Posts tagged: OCT Shenzhen


By , October 7, 2010
Jeff Bachiochi

Ah, what a relief. It’s finally October, one of my favorite months of the year. Fall is finally here in full swing. The weather is cooling off. And parks are finally bringing out all the Halloween decorations. That’s right, its Halloween season and I couldn’t be more excited. To me, a park always looks better during their Halloween events.

This past weekend, Adam and I went up to New England to visit my home parks of Six Flags New England and Lake Compounce to ride the world famous Bizarro and Boulder Dash. And they are certainly world class. Bizarro (formally Superman: Ride of Steel) has been a long time favorite of mine, and Boulder Dash, since we reprofiled and rehabilitated it in 2008, has been running like the best wood coaster on the planet! If you haven’t been up to Lake Compounce in the last few years, I suggest you go there soon, because Boulder Dash is like no other.

And speaking of unique terrain coasters…there have been some excellent photos posted on facebook recently of our new coaster in China! Go and take a look at those because they are honestly quite amazing. I’m probably not alone when I say this, but I think this ride is going to be something really special. The thought of adding another 1800 feet to one of our average sized rides is simply mind blowing. Get excited everyone.

As for me, I’ve been pretty busy lately. There is always something to do in or out of the shop, so time has been moving very fast. In fact, I hardly realized it, but I’ve already been here for 14 weeks! I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun. And fun might just be an understatement :)

And speaking of fun, the Phoenix Phall Phunfest is happening at Knoebels this Saturday and I am going! I’ve never been to this event before, so like usual, I’m really excited. But I think I’ll save the details for my next entry, along with a construction update on our tremendous office expansion.

So until next time..

Jeff :)

American Coaster

By , August 25, 2010
Jeff Bachiochi

Here at the office in Sunbury, we like to watch Discovery Channel’s American Chopper at lunch. If you’re not familiar, its a “reality” show about Orange County Choppers and all the custom bikes they build. To be honest the dialog is pretty contrived, but the thing I like about the show is watching them build bikes from scratch. We like to joke that Great Coasters should have a similar reality show. We can’t create trains as fast as OCC creates bikes, but we could certainly bring a lot of drama to the show. The office here is filled with characters, and sometimes things get stressful and it gets really interesting ;).   It would definitely be entertaining enough for Discovery Channel. I think people would like watching what we do. Unfortunately I don’t know how much we can even show since a lot of our techniques are a secret so…..

To switch gears, our china trains are about 99% done. With the exception of the 5 chassis’ that need to be inspected, all the cars are set to be completed this week. Over a dozen of the cars are done while others are only missing a couple bolts and nuts. Its really cool for me to see what is basically a finished product. When I first started, these cars were nothing but chassis, and now they’re all grown up! I’ve attached some pictures of the shop to show how crowded its has become. But on the bright side, we are also breaking ground this week on our new building expansion. So within a few weeks we should have a much bigger shop to operate in. Maybe if we have more space, Discovery Channel will want to do our show..stay tuned!

Jeff :)

After 5 o’clock

By , August 9, 2010
Jeff Bachiochi

Like most 40 hour jobs, GCI interns work the standard 8 hour day. Get to work at 8. A nice 1 hour lunch at noon. And by 5, my time is my own. And when you are 5 hours from home and 7 hours from your friends at school, killing this time suddenly isn’t as easy as it once was. Living in PA by myself has been an experience for sure. Going in, I’ll admit, I had no idea what I was going to do with all my spare time. But fortunately, I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I know I haven’t talked a whole lot about what I do at work yet, but I thought this would be a good time to talk about some of the fun things I do outside of the shop…

My most frequent leisure activity is going to Knoebels. If you are not familiar, Knoebels is a small family run amusement park in Elysburg, PA, which is only a half hour from my apartment. This little gem in the woods might just be the happiest little place on earth (disney schmisney). The park is completely flooded with trees, and with free parking and admission, you can come and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere without spending a dime. The food is good and reasonably priced. And ride tickets aren’t so bad either. I’ve had plenty nights already this year where I’d just meet the guys for dinner at the park, ride the Phoenix and the world-class bumper cars and go home (approx. cost: $10-11, dinner included). It’s always a really fun and relaxing way to end my day.

Another favorite activity of mine is to go kayaking on the Susquehanna River. I’m lucky enough to use a friend’s kayak when we go out. Whether its on the weekend or after work for a sunset tour, we always seem to go out for hours and hours, and it has been some of the most relaxing moments of my time here. The last time we went out after work, we actually saw almost a dozen bald eagles flying over head or perched on a tree. Pretty awesome stuff. Although we generally don’t paddle too hard, the river has a few brief areas of rapids that are good for a quick little thrill. Nothing huge, but big enough to get you wet (especially if you don’t know what you are doing).

I could talk more about leisure, but before I wrap this up, I better talk a little about progress on the trains. At this point, we’re getting close to done. We’ve got most cars up to lap-bar status, which is only a couple phases away from being ready to ship. The shop is certainly getting crowded as the cars get bigger. This can be funny/scary when you think you are alone in the shop, and someone pops up from behind a car after installing a lap-bar can. Its a jungle in there and the jungle gets denser every day. I’m personally looking forward to deforestation as the cars could potentially leave the shop at the end of the week. Lets hope.

But until next time, thanks for reading :)


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..


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.

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 1, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Hey guys, another short update this week. We spent a lot of time last week getting shipments ready, and were almost out of space in our yard, seeing as we shipped out about 3 truckloads of various building supplies, some for Efteling and some for China. Organizing and prepping these shipments took awhile, so we didn’t spend too much time on the trains. For the next few weeks, it’ll mostly be trains, so look forward to hearing more about their construction.

See ya next week!

Busy, Busy, Busy

By , February 22, 2010
Eamon Kelly

Just a short update this week, but a lot has been going on. I’ve done some work on the trains, and a lot of running around. We flipped some of the chassis (we start with them upside down so things like the brake fin are easier to install), and are ready to move forward with those cars that we did flip. My running around included picking up some of the hardware for the queue gates for Efteling. I also picked up some of the parts we use to build the trains. Things are starting to get busy as we start shipments to China while continuing shipments to the Netherlands.

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