Posts tagged: East Coaster

By , February 5, 2013
Eric Wilcox

To all of the GCII enthusiasts out there,

Things are extremely busy here at GCII and there are so many things to talk about.

First, I had the opportunity to visit a company that provides the powder coating for all the steel structural components for White Lightning. The plant manager, Rex, showed me around the facility, explaining the powder coating process that our parts were going through from beginning to end. It was a neat experience to see another step in the process that our parts make before being shipped down to Orlando. The ovens used to cure the parts are extremely hot which is nice in the winter months but brutal in the summer. During my visit, Rex and I talked about how this particular shipment was to be packaged so the parts arrived in pristine condition (things can get shuffled on a large truck/trailer setup).

Back at GCII, more posts, diagonals, and some kickbacks have been cut into length and are awaiting the addition of holes needed for assembly purposes. Every piece must be checked to be sure it is the correct length, square and properly tagged with its appropriate part number. Once all the secondary operations are completed they’ll be sent to the powder coater and then to the job site. If you ever want a good upper body work out, be sure to apply for an internship at GCII! You’ll feel muscles ache you didn’t even know you had!

Chris, Colin and I had the opportunity to go to East Coaster 2013, an ACE event held near Allentown, PA. Representatives from parks such as Dollywood, Knoebels, Cedar Point and others were present to present what they were doing for the 2013 season. Usually this means announcing new rides but it can also be updates to infrastructure around the park. Ride manufacturers such as own Chris Gray and PTC also presented their projects. During the breaks in the presentations, auctions are held and some members bring memorabilia to sell so there is always something going on. It was a great experience for me and I had the pleasure of meeting Pete Owens from Dollywood and Jeffrey Siebert from Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Stay tuned for another blog posting in the near future!


Building, Shipping, and ACE-ers (oh my!)

By , February 16, 2012
Pat Slattery

I apologize for the delay since my last post; we had an extremely busy couple of weeks here at GCII. I guess I’ll jump right in and start where I left off.

On January 26, we shipped the remaining nine cars of train 1. The day before the shipping container arrived, each car got strapped down to its custom designed pallet, covered with a blanket, and wrapped in plastic. Then, once the container got here the next day, each car was loaded using the forklift and fastened securely to the floor of the container. I was amazed at how smoothly all of this went- from what I hear, it used to be a far more convoluted and difficult process involving a pallet jack and lots of frustration back in the days before the shop expansion, when GCII didn’t have a loading dock.

After the remainder of train 1 was loaded and gone, train 2 was fully finished before work started on train 3. Train 2 was finished mostly without incident, and was completed on the Friday after train 1 was shipped. This left us one week to build train 3 from the ground up.

The building of Wodan’s third train is one of the most impressive things I’ve ever witnessed or been a part of. It went from completely bare, unchecked chassis on Saturday morning, to a completely finished train by Friday morning… and we didn’t even work that Sunday. That’s just over five working days to assemble a Millennium Flyer from the ground up. Now granted, those were days where we worked 8 AM to 7 PM, but still, it’s really amazing how quickly these trains can come together when all the parts are already here and everything goes smoothly.

After train 3 was finished and mostly wrapped, we had most of a day to get spare parts ready to go. One thing I didn’t realize before I started here was how many spare parts need to be sent for new construction. Since this ride is in Europe, it’s very important to make sure we send a spare part for everything that could conceivably go wrong. It’s also doubly important that we get all of those spares inside the shipping containers with the trains, as a container takes 4-6 weeks to arrive in Europe; if a part is needed and we didn’t send it in the container, it would have to be sent via FedEx, at a cost of up to several thousand dollars.

The day after the trains were finished was a very unique experience for me, as we went to East Coaster, my first ever ACE (American Coaster Enthusiasts) event, and first event as an “official” member of the amusement industry. By complete random chance, we ended up sitting at the same table as Jeff Filicko from Kennywood Park, who a couple years ago gave a behind-the-scenes tour to myself and several others from OSU’s Theme park Engineering Group during the construction of Sky Rocket. It was cool to see all the representatives from various parks at the event showing off their projects for 2012, and fun to meet complete strangers who were as excited about my job as I am.

The next morning, we had a tour scheduled for all the folks who were at East Coaster and wanted to see the GCII shop. However, I had a bit of a problem when I got up in the morning; I woke up, I picked up my glasses off the table next to my bed… and they completely fell apart. Split right in the middle, Harry Potter style. This was a Very Bad thing, because without my glasses I can’t even recognize people’s faces. Driving without them would be completely out of the question. After briefly considering using them as a pair of monocles, I remembered I still had the magnetic sunglasses attachment for them floating around in my car. I found that, knocked the darkened lenses out, and taped it to the remains of my frames to use as structural support. For those of you who were at the tour on Sunday and may have noticed I was wearing badly repaired glasses, this is the reason why.

The shop tour was another unique experience for me. Having toured the GCII shop several times as an outsider, it was interesting and fun to be one of the “insiders.” We had a great turnout of around 50 people- even Dick Knoebel and his son Rick were here! I hope everyone who came to see the facility enjoyed themselves, and I think we all enjoyed giving the tour.

