July 29, 2008
Germany -- Roller coaster manufacturer Gerstlauer is celebrating the 10th anniversary of their wooden coaster train product line. For more than a decade now, Gerstlauer trains have been running on wooden roller coasters around the world. What started as a unique project ten years ago, turned into an entirely new product line for the German manufacturer.
"Our idea was to bring steel coaster engineering to the traditional wooden coaster car," said Siegfried Gerstlauer, the company's managing director. "We designed the ride with individual lap bars, molded seats, rubber bushings, and other elements to make our vehicles stand out from the competition."
The first Gerstlauer wood coaster trains appeared on the Twisted Twins roller coaster, originally called Twisted Sisters, at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom in spring 1998. This unique dueling, racing wooden coaster designed by Custom Coasters had two independent tracks that wove in and out of each other throughout the course of the ride.
Gerstlauer supplied Six Flags with two seven-car, 28-passenger trains, one for each track of the Twisted Twins roller coaster.
The growth and popularity of the Gerstlauer train continued over the next decade. Improvements were made such as the first Gerstlauer three-bench wood coaster train that debuted on Farup Sommerland's Falken roller coaster in 2004.
Last year, Gerstlauer was hired by Cedar Fair Entertainment to change the rolling stock on the Son of Beast roller coaster at Kings Island. The used trains were purchased from a closed park and Gerstlauer worked with Kings Island to custom-engineer the trains to fit the coaster's unique track gauge and lift angle.
Son of Beast re-opened to a popularity it had not seen since opening year.
Mammut sported Gerstlauer vehicles with three-benches each, custom theme work, open fronts, new L-shaped individual lap bars and thicker seat upholstery.
All of these innovations combined to make the Gerstlauer train ride smoother and more comfortable for riders.
As for the future, Siegfried Gerstlauer is optimistic as to what he sees.
"We have had a lot of interest in our vehicles for new wooden coasters", said Gerstlauer. "In addition, there are a lot of parks throughout the world, particularly in the U.S., with older wood coaster trains that are almost ready to be replaced."
Gerstlauer is optimistic about the future of his company's wooden coaster trains.
"As parks look for new options, the Gerstlauer train, which generally requires less maintenance hours and investment money each year, is a great option for them."
For more information on Gerstlauer roller coaster trains and products, see www.rideentertainment.com.
Photos courtesy of Ride Entertainment. All rights reserved.
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