Batman & Robin The Chiller at Six Flags Great Adventure

 

 


In the time Chiller was at the park, it spent a large portion of that time "standing but not operating" due to engineering and design flaws and constant maintenance problems.   The ride was originally designed to duel, with both trains launching simultaneously, but power problems meant that was impractical, and the trains were launched in a staggered fashion for the few times in its history that both sides were running.

After seasons of missing deadlines for opening, and frequent down time waiting for parts repairs and modifications, the decision was finally made to remove the troubled ride, and in the fall of 2007 the ride started coming down to make way for new attractions.

 

     
     
     
The addition of Batman & Robin: The Chiller to the park was timed to coincide with the release of the Batman & Robin movie.   Chiller was one of three coasters added by Six Flags tied into the movie and the Mr. Freeze character.


Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis added Mr. Freeze coasters at the same time, which offered a similar Linear Induction Motor launch system and similar layouts and theme elements, but only a single track.    Chiller added a second track with a second unique ride experience in an effort to increase capacity.


Chiller was added in a transitional time for the park and for the company, after the Six Flags chain was acquired by Premier Parks from Time Warner.    The focus of Time Warner ownership of the parks was adding theme elements and creating more immersive experiences, and to capitalize on the Warner Brothers movies and characters.  


The Batman & Robin movie was a misfire at the box office and brought the Batman movie franchise to a grinding halt.   Similarly, the coasters built at the Six Flags parks had rocky starts, plagued with problems from the very start.
   





 
Folder Front Press Release
Chiller Press Release Materials
Story Line Folder Back
     
In the fall of 1996, the Looping Starship, Scrambler and Little Wheel rides were closed and disassembly began as site preparations began for the new Batman & Robin: The Chiller coaster.  

The Scrambler and Looping Starship were relocated to the top of the Boardwalk area, and the Little Wheel was removed to the park's boneyard.  

These pictures from the last day of the 1996 season show the progress made in the removals, with the Looping Starship's queue stripped bare, and the Little Wheel cars removed and frame disassembly has begun.
 
     
     
On opening day of the 1997 season, The Chiller was still in the earliest construction phases, with only the beginnings of the spike supports and station building in place.   The ride's "observatory" theme element was a skeleton of vertical supports as the LIM launch tracks were installed.


The surrounding area  was blocked off as construction was taking place even while the park was open to the public.    Guests could watch as the red and blue supports and track were hoisted into place and assembled.
 
     
     
     
   
     



Over the coming weeks in April, the massive support structures at each end of the coaster took shape reaching into the air.   As the towers went up, work was continuing on enclosing the station building and all of the ride's electronic controls beneath it.    The observatory continued to take shape around the twin launch tracks, and the area around the construction site was a sea of supports and track sections awaiting installation.
   
     
   
     
     
     
With the support structure nearly complete, the track sections were lifted into place and installed.   At the same time, crews were installing the miles of wiring required to power the dozens Linear Induction Motors.


The ride's theme elements began to arrive and be installed on the ride station building.   The building was given an industrial look, with the idea that it was "Mr. Freeze's Freeze Generator", and the trains were weapons being fired into Gotham City, which the Dynamic Duo was pulling back after they were fired.


The station itself was a basic rectangular metal building which was dressed up with large panels and pipes to give it additional character.

 
   
   
     
     
     
     
   
   
   
As the spring continued, the ride neared completion, with the track structure.   When the tops of the spikes were finished, the end of the Robin side was topped with the traditional American Flag the highest point.

A narrow path was re-opened to allow guests to access Stuntman's Freefall.

The trains arrived and were placed on the tracks outside the station where they were prepared as the work continued on the final pieces of structure and the intricate wiring.
   
     
 
     
     
     
With the structure completed, work continued on the ride's internal components and the ride's cosmetic features.

The fiberglass wall panels were attached to the sides of the Observatory.

All around the station the decorative pieces were placed along with random icicles.

