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Expansion and Changes at Great Coasters International
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Great Coasters International Inc. is known for the variety of coasters it has built for a wide range of parks, including Cedar Fair, Six Flags, and Hersheypark among others. Owner Clair Hain Jr. founded the company in 1994 and has expanded from creating U.S. based attractions to offering rides in Europe and Asia, with a massive coaster currently under construction in Vietnam, Moc Xa Thinh No, the country's first high speed coaster. It promises to give riders a 2- minute and 10 second series of thrills wrapped around the landscape of the hillside location.

Already known for upping the game in wooden coaster improvements and innovations, the company applied for a patent last year for its steel track system, the Titan Track. The steel track is designed to replace sections of wooden coaster track that are experiencing high stress or excessive wear. Offering a smooth ride, the system has no welds, and is instead a fully rivet-based system. Strong and level, the Titan Track allows easy replacement for its rivets when necessary, resulting in less maintenance and reducing the need for testing. Parks like the Titan's simplicity, and the fact that the system not only reduces maintenance needs, but makes any necessary maintenance go faster too, so that the coasters can be up and running quickly.

According to Ryan Felty, GCI's procurement manager, for every 40 feet of the Titan steel track, there are 2,000 rivets, so it's simple to replace a rivet if it should pop out, and rivets can even be temporarily replaced, if necessary, with a bolt.

And the Titan Track fits together seamlessly with already-existing wooden tracks, related GCI's public relations director Olivia Hain. Instead of a bumpy experience, the transition between a wooden track and the Titan steel is smooth.

As a proof of concept, GCI installed Titan Track a couple of years ago on the bottom of the first drop on White Lightning, a GCI coaster at Fun Spot America in Orlando. Earlier this year, Wolverine Wildcat at Michigan's Adventure and Predator at Six Flags Darien Lake in New York also got sections of Titan Track and even more track was installed this past year.

According to Hain, the Titan Track can be used for many different applications, from retracking segments of wooden coaster track that takes on high stress, to building a steel track ride from the ground-up. It can even be used to add new features such as inversions and launches to existing rides.

Creating a hybrid attraction is also much more easily accomplished with the Titan Track than by using conventional methods that feature wooden supports with a steel track or steel supports with a wooden track. The Titan's transition between wood and steel sections o remains smooth regardless of the support system used.

GCI builds more than coaster tracks. It offers three different types of trains: Millenium Flyer Trains, Mini-llenium Trains and Infinity Flyer Trains. The Infinity can be use used with the Titan Track. The first coaster to be built from the ground-up to use the Infinity Flyer will be at Worlds of Fun. The company debuted the lead car for this newest attraction, which is scheduled to arrive at Worlds of Fun later this year. Along with being the first ride to use the infinity flyer trains, it will also be the first wooden rollercoaster with a spiral lift hill. That ride will be called the Zambezi Zinger.

The company has won multiple awards over the years, including a one post pandemic for its evolution in wooden coaster development. It has two locations in Pennsylvania, as well as locations in Kentucky, Florida and Hanover, Germany. One of the company's two spots in Pennsylvania, Augustaville, recently expanded. But it is the company's personnel that has undergone the most growth. Company president Clair Hain Jr. is currently in the process of making GCI a family endeavor.

Along with his daughter Olivia, the company's marketing director, Hain's nephew will be joining as well, taking over the repair and refurbishing end of the GCI's business in May.  His son is also planning to return to the business, assisting with the creation of new rides.

At last November's IAAPA Expo, all family members were present. Clair Hain Jr. plans to stay at the company until he is 75, which gives him nearly another 20 years to oversee the growth and innovations he wants to help shepherd into place while making GCI a true family business. He notes that he has no plans to stop innovating.

Along with Michael Booley, Clair Hain Jr. first appeared at IAPPA 19 years ago, with the no-longer-operating Custom Coasters. He has always been dedicated to building – and now reinforcing and reinventing – top quality wooden track coasters. GCI's steel Titan Track is the company's latest way to keep coasters running in top-notch form with the simplest maintenance.

Assisted by family members that enjoy working together, the company seems poised to keep on “coasting” for continued growth – family style.
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