Constructing rides at Canada’s Wonderland is enough to make anyone’s head spin.
Two new rides have been erected, are being tested and will soon be commissioned at the Vaughan, Ont. amusement park — the Tundra Twister and Snoopy’s Racing Railway.
“We started planning that ride (the Tundra Twister) in the spring of 2021 and site work started in January of 2023 with earthworks and subgrade work such as power connections and foundations,” said Peter Switzer, director of maintenance and construction at Canada’s Wonderland. “The ride arrived in third week of March, the last container arrived at the end of March. The ride is standing. We’re finishing some electrical connections.
“We’ve still got site work to finish, fencing, paving, planting. Signage, that sort of thing, and we’ve still got commissioning and testing to do on the ride as well as do some durability testing.”
Cedar Fair Entertainment Company recently announced the Tundra Twister, a 360-degree spinning swing ride that will reach heights of 47 metres and speeds of 75 kilometres per hour and Snoopy’s Racing Railway, a family launch coaster that accelerates from zero to 50 kilometres per hour in seconds, are expected to be open in May.
“We’re working towards our public opening on May 5,” Switzer said. “We’ve still got lots of work to do before then but that’s our plan.”
All the fabrication for the Tundra Twister was done in the Netherlands.
“It is a one-of-a-kind ride in the world,” Switzer noted. “It’s a ride that rotates on three different axis’ sending guests 47 metres in the air, 40 passengers at a time. It was designed by Mondial Rides from the Netherlands.”
It’s primarily made out of steel on concrete foundations. With parts coming from different parts of the world, there were some issues.
“We had the same issues that everybody else is having, with longer lead times and having to pivot and find alternatives when other parts were not available,” Switzer stated.
“The original gear boxes were to be from one manufacturer and their lead time was too long so we had to pivot and go to another manufacturer for gear boxes.”
In terms of assembly, the team had a very detailed erection plan from the supplier using a variety of cranes.
“We had a 150 tonne crane here and then we had a 350 tonne crane as well at a different part of the installation with some very unique rigging,” Switzer said, adding with both rides ThomKess Crane Rental was used.
The ride is located next to the Yukon Striker in the park and special methods were used due to space constraints.
“Because the ride is so large and the site is very small, the installation plan was not typical so we had to be creative with the installation to get everything stood up and connected,” Switzer said.
“We had to close one of our service roads in the park so that we could provide access or limit access to the site. We needed to rotate the ride at different parts of the erection. We had to rotate the main arm on the horizontal access and bring it down so that we could complete the installation.”
The materials were stored in the guest parking lot and a temporary lay down area was created.
“The materials were put into shipping containers in the Netherlands and then shipped to Montreal and then they came from Montreal by truck,” explained Switzer. “We unloaded the containers here in our parking lot and then we were able to organize the parts, get access to them and then transport them into the site. Some pre-assembly was done in our parking lot as well.”
Contractors included Hart-Well Electrical, which did all the utility work as well as the ride electrical installation portion, and Vanguard Mechanical Inc. erected the ride. Expo Steel provided the staircases and Pro Caissons did the caissons.
Planning for Snoopy’s Racing Railway also began in Spring 2021. The ride was designed by ART Engineering and manufactured in Germany. It’s the park’s 18th roller-coaster and will be situated in the Planet Snoopy sector of the park.
“Construction began in the late fall of 2022 with foundations and the underground utility work,” said Switzer. “We started receiving materials in January of 2023 so track and columns.
“We moved into the installation of track and columns and right now we’re finishing up building work as well as the remaining site work, the hardscapes, the paving, fencing, landscape, signage and the rest of the building work.”
The ride is made primarily out of steel with steel columns and steel track. There are steel parts on the train with some fiberglass parts as well, Switzer noted.
Cranes and telehandlers were used during installation.
“First the columns were installed, connecting them to the anchor bolts and then the track was installed on top of the columns completing a complete circuit,” he said.
Other members of the project team include Hart-Well Electrical, Process Group, Pro Caissons and Brecon Construction.
Timberkits provided the timber-frame structure for the station building on the Snoopy ride as well as the timber-frame structure for the loading and unloading platforms on Tundra Twister.
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