After the tour was over, I luckily found a Wal Mart up in Williamsport (about an hour away) that had the same kind of frames in stock, meaning I could just buy the frames without having to get new lenses, so I drove up and bought them, and made it back in time for kickoff of the Super Bowl.

The next day, Monday the 6th, was the big shipment day. The container for Train 2 was here when we got to the office at 8:00, with the one for Train 3 due around 10:00. Each container had just barely enough room for a full train plus two pallets of spare parts. The process was much the same as it was for Train 1, with each car being loaded with the forklift, facing opposite directions and fitting together like a puzzle. With the cars all loaded in tightly, there’s only a foot or so of width between them for someone to squeeze into and get them screwed to the floor of the container. Somehow, despite being the biggest one at the office, I ended up with this job for both Trains 2 and 3. I’m still not quite sure how that happened, but I got the job done. Both trains were fully loaded and on their way to the Port of Baltimore by 11:30 AM.

To celebrate the completion and shipment of the trains, the whole building crew went out to Longhorn for a steak lunch, where I stuffed myself with a 20 oz Porterhouse steak and a slice of chocolate cake with a scoop of ice cream on top (there’s a reason I’m the biggest one at the office!) The rest of the day was filled with clean up work around the shop, and saying our farewells to Mats, whose flight back to Stockholm left the next morning.

The rest of the week was consumed by taking a full inventory of all our train parts. Theoretically, we should just be able to subtract the parts used on the Europa trains from our previous stock numbers, but just to be safe and to avoid future headaches, a full inventory of every part was taken.

Other than inventory, things haven’t been too busy here since the Wodan trains were shipped. We’ve pulled the chassis out of storage for the Fun Spot America ride that’s being built for 2013 down in Orlando, and have started working on a few various parts for that- I’m gradually realizing that almost as much work goes into preparing to build a Millennium Flyer train as goes into actually assembling it. Otherwise, things have been fairly normal, which in many ways is a welcome change from the craziness of the first five weeks of my internship.


By , March 9, 2009
Ashley Hancock

Hello everyone!

We have been very busy building the trains for “Terminator Salvation” and all I can say about them is WOW! These trains are going to look so cool.

The past few weeks, I have been learning so much about the construction of a wooden roller coaster. I was given a study manual about the construction and operation of our rides and was then told that I was going to be given a quiz by Chris in the near future. I have been busy reading this manual trying to obtain as much information as I can.

Adam and I also joined Clair at Dutch Wonderland to assist him and finish the repair job on “Kingdom Coaster”. This was a great learning experience to be able to physically work on the structure.

I attended my first East Coaster last month and Chris played a very good practical joke in front of the crowd that embarrassed me, but we all got a good laugh out of it. Thanks Cliff for playing along!

I hope you have enjoyed the pictures of all our construction progress, we will post more soon!


By , February 4, 2007
Evan Souliere

The past few days have been relatively eventful. Well, on Thursday and Friday, Adam and I worked on the lapbars some more and I ran some errands on Friday. That actually took up a good part of the afternoon because I had to go to our two farthest vendors (each about 40 minutes away and a half hour from each other).

Friday afternoon we cleaned the entire shop and office in preparation for this weekend. It was ACE’s Eastcoaster and it involved a tour of our office today.

But it began on Saturday when we drove to Northampton, PA, roughly two hours away. Chris made a presentation with updates on Renegade and Troy, as well as auctioning off some cool things from our place.

Adam and I also got to meet a lot of cool people interested in doing the exact same things as us. I have to admit, it was pretty cool talking with people who want to do this. I’m not used to it.

We were at Eastcoaster all day. It was the first one I’ve been to and I thought it was pretty cool. You can tell they put a lot into it, getting parks and manufacturers to come and talk. Afterward, we had dinner locally with Pete Owens from Dollywood, who is a really cool guy.

Today, was the tour at our office.We were there for several hours and I’d say roughly 40-50 people showed up, which was about what was expected. Adam and I got to show them around, giving as much information as we could on our trains. The word is out, by the way, that the two other trains we are building are, in fact, for Hershey’s Wildcat.

Knoebels followed, where roughly the same people who took our tour went on to see Flying Turns being constructed. They had it set up nicely for us, so we could see the trough in stages. The whole project is just wild; quite an undertaking and it’s going to be quite a ride when it is done. I hope it opens before I’m done here.

That’s pretty much it from this weekend. I’ve posted a few photos of these events, so you can check those out.

We’re supposed to get the chassis for the other train of Wildcat this week, so we hope to report more progress in the coming days. Stay tuned.


By , January 31, 2007
Evan Souliere

We’re at a lull again because we’re waiting for parts to come in from several places. I never realized how dependent a task can be on so many other people.

We worked on chassis for all of yesterday (photos posted), which included adding the brake fins, flipping the chassis, and adding the floor mats (among other things). In preparation for the parts coming in, Adam and I went through a lot of our lapbars so they’ll be ready when installation comes.

And finally, to segue into a plug, Chris, Adam, and I also did a little bit to prepare for East Coaster this weekend. If you’re going, make sure to come on the tour of our place on Sunday (followed by Knoebels, which should be a lot of fun).


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