Once the track and Observatory walls were in place, a wooden form was used to check the clearances for the trains and riders.
     
     
     
     
     
As the park went into full time operations in May, the additional structures like the gift shop, drink stand, photo booth, and queue line were created in anticipation of a June opening.
     
     
As the kick off of the summer season on Memorial Day approached, the final elements were added including theme elements in the queue line, and the giant hands on the sides of the observatory.

Behind the scenes the computer systems were being fine tuned to activate the LIMs in the correct sequences and with the correct timing.   The ride was tested over and over through this process, with adjustments continuing right up until the ride's opening day.
   
   
     
For the media event opening the Chiller, the park invited sets of twins (Dynamic Duos) to cut the ribbon and take the inaugural public rides.   These shots feature Dainan and Anthony Rafferty, one of the sets of twins attending.

The closeup shot of the train shows the initial over the shoulder restraints, along with the first attempt at padding the sides at ear level.   The padding was laced on the outside.    The padding was later replaced with thicker rubber pads which were more permanently affixed to the collars, and were much thicker.
 
     
     
As the 1997 season wore on, the ride's opening was pushed back to fall.   Work continued to try and make the ride work correctly, but to no avail. Finally the reopening was pushed back to the 1998 season as the "new" attraction.
     
     
   
     



After sitting idle for most of the 1997 season, and disappointing many park guests as well as park management, Chiller finally made its true public debut in spring of 1998.   The ride ran semi-reliably for the season, but many riders found it uncomfortable due to its over the shoulder restraint system.   A strict policy of making riders remove all earrings before riding became necessary after several riders came off with bloody ears from their heads being boxed between the restraints.   The padding on the restraints was modified, but offered little or no improvement.
   
     
 
     
     










The Chiller faced constant problems from the first day of operations.   Usually the issues involved the rides computer or electric systems, but occasionally it would be something more serious.


It these pictures you can see smoke coming from one of the Robin side's LIMs on the spike.   Incidents like this occurred once or twice a year most seasons.


Another problem involved the trains valleying or saddling.   This occurs when a coaster doesn't have enough momentum to make it up a hill or through an inversion, and gets stuck in a low spot.


The Chiller had a history of valleying several times a season, usually during cooler weather or in the event of power problems.   The train would usually valley between the spike and the tower, but occasionally could stop in the in-line twists or in the valley of Robin's cobra roll.   Evacuation platforms would later be added to those low spots to aid in the event of a train saddling.








     
 
TECHNICAL INFORMATION
   
Ride Name: Batman and Robin:  The Chiller
Manufacturer: Premier Rides - Millersville, MD
Ride: Model: Dueling LIM Shuttle Loop Coaster
   
Installation Date: Spring 1997
   
Total Ground Space: 500' x 100'
Maximum Height of Track: 200'
   
Height of Unique Inversions (Batman): 139 feet
Height of Unique Inversions (Robin): 105 feet
   
Length of Track (Batman): 1137 feet
Length of Track (Robin): 1229 feet
   
Number of Inversions (Batman): 2 (4 forwards and backwards)
  modified to 2 (1 forwards and backwards)
Number of Inversions (Robin): 3 (6 forwards and backwards)
  modified to 4 (2 forwards and backwards)
Track Gauge: 36"
   
Number of Trains: 1 per side
Cars per Train: 5
Passengers per Train: 20 seated two abreast
   
Safety Feature: Over the shoulder next harness 
  modified to individual lap bars for 2001
Height Requirement: 54" tall
   
Acceleration: 0-65 MPH in under 5 seconds
Maximum Speed: 65 MPH
Maximum G-Forces: 4.5 G
   
Propulsion: 400 Linear Induction Motors (LIMs)
Braking: Magnetic brakes on fins and redundant
  squeeze brakes on fins
   
Ride Time: 45 seconds
Dispatch: 85 seconds
Theoretical Capacity: 1600 guests/hour (800 each side)
   
 
 
     
When Chiller finally did open to the public, it often would experience extended periods of downtime.   One track or the other would often be closed, and the ride never ran as planned.


