Park News - (5/13/2023) According to the local news a fire broke out at Everland while the theme park was open. Apparently the park’s 42 foot tall “Magic Tree” icon structure near the main gate caught on fire for unknown reasons. The local firefighters were dispatched to the park and had the blaze put out 23 minutes later with no injuries reported.
2024 - T Express ReTracking - (2/17/2024) The infamous T Express at Everland, South Korea which was the last of the four PreBuilt Track wooden coasters created by Intamin is now reported as having RMC brought on to replace the track with their new 208 ReTrak steel rail system. It isn’t known if this is a total and complete re-track or if they are just replacing specific track sections in the more high stress or problematic areas.
208 ReTrak is a complete steel rail track replacement, replacing the steel and top layer of wood, as well as the several layers of stacked wood beneath it, which will now officially turn T Express from a pure Wooden Coaster into a Hybrid Coaster. While similar to RMC’s IBox track system, it is my understanding that unlike IBox which requires a complete replacement of all the rails, the 208 ReTrak system was created as a way for parks to replace sections of their old wooden track as needed, and leave older sections untouched, so that their existing trains can still be used and seamlessly transition from one track type to the other and back again.
Back between 2003 and 2008 Intamin built four of these new “PreFab” wooden coasters, promoting it as the next big thing in wooden coaster design, with claims that the various track sections could simply be made off-site and shipped whole to the parks for easy replacement as needed. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite as simple as that and the process seemed to also come at a much higher cost when it was finally needed than what the park’s expected.
Colossus at Heide Park was the first creation to use this new track system when it opened in 2001, and ran until the middle of the 2016 season when growing issues with the track shut it down. Heide Park considered all their options, including scrapping the ride entirely due to the repair costs, but eventually brought another company on board to replace the track and reopened the coaster, along with some improvements, in 2019.
Balder at Liseberg opened in 2003 and after running successfully for many years, it closed unexpectedly early in the 2021 season, remained closed for 2022 and I believe it was finally able to open in October 2023. I’m unsure if Intamin was bought on to replace the track or if they found a third party to do it.
In the US, the only coaster of its type to open in North America was El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure in 2006. Unfortunately Six Flags has suffered their share of closures as well, starting with a closure in June 2021 the shut it down for the rest of the season to make repairs. This was followed by another incident in August of 2022 when 14 riders were injured as a train crossed a section of track that had become “structurally compromised”. El Toro was then closed again for about 10 months for extensive repair work, reopening in June 2023.
T Express, the last of the four, was rumored to have begun experiencing some issues in the past years, and it sounds like Everland reached out to RMC to make a plan to fix their issues become they became too serious. T Express was reported as shutting down to begin the process in November 2023 and is expected to open as early as April 2024. While we don’t know exactly how much track is being replaced, an early report claimed that this first phase of work may only have been planned to re-track the first half of the ride, where it is subject to the most extreme forces and wear.