Contractor uses 3D model to replace huge rollercoaster's tracks
Bolton-based Taziker Industrial has installed four new sections of steel track on Blackpool’s Big One rollercoaster.
The refurbishment work by Taziker, which has branched out from its roots as an industrial painting contractor to take on steelwork, involved removing work sections of track in November last year, before the new sections were installed earlier this month.
The main challenge was for Taziker to manufacture the tracks at its fabrication facility in Manchester from historical drawings created by American engineering firm Arrow Dynamics, dating back to 1994.
Taziker’s survey team produced a point cloud survey using Trimble SX10 to provide accurate three-dimensional data that was imported directly into Tekla Structures. Taziker’s engineering services team then virtually modelled all key components and placed them into the correct locations in a 3D model space. The model was completed by the end of September.
In November, Blackpool Pleasure Beach closed, and the track sections to be replaced were removed from the Big One – which at 71m high was once the tallest rollercoaster in the world and is still the tallest in the UK.
A temporary working support frame was assembled at Taziker’s Manchester facility that was 45 metres in length to ensure geometrical accuracy and to ensure all track lengths would fit. Once this was constructed, the old track sections were placed into the jig to check that the geometry from the Point Cloud and tactile survey and that the 3D modelling was accurate.
During construction of the new new rollercoaster tracks, Taziker also helped design new integrated walkways and stairs that form part of the tracks to allow the Pleasure Beach team to inspect the ride once in operation.
Once constructed but prior to removal from the jig, Taziker tested one of the passenger cars on the track to ensure that the braking system did not clash with the new rail substructure and walkways.
The new rollercoaster tracks were completed ahead of time and transferred to be painted in the red colour of the Big One. The track sections were then successfully lifted into place on 3 February and tested by Blackpool Pleasure Beach during the following week.