The coaster ride was fast and violent, with few riders deciding to brave the pain a second time in a day.   The combination of speed and the twists of the tracks caused severe head banging with the harnesses, and resulted in riders complaining of headaches.


After several seasons of those complaints, the ride vehicles were overhauled and the original over the shoulder restraints were replaced with a new style of lapbar.   The new lapbars featured an ankle restraint as well, and offered a much better ride experience.


The Robin side of the ride received the new lapbars for the 2001 season, and the Batman side received its overhaul for the 2002 season.
   
 
     
As time went on, the theme elements and the special effects that were installed in the ride including strobes and fog effects were allowed to deteriorate, and as they wore out were not repaired or replaced.     
     
One of the most memorable parts of the Chiller ride experience was the exit tunnel which ran between the launch tracks and through the observatory.   The screened ramp was a very loud place to be as the trains launched on either side.
     
     
The entrance to the ride featured two ramps, one ran under the tracks to the Batman side, and the other wound its way up to the Robin side platform.


The tunnels were very stark industrial looking, with brick face walls and lighting.   After several years of accumulating graffiti and being vandalized, the walls were painted in bright red.
     
     
Watch Video Of
The Chiller
In Action:


Special thanks to Dainan Rafferty for providing video footage
 
     
     
In its 10 years at the park, there were long periods in which the ride was closed either fully or partially as the LIMs were repaired or replaced.   Generally the Batman side suffered the most downtime, with its parts being sacrificed to operate the Robin side.   The Batman side remained closed for the entire season one year, and opened only for a week or two for several other seasons.
     
     
For the 2005 season, the ride was given a fresh look with new paint.   The Robin side was given a fresh red color replacing the chalky looking pink color it had become, and the Batman side was given a much darker blue color.


During the 2006 season, an intensive effort was made to get the ride fully operational as the park had promised for several seasons.   The Robin side was opened, with the Batman side scheduled to follow in the summer.   In June, an incident involving the Robin train closed the ride entirely for the remainder of the season.   
   
     
     
At the end of the 2006 the future of The Chiller looked bleak, and rumors swirled that its days were numbered and it would be removed in the off season.


The ride queue was covered in cobwebs and the park's giant inflatable spider took up residence in front of the ride during Fright Fest.


During the off season the rumors were fueled by insiders who reported the removal of track sections.   The removal was part of a re-profiling effort in which the ride's barrel rolls were removed and replaced with new track. 
   
     
 
  In spring of 2007, reconstruction of the Chiller tracks was underway, with the modified support structure in place and the Robin track in place.  


The Robin side reopened with the new "hump" in place of the barrel roll, while the Batman side track was still being replaced.   The Batman train was painted red and run on the Robin side, and while the replacement for the damaged Robin train was being fabricated.


Though the new track configuration was supposed to have eliminated inherent design problems which caused the incident on the Robin train in the 2006 season, a second incident occurred in spring of 2007, and the ride was closed again, this time permanently.
 
   
     
     
The Chiller sat dormant for the remainder of the summer of 2007, and deconstruction of the ride began in September.


These pictures inside the station building were taken on one of the very last of Chiller's operating days.   On the Batman side of the station the water dummies sit waiting for the arrival of the refurbished train which never came.  


The raised operators' booth was setup over the exit ramp, in the center of the station.   In the center of the booth is the strobe light that originally was designed to flash when the trains were ready to launch.


Over the years the onride photo booth was removed and was moved across the park to serve the same function at Superman Ultimate Flight.    The ride's gift shop became a sale outlet, featuring clearance park merchandise.  
   
   
     
     
How Linear
Induction Motors Work:

LIMS work just like the variety of electric motors found in your home, like the ones in your refrigerator, disposal, furnace fan or hair dryer. The only difference is those motors produce a rotary motion, where LIMs create linear (straight line) motion.
 

