Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

The Save Dreamland Campaign was launched by Joyland Books in January 2003 and is now supported by several thousand people. This is the place to discuss all aspects of saving Margate's famous amusement park and its iconic , Grade II listed Scenic Railway, Britain's oldest roller coaster.

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Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby SuburbanHomeboy » 26 Jul 2015, 10:40

Made a quick video on Twitter as the test train was taken around the Scenic Railway on my recent visit. I tried to catch a full circuit on video later, but the runs were intermittent and I kept missing them.

My key thoughts having seen these test runs:

    This is a very light version of the train, without the proper seats and a full load (or even sandbags) yet it had no problems getting round the track. No signs of valleying at all - which is brilliant news! The brake was still needed after reaching the next peak.

    The sounds indicate that it is a very smooth ride. No harsh clatter - just a nice, uniform rumbling sound. Nice break in the rumbling as the train goes over the double-dip, which suggests that the profile of the track has not been compromised.

    The families around me were all commenting "can't wait until we can ride it!"

It would be nice if people could add their own videos/pictures re. the Scenic testing to this thread. Here's the link - not sure if you can embed video on this forum:

Scenic Railway testing

Edited - pictures added:

IMG_0657.jpg
The test train is just two makeshift plywood seats on the standard metal frame. The other two carriages don't even have the metal frames.
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The test train on the second lift hill with the rope drive stationary. This leads to the drop where they were adjusting the sensors.
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The train is held in the station by this vertical metal bar. I never noticed this when I rode the ride before the park closed - was this in use back then?
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby Chris H » 26 Jul 2015, 13:14

Looking at various pictures uploaded to forums, magnetic strips have been added to the braking sections of the track.
I'm guessing these are perminant, hopefully just to be used as a back up to the brakeman. These look quite unsitely but I guess the question remains, what's the back up plan if the brake man was to have a heart attack halfway round the circuit with a train load of passengers.
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby SuburbanHomeboy » 26 Jul 2015, 15:48

The Health & Safety Executive specifically required that alternative provision for maintaining a safe speed was to be included should a brake operator not apply the brakes correctly "through incapacity OR on purpose".
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby mattfred7 » 27 Jul 2015, 18:21

I know it is only a 'dummy' train, but made my day to see the video - thank you, Just a sort while and we can ride it again, I can not wait.

We were there as it closed with my son (to small to ride at the time) now he is taller than me!
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby Vince, Charlie and Sam » 01 Aug 2015, 22:08

Is there any projected date for the Scenic Railway to re-open? Sorry, but I have to say that as things stand, Dreamland is simply a very expensive travelling funfair.
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby Xtremecoasters » 02 Aug 2015, 06:40

I managed to see it testing while visiting as well SuburbanHomeboy. It was testing on Friday afternoon (17 July). Did not manage to get any footage though, as my camera was back in the house :evil: . Would you mind if I shared the video on the Xtremecoasters Facebook page? Would be credited to you of course :wink:
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby SuburbanHomeboy » 02 Aug 2015, 07:26

Xtremecoasters wrote:Would you mind if I shared the video on the Xtremecoasters Facebook page? Would be credited to you of course :wink:


Spread the word!
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby SuburbanHomeboy » 02 Aug 2015, 07:39

Vince, Charlie and Sam wrote:Is there any projected date for the Scenic Railway to re-open? Sorry, but I have to say that as things stand, Dreamland is simply a very expensive travelling funfair.


It is now August - only four weeks until the schools go back. I'm saving my next visit for when the Scenic opens, but I'm not expecting that to be for a while yet. I was hoping to have a nice, full summer's day riding the Scenic and the other classic rides, but the company making the Dragon Heads for the trains is still working on them. They look great, and the trains will (literally) look as good as new, but that isn't much good for the park at the moment.

The newly-restored Twist still isn't working; the photos from last night's Grease evening (1 Aug) show the ride area being used to house the portable floodlights, so clearly no members of the public being allowed inside. That's two weeks now - a perfectly-working, modern Sizzler Twist was removed for this new ride to be added to the park - one of the permanent vintage rides - but the park still has the large expanse within the main ride area occupied by just one, non-working ride. Ironically, it is next to the "Kiss Me Quick" Caterpillar ride, which is a huge structure, and not particularly nice to look at, but has never worked while at Dreamland - "will it ever?" is the question! The "proper" Caterpillar ride is still being restored, and is looking fantastic, but it won't be in the park for a good while.

On both my visits, the Crazy Mouse broke down - they got it going (finally) on opening day, but the second time I went, they tried to get it going, but couldn't. I read on Twitter that it broke down again near the end of the day yesterday, leaving riders stranded for the last half-hour of the Grease event.

Yes - loads of stuff is going, but in this first season, the park needs to impress people.
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby vann98 » 05 Aug 2015, 08:39

I have yet to visit the park though am very excited about it all.
Such an annoyance about the Caterpillar and Twist not working. I wonder what is holding them back?

