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Updated 12.05.01

Tilanne 16.12.00
Tilanne 19.01.01
Tilanne 02.03.01
Tilanne 23.03.01
Tilanne 04.04.01
Tilanne 11.04.01
Tilanne 19.04.01
Tilanne 05.05.01
Tilanne 12.05.01

Click here to see how to build up a mobile roller coaster.
Click here to see the operating princible of mobile roller coasters.
Click here for the Sarkanniemi's Metro construction pages
Click here to see some great photos of Silver Dollar City's BuzzSaw Falls on Thrill Ride
Click here for the Premier Rides home page

update 16.12.00

2001 will be an outstanding coastering year in Finland. Sarkanniemi amusement park in Tampere is constructing an Intamin inverter, Metro. Linnanmaki amusement park opened a new indoor roller coaster, Space Express, just last summer. So, I thought that it will take many years until we see a new coaster in Linnanmaki. How wrong I was!

A new water coaster will debut in Linnanmaki in 2001. It will be the second liquid coaster by Premier Riders. The first one, the BuzzSaw Falls, debuted in Silver Dollar City, Branson, USA in 1999. The liquid coaster is a combination of a roller coaster and a flume ride. Linnanmaki's water coaster will contain a roller coaster section and the falls, but not a rapids section since there are no room for that.

The ride will be located in the Fairytale Valley which is the kiddie land of Linnanmaki park (not for long, I suppose). The construction has already begun. Some rides have been dismantled and they will be located elsewhere in the park. The majority of the earthworks has also been done. The station and the other buildings are under construction at the moment. However, the erection of the frame and the track itself will not start until the end of february.

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Something strange is happening in the Fairytale Valley...

The Hocus-pocus train was located in the furthest corner of the Valley. This is how it used to be just a couple of months ago.

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The same view from the opposite direction

Hocus-pocus has already been dismantled. It will be relocated within the park, probably around the funhouse.

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The station is already under construction.

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The site of the station last summer

The station will be built on the location of the children's play area, on the lowest terrace of the Fairytale Valley.

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The building in the background houses the splash-down after the falls.

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The hilly terrain of the park

Linnanmaki amusement park is located on top of the hill which is an advantage if you consider building a ride like this.

Update 19.01.01

The work has made a good progress during the winter despite the christmas break. The concrete casting for the station, water pool and machine room are almost finished. The pool had to be slightly modified because there were not enough room for the pumps. Without this setback the construction team might be even ahead of the schedule.

Most of the track foundations are also ready. First metal supports will be installed at the beginning of february. The fog tunnel is also under way, on top of the hill, next to Vekkula funhouse. The train goes through it in total darkness.

The final layout of the track can be detected by following the foundations. The station will be located in the extreme corner of the Fairytale Valley. The train starts its circuit facing City Express, but turns immediately 120 degrees left. The lift hill is parallel with the road outside the park, leading near the back wall of the Peacock theatre. Then it turns left and goes through the fog tunnel behind the funhouse. The track turns 180 degrees back behind the ghost train building, going once again towards the Peacock building. After that is the highest drop straight to the pool, and S-shaped bend followed by the brake run and finally return to station.

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A view from the funhouse

The whole Fairytale Valley is a one construction site.

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A view from the kiddie dodgem track

The station, pool and the lift hill's machine room are illustrated on the picture. The front of the train is facing left.

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Machine room

The machinery for the lift hill requires plenty of room. The train goes above this cavity when the track is finished. Note the crack on the back wall for the chain.

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A view from the Peacock theatre

On the foregroung there are some foundations, on which the steel frame is erected.

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Fog tunnel

This picture shows the location of the track. The Peacock theatre is in the background and in upper left corner of the picture there is the funhouse.

Update 02.03.01

The most spectacular phase of the construction has begun in February. The lift hill is practically finished, and it is much taller than once expected. The track sections have also been installed from station to top of the lift hill. One could estimate that the rest of the supports will be erected soon since most of the parts are already on location.

The concrete pouring continues at the station and at the water pool. However, the fog tunnel is finished, waiting for the track. It looks like that the first drop plunges straight through the tunnel.

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Lift hill

The lift hill is ready. The next section to be constructed is the section that goes through the fog tunnel.

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A view from the station

A steep climb from the station looks very promising.

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The track sections leading to lift hill have already been installed. The last bend is under construction in the background. It looks like to be heavily banked.

