Tidal Wave Memories (lots of pics!)

All about the rides at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA and post-Marriott rides, too
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RandyV
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Post by RandyV » Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:15 pm

Ahhh ... the Tidal wave ... the only ride that could truly make me dizzy and stumble while walking after 10 consecutive rides. :) One of my favorite memories was to stand at the far end of the Tidal Wave to listen to the loud "thud" when the weight hit the ground. I'll never forget the ear-piercing "CLANG-CLANG" of the brakes -- another Tidal Wave signature.

The Montezuma's Revenge shuttle loop at Knott's is newer and uses a catapult launch system as opposed to the counter-weight system used by the Tidal Wave. Anyone know how many shuttle loops used the weight vs. the catapult? The launch systems definitely give the ride a different feel. The catapult feels much quicker and I'm sure the track to the loop on Montezuma's is shorter than it was for the Tidal Wave, so in theory the catapult-based ride would require a lot less space.

Technical question for those of you in the know: how was the counter weight attached to the little pusher car that launched the train (can't remember the actual name of the thing right now)? The pusher car looked like it made a round trip (down the track and then back to the station underneath the track while the train completed its run). But how was it "reattached" to the weight?
Randy V.
Gurnee will always be my home park...

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steven
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Post by steven » Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:30 pm

You should have seen my Tidal Wave documentary! It was an in-depth look at the ride's history and a behind-the-scenes peek at how it worked. It was shown at the ACE convention in Los Angeles, at the ride's 25th anniversary celebration at PGA in Santa Clara, and at the Chicago-area "No Coaster Con".

The short answer is that the "bob" that pushes the train is not directly connected to the counterweight by cable. The bob is on a continuous loop of cable. The counterweight cable causes a wheel to spin as the weight drops. That momentum is transferred to the bob's cable by way of a sprag clutch. In the video, the head of ride maintenance explained all of this much better than I can here. :)

Steven

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RandyV
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Post by RandyV » Sat Nov 19, 2005 10:37 pm

That makes total sense, Steven. If there's any way to get a copy of that documentary, I'd love to see it sometime.
Randy V.
Gurnee will always be my home park...

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SFGAmfreak4life
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Post by SFGAmfreak4life » Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:14 pm

I would also love to see this video and any others that you made. Could you possibly put the Tidal Wave video on the site?

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Glorfindel7
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Post by Glorfindel7 » Wed Mar 01, 2006 9:54 pm

The Tidal Wave was one of my favorite rides at Great America. (Man do I miss it :( )

I remember in its last year (I believe 1986?) I had a season pass to the park. I must have rode it over 20 or 30 times that year.

One thing I remember is attempting to ride it 10 times in a row. This would have been easy to do, except since there was a line, the ride operators made me go ALL the way back around... AFter about 6 or 7 times on it I didn't have enough energy to get back in line :) .

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SFGAmfreak4life
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Post by SFGAmfreak4life » Thu Mar 02, 2006 7:52 am

It's last year was 1991.

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Glorfindel7
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Post by Glorfindel7 » Thu Mar 02, 2006 8:35 pm

SFGAmfreak4life wrote:It's last year was 1991.
Oopsie, you're right... I was thinking about something else....

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Glorfindel7
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Post by Glorfindel7 » Mon Mar 13, 2006 8:52 pm

One thing, I was looking at the picture with the "train stuck" in position (as when it failed to clear the loop coming backwards.)

This never happened to me so I have to ask, how often did that happen (on the average) and about how long did it take to get the ride back to "normal" (I'm guessing you had to detach the car from the track and reattach it somehow...)

Thanks for the great pics!

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Marky Mark
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Post by Marky Mark » Tue Mar 14, 2006 6:35 pm

Oh yea...13 times in like a 25 min period on the Tidal Wave was certainly enough to make me sick.

Still a great ride though...I was just on it last season at Kentucky Kingdom. Sweet!

