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Will RMC ever build another Topper Track coaster?

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. As many of you may know, Zadra, Rocky Mountain Construction's latest and greatest creation, is due to open on 15th August. It looks like a simply insane ride; packed with airtime and immense transitions as well as a very dominating presence. However, it is the company's first ever ground-up IBox coaster, using tech that was traditionally only used in conversions of existing wooden coasters. To me, Zadra seems more like the sort of ride that would be built out of Topper Track, so I find myself asking; will RMC ever build another Topper Track coaster?

Now, before we delve into my personal opinions on this matter, I think it would be interesting to note the comparative popularity of the Topper Track coasters in comparison to RMC's other products, taking into account how long each one has been available for. Since the model's debut in the form of Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City in 2013, only 4 Topper Track coasters have opened, with the last one opening in 2016. By comparison, since the debut of IBox Track in the form of New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas in 2011, 12 IBox coasters have opened, with a further two under construction (Zadra & RMC Gwazi). Even looking at the Raptor Track, 2 have opened since the model debuted in the form of Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas last year, and I could certainly see Six Flags installing more with their attitude to cloning attractions. Even though less Raptor Tracks exist than Topper Tracks, the Topper Track coaster is clearly RMC's least popular model if you look at a ratio of how many there are to how many years the model has been available for, especially more recently.

As for my opinions on the matter, I'm not too sure whether we'll see another Topper Track built. There is certainly still time and scope for another one to be built, but it's been a few years now since Wildfire at Kolmarden (the last Topper Track coaster to open) opened and there doesn't seem to be anything in the rumour mill at present regarding parks wanting to invest in an RMC Topper Track coaster. Even if we do see another Topper Track, however, I definitely don't think we'll see them appearing in the same abundance as their other products, and I think there could be a variety of reasons for this which I'd like to discuss below.

One of the main reasons I can think of is that while all 4 presently existing Topper Tracks get mostly rave reviews, I'd imagine there are certainly some disadvantages to purchasing one over one of RMC's steel coasters. Firstly, I'd imagine maintenance costs being somewhat higher due to the Topper Track models having a wooden track instead of a steel one. Wooden coasters often need more maintenance than steel coasters, so I'd imagine that many parks would prefer to save money on maintenance and go for a ground-up IBox akin to Zadra, which would still provide a similar experience for a lower maintenance cost. Secondly, while none of them seem to have become unrideably rough by any means, I've heard reports that RMC's Topper Tracks do not seem to be aging quite as well as the company's steel coasters. Lightning Rod is commonly cited as having become quite shaky towards the back of the train at only 3 years old, and I have also heard that Goliath and Outlaw Run have become somewhat rougher since opening at 5 and 6 years old, respectively. By comparison, Iron Rattler and New Texas Giant, RMC's first IBox Tracks, are still reportedly glass smooth at 6 and 8 years old, respectively. As I said above, I wouldn't imagine any of them are painfully rough; I was just comparing them to some of RMC's steel coasters.

I'd also say that RMC's Topper Track model has some disadvantages against more traditional wooden coasters built by companies like GCI and The Gravity Group, which have certainly seen some technological advancement over the last couple of years. The main one of these I can think of is cost; Lightning Rod reportedly cost Dollywood $22,000,000USD (although the launch probably didn't help with that), and Wildfire cost Kolmarden the equivalent of $11,693,000USD. By comparison, The Voyage cost Holiday World $8,500,000USD in 2006, and even if you convert to 2019 dollars due to inflation, it still only comes to $10,799,680.06USD; nearly $1,000,000 less than Wildfire cost and over $10,000,000 less than Lightning Rod cost. It is also worth remembering that The Voyage has comparable height and speed stats to these two rides and substantially more track than both of the aforementioned rides; over 2,000ft more than Wildfire and over 3,000ft more than Lightning Rod. In the eyes of many, The Voyage also provides an equal if not greater thrill than Wildfire and Lightning Rod. The point I'm trying to get across is that a traditional wooden coaster from GCI or The Gravity Group can get you the same thrill for a smaller cost, a point that is exacerbated even further by the fact that both companies now offer inversions and overbanks on their wooden coasters akin to those seen on RMC's wooden coasters (although GCI are admittedly yet to build an inverting coaster).

On an interesting side note (and potentially a further argument as to why parks might not be buying RMC Topper Tracks), I personally think that a number of parallels can be drawn between the RMC Topper Track coaster and the Intamin Prefabricated Wooden Coaster as models. Both models are very expensive in comparison to other wooden coasters. Both models provide a somewhat non-traditional wooden coaster experience. Both models have only a limited number of installations despite all of them getting rave reviews. The installations of both models seem to mostly be on the extreme end of the spectrum for wooden coasters with regards to statistics, especially height and speed (apart from maybe Balder for Intamin pre-fabs). Interestingly, as with RMC Topper Tracks, only 4 Intamin pre-fabs have been built. The last one to be built was T Express at Everland in 2008; there is a 7 year age gap between the first installation and the most recent installation. Outlaw Run will hit 7 years old in 2020, and no Topper Tracks have currently been announced or are rumoured for 2020. Just thought that that comparison would provide some food for thought.

But what are your opinions on this matter? Do you think we will ever see another RMC Topper Track coaster be built?
 

Alex B

Member
im Not sure now that they build ground up I-box coasters I’m not sure it’s necessary to build wooden rides
 

CrashCoaster

Well-Known Member
I think we will, but the reasons you stared about why we haven't seen more of them are perfectly valid.

I'm more interested to see where the next unannounced RMC in general is gonna go, especially in Europe. ;)
 

Antinos

Slut for Spinners
Social Media Team
I believe it was Coaster Studios' interview with Alan where he stated that they're comfortable enough with the Iron Horse rails and specifically the strength they provide that they would like to utilize them for as many future products as possible. I'm sure they'll still offer topper track as a product, but it will likely have a low take rate, if any at all, and might even be reserved for super simple refurbishments (think Ghost Rider style, but with topper track instead of fresh wood).
 
I think we will, but the reasons you stared about why we haven't seen more of them are perfectly valid.

I'm more interested to see where the next unannounced RMC in general is gonna go, especially in Europe. ;)
There was an interview with Fred Grubb from RMC and Barry Weston from Global Coaster LTD, one of the British guys building Untamed. Fred said when asked if they’ll continue working together, that they already have several projects coming up, and Barry went on to say that they would only be working with them mainly in Europe... Giving the impression that there are a few projects coming up in Europe. Think it was in a PBE video from untamed media day.
 

Furiustobaco

New Member
I really hope RMC widen their presence in Europe. I think they have hands down conquered America and Europe are soon to be next! I’m hoping somewhere in the UK will pick one up but I doubt Merlin would take that route..
 
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