottsdale for the ASTM F24 Conference.


Introduction and Life in Sunbury

By , September 21, 2016
Paul Brenckle

Hi everyone, I’m Paul and I’ve been an intern for Great Coasters International since late May. There were some issues with the intern website, so I haven’t been able to post until now. I’ve done a lot of work this summer and have a few things to share.

I’m from Butler, PA, and am studying mechanical engineering at Penn State University. My passion for theme parks began when my family visited the former Six Flags Ohio amusement park, where I rode my first roller coasters. I would spend most of my childhood building my dream rides in Rollercoaster Tycoon or with K’nex, hoping that one day I could do that in real life. Much to my (happy)surprise, I would end up working on them this summer. Here’s a summary of how I ended up at GCI.

In August 2014, I attended GCI’s conference called FREDx (Future Ride Engineers and Designers), to interview for a possible internship. Obviously, I didn’t get a position right away. However, I met some great people and kept in touch. After two years of attending a Penn State branch campus, I transferred to main campus for junior year and joined the Penn State Theme Park Engineering Group (PSU TPEG), which was one of the best decisions I have made. With this group, I attended other conferences, like SkyNEXT, IAAPA, and ASTM F24. I highly recommend attending these conferences, as they are a great way to learn about the industry, find possible internships, and have fun. I was able to reconnect with a few of the GCI engineers at IAAPA and ASTM, and got an offer for a summer internship this past spring.

When I started in May, I was one of four interns in Sunbury. Dan was traveling around the world to help parks get ready to open their new rides, so Mitch – one of the spring interns (also a fellow PSU TPEG member) – stayed to help the new interns get settled in until Dan returned. My first week consisted of assembling guide wheels, filling brochures for the Asian Attractions Expo, and steel fabrication for the new InvadR roller coaster coming to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Until the end of July, Jase and I worked in the fab shop, preparing the steel bents, making brackets, and minimizing waste. Once Scott was transferred to the engineering office, I took his place preparing shipments for the new rides.

These past few weeks have been interesting. I was able to travel to local companies to pick up a few things for the trains with Dan, such as chassis, seatbacks and bolters. We’ve flipped two trains worth of chassis, one for Knott’s and one for Kings Island. Things are coming along nicely. This week I’ve been working with Ryan and Bob to make sure all the hardware, brackets, and lumber are gathered for a repair job starting in the beginning of October. Since everything is ready to ship out, I’ll get to help Dan out with the trains (the most fun part of the job). I probably left out a few things, but this post is getting pretty long.

One last thing before I go. Dan always volunteers at the Elysburg Haunted House and asked us interns for help. We’ve gone out a few times during the week and weekend to help set up a barn. Dan really loves Hall0ween and is constantly thinking of new entertaining ways to scare people. I’ll just say that this year is going to be awesome at the haunted house and I’m excited to help out in every way I can.

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