Steel Vengeance ... a personal viewpoint

Edited: May 21, 2018, 5:31 PM

1). The 1 train system running at the moment is a major headache for Cedar Point, and it needs to be resolved asap. If it’s still in place over the Memorial Day weekend there are going to be some very upset coaster enthusiasts. The ops do a great job, but it’s asking a lot of them to keep everything running smoothly day in day out under ever increasing pressure. 2hrs is a minimum you should take out of your day to ride it just once. I haven’t heard anything that suggests RMC is any closer to resolving the problem .. ??
2). Can someone please explain to me why we are told incessantly that we must not touch the lap bar ... ?? Is it a safety issue .. ? I cannot come up with any reason other than safety.
3). Oh my ... what did RMC do to what was a truly magnificent wooden coaster structure ? I was saddened when I first saw it. Yes, they created the Steel Vengeance, but at a horrible cost to the original Mean Streak. Did they really need to use all those steel channel sections? and if they did, could they have not somehow camouflaged them in some way? Being an engineer for my sins, I know how strong those steel sections are, but I also know that some of the beams could have been made from good solid sections of wood .... but then maybe the cost would have been a lot more.
4). Absolutely, beyond any shadow of a doubt, SV is now the best ride at Cedar Point ...
5). The fast lane+ entrance takes you right up to the station, so whenever it’s reinstated, the cost of the FL+ would be well worth it on a busy day. Although it’s difficult to predict how many people would actually be willing to pay for one, once 3 trains are running again.
6). It would be so good if CP used the FL+ lane for single riders while only 1 train is running. On almost every train there was at least one empty seat. Such a waste.
7). A warning ... while 1 train is running, trying to ride SV is a chore and a bind. I read a tweet on the CP page that someone rode it 5 times in a day. Have no doubt, that was all they did all day !! A 10hr day spent riding one coaster 5 times is not quite my proverbial cup of tea.
8). I know one of the pluses for a lot of riders is the amount of air time you get on SV. Yes, from that awesome first drop to the end of the last drop, airtime is amazing, especially in the back .... but I do not see any reason for the couple of little ‘bumps’ before the lift hill, and I’d much rather see one decent airtime hill on the way back to the station, instead of the 4 ever decreasing ones.
9). Repetitiveness is, in my opinion, also an issue. I have never been on another RMC convert, but I think this is by far the longest one they worked on ... and it shows. 4 upside down elements just screams “l don’t know what else to do” ... and I’d like to have seen at least one of those inverts a fast hard turn instead .. maybe 2 in all honesty. Sorry SV fans, but I’m just stating how I feel.
10). The restraints are excellent, but be careful you don’t trap the seat belt buckle between your thigh and the underside of the lap bar. I did once, and have the bruise to prove it ... :(
11). I saw a lot of people get off the ride and indicate it wasn’t all it’s been cracked up to be, but we all have our own opinions of all the rides we go on. Will it make #1 on the golden ticket list for 2018 ... it has a big enough fan base to suggest it might.
12). Does it make my #1 all time favorite coaster. No. A strong #2 ahead of other great rides like Millennium Force, The Smiler, Maverick, Mystic Timbers, Mako and so on .... For me nothing gets close to Fury 325. The sheer exhilaration of that first hill, and the smoothness throughout the ride is pure coaster heaven. You have to ride it to appreciate just how fast 95 mph is when your sitting in the front seat. Videos do not do it justice.

Steel Vengeance failed to make my #1 due to a culmination of little things as detailed above. I’m sure for a lot of people my nit-picking may seem harsh, but it’s my personal takeaway from what truly is a ground breaking world class coaster. From a coaster enthusiast’s point of view, I might even admit it’s an all round “better” coaster than Fury 325, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into it being my all time favorite coaster.

Replies (4)

May 22, 2018, 6:08 AM

#2 - This is a procedure becoming increasingly common on coasters with seat belts and lap bars. Because the seat belt is supposed to be a redundant restraint (in the event that the lap bar fails), it is not absolutely essential for it to be locked in order for the train to be dispatched, thus there are no sensors or fail safes for the master op to verify prior to dispatching the train. By asking guests to not touch the lap bars, it allows the ride ops faster and easier access to check the belts. If the bars are down, it's difficult and uncomfortable for the ops to reach down (sometimes between the bucket seat and lap bar depending on the size of the guest) to verify that the seat belt is secure. On a coaster like Millennium Force, it's easy for ops to check the belts because they latch outside the bucket of the seat, but that's not the case with the RMC trains.

