Category: Trains

My first few weeks

By , July 24, 2010
Jeff Bachiochi

So now that I’ve gotten settled with this website, its time for me to finally start talking about my experience here in the first few weeks. I started back at the beginning of July, so I’ve actually already been here for 3 weeks now. And so far its been a lot of fun.

The first week took a lot of getting used to. I had to get used to living alone for the first time in my life. I had to get used to living outside of New England for the first time in my life. And I had to get used to building Millennium Flyer trains. As a civil engineer familiar with bridges, buildings, and highways, I had to make the difficult transition into a mechanical frame of mind in order to understand the complicated train drawings. For a while, everything seemed go be a different language. Even simple terms like ‘road wheel axle’ sounded Greek to me. But over time I adjusted and started to speak the language myself.

The next two weeks have been much more smooth, however, it seems that every time I finally get the hang of things, I’m introduced into something totally different that makes me feel stupid again. Its an endless learning process, but fortunately….I’m learning! :)

When I got to Great Coasters, the trains for China were already underway. All the chassis for both trains were in the shop, and some even had a full set of wheels on them. Fortunately for me, there were a handful of chassis that were completely naked, and I was able to build those up from the beginning. This way I got to learn how every mechanism gets installed…well so far. There is still a lot to be done.

Since I’ve started, we’ve a come a long way on a few cars. A couple cars have wheels, anti-rollback dogs, seat cushions, seat belts, lap bars, etc., while others are still mostly just a chassis. Its actually cool to see the variety of progress across the trains (I’ll be posting some pictures later in the week). The biggest reason why we can’t keep each car at the same stage is because of our temporary lack of materials. Unfortunately we’ve been at the mercy of our vendors as we wait for more things to come in. Until then there is only so much we can do. I actually don’t mind this. Since we don’t have everything we need, we aren’t pressed for time to get things done, and it has allowed me to take my time and thoroughly learn each step of the process. This way I’ll be able to do things at speed when it matters most.

And that time is approaching fast. China trains need to be shipped out in a few weeks, and though we are far along, there is still much to do. As our deadline approaches, things are going to get interesting..


My story…

By , July 19, 2010
Jeff Bachiochi

Hello eveyone! My name is Jeff and I’m the new intern here at Great Coasters. I’m real excited to take over this blog, so get ready for some heart-stopping action as I narrate the dramatic tales of a college intern trying to conquer and build the legendary Millennium Flyer trains…

I’ve got a lot to talk about, but I’ll start with an introduction. Our tale begins twenty one years ago in a small town in north-central Connecticut where I was born and raised. Eleven years later, a young Jeff dropped his jaw at the site of the most beautiful ride he’d ever seen, the Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flags New England. But, I’m getting ahead of myself a little. Growing up, my parents used to take me to the former Riverside Amusement Park (now known as SFNE). At 47″, I was heartbroken to learn that I was too short to ride the Thunderbolt, and the next year I returned to finally conquer it. It was then that I realized that roller coasters were really cool. Over time, the park grew and added new rides like the Mind Eraser (which at the time I thought was really cool, but hey things change). In 2000, the newly named Six Flags New England added its masterpiece, and fell in love with what became the #1 steel coaster on the planet.

For years after Superman was built, my family and I would get Six Flags season passes (because they are such a good deal) and head down the park a couple times a year. I’ll never forget all the warm summer nights at the park, riding Superman over and over again. I just couldn’t get enough of that ride. When I was in high school, I started to explore other parks that were in the area, and by the time I was in college I was a full on coaster freak.

I’m now a student at Northeastern University in Boston studying civil engineering. What’s funny is the reason I chose civil engineering had nothing to do with roller coasters. I just really liked civil. It wasn’t until freshman year that I realized that civil engineers build roller coasters. It really got me thinking, and what started as “wow, that would be really cool”, slowly became “I absolutely need to do that”. So I started getting serious and sending emails and resumes to potential companies, but in the back of my mind I really didn’t think it would work. So in the meantime, I started travelling around the country going to new parks and riding new rides, increasing my knowledge of the industry while having a blast at the same time.

In the fall of ’09 I had my first break. I was browsing the internet when I ran into THIS website, and saw that Evan was a former intern who also went to Northeastern. I contacted him immediately and Evan told me all his stories of how he got an internship and eventually a job with GCII. I was thrilled, motivated, and desperate to do what ever it took to get there too. And by shear luck, it wasn’t long until Great Coasters needed another intern. Under Evan’s guidance, I followed all necessary steps to apply for the job, and lucky enough, a few months later here I am, blogging about the coolest job I’ve ever had.

So get ready everyone. For the next 6 months, prepare to be engulfed in all the adventurous stories that summarize the experience of a GCII intern. There will be stories of love, hatred, envy, lust, greed, and passsion…or something like that. Stay tuned!


Farewell

By , June 13, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys,

So Friday was my last day working at Great Coasters, and some of us celebrated with a trip up to Sea Breeze and Darien Lake this weekend.  As I’m sure you’ve seen, the internet is ablaze with news of Joris en de Draak receiving and testing the trains.  Our guys overseas are busy getting the ride ready for opening, and in the meantime we’ve been prepping and working on the trains for China.  In a way I’ve come full circle…  One of the first things I did was cut out mud flaps, and it was also the last thing I did.  Seeing as a lot of what we’ve been working on the past week I’ve already talked about, there isn’t much to add.

