It was recently announced that Great Coasters International has been chosen to renovate the legendary Coney Island Cyclone. According to the Amusement Today article, GCI was chosen because of their “proven track record of renovating existing coasters while maintaining each coaster’s identity.”
Cyclone’s identity is very, very important. The 80-plus year old roller coaster is a historic and prestigious ride that’s likely one of the most well-known roller coasters on the planet. Even with the cyclone clones out there, the original has loads of character thanks to its advanced age, old school trains, and location. They Cyclone’s uniquely rough and intense ride made my trek out to Coney Island in 2009 worth it.
I found my rides on Cyclone fun and challenging. I enjoyed them, but definitely experienced a considerable amount of roughness. After a brief self assessment, I convinced myself that at 30 I had nothing to prove by riding in Cyclone’s likely torturous back seat. Yes, the Coaster Critic is aging. 🙂
Here’s more from Amusement Today:
Since this is both financial and labor intensive, CAI concluded that breaking the project into phases will allow us to keep the Cyclone open during our operating season and stay within budget constraints,” continued Ferrari. “The Cyclone’s track replacement is expected to be completed within four to five years. As part of the final phase, we are looking into either refurbishing or replacing the Cyclone’s trains. Plans are not final, however, our vision is to keep the trains similar to the original design. When we are finished, the track and other ride systems will be state-of-the-art and will also meet current ride standards.”
How will GCI balance the changes meant to improve Cyclone without the ride losing its identity? It sounds like a tall order, but I’d have to think if anyone can do it, GCI can. I’m by no means a roller coaster designer or engineer, I just report on my experiences. I’ll be on the lookout for specifics on exactly how the rehab project progresses. Also, if anyone knows of a list of past GCI rehab projects, feel free to share it. I couldn’t find one.