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.
Chiller Press Release Materials
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
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
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
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
The fiberglass wall panels were attached to the sides of the
All around the station the decorative pieces were placed along with
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
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
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
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.
Batman and Robin:The Chiller
Premier Rides -
Dueling LIM Shuttle Loop
Total Ground Space:
500' x 100'
Maximum Height of Track:
Height of Unique Inversions (Batman):
Height of Unique Inversions (Robin):
Length of Track (Batman):
Length of Track (Robin):
Number of Inversions (Batman):
2 (4 forwards and
modified to 2 (1 forwards
Number of Inversions (Robin):
3 (6 forwards and
modified to 4 (2 forwards
Number of Trains:
1 per side
Cars per Train:
Passengers per Train:
20 seated two abreast
Over the shoulder next harness
modified to individual
lap bars for 2001
0-65 MPH in under 5
400 Linear Induction
Magnetic brakes on fins
squeeze brakes on fins
1600 guests/hour (800
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
Special thanks to Dainan Rafferty for providing
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
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
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
In spring of 2007, reconstruction of the Chiller tracks was underway,
with the modified support structure in place and the Robin track in
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
How Linear Induction Motors
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Removal of Chiller
September 30, 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
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
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
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
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