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Fog tunnel

The fog tunnel is ready and is awaiting for the tracks. Note the supports in the backgroung. The track will be installed on these supports.

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Assembling the ride

You better not have vertigo when working with the roller coasters.

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The lift hill photographed outside the perimeter fence.

This picture indicates how high the track actually goes at the beginning.

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Sections of the track in the parking lot

It seems that a bomb has dropped on Linnanmaki's parking lot. There is a large mountain of earth and rocks. Parts of the ride can be found everywhere. It is hard to believe that the new season starts in less than two months.

Update 23.03.01

The rest of the track have been completely erected during the last three weeks. However, the trains have not arrived yet and work continues on other parts of the ride. The construction of the station has just begun. The water flume is casted, but the huge pipelines are not installed yet. The walls of the flume will be boarded by logs.

It is an enormous job to constuct a ride like this. More than 1500 cubic meters of concrete has been poured. About 30...40 persons have participated in the construction so far. The Frame and the track have been erected by the park employees and the supplier of the steel supports. The supports are made in Finland, but the track sections have been imported from the USA. Premier Rides has sent one of their engineers to supervise the construction from the beginning.

The first test rides are scheduled on 4th of April, with empty trains. After the initial testings, all the nuts and bolts are investigated. One train carries 10 passengers. The length of the track is 320 meters (1050ft), height of the lift hill is 24.5m (80ft), and the height of the last drop is 12.5m (41ft).

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This is where you start your circuit. The first blue prints indicate that the station building will be very good looking.

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Lift hill

The first drop turns left (in the background). The track returns from the left (in the foregroung) and leads into the last drop, which turns left and splashes into the water.

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The first and the last drops

This picture shows both the first (higher, turning left) and the last drop (lower, turning left). The layout is really twisted. There are hardly any flat sections.

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The First drop looking back from the fog tunnel

The first drop dives to the left into the fog tunnel.

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Fog tunnel

This is the view that is waiting for you when the train is plunging through the fog tunnel. The roof is still under construction, so there are light in the tunnel.

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Exit from the tunnel

The track turns 180 degrees left after the tunnel.

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Turnaround after the tunnel

The turnaround is one of the highlights of the ride. The track turns vertically and horizontally.

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Banked bend

The turnaround curve is heavily banked. So are the other sections of the track as well. This ensures fast and smooth rides.

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The bend leading to the finale

After this turn comes the plunge into the water.

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The last drop

Not even the last drop is straight.

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This picture illustrates the flume section into the station. The trains are not free floating in any poins.

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The same from the opposite angle

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S-bend into the station

The twisted flume leads back to the station which can be seen in the background.

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Note the huge pipes that circulate the water in the flume. There are pipes both side of the flume. The concrete walls will be entirely covered by logs.

Update 04.04.01

There are less than four weeks for the season's opening. This is very hard to believe if you visit in Vonkaputous's constrution site. There is an enourmous number of tasks yet to be made even though the ride is now fully erected. It takes much more than just to push the trains on the circuit to operate the ride. The chain and the motor of the lift hill need to be installed. The brakes and the control equipment need attention too. The station requires tyre drives to move the trains on and off the station. The whole ride have to be electrified and light up. These are just a few tasks related to the trains and the trains are only a tip of the iceberg if you look at the whole ride.

The tests have not yet begun in Linnanmaki. The trains have already arrived to the park, but the ride cannot be used until the flume can be filled with water. The water is an essential part of the braking system, so no water - no rides. Premier Rides estimate that the testing will begin in the coming week (week 15). The testing takes three weeks so let's hope that all goes fine so the ride can be opened in time.

So, there is a hectic work going on all over the ride and there is a large staff of employees involved. The station is well under way and you can already see the shape and the size of the building. The water flume is ready but the piping and the water circulating system is yet to be finished. The control electronics are also under installation at the moment by a German supplier.

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Entrance to the ride

Would you believe that there are only 24 days for the opening? You can be sure that this area looks totally different on the 28'th of April.

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You can already see the look of the station. The tower in the foreground houses controls of the ride.

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Inside the station

The platform for the passengers will be constructed on the metal supports on the left. In the middle there is an out going and coming sections of the track. The track on the left is a storage area for the trains. The midsection of the storage track moves between the storage and the main track, making it complete. Note the tyre drive that moves the train in the station.

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Water flume

The water will cover all the concrete surfaces in this picture when the ride is finished. Note the S-curve before the station.

