New trains enhance Great Nor’Eastor experience
The Great Nor’Easter, a Suspended Looping Coaster (SLC) by Vekoma that opened in 1995 at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey, has received new trains this season. As a result, Morey’s has increased the thrill-factor on one of its most popular rides.
at a cost of more than US$1 million (E650,000), the new Great Nor’Easter trains feature ergonomically designed seats that hold the rider firmly, while also providing unhindered view in all directions. The design utilises a lap bar and vest to comfortably restrain guests during the ride.
The new trains also have independent steering wheel bogies to provide a smoother ride and to lessen wear, thus increasing the ride’s durability. Although Vekoma tried out the same seats last year on two Suspended Junior Coasters in Europe, this is the first time they have been added to a full-size SLC.
“After the first installations of this design on new rides it turned out to be such a success that we looked into implementing it onto existing rides as well,” says Vekoma’s Peter van Bilsen. “On a considerable number of coasters, it is often just the trains that need an upgrade.”
“At its inception in 1995, the Great Nor’easter was the single largest investment we had ever made,” remembers Jack Morey, president of Morey’s Piers. “In order for classic attractions like this to remain popular and profitable, they must evolve based on the latest level of thrill, technology and comfort. The new trains make the ride more comfortable and provide passengers with a greater sense of freedom. You can actually see the person you are sitting next to screaming.”
Together with a redesigned station and all new red, white and blue colour scheme, the new trains have rejuvenated the Great Nor’Easter and jump-started ridership: “Our guests always love the ‘what’s new’ factor,” Morey acknowledges. “The most noticeable difference,” he observes, “is the feeling that you are actually flying. In fact, we almost renamed the attraction to ‘Fly’. We expect the rider demographic will be larger and believe that re-rides should be greater.”
Vekoma’s egonomic seat solutions
Vekoma’s egonomic new seats were originally introduced last season on Suspended Family Coasters at Movie Park in Germany and Grönalund in Sweden, but now the Dutch manufacturer hopes to make them available on a wide range of coaster trains.
Another Suspended Family Coaster is due to open any day now at Frontier City in the USA, manufactured in co-operation with Chance Morgan. Meanwhile a larger suspended coaster is currently being built for a new park yet to be disclosed. Due to open next year, the ride will feature a 4-abreast seating configuration.
Vekoma is also offering a new 4-abreast open style train to offer a more intense ride experience on some of its mega coasters. Individual seats with shoulder restraints add to the sense of freedom and give riders an even better view of the surroundings, while spring-loaded guide wheels reduce maintenance and keep the ride smooth. Polyurethane wheel covers make the coaster quieter and reduce vibration.
Vekoma also hopes to build a number of coasters featuring individual cars, rather than long trains, featuring the same ergonomic seating and lap restraints. Suitable for children from 1.0-metre and up, the rides will feature relatively compact footprints. One such ride will be a spinning coaster, featuring the usual fast turns and dips as well as an exciting skateboard element and a double spiral, while another will be a “Mad Mouse” featuring eight-seater cars. Again, wheel coverings and steering wheel bogies will contribute towards a low noise level and make the ride suitable for use indoors.
Additionally, a version of the seat will be used on Vekoma’s upcoming Stingray flying coaster at Suzhou Giant Wheel Park in China. After being tilted back on the lift, passengers will ride in a face down position parallel to the track. The ergonomics of the seat, a large open angle between the upper and lower body and a slightly curved back support, enable an optimal flying position and unobstructed views ahead.