Six Flags New England (SFNE) Discussion Thread

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Re: Six Flags New England (SFNE) Discussion Thread

Postby coasterbill » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:30 pm

Holiday in the Park seems to be totally crushing it, and I think a lot of the credit for that goes to New Englanders who honestly, truly give ZERO f*cks about cold weather.

When we were there a few weeks ago we absolutely noticed a major difference in these crowds versus the Great Adventure crowds. Generally at Great Adventure, later at night when it gets significantly colder the park clears out quickly and on colder days basically everything is a walk-on aside from Justice League. That didn't happen in New England, these people don't care. My kind of people... :lol:

Obviously all of the east coast parks are going to have a rough weekend and I expect many of them (including maybe this one) to close due to accumulating snowfall, but I was curious to see how they would perform on a Friday night (generally these are slow at Great Adventure) on a cold night where the temperature at park open was in the low 30's and they seem to be doing really well!

I figured it would be a major test for them so I decided to check in on queue times and social media to see how things are looking. It's 33 degrees and snow is on the way in a few hours. I expected the park to be dead tonight but the reports seem to say otherwise. Thunderbolt is posting at 30 minutes, every coaster (including Fireball) is posting at at least 10 (minus Flashback which is a recurring theme since nobody knows it's open) and rides like the Bumper Cars and train have reached as high as 20.

Is the park bursting at the seams busy? No. But there seems to be a significant crowd on a night where you wouldn't really expect one and I'm sure they're filling Rockville Theater to capacity and probably turning people away (which they were doing for every show the other night... they really need a bigger theater).

Also, every ride is open including Flashback which at this point seems to be a permanent part of the Holiday in the Park lineup.

I'm really impressed with the turnout at this event. They were slammed when we were there last weekend and people seem more than happy to flock to this event in temperatures that nobody would have ever dreamed they would even a few short years ago. The turnout tonight is a BIG DEAL for the future of this event.

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Re: Six Flags New England (SFNE) Discussion Thread

Postby Canobie Coaster » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:38 pm

The more the merrier! I wonder why Flashback still isn't listed as a ride for the event yet it keeps opening.
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Re: Six Flags New England (SFNE) Discussion Thread

Postby coasterbill » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:43 pm

Yeah, if they opened it at 34 degrees I'm thinking it's pretty much just open now. lol

What's crazy is that unlike it's counterparts there are no wheel heaters to speak of on Flashback. Apparently that ride's just a bad a**. :lol:

I have a weird, new-found appreciation for Flashback for some reason so I'm sort of liking this.

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Re: Six Flags New England (SFNE) Discussion Thread

Postby steamedturtle » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:55 pm

I absolutely share your enthusiasm. It's so great to see Holiday in the Park on the east coast succeeding for so many reasons. It's just a win win win win win. The parks are crowded and lively, and even the worst line isn't bad at all. Hopefully they'll continue to invest in and expand this event. Obviously, riding coasters in the cold and dark is an awesome experience.

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Re: Six Flags New England (SFNE) Discussion Thread

Postby Canobie Coaster » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:57 am

By not heating the wheels, I guess it shows the 3 valleys in April probably weren't related to the cold then.
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Re: Six Flags New England (SFNE) Discussion Thread

Postby TheDarkMaxim » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:00 am

Will everything still be going in today's snow? I imagine it would make it even cooler looking.

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Re: Six Flags New England (SFNE) Discussion Thread

Postby coasterbill » Sat Dec 09, 2017 9:30 am

I fully expect them to close today, though if I'm wrong and people actually show up that would be amazing. :lol:

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Re: Six Flags New England (SFNE) Discussion Thread

Postby Sluggo77 » Sun Dec 10, 2017 4:39 pm

Anyone head to the park today? Would love to see some shots with the snow and all.

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SFNE & HITP & Batman & 27 degrees

Postby ice1972 » Mon Dec 18, 2017 7:47 am

Hi guys I have been a fan of TPR YouTube videos for a while and just signed up here as my interest in theme parks and especially coasters continues to grow.....we have been members now at SFNE for 2 seasons now and it has been so great to come here and be able to ride one of the truly special coasters ever built - Superman.....solid shout to Wicked Cyclone too....Inhave always loved roller coasters but there was a while there for many years I did not ride one.....then we got the SFNE membership and I’ve gotten back into it.....anyway here’s my topic.....