Also, I find the RMC lap bars an up or down proposition, meaning they either stay all the way up or come down so far that they get in the way of the belt check. There's no "halfway" on the bar like on most coasters, so by asking guests not to touch the bars, it keeps the bars from slipping down to the point where they get in the way - once you start pulling them down, the master op has to unlock the entire train (or block of rows) to allow the bar to be pushed up again.

I had noted that I was concerned about the repetitiveness with such a long course. Twisted Timbers (almost half a mile shorter in length) gets close to being repetitive at the end, and I posited that repetitiveness may be a drawback of such a long RMC. I haven't ridden it yet, but hopefully it will be back up to 3 trains by August when I'm in Sandusky.

May 22, 2018, 1:53 PM

1. Word on the street is they've been testing with multiple trains at night and hope to have it back to two this weekend. Once that happens, they'll work on getting the third train certified. If all goes well, I expect three train ops by the time peak crowds arrive in mid-June.

2. It's both to allow for a seatbelt check and so that operators can ensure the bar is at the correct position. Many parks do this on rides with a large amount of negative g-force as there have been incidents of a rider being ejected due to an improperly secured bar. Additionally, it can be really difficult to check the seatbelt under the lap bar, particularly on cars that do not have open sides. The only RMC I've ridden where operators allow you to close your own bar is Lighting Rod at Dollywood, and they still tell you not to touch it until after checking the seatbelt.

3. The steel sections are needed for rigidity purposes. While wood beams could withstand the forces, the amount of flex could cause problems. RMC does paint them on coasters with a painted structure, but it would be hard to get them to match aged wood well (plus on a ride called STEEL Vengeance Cedar Point probably wants the exposed steel). That said, I do agree with you about RMC rides not looking as nice as a pure wood coaster.

6. That would be nice, but unless I'm mistaken I don't believe Cedar Fair does single rider lines at any of their parks. I want to say they've tried it before and found it didn't really work since they don't assign seats at most attractions, but don't quote me on that.

9. I've never had repetitiveness issues on any other RMC I've ridden, but given how long Steel Vengeance is I wouldn't be surprised if that comes into play here. I'm curious to see what I think of it when I ride in late June.

May 22, 2018, 7:20 PM

Thanks Russell and AJ for explaining the “do not touch the lap bar” scenario on the SV. It was as I suspected to do with safety. I assume if the lap bar failed 1/2 way round the seat belt will be adequate to keep you in your seat ??
Talking of lap bars ... they had a major lap bar failure this morning after only 2 runs. From what I heard they locked down on the first couple of rows and people got trapped. Anyway, RMC techs were on site, but it didn’t start up again until around 3pm.
As AJ mentioned ... RMC have been testing multiple trains at night. It seems the people staying at the campgrounds are not happy because the noisy lift hill is keeping them awake !! True or false I can’t say, but numerous people I spoke to mentioned this.
I managed 6 rides in total, so not bad considering only 1 train was running, and the breakdowns.
It was one of those freaky days today ... one of the only rides that ran non stop all day was the dragster !?!?

Edited: May 23, 2018, 6:59 AM

At least your 6 rides are better than the 2.5 rides we got on TTD across 3 days we visited Cedar Point in July 2003.

Twisted Timbers has had some lap bar release issues too, and I think it has to do with the tolerance of the station sensors. If the train is not in the exact spot (appears to by +/- less than an inch), the sensors will not allow the lap bars to unlock. A little vibration and those sensors can move slightly askew, meaning the sensor will be misaligned compared to the train, and thus will prevent the train from unlocking. The sensors appear to be mounted to thin galvanized steel or aluminum brackets, so they're not the most rigid parts, and who knows what the torque ratings are on the screws/bolts securing the sensors to the brackets. The biggest problem with these lap bar issues is that the RMC trains don't have a simple manual release like most coaster trains (usually a foot pedal, button, or lever on the back of the train that the ops can push to release each row). They have to connect a comm-box to the back of each car and send a signal to the electronics on each car to unlock the bars. It's a tedious process, exasperated by the fact that the connections between the train and the comm-box are not always "clean", and sometime require ops to disconnect and reconnect to send the signal. I'm really not sure why RMC designed the trains this way (in my book simpler is always better), but when there's a misalignment in the station, it can cause a pretty significant delay.

Considering that someone died on New Texas Giant due to the lap bar and seat belt not being properly secured, RMC and parks installing RMC coasters understandably take an extra level of caution.

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