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Glorfindel7
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Post by Glorfindel7 » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:00 pm

Marky Mark wrote:Oh yea...13 times in like a 25 min period on the Tidal Wave was certainly enough to make me sick.

Still a great ride though...I was just on it last season at Kentucky Kingdom. Sweet!
I'm going to have to go down to that park (by Louisville) and ride it... would be great to relive THAT memory...

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Tech Services 1
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Post by Tech Services 1 » Wed Mar 15, 2006 11:36 am

[quote="Glorfindel7"]One thing, I was looking at the picture with the "train stuck" in position . . . and about how long did it take to get the ride back to "normal" . . . quote]

The memory is fuzzy, but I believe they attached a cable to the front of the train, cranked it up to the top of the "runout", and then let 'er go. If all was right with the train, it would make it back through the loop and into the station.
Are there any mechanics or ride ops folks on this forum who can help jog my failing brain? :wink:


PPG
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Gurnee park '81 - '86

Eegads, has it been that long?

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NotBill
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Post by NotBill » Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:04 pm

Tech Services 1 wrote:The memory is fuzzy, but I believe they attached a cable to the front of the train, cranked it up to the top of the "runout", and then let 'er go. If all was right with the train, it would make it back through the loop and into the station.
Are there any mechanics or ride ops folks on this forum who can help jog my failing brain? :wink:


PPG
I'm pretty sure that's how they did it as I remember. I think this happened a couple of time while I was at the park, the most common reason for this failure was a ride op (improperly) hitting the e-stop after the train was most of the way out of the station. This caused the dog to be disconnected, the train no longer had enough momentum to get all the way through the loop and would get stuck.

There's two stories about this I was aware of. The first was that sometimes it would be almost impossible to get the train to stop going back and forth when this happened so the mechanics would layer towels on the track to get it to gradually slow down and stop.

The other story I heard was that at one time during a morning test run too much force was generated and the train contacted the "stopper" at the top, it was then knocked off and fell to the ground and into a dumpster.

However, I fully admit this could be similar to he "Iron Wolf is sinking" and the "they replace wood on Eagle every day" SFGAm legends.
Guy Finley
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SFGAm Employee 1988 - 1992

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Glorfindel7
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Post by Glorfindel7 » Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:14 pm

The other story I heard was that at one time during a morning test run too much force was generated and the train contacted the "stopper" at the top, it was then knocked off and fell to the ground and into a dumpster.
This reminds me of the time I did that in Rollercoaster Tycoon :-)

Seriously I would hope that whoever designed that ride knew enough about mechanics to allow a lot of room for the car....

I remember that as the car was going up the hill there was a "clank", so there was a "brake" applied on the car to slow it down as it was going up the far hill...

So unless someone wasn't paying attention it should have been nearly impossible for the ride to go completely off the track on the pulley booster. (All bets are off for the linear induction however since a short on one of those could very easily speed the cars way too fast out of the station...)
[/quote]

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that_guy
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Post by that_guy » Wed Mar 15, 2006 6:31 pm

I'm wondering why Schwarzkopf would even make it possible for the train to be propelled fast enough to go off the far tower...
The rides are GREAT, the shows are GREAT, the fun is GREAT, at Marriott's Great America! REMEMBER Marriott's GREAT AMERICA, REMEMBER Marriott's GREAT AMERICA!

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NotBill
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Post by NotBill » Sun Mar 19, 2006 12:58 am

that_guy wrote:I'm wondering why Schwarzkopf would even make it possible for the train to be propelled fast enough to go off the far tower...
The way the story was told the cable for the weight snapped. That never made much sense to me though because wouldn't that mean it would have lost force then? Like I said, I heard it from a few different places but it's one of those that I chalked up in the "yeahhhh....riiiight" column, but it was particularly funny. Especially the version I heard that it fell off, into a dumpster, and just missed hitting an area sweeper. :P

I think I need to put together a Gurnee Urban Legends page for some of this stuff but then I'd have to go and prove it and all!!

--Guy
Guy Finley
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SFGAm Employee 1988 - 1992

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