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Splash down

This is the best part of the whole ride. There are brakes and tyre drive units in the bottom of the flume.

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Tyre drive

This kind of machinery moves trains in the station or even in the middle of the rapids section. There is a transmission between the tyres. The electric motor is located at the end of the shaft.

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Bolts under painting

All the nuts and bolts are painted after the installation. It prevents the parts from corrosion in the wet conditions and locks them in place. This is yet another example of many different tasks required for the ride of this caliber.

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Only single car trains are used in this ride. Three cars can be operated at the same time. One is on the circuit, one is loaded at the station and one is returning to station in the flume.

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Wheel arrangement

This picture illustrates the wheel arrangement of the modern roller coasters. The smallest wheel runs under the tubular steel track. It prevents the train from jumping off the track. Two wheels in the middle are side friction wheels. They run on the side of the track. They guide the train along the track and prevent it from falling off the track sideways. The biggest wheel runs above the track. It carries the whole weigth of the train and moves it along the track. This wheel is slightly hollow according to tubular track. The surface of the wheels are made of polyurethane. It is less noisier than steel wheels, requires less maintenance and spares the track too. The disadvantage is that the speed of the train is slightly lower than using steel wheels. With a ride like Vonkaputous the difference is totally meaningless.

Update 11.04.01

One week is a long time with Vonkaputous' construction. There has been a great progress during this week. They are even already landscaping some areas. The tests are still yet to begin, but it only takes some days, or even one single day. The ride itself is ready for the testing, since the first car has arrived to the station and the water circulating system is ready. It seems that only the control logic and the sensors need to be installed and the tests can commence. The station building is still under construction and logs are nailed throughout the flume.

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Lift hill

The walkaway has been installed to the lift hill. If the train is stranded in the middle of the hill, the passengers can exit the ride using it. The sensors are under installation at the moment. The employees are landscaping the hill in the background.

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The trains have arrived! One car can accomodate 10 passengers. The station floor has been built during the last week.

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Rear view of the car

One car contain five rows of seats, two accross. Each passenger has his/hers individual lap bar. The weight of the car is 1700 kg (3700 lb.). Vonkaputous can be operated using three cars at the same time.

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Storage track

This picture illustrates the system to put the cars into the storage track.

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Electronics under installation

Lots of electronics are placed under the station floor. There are over 50 sensors along the track. It requires more than 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) of cable.

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The lift motor

The trains are gravity propelled, so they have no motors. The chain lift pushes the train up the lift hill. The lift motor requires 60kW when operating, equivalent to 1000 regular light bulbs. The chain goes around the gear which is rotated by the lift motor via a transmission. The hydraulic tensioner keeps the chain tight.

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Water container

The water is constantly circulated. It flows into this huge container from the flume. Two massive pumps pump it back to the beginning of the flume section.

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The view outside the park

The finished ride will look something like this. If the outer sections look that great, the inner sections must look even better.

Update 19.04.01

Installation of the control logic still continues at Vonkaputous, so testing of the ride has not yet begun. Other areas are looking almost finished. The sation has already (partly) painted. The gardeners are planting trees on the hill. The photo booth and the fire guards watchtower have been lifted on their place. The flume will be filled with water on friday, for the first time ever. The same goes with the lift motor that will be started for the first time. The testing with the cars is due to start early next week. However, it will take two or three weeks so unfortunately the ride will not be open for the public when the seasons opens.

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UFO is landing on Linnanmaki

The photo booth is lifted by a crane. Ride photos are sold in this booth, like Space Shot or Rapids ride. In the back ground there is a second car which is lifted on the track. The third car is still arriving from the USA.

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Young trees are being planted

The station building is making a rapid progress. Workmen are planting trees In the foreground. The use of conifer trees match the overall theme of the ride and blend well into the surrounding too.

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The queue area

These ramps lead into the station. There is also a platform for the spectators but they better prepare to get wet.

Update 05.05.01

Linnanmaki amusement park opened its gates on 28'th of april. That day also marked the very first test run of Vonkaputous. However, as expected, the car stalled in the middle of the flat section, just before the plunge into the water. When pushed a little it completed the circuit without problems. The other set back for the park was that there were huge amounts of water in the air when the car splashed into the flume section. There is a public road straight under the ride and it's not good idea to wet the pedestrians. It means that the park have to build the back wall higher. However, I'm sure that all the passengers are going to love the splash down for the same reason.