I would, however, like to thank Great Coasters for the amazing opportunity.  I have learned a lot about both the industry and engineering, and the experience and knowledge I have gathered will show in the work that I do for the rest of my life.  The most interesting thing to note is that, on the outside, it would appear that train assembly would have little to do with engineering.  After going through the process of building the trains, I have gathered an appreciation for how to engineer something properly, taking into account subtle, but important, details.  This, in conjunction with knowledge about the industry, will help not only me, but the entire Theme Park Engineering Group (TPEG) in our endeavors to break into the industry.  Both TPEG and myself plan on continuing a relationship with Great Coasters, seeking expertise and advice from an industry leader.

To Chris, Adam, and Dan, I thank you for the knowledge and perspective you’ve given me on not only what it takes to build a roller coaster, but more importantly the dedication and work ethic required to get the job you want. I’ll continue to pass the knowledge on to those younger than I, as you have to me.


Out With The Old, In With The New

By , May 25, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey Guys,

Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, but my computer is still on the fritz and up until last week we were pretty busy.  Last week we sent out the last train (train 3 was sent the week before), so now things have slowed back down a bit.  Now that the Efteling trains are finished, we have begun working on the China trains.  First, we had to go through our inventory to see what we had and what we still needed to order.  We’ve also begun putting some things together to make the train assembly go smoother later down the road, such as pressing bushings and prepping the seat sides and bottoms for the upholstery that one of our vendors will add later.

I only have a few more weeks here, but I am still learning some new things.  Strangely enough, some of what we are doing now was done before I got here, so what Dan and Adam did to prep the assembly of the Efteling trains, I get to help do for the China trains. At least now I can say I’ve helped put together trains for rides on two different continents!

Until next time,


Knoebel’s and a Broken Computer

By , April 27, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey Guys,

First, let me apologize for the lack of a post last week.  My computer is less than operational right now, so it’s been difficult to get posts together.  Anyways, this post is sure to be chock full of goodies, starting with Knoebel’s and ending with a special shipment.

So, Knoebel’s opened this Saturday.  I was pretty excited about going, because I’ve never really experienced a small, family-owned park.  For the event, a couple members from my group at Ohio State came out.  We started the day out with ERT on Phoenix.  This was my first time on Phoenix, and it most definitely lived up to the hype; I couldn’t believe how awesome the ride was in the front seat!  The bumper cars were awesome too.  Couple Knoebel’s cool rides with amazing (and reasonably priced) food, and you have yourself an amazing park that I look forward to visiting again soon.

Now to business.  The first train for George and the Dragon has been shipped out.  It was cool to see how we package the cars in the container such that they don’t move around.  The cars are pristine and beautiful, and we wouldn’t want any scratches or dings in them, so we make sure to secure them in the container so they can’t move.  Things are still busy here getting the remaining three trains built up.

Well, that’s all for now.  If you’ve never been to Knoebel’s, I highly suggest you come visit them, because they have a great park!


Hersheypark

By , April 13, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys,

So last week we just continued working on the trains, for the most part.  We put in lap bars, and installed the locking mechanism I talked about in the previous post.  It’s definitely exciting seeing some of the cars near completion.

Also, this past Saturday Chris and I ran down to HersheyPark for the day.  It was my first time to the park, and I had a blast!  Fahrenheit, Lightning Racer, Wildcat, Great Bear, and Storm Runner were all a lot of fun.  Sidewinder, however, was a little on the rough side…  The Mack Wild Mouse was definitely fun, but those flat turns at the top make the ride surprisingly scary!  I must admit that The SooperDooperLooper’s loop is one of the best vertical loops I’ve ever experienced.

See ya next week,


Overloaded with Nails

By , April 5, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys,

So last week we mainly worked on trains, and prepped one shipment of material for China.  I put together some seat bottoms, and also some of the lapbar assembly.  I think this is my favorite assembly, because it uses the most parts, and is consequently complicated.  The assembly is part of what ‘clicks’ when you pull down the lapbar.  It is also cool to note that in this assembly there are a few redundant safety systems.  This is an important concept in engineering, and it basically means that the assembly is designed in such a way that some parts of it could break and it would still function properly.  These redundant safety systems are implemented to ensure rider safety.

As for the shipment, we primarily sent nails… 2 million to be precise.  Before that shipment, we had 5 million nails in our yard.

That’s a LOT of nails.

See you next week,


By , March 29, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys,

We didn’t have anything too exciting happen last week, although we did send another container to Efteling.  In it we put some of the queue gates, and a lot of stuff for the machinery (namely the lift mechanism, including the chain).  Not gonna lie, seeing the size of the motor mount was somewhat surprising; I hadn’t expected the motor to be so large.  Also, the main drive shaft was almost 5″ in diameter and almost 5 feet long, that might help convey the size of the motor used.

As for the trains, we’ve just been catching up the newer chassis that we’ve been getting in.  We’re running out of shop space quickly as we approach our final total of 48 cars.

Well that’s all for now, see you next week!


By , March 22, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys,

So we’ve been busy as usual, and are continuing to build the trains for Joris en de Draak .  Last week, we sent some of the machinery parts that will make the motor that moves the lift hill chain.  Being able to look at these parts was cool because it helped me to better understand how the whole system works.

We also had a film crew come in to shoot some video, and it was cool being able to help explain what it is we do here at Great Coasters.

As far as regular business is concerned, we installed road wheels on some of the trains, and got a few more chassis in from our vendor. Looks like there will be a lot of train building for me for a few months!

See you next week,


By , March 15, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys,

So last week we got a bit more done, we flipped a few more chassis, and installed floorboards in them. I also bent some knee guards into shape. The reason we bend them is because when they are welded, they lose some of their original form. What we do is put them on a car, tighten down the middle two holes, and then bend the two sides out so those outer holes line up. We do this before they get painted so that we don’t chip off any paint by bending them. Other than that, there isn’t anything too exciting to report.

See you next week,


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