We are season pass holders and have enjoyed the inaugural Holiday in the Park here......a good portion of the park is closed - like the whole lower area where Superman is and then the north end of the park where Wicked Cyclone is - but the rest is open and they are operating Batman, Mid Eraser, Thunderbolt, and Joker......question is how the hell are they doing this when the temp was at 30 maybe a tick lower......I love all the roller coasters here and while Batman has gotten a bad rap it’s not a bad coaster IMO and I rode it 3 times tonight.....last row then front row then right in the middle.....it seemed to run fine but I was reading up on coasters in cold weather and the general theme was that under 40 the ususal practice is to close..... it was easily below freezing tonight.....as well as last Sunday night when I rode Batman twice.....I will note that Batman did speed check itself at the bottom of the dive right before the picture is taken.... so IDK, if slow speeds are a worry during cold weather Batman seemed to be going fast enough that it needed to be speed checked during the ride.....

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Re: SFNE & HITP & Batman & 27 degrees

Postby coasterbill » Mon Dec 18, 2017 10:45 am

ice1972 wrote: under 40 the ususal practice is to close..... it was easily below freezing tonight

ice1972 wrote:question is how the hell are they doing this when the temp was at 30 maybe a tick lower

How the hell are you using your GPS when the car is in motion? The instructions totally said not to. :lol:

I don't work in maintenance and don't claim to be an expert, but there are a few factors at play here.

1) This is America, the most sue-happy country on the face of the earth. I'm NOT speaking from authority and I am completely speculating but my gut tells me that the manufacturers came up with these recommendations to cover themselves from liability (if... let's say a coaster saddles in a place where riders are stuck for hours and then they turn around and sue the park), and the parks obey these recommendations so if something does happen and someone tries to hold them liable they can turn around and pass that liability on to the manufacturer. If they didn't follow these recommendations, the manufacturer would likely tell them to go screw (sorry, that's a bit of complex legal jargon) and be absolved from liability.

I pulled that COMPLETELY out of my a**, but I feel like that's very likely what's going on here, especially because other countries who aren't as sue happy seem to have no issue running coasters in the dead of winter (hi, Japan!).

From what I can tell, the coasters can run fine if you don't mind a few close calls in morning testing, and the park thinks that the risk/reward is worth it if it means they can stay open 2 extra months and make a notable profit in November and December for (likely) the first time in their history. They likely don't think the event would be nearly as profitable without their coasters, and they're likely correct. Other parks have different philosophies but also appeal to different demographics and/or invest more heavily in non coaster related holiday offerings like shows / ice skating rinks / animal encounters / snow slides and things of that nature.

2) Unlike at Great Adventure, Six Flags New England's plan for running coasters in the winter is more involved than just hitting the dispatch button and hoping for the best. In addition to likely using harder / faster wheels, they use wheel heaters on all of their coasters for the event. I went into a little bit of detail elsewhere so I'll just quote my previous post in a different thread.

Joker and Mind Eraser had heat lamps in their stations. They weren't right on the wheels, but they warmed the temperature of the station overall which was nice for the riders, the people in the queue and for the train (as they were pointed at the train, just backed off 5 to 10 feet). Batman (their floorless coaster) had tons of huge lamps under the track pointed up at the floor mechanism and the wheels.

On a more interesting note, they brought out the heavy artillery on Thunderbolt (their classic, valley-prone wood coaster). They had an enormous (and I mean enormous) propane heater attached to a tube and a sheet metal vent system they built under the station that absolutely blasted the wheels with heat to the point that even sitting on the train waiting to dispatch was awesome since you were nice and toasty warm just sitting in the train despite the 31 degree temperature. They were monitoring the speed and if it ever ran slow they just waited a few extra minutes to send it while they blasted the entire thing with heat. It ran great.


Also, once a coaster gets warmed up it runs faster. There's a big difference between cold starting a coaster on a 27 degree night with a test run of an empty train and starting it with the sun out at 2 in the afternoon when it's likely 15 degrees warmer, running it all day which gets the wheels warmed up and causes it to speed up and then having it drop down to 27 degrees later on at which point the coasters has been running for 6 hours already... especially since it's running 1 train which means it's never parked on the block brake. It's ALWAYS either moving or sitting over heat lamps in the station so the wheels stay warm.

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