The testings have continue during the last week with great success. Each time the car laps faster and faster times. According to Premier Rides, Vonkaputous will be opened for the public within couple of days.

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The station look finished but some work is still going on inside.

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Train in the lift hill

This is the sight we have been waiting for months!

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Car on the circuit

The car has just gone through the fire guards tower.

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A moment before the splash down

The car is just about to splash down into the water.

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Splash down

The whole onlookers' deck is under water

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A car coming through the mist

Even more water in the air, throughout the whole straight flume section.

Update 12.05.01

It's been a real pleasure to follow the construction of Vonkaputous during the last five months. Today the long waiting finally ended, at 13:15 to be precise. It is certain that Vonkaputous will be operating in Linnanmaki for many years, carrying millions of visitors. It's almost impossible to believe that your most humble servant was the very first paying customer ever to ride it. This was due to my hectic sprint as soon as the gates opened, rather than the fact that I have made 10 trips to photograph the site and eventually learned to know most of the management of the park and staff of the Premier Rides too. So, these guys were not surprised to see me coming in first. The other fellow in the front seat was Jussi Eskelinen who shared the great honor with me. However, some members of the park staff and Premier Rides had already sampled the ride during the last week, so we were not the first persons to ride it, just the first guests.

Well, what about the ride? It was fantastic. Quite short, but action packed throughout. There was only one short flat section of the track and it was just before the plunge into the water. It was almost absurd to finally ride Vonkaputous since I have walked through half of the circuit and photographed every inch of it. The fun begins left after the station when the track turns left and slants down to the lift hill. The car crests the lift hill after 33 seconds, followed by the first drop through the fog tunnel. There are couple of bends before the drop into the water. The bends are very smooth which indicates that the ride has been well designed and well constructed.

The best part of the ride is the last swooping turn, followed by a huge splash into the water. The car stops more softly than you expect, but the amounts of water it dashes in the air are unbelievable. You will get soaked almost completely. Some people may not like it, but I certainly do! At this point 52 seconds has elapsed from the station. The rest of the return trip goes inside the flume. The whole circuit takes 1 minute 17 seconds.

Vonkaputous cost more than 22 million Finnish marks (1mk = $6.7 / £9.6) to make. It was the most expensive investment Linnanmaki amusement park has ever made. The old woodie cost 7.3 million marks in today's currency, but it would probably cost more than Vonkaputous if constructed today. Anyway, Linnanmaki has spend its money very wisely and has yet another winner in its hand. The same goes for the Premier Rides since Vonkaputous is the first Premier roller coaster in Europe. They have made dozens of excellent rides in US and other parts of the world, so it was about the time they conquered Europe too.

There was only one car operating on the opening day so the queues got very long. However, this will be rectified when the other two cars are put in operation, control system is fine tuned and the staff gets more experienced. The projected capacity of the ride is 800 passenger per hour, but I suspect that this figure could be even better.

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Car leaving the station

The track turns left and slants down to the bottom of the lift hill.

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Car almost on top of the lift hill

It takes 30 seconds from the sation to the top of the lift hill.

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Point of no return...

There is a short flat section on top of the lift hill. After that the train turns to the left and dives into the fog tunnel.

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Fire Guard's watchtower

The train turns back after the fog tunnel and goes through the watchtower.

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Train in the last bend

The water container is left under the flume.

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The best section of the ride

The last swooping turn is the best section of the ride, followed by the splash down. The turning last drop was determined because of the limited space, but it turned out to be better than straight drop would have been.

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The beginning of the flume section

This whirlpool is waiting for the boat to come.

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Boat has just entered the flume

The car stops more smoothly than you expected.

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Splash down

Note the windowed wall to keep the water from spraying out.

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When the mist clears off...

...10 drenched passengers appear.

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The flume

Yeat another load of soaked passengers returning to station.

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The last bend before the station

The flume section takes as much time as the roller coaster section.

Thanks to Mr. Kalle Justander (managing director of Linnanmaki), Raimo Hietala (techical director), Patrick Walsh (Linnanmaki technical department), Jim Seay (president of Premier Rides), Jim Siemer and Ingo Kohlmann of Premier Rides, Tuomas Paunonen and Justin Garvanovic / First Drop for the information of the ride. Special thanks to James Lawrence, who gave me the first hint of this forthcoming coaster.