Jump to content
29yrswithaGApass

Skyride - UPDATED SPOTLIGHT!

Recommended Posts

FIRST EMPLOYEE FATALITY ON THE JOB !

 

Reading the reports of the Cable Cars operations over all these years, I am surprised that no mention is made of the FIRST Fatality I ever saw during Park Operating hours. It happened at the Dream Street Cable Station and the young man who was killed was a Ride Mechanic.. I hope some of you Cable Ride people from the mid-70's will recall the details better than I can at this point, but here is what happened as best as I can recall from the interviews I took down from workers and guests present immediately after the accident.

 

Cable A side was in operation. with a long line waiting to board. A Ride Mechanic was working on the big horizontal wheel of Cable B, Prepping it to go back into service. Someone-Person unknown at the time- ordered the waiting line split to form shorter lines at both Cable A and Cable B - Before the Ride Crew Lead could protest that neither the Crew nor the Ride Mechanic were ready to start Cable B-- the Unknown Person threw the switch that started the big wheel spinning; pulling the CABLE B around and crushing the Ride Mechanic. To make matters worse, his remains came thru the wheel down onto the waiting line of guests and ride operators. It was a horrifing scene that I am sure many who experienced it first hand will never forget.

 

I arrived on the scene within 5 minutes of the first emergency call along with most of the Security Management and ALL of the Safety and EMT Personnel. It happened at about 9PM if memory serves me, and we worked all night interviewing 'victims' of the incident. NO other people were physically injured, but the emotional trama that night was like my worst experiences in RVN 15 years before.

 

I use the term Unknown Person not as a cover-up after 40 years, but because I never knew who it was that made that terrible error in judgement that caused the man his life. Every report I filed after reviewing them and putting together the final Draft for the Director to finish, referred to him as the unknown person.

 

NOW Hopefully some of you "Ride Ops" people can give us the rest of the story. 1977 OR 1978 ??

Edited by mayor al

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The error was not all the supervisors fault.. the mechanic had turned the key to the off position, BUT DID NOT REMOVE THE KEY as he was supposed to. He left it in the slot, so the unknowing 'other person' turned the key and hit the switch to start the wheel, thinking all was ok.

 

It boiled down to worker-people cutting safety corners while reacting to managements cries for relief from crowd pressure.. with horrible results.

 

I didn't work the walking posts in the Strawberry section of the Park at that time, I was in the office dispatching or on Motor patrol, but I do recall the guys coming in for days after (while all the cables were shut down for investigation) with long faces and not much chatter about 'happenings. at that end of the Park. It took a couple of weeks before things seemed to return to normal.

Edited by mayor al

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am surprised Great Adventure didn't inherit these from AstroWorld,

 

See ebay auction HERE.

 

$_57.JPG

Especially interesting since these cable cars are not the original equipment Von Roll cars that would have been installed at AstroWorld in 1968, which were the same type and style of Von Roll cars that were installed at the World's Fair and, thus, Great Adventure. Is it possible that AstroWorld received some of the Great America parks' cars just as Great Adventure did?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just hope they keep our's around for a long time to come. How many are actually left now in park's?

 

 

 

I just did some digging. Look's like there are about 16 Operating Von Roll type 101's left in various Park's around the World.

Edited by Railer

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm reading through the forums and it doesn't look like a lot of people have good things to say about it! That's fine though, the SkyWay is actually one of my favorites. Last season I worked at Ka, and that was relatively easy for me. I'm not extremely physically fit, but I was one of the more motivated people on the team, especially by the end of the season. But that's not saying much considering everything that changed with the addition of Zumanjaro. Anyway, its really cool to be given this opportunity and I hope it works out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you'll find that time flies working cables because there is constant action with the cars coming in and out. The same was true way back in my day when I worked two parachutes and the timing had me in constant motion. (Back then there weren't any gates, chains, or visual scans, to slow things down so it was possible to time things so that one chute was always in motion.)

 

Good luck! In my opinion the Skyride is one of the park's best attractions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you! Now I'm looking through the spotlight and refreshing my memory on the trivia. Back when I first read it I never thought I'd actually work the ride!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This video was interesting if for no other reason than they pretty much read our text on the ride's history:

 

 

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 4/7/2008 at 9:23 PM, 29yrswithaGApass said:

An interesting Skyride note- during the first few years, the queue line at the Fort was multi-level. Queue bars originally occupied these areas behind the load/unload stations. Several holes from the removed queues can still be seen today.

