Wednesday, pre-CNE

looking at bumblebee bop

The show opens Friday morning. The threatening rain yesterday did not catch us, and today was windy but dry. There were still many rides on the midway that had not been completely put together and fenced in, giving us a good chance to look at the machinery from all angles. We also had a chance to watch inspections of some rides, including the Ring of Fire and the Crazy Mouse spinning coaster.

These were great opportunities for the group to think about how to mimic the mechanisms of the rides for scale model club projects, and challenge themselves to spot key features like brakes, proximity switches, drive wheels, cables, and chains on a variety of rides.

Looking at Spinning Coaster

Some major rides came in and remained trailered, giving ample opportunity to admire the ingenuity that facilitates packing rides up and making the long drive from, say, Saskatoon to Toronto.  Some rides arrive trailered and are removed from racks and set up on the lot. Roller coasters are an obvious example of this type, but some revolving rides also get fully unpacked, laid out, levelled, and assembled. On other rides, one or more trailers become the platform for the ride. The trailer is parked precisely – especially when multiple trailers are joined for one platform – and the wheels are “floated” so the weight of the ride is supported on the ground. Then the structure can be raised and the various parts attached to assemble the ride.

Toward the end of the day was the long-awaited arrival of the Zipper, one of the rides we’ve been trying to replicate as a fully controllable scale model for lab experimentation.

Zipper trailered

See you tomorrow, Zipper!

Author: Kathryn Woodcock

Dr. Kathryn Woodcock is Professor at Toronto Metropolitan University, teaching, researching, and consulting in the area of human factors engineering / ergonomics particularly applied to amusement rides and attractions (, and to broader occupational and public safety issues of performance, error, investigation and inspection, and to disability and accessibility.