An induction motor operates with alternating current supplied directly to an electrical coil called a stator. If the rotor and stator are unrolled into a flat plane, the induction motor becomes a linear induction motor. An electrical current pulses through the stator coils creating an electro-magnetic force that pulls at the now flat metal bars, thus creating forward motion.

In Premier Rides' LIM-powered coasters, the flat metal bars are conductive aluminum fins on each side of the train. They are mounted between each train's wheel assembly and the seats. The stator coils are found in a series of anchored motor housings which extend out from beneath the loading platform along the track to more than 200 feet, ending at the base of the first hill. As the train accelerates, each fin passes between a pair of stator coils. The stator coils are powered consecutively in a time sequence, pulling the train forward until it reaches a speed of more than 70 mph in just over three seconds.

The momentum created in this brief launch period carries the train up the first hill. Gravity and momentum, the forces found on traditional roller coaster rides,then carry the train through the remainder of the course.
 

Click Here To See An Animation Of How LIMs Work!

 
 
     
     
     
     






   
     
Removal of The Chiller- Fall 2007
     
     
     
     
     


Removal of Chiller
as of September 23, 2007


A crane arrived on site and disassembly of the Chiller's track had begun.   This center section was removed first to allow the crane easier access to the entire ride.    The first sections removed were some of the same track sections which were replaced just a few months earlier. 

All of the ride's supports and track sections have been carefully numbered before removal so the ride can be re-assembled in another park.


     
     
     
     
     
     
     
 
     
     
     
Removal of Chiller
as of September 29, 2007


The center roll/hump section of the ride has been removed and removal of the Robin track's cobra roll has begun.    The train has been removed from the track, and the support and track sections are being carefully stacked in the basin of the adjoining Movietown Water Effect.

With the announcement of the new Dark Knight coaster earlier in the week, signs promoting the new ride were added along the fence of the dormant Chiller.
     
     
     
     
  
     
Removal of Chiller
Aerial Photos
September 30, 2007


Courtesy of
FlyinPhilsPhotos.com 
     
  
     
     
Removal of Chiller
as of October 8, 2007


Work has continued on removing the central portions of the cobra roll support structure.   The central evacuation stairs were removed and placed to the side next to Movietown Water Effect, and the track sections and supports which had been sitting in the basin were no longer in sight.
     
     
     
     
  
     
     
     
Removal of Chiller
as of October 13, 2007



Removal of the Chiller's structure is continuing, with additional supports removed, as well as several track sections.


A long section of the central portion of the ride is now gone, leaving nothing but the rows of concrete footers behind.


The two spikes look largely untouched, and progress continues removing the the interior structure of the cobra roll.


If progress continues at this pace, the main tower should start coming down before the season is over.   


One of the original cars from the Robin train which was replaced with the repainted Batman train is visible from the Nitro queue in the Maintenance Shop yard, next to one of the old Freefall cars still on site. 
   
     
     
     
     
       
     
     
Removal of Chiller
as of October 20, 2007


With the last days of the season fast approaching, the tophat of the Batman track has been removed along with almost all of the Robin side track.

By the final weekend of Fright Fest and the 2007 operating season, the main tower supports should be coming down, with the spikes and station launch tracks awaiting removal after the park has closed for the season.
     
     
     
  
     
Removal of Chiller
as of October 28, 2007


With the last weekend of the season, the Chiller's main tower began to come down piece by piece.   The top sections had been removed and lowered to the ground for disassembly of the individual parts for shipment.

Piles of the bolts that held all the joints together lay in piles and in buckets around the site.  

With the closure of the park for the season, now removal work can step up since the paths don't have to be kept clear for guests.

Over the week, survey crews had been in the park beginning to mark the control points for construction of The Dark Knight Coaster for the 2008 season.
   
   








   
     
  
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