 

gallery_2_4_106468.jpg

gallery_2_4_103866.jpg

Hey Harry, back on the first page of this forum (10 years ago!) you posted about how the queue at Western was multi-level, and you can see the marks on the ground where the queue bars used to be. I've clocked in a lot of time working at this ride, and I must say (very respectfully) that I'm convinced there's 100% no way that there could have been room to make the turn from the loading stairs to where that empty area is now, especially since the old cars were slightly larger. We also talked about this when I met you guys at your last book signing, and at the time we agreed that queues are just made larger now, but in hindsight it just doesn't seem physically possible. But those marks on the ground are still an enigma. I almost wonder if they were installed but never used by the time the park opened, or if the entrances and exits of the ride were re-configured early on. For instance, the photo a few posts above could have something to do with it - maybe that walkway was used as an exit? The only way I could see that being a possibility is if the current exits were used for the queue, and the stairs were used as the exit. Still, this would be a little awkward because the guests would have to be unloaded in approximately the same spot as the guests loading, and there'd still be little room for them to squeeze by... I'm perplexed. My only other thought is maybe this was a queue intended for re-rides. But either way it does seem like the walls dividing the current unload walkway from the rest of the area could have been added in later (you can see how they're mounted in the photos above, and have a different pattern than the rest of the walls).

Maybe next time I'm there I can snap some more photos to help my case! Does anybody have an ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 I believe when the queue lines were upstairs, the exit to the ride was through the center of the two cable mechanisms down the front steps of the fort, along the lower walkway in the front of the fort,  and out the right front tower. 

 

Below is a picture of gas waiting on the upper level. I believe I have a better picture but I will have to locate it. 

 

gallery_2_579_396123.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That’s interesting. It definitely would have been an awkward setup since the unload/exit would be after the load area, not to mention they’d be walking in the same area the gondolas are launched from. Maybe that’s one of the reasons they ended up changing it. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As the car entered the station you'd catch it and unload the guest, push the car to the center and load new guests to Dream Street and then placed the car in dispatch, waited to clear the first tower and pulled the cord. Easy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, FlumeOp1974 said:

As the car entered the station you'd catch it and unload the guest, push the car to the center and load new guests to Dream Street and then placed the car in dispatch, waited to clear the first tower and pulled the cord. Easy!

FlumeOp1974, I agree that it's simple, and that's how we do it now. But the original queue would have had some issues.

Harry describes that the original exit could have been the now unused stairs in-between the two launchers, and I agree that this is likely. But this layout would have had many issues. For one, any guests unloading would have to cross through the loading zone, which means they'd have to squeeze past the queue bars and the gondolas sitting in the station, and past the launching cars down the stairs to the front of the fort. Not the most practical for sure! The other option is that all of the gondolas were pushed around by the catcher, and they were unloaded and loaded in the same location by the launcher, but it would still be a tight fit for the guests in line to walk between the gondolas and those stairs. And I'm fairly certain those stairs were always there, given they're in the photo Harry just posted above.

I made a diagram below of the current layout and our guess to the previous layout. And in the other photos, take a look at how close the cars get to the wall, keeping in mind the older cars were even larger. I'm not saying it's not possible, but it would not have been the most practical setup.

426258046_Cables_Diagram_Present_Day_072018(180x135).jpg.c822e7b0b481d899d80bb7d05f9f9234.jpg1783802401_Cables_Diagram_1974_072018(180x135).jpg.db3859e092173f028dc5b91ac9f4d622.jpg20076882%20copy.jpgIMG_0073%20copy.jpg

Edited by ThemeParkRider

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, it does sound that the limited space upstairs in the fort would cause traffic flow problems and could be why that setup didn’t last that long.  You can also see in the photo with the people waiting upstairs that there aren’t any queue bars downstairs outside the steps.  

 

That being said, I have never seen a photo of the people coming down the front steps of the fort or anyone along that walkway which gives me doubts as to how this was actually configured.  

 

Also, the photo below is from 1974 which means at least one side exited out the current exit tower.  You can see the EXIT sign.  

 

StatBook_SL0156_OCT74%20copy.jpg

 

I need to do more research.  

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah good points. It definitely seems like many aspects of the Fort were changing right up to and after opening day. In that photo above the bottom half of the fort to the left of the sign seems like it may have been intended to be used for something as well. Obviously that's closed up now. Anyway, I just found it all very interesting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the lake side youd catch the car open the door and there was a openiing right in front before the turnaound. Guest would exit thru and down the steps. Then push the car to the middle were it would be loaded and door locked the pushed to the release. No one crossed in front of loading. we didnt have the lower que area. Guest walked up the steps and used the switch backs in the fort. There was to be a antique car display ib the center court of the fort. It was mirrored on the dream streetside. 

Lakeside youd make a right and exit down the tower. And Dream Street youd make aleft and exit down the tower. And this emptied out into Rootin Tootin under the Mine Train Brake run. Right in front of the Log Flume lift hill area.

Edited by FlumeOp1974

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×