Personally what is frustrating me is their lack of communication to guests. Since the park opened, I have sent them four very different, generic questions via email and so far they have done a fab job at ignoring every one. I then tried posting on Facebook instead and surprise, surprise they didn't answer. From my past experience with them, they should take a leaf out of Merlin's books who have at least acknowledged and attempted to answer my queries in the past.

Again, can't wait to actually see the park. It is just the communication between park and guests that is really starting to grate on me.
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby AJ » 06 Aug 2015, 14:24

I'm in the same boat as you. Waiting for our first visit and have asked a number of questions by facebook, twitter & email and haven't had a reply to any of them. Only way I got a response was when our very own Dave stepped in.
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby Vince, Charlie and Sam » 06 Aug 2015, 18:38

AJ wrote:I'm in the same boat as you. Waiting for our first visit and have asked a number of questions by facebook, twitter & email and haven't had a reply to any of them. Only way I got a response was when our very own Dave stepped in.


The management company really do seem to have a problem with customer communication, I'm trying to give constructive criticism here rather than being negative but this is an area which they urgently need to look at, and improve. It is simply not acceptable for a company to ignore an emailed query, when that customer is hoping to be able to spend his money with that company, and it really does not bode well for the future of Dreamland.
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby dave771 » 07 Aug 2015, 22:33

Not going to keep going over the same thing every time. The contract for rebuild, trains and testing is nothing to do with Dreamland or its operators. It is in the hands of Thanet District Council so please do go ahead and email/call them and ask them what is going on and when it is going to open.
Please dont waffle our Walter !
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby Vince, Charlie and Sam » 09 Aug 2015, 18:08

In fairness Dave, both Vann98 and AJ said that they had sent various questions, not just about the Scenic Railway but presumably relating to an intended visit to Dreamland, and they had all been ignored. If I sent Sarah a message through her website asking if the Shell Grotto was open next, say, Thursday, I would bet the farm I would receive a reply, detailing opening hours etc before the end of the next working day.

Presumably the Dreamland management company are liaising with Thanet District Council about the Scenic Railway, so there really ought not be the need for anybody to email TDC as the management company must know an intended or projected date for this and could simply make this known. Many people hoping to visit Dreamland will not be locals, but will need to book time off of work, book train tickets, hotels etc and none of them can reasonably be expected to do this if the Scenic Railway is the main or indeed only reason for their visit. I myself have not yet re-visited Dreamland and will not do so until the Scenic Railway opens, not through spite but because everything there at the moment is simply a generic funfair ride with no historical connection to Dreamland and so no interest to me.

There is no better tool for any business than good customer communications, and any business ignores that at its peril.
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby aweber1us » 10 Aug 2015, 11:42

At the end of the day you can only speak as you find , All my e/mails have been returned and even a phone call on a ticket problem. The Directors are very happy to speak to on site and i have even been in contact with one via e/mail. I think at the end of the day people needed to go and look at the site five days before it opened to understand the scale of what the staff of sands and the contractors pulled off. This is still on going as the site has changed on my three visits. Vince if you havnt been you are missing out on something quite magical as those rides have never been operated with so much energy in their life. Yes the Scenic is still down but at a guess people are going to moan about that once it is up an running. My veiw is it will never be the same and is only a copy of what was there which is now caught up in 2015 regulations.You could only ever do so much with what was left, it is a first class job.
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Re: Scenic Railway being tested 23/7/2015

Postby EAS » 10 Aug 2015, 11:55

All my queries on FB and by email have been answered.

I'm sure in the early days the staff were overwhelmed, and if the non answers were not recent, it could have been teething problems.

My initial problem with ticketing was sorted out as soon as poss, and a further prob nearer to opening day where I couldn't log on to the site (probably my fault) to print out my tickets was efficiently dealt with, by email, by Ian Garner, Dreamland Systems Administrator.

I was in Margate the days before opening. Though not on site, I did see the work being done to transform the shabby exterior and the surroundings. Gallons of white & pink paint deployed.

I also saw the work being done on site while we were waiting in line / listening to the opening ceremony.

Heroic.

Yes the Scenic is still down but at a guess people are going to moan about that once it is up an running. My veiw is it will never be the same and is only a copy of what was there which is now caught up in 2015 regulations.You could only ever do so much with what was left, it is a first class job.


Yes it is a first class job, and yes, I'm waiting for the moaning! But hey it's there and it's nearly ready!

We really can't wait to return to Dreamland! We had a WONDERFUL time at the opening day & evening. I suppose we went in the frame of mind to actually enjoy it, and we did.

Vince if you havnt been you are missing out on something quite magical as those rides have never been operated with so much energy in their life


Yes!

The staff I can't praise highly enough. I have some mobility probs and I'm a tad er... chubby, we all had a laugh hauling me on and off rides, lovely young folk who didn't make me feel the old fogey I am (though inside I'm still 16, honest...) but behaved with great sympathy and made the day such a joy.

Dave, please pass on my thanks. And I can't wait to meet you again actually ON the Scenic xxx
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