Hershey, PA -
© Danny Miller, COASTER-net.com
Late Monday evening, it was noticed by many that Hersheypark had removed Skyrush from its list of rides available during their “Hersheypark in the Dark” event. Originally intended to run under the temporary name “Scarerush,” the ride has now apparently been closed for the remainder of the 2012 season.
For a while, many thought that this was a planned shut down to begin off-season work on a possible station reconfiguration or restraint change. Today a source close to Hersheypark has confirmed that the reason for the shutdown was not planned, and is instead a maintenance issue that was discovered shortly before the shut down.
It has been discovered that nearly all of the axles that the wheels of the train are attached to have failed in some way, requiring major off-season work to the ride to repair and correct the issue. The park immediately opted to close the ride for the remainder of the season in the best interest of guest and employee safety.
The trains on Skyrush are of a new breed, using “winged” outer seats that the ride’s builder, Intamin, has only experimented with once in a different form. On that ride, Furius Baco at PortAventura Park in Spain, a restraint recently snapped in half during a ride cycle. The restraints on this ride are similar to many restraints found on Intamin rides in ths U.S.
In recent history, Intamin has also experienced issues with several other rides, for example, Volcano: The Blast Coaster and Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion have both had issues. Volcano’s launching motors were initially only powerful enough to launch 8 people instead of 16, requiring some redesigning to ensure a full launch with no rollback. For I305, initially, wheels on the train required daily replacement due to overheating, and trim brakes were added to the first drop to reduce “gray-outs” experienced by guests. The track was re-profiled during the off-season. I305 has also had its restraints changed from hard shoulder harnesses to flexible vest-like harnesses due to complaints of head banging.
Intamin has also been known for multiple issues with its larger hydraulic launched coasters like Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka, both of which suffer from frequent downtime due to issues with the launching system, and occassionally frayed launch cables. Another Intamin ride at Cedar Point, Maverick, needed a last-minute track change to removed a barrel roll that was found to put too much force on riders, delaying the ride’s debut a few weeks.
Skyrush has spent most of its first season surrounded by controversy. Many people love the ride, but many found the restraint system extremely painful or uncomfortable. Intamin has already improved the restraints by adding softer padding to the restraints, but many are still asking for improvements.