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7am - Check of the cars and the vertical lifts Overview


Additional weights are mounted on the seats
Car at the vertical lift 1
Car at the vertical lift 2
Car at a block brake

8:00 Now the operators have arrived while the workers in the maintenance area are still quite busy. The cars are sent onto the track, some are empty, some are provided with four weights of 75 kilograms each. This maximum additional load of 300 kilograms accords to the average weight of four passengers. The travelling trolley at the ceiling runs at maximum power and hoists the weights that are then fastened onto the seats by Karl Heinz Gehring. The completed car is reported to the control room by voice radio, then the friction wheels quickly push it onto the vertical lift and the journey begins.

It is now time for the daily system check that especially tests the functionality of the brakes and the special effects. It is done fully automatedly by the system, following a defined cycle that can hardly be manipulated by the operator. A multitude of tests is performed that cover the whole spectrum from a very lightweight to the heaviest car. So for example the system gives no clearance if the heaviest car slips too far in the brakes because of the higher inertia. This automatism is a novel step by the manufacturer Maurer Söhne to ensure maximum safety. After a couple of minutes the test program is finished and the superfluous cars are taken off of the track. On such calm days as today half the capacity of the two coasters is enough to work off the amount of visitors.


8:15 In less than an hour the coasters will open, so the station is being cleaned and the cars polished. It is now time to have a closer look at the holding tracks. The Winjas operate for more than a year now, and the wheels with their hard-wearing plastic coating are especially stressed. "The sidefriction wheels in the front are most notably worn out, because they hold the lead and turn in into the bends", Werner Kuhl tells us. "We had to change about 160 wheels since the debut of the Winjas." A number which seems to be pretty high. But if one regards that each car has 24 wheels (a total of eight running, side- and underfriction wheels, respectively), this amount is not too much for a fleet of 15 vehicles. Using special tools the gap between the outwearing wheels of each axis and the tubular track is exactly adjusted. "There has to be a certain clearance, but not too much, especially not at the sidefriction wheels", Werner Kuhl tells. "The axes start to bang from side to side if the clearance gets too large. This uses energy and cars get slower."

Overview of the tilting mechanism

8:30 There is still a final check to perform in the machine room of the two vertical lifts. This room can be reached via the flat roof of the Wuze Town building. We follow Simone Fassbender through the staircases. She wants to check the safety brakes of the propulsion pulleys that drive the steel cables. Up there it's even possible to have a look into the shaft from an evacuation catwalk between the two elevators. It is pretty spectacular to see the cage with the car coming closer within only a few seconds.

Sabine Fassbender controls the brakes of the vertical lift

From this point of view the mechanism that tilts the track during the ascend can be clearly seen: An additional guide rail runs along the wall. During the difference of level of 17 meters the distance between this rail and the vertical guide for the cage increases by around two meters. Wheels connected to the guide rail transform this relative motion into the tilt of the lift track. At the end this tilt attains 30 degrees, which is exactly the steepness of the first drop at this point.


8:50 Simone Fassbender suddenly gets a message on her walkie-talkie. The PLC in the control room reports a problem with the orange coaster during the final test runs. Quickly a pocket lamp is at hand, but there is no anomaly to be seen at the propulsion system. An electrician is sent for, and the huge electrical cabinet on the wall is opened as a matter of precaution.

Left: Inside view of the vertical lift - Right: Car at the cage

9:00 Waiting - taking a breath and enjoying the morning sun. A brief look towards the fairy-tale lake shows the first visitors, determinedly walking through Fantasy Gardens and heading for Wuze Town. But the main entrance is still closed yet.

Five minutes later the elctrician is on the spot and he quickly locates the problem. A sensor isn't adjusted correctly and constantly causes a safety shutdown. It won't be long until the orange coaster can commence its nine-hours marathon operation. For a last couple of minutes sunlight shines through the door into the machine room, slightly illuminating the shafts of the express lifts.

But very soon the first cars with passengers will be carried upwards. A voice sounds, followed by another sound effect that drowns the ventilation of the brakes: "Enter the world of Winja's Fear". Then the car whizzes down the first drop and the about 100 seconds long, thrilling coaster ride has begun. The passengers don't know what efforts have been made during the last four hours to guarantee a pleasure that is thrilling as well as totally safe. They simply trust in the park and the technicians - and do so very rightly.

7am - Check of the cars and the vertical lifts Overview
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