Seems odd that RMC went to 4 coasters in one year to none. Does anyone have any ideas why?
While possible, it's actually far too early to make that assumption. I will admit that while I didn't expect a RMC I-Box this year at Six Flags, I was a little surprised that they didn't get anything from RMC. There has been a persistent rumor going around that Six Flags would get the first RMC T-Rex in 2017, and while I have heard some evidence to support the first part I never heard confirmation of the date. However, despite the fact that Six Flags is RMC's biggest customer, they are not their only customer. Let's take a look at a few other things that can be found around the internet:
-In a 2014 IAAPA interview, RMC stated that they were fully booked until 2018, with three projects in 2015, three in 2016, and four in 2017. However, they ended up doing five projects in 2016, so it is unknown if this information is still reliable.
-Going along with the above, RMC is the fabricator for the S&S Free Spin coasters, but it is unclear whether they count these when saying how many projects they are doing. At the moment, they are fabricating track for four of these rides in 2017.
-Also worth noting is that when RMC revealed the T-Rex and Raptor track at IAAPA 2015, they said that it should be appearing at a park in the next 2-3 years. Many enthusiasts assumed this would mean 2017, but it could mean 2018 as well. Either way, this lines up with the Six Flags rumor.
-Regarding Six Flags, after the success of New Texas Giant Six Flags signed a contract with RMC. While I'm not 100% certain of the terms of the contract, I believe it was something like this: Six Flags will commit to purchasing 5 I-Box coasters (I believe at a discounted rate), and in exchange they will have the exclusive right to I-Box track within a certain radius of the park for a certain amount of time (I want to say 200 miles and until 2020, but that could be wrong). The last coaster on this contract was Joker at SFDK, which was just installed this year. I do know that there was some form of contract because Knott's approached RMC about the GhostRider project but RMC was unable to work on it due to Twisted Colossus.
-While the major chain parks have made announcements for 2017, there are some smaller parks that have yet to make an announcement. It is not impossible that one of these parks could be getting a RMC. There is also the possibility that one or more international parks could be getting one.
-Most of RMC's 2016 projects experienced delays of some form, and it is possible this may have resulted in future projects being pushed back. This is particularly true in the event that any future projects are launched coasters.
-Lastly, RMC did post a picture on twitter of them machining parts for the next set of trains. While this could be misdirection, it could also hint at something for next year.
Based on all of the above, it is impossible to say whether or not we will see a RMC ride in 2017. Assuming we do see one, there is a good possibility it could be an international ride. However, if one does pop up in the US, there are a few possibilities worth considering. Please note that the following is likely going to read like a conspiracy theory and is based on nothing but rumors, but I don't think any of it is completely far-fetched.
Cedar Point: At the moment, the biggest rumor is that Cedar Point will give Mean Streak an I-Box conversion for 2017. While the park has announced the closure of the ride, they have also stated that it's fate is to be revealed. Given the size of the ride and the fact that the park just got Valravn this year and that they're doing a major waterpark project for next year, I'm inclined to believe that if a conversion happens here it will likely be for 2018. However, this one can't be dismissed entirely.
Kings Dominion: The other Cedar Fair rumor that hasn't been completely shot down is Hurler at Kings Dominion. The ride has been sitting at the park SBNO for the entire season, but statements were made that it would be reopening in 2017. Many enthusiasts expected the fate of this ride to be announced at the park's press conference, but that didn't happen and no visible work has been done to the ride yet. However, Kings Dominion did end the presentation with the phrase "There's Really More Coming," a slightly odd choice of words, and they did include the attraction in their announcement teasers. Honestly, I would consider this a bit of a long shot, but if Cedar Fair does indeed have a RMC planned for 2017 I would bet on this over Mean Streak.
Darien Lake: A couple years ago, this park sent out a survey teasing a ride called Lake Monster. While not explicitly revealed, the ride sounded like an I-Box conversion of their existing Predator coaster. Darien Lake has not had a big addition in years so it is definitely something that would be welcome at the park, but this is another one I'm somewhat skeptical of because the park is a bit challenged financially.
Holiday World: Voyage, Holiday World's signature wood coaster, is a super aggressive ride that costs nearly $1 million a year to keep in running order. Given that Gravity Group's Timberliner trains will not solve the problem, it is possible that this park could look into having RMC work on the ride. However, like Mean Streak, this is a very large coaster and having the project done for 2017 could be a challenge. That said, there is a rumor floating around that Holiday World may try to do their next coaster in 2017, and even if it wasn't a Voyage makeover a custom RMC would be a possibility, but I really think they are more likely to go with a family coaster for their next brand new coaster as the park is a family park yet is lacking one.
Silverwood: Those who live outside the Pacific Northwest may not know of this park, but it is a small park located in Idaho. This park is close to RMC's shop and is actually where RMC did their initial testing with the Topper Track. There have been some fairly reliable reports that the park has been working on a design with RMC but is waiting until they have the funds to build it, so they could potentially be a candidate for next year.
Canobie Lake Park: This is another park that many outside the North East likely haven't heard of (it's a small park in New Hampshire) and it is probably unlikely, but there is just enough evidence for me to consider this park a candidate. Last year, survey markers appeared near the Canobie Corkscrew coaster, an old Arrow Corkscrew that dates back to 1975. Coincidentally, the site this ride sits on would be just the right size to install a RMC Raptor, and the park is small enough that the limited capacity (600 per hour) wouldn't be a major issue. Canobie Lake Park hasn't added anything notable since 2012, so it is definitely worth considering as a candidate.
I can't say what will happen, but I would suggest keeping an eye on the parks above as they are probably the most likely to potentially get a RMC in 2017. I highly doubt all of them would happen, but I would not be surprised if one or two surprised us.
Kennywood is also a 2017 or 2018 contender for RMC's time with a new coaster that will take over some of the recently purchased land behind the Racer.
Worlds of Fun is also currently withholding what their new entrance is going to look like. Based on how the rest of the Cedar Fair parks are going, I'm thinking that they're going to get a new roller coaster traversing the new entrance...long shot that this is an RMC, it will probably be a B&M, but you never know.
The rumor I heard for Worlds of Fun was for a Premier launch coaster, but that rumor was also for 2018. I would bet against RMC for that park, particularly if it is an entrance coaster, as one of their rides would likely dominate the area rather than compliment it the way a B&M does.
Kennywood, however, is one I'm definitely keeping my eye on for 2018. Reportedly RMC staff were spotted on site over Labor Day weekend, and with the park purchasing land several years ago it seems like they're gearing up for something big. Could it happen in 2017? Perhaps, but if that was the case I would have expected to see visible construction by now.
Lastly, while I'm not sure how legitimate the information is, I heard from someone who did a tour of RMC's plant that they have one I-Box conversion and at least one ground-up coaster planned for 2017. Interpret that however you like.
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Now open, or date announced:
Still waiting on these: