Gravitycast News

ZDT’s Amusement Park Announces the Switchback – an all new style of roller coaster

Seguin, Texas – Over a hundred and thirty years have passed since LaMarcus Thompson changed the landscape of America’s amusement parks with the introduction of his Switchback Railway at Coney Island. Inspired by Thompson’s innovation, roller coasters have evolved over the past thirteen decades to do all sorts of crazy things in an attempt to capture the thrill that riders felt on the first Switchback Railway.

To celebrate the June 1884 birth of the wooden roller coaster, ZDT’s Amusement Park has teamed up with The Gravity Group to capture the magic of the original wooden roller coaster with Switchback – the first modern wooden shuttle coaster!

What begins as a typical wooden coaster experience, complete with the traditional climb up the lift hill, quickly becomes a modern thrill machine! Guests are propelled through overbanked turns and hills packed with monumental amounts of airtime, as they approach….”The Grand Spire” – only to repeat the entire experience again backwards! Get ready for Switchback, coming this summer to ZDT’s Amusement Park.

ZDT’s Amusement park is a family-owned business that opened in 2007 in Seguin, Texas, with five attractions. Since then, with the addition of water slides, a shot tower, and a multi-level indoor/outdoor go-kart track and more, ZDT’s has grown from a local attraction to a regional sensation. Now, with the addition of Switchback, this innovative park is poised to elevate to the next level, becoming the area’s premier family adventure thrill park.

The Gravity Group, LLC combines modern technologies with the classic art of wooden coaster design to create award-winning rides. With work on over 50 different rides around the world, this team of engineers has more experience than any other wooden roller coaster design team. Equipped with state-of-the-art Timberliner trains, Gravity Group rides debut with high rankings and stay smooth.

Ride Statistics
· Lift Hill Height: 63.5 ft [19.4m]
· Track Length: 1175 ft [358m]
· Ride Length: 1980 ft [604m]
· Spire Height: 64.5 ft [19.7m]
· Max Banking: 104°
· Airtime: 8 moments (5 forward, 3 backward)
· Trains: Two 8-passenger Timberliner trains

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Press Release Files (click to download PDF)

Front Side

Front Side

Back Side

Back Side

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Images (click to download JPG)

Overall

Overall

The Grand Spire

The Grand Spire

Overbanked Turn

Overbanked Turn

Highly-themed Train

Highly-themed Train

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Video

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Get Ready to Roar!

A dinosaur is going to roar into Story Land in Glen, New Hampshire in the spring of 2014.  Dubbed Roar-O-Saurus, this smaller wooden coaster twists and turns at a frenetic pace over its 1242ft (379m) long track. Dropping 38.5 ft (12m) passengers will experience 12 unique airtime moments in the ride’s state-of-the-art Timberliner trains as well as fly through a curving tunnel.

Roar-O-Saurus

Roar-O-Saurus

Fly around the ride:

Ride the Roar-O-Saurus:

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Not 1, Not 2, Not Even 3, But 4

Not one, not two, not even three but FOUR new Gravity Group designs are headed to China.  Well under construction, a fantastic wooden roller coaster is underway at Fantawild Zhuzhou which will open in 2014.  Hot on its heels, a custom terrain coaster is currently in fabrication for HotGo Park in Shenyang.  Without any breather, the Fantawild park chain will follow these rides with exceptional rides at Jinan and then Wuhu in 2015.

These wooden roller coasters will more than double the current number of rides designed by The Gravity Group and manufactured by Martin & Vleminckx Rides.  The style of rides range from ground hugging terrain coasters to cutting edge wooden coasters that go upside-down.  The Gravity Group perfected the wooden roller coaster inversion in 2013 when they added a barrel roll to Hades 360°, and these advanced maneuvers are made possible with the state-of-the-art Timberliner train.

The team’s previous rides thrill guests in the cities of Shanghai, Wuhan and Tianjin.  The included map showcases the current and future new wooden roller coasters by the TGG/MVR team in China.  Zhuzhou, Shenyang, Jinan & Wuhu – Woohoo!

TGG/MVR wooden roller coasters in China

TGG/MVR wooden roller coasters in China

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Gravity Group Sends Wooden Roller Coaster Upside-Down

CINCINNATI – For the first time ever, a wooden roller coaster is being sent upside-down through a corkscrew loop using a traditional wood track.

This happens on a ride called Hades 360.  Hades 360 opened on Saturday, May 26 at Mt. Olympus Theme Park in the Wisconsin Dells, Wis.

A Close-up View of the Corkscrew on Hades 360

The ride features a corkscrew that twists you upside-down and an impressive 110-degree overbanked turn.

Previous attempts to send wooden coasters through a corkscrew have used steel as a primary structural component of the track rather than just a running surface for the wheels.  Hades 360 is unique because it uses a completely wooden track, making it the only wooden tracked inversion in existence.  It was designed by The Gravity Group, a Cincinnati-based engineering firm.

Hades originally opened in 2005 as one of the world’s largest wooden coasters, featuring 1,400 feet of underground tunnels and the steepest first drop on any wooden coaster.

The decision to add an inversion to Hades resulted from a discussion that engineers from The Gravity Group had with Nick Laskaris, owner of Mt. Olympus Theme Park.  Work on the ride’s turn-around was being proposed and rather than merely reprofile the track, it was decided to try something completely different…and Hades 360

was born.

Hades 360 Corkscrew – Overall View

“Since the 1990s, we had been talking with Nick about going upside-down on a wooden roller coaster,” said Chad Miller, an engineer at The Gravity Group.  “Fast forward to today and we have all the tools required to make it happen, from our new Timberliner trains that can handle the corkscrew’s rapidly twisting track to the sophisticated computer programs required to design just the right track shape.”

Special attention was given to the structural framing of the ride.  Miller said, “We wanted to maintain the feel of a wooden roller coaster with trussed structure flying past you as you go through the roll.  At the same time, we wanted to give the structure an open feel and so we cantilevered the track so there is nothing below you when you are upside down.  The result is something quite unique and thrilling.”

About The Designers

The Gravity Group, LLC is an engineering firm that specializes in the design of wooden roller coasters.  Its engineers have a history of working on more than 50 wooden roller coasters around the world – more than any other engineers in business today.

Since its formation in 2002, The Gravity Group has modernized the face of wooden roller coasters by making wooden coasters with several first-of-a kind wooden coaster features, including the first 90-degree bank, the first overbanked turn, and the first corkscrew inversion.  The Gravity Group’s rides are found in Asia, Europe, and the United States.

About The Park

Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park is a full-fledged resort in the Wisconsin Dells, Wis., that features six different lodging locations as well as a water park and theme park that features seven roller coasters, nearly 40 water slides, and nine go-kart tracks.

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