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Intamin’s Prefab Woodies

June 18, 2012

Since the beginning of roller coasters, woodies have been built on site. The pieces of track and support are cut and attached together at the building site. Recently Intamin has created a completely new type of wooden coaster, one with prefabricated track. This means that the wood is shipped to a factory and cut with lasers. This allows for more precise cuts. Next the parts are shipped to the park. The wood is cut so the pieces will snap together like Lego bricks. This allows for a speedier construction time, it costs less to build, and it allows for an incredibly smooth ride.

All these benefits make me wonder. Why are there only four of them in the world? It might be because it is too expensive, but each of the rides has received rave reviews. If I owned a theme park, I think I would want an excellent coaster that would take up attendance ratings.

Another theory as to why there are so few is that wooden coaster fans don’t like them because they don’t feel like woodies. I’m a steel coaster fan so I absolutely love it when a wooden ride is smooth.

Colossos at Heide-Park Soltau

The first prefab woodie was Colossos. It opened in 2001 and, at 197 feet, is the tallest operating wooden coaster. The first drop is 159 feet and is 61 degrees. The layout is an L-shaped out and back with a helix on the coming back part of the L. There are a total of 7 airtime hills. Here is a POV:

http://themeparkreview.com/coastertube/flowplayer-3.0.2.swf

Balder at Liseberg

Balder opened in 2003 and is the second prefab. The ride is the smallest prefab, yet it is considered, by some, to be the best. It is 118 feet tall and has a 70 degree twisting drop. The layout is more of a twister than Colossos, there are lots of turns. There are 9 airtime moments during the ride. Balder has one the international coaster poll twice. Here is a POV:

http://www.themeparkreview.com/coastertube/play.php?vid=balder

El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure

El Toro is the third prefab and the only one in the USA. At 70 mph it is the fastest woodie in the world. It is also considered to be the best wooden coaster by some. It is 188 feet tall with a 76 degree drop. This drop was the steepest in the world when it was built and was beaten by the next prefab. It was the first wooden coaster ever to have an elevator cable lift hill. The layout is out and back with a twisting figure eight and a half at the end. There are 9 moments of airtime on El Toro. It has won the international coaster poll twice. Here is a POV:

T-Express at Everland

T-Express is the most recent addition to the Prefab Woodies. Built in 2008 it still has the steepest drop of any wooden coaster on the planet at 77 degrees. It is also the longest prefab at 5,383 feet. It is 183 feet tall and 65 mph. The layout is twister with a few large airtime hills. I’m not sure how many airtime moments it has but there seem to be a lot. T-Express was named after T-World, Korea’s largest cell phone company. It has won the international coaster poll twice. Here is a POV:

I’ve only been on one of these coasters, El Toro, however it was such an insane ride that it is now my favorite wooden coaster and second favorite coaster overall.

What do you think? Which prefab looks like the best? Please comment. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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7 Comments
  1. Matt P permalink

    Yeah there should definitely be more pre-fabs out there. They are smooth, which is great for wood. But the only question I have then is, if Intamin and the park go through all this work to make a wood coaster smooth and thrilling, why not just build a steel coaster? I guess because these types of woodies easily outrank other woodies and are so much better. El Toro is amazing, Colossos looks good and is very tall, Balder looks good and twisty but clearly inferior to the others, T-Express looks awesome, but I don’t know if it is better than el toro.

    • Balder may not have the height or speed of the others, but Rob Alvey says that it is actually his favorite woodie, beating out El Toro. I guess bigger isn’t always better (think of Maverick). Thanks for reading! 🙂

      • Matt P permalink

        True. By the way, I am going on my vacation to six flags over georgia tomorrow. Can’t wait to ride Goliath, it will be my 100th roller coaster!

  2. T Express rules!!

  3. hey iam a huge wooden coaster fan, and this is 2012 i think its time we give ooden coasters awsome inversions like double looping, cobra roll, 105 degree first drop, but only by intamin cuz there wooend coasters rock lol

  4. Joe permalink

    I would love to see more prefabs. In the US especially I’ve rode el toro , colossus, and balder all amazing rides . I’m an old school wooden coaster fan . I would say intamin prefabs #1RMC toppers#2 gravity group coasters #3

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