OCEAN CITY – Residents and visitors to the resort area have likely noticed a decided void in the downtown Ocean City skyline, as a majority of the Tidal Wave roller coaster at Trimper’s Rides was recently taken down for a planned major refurbishment.
Earlier this month, a huge crane appeared in the downtown area to begin dismantling the top 75 feet or so of the Tidal Wave, including the familiar V-shape tracks that jut prominently into the south Ocean City skyline. Six large sections of track and another large support piece were systematically taken apart and are stored in the Trimper’s lots where a planned, routine repair and rehabilitation job is now underway.
“We started planning for this about three years ago and we knew it was time to do it,” said Operations Manager Brooks Trimper this week. “Last year, we did a major overhaul of the ride’s computer system and this year it’s time to tackle the physical side of the repair job.”
The double-loop, boomerang roller coaster has been a fixture in the downtown area since 1985 and it is routinely upgraded and maintained. Trimper said this week the timing of the planned repair had nothing to do with an incident involving the roller coaster this summer during which three children were injured.
In August, the ride malfunctioned when a steel cable snapped, injuring three children. Essentially, the roller coaster’s computer system detected a malfunction and safety features kicked in and stopped the ride immediately. When that occurred, a cable snapped and injured children nearby.
“This is a scheduled project that has nothing to do with the incident from this past season,” he said. “We’ve been planning it for about three years and the work going on now has nothing to do with the accident.”
A huge crane removed the familiar top sections of the Tidal Wave under the direction of engineers from Vekoma Rides Manufacturing, one of the largest roller coaster manufacturers in the world, along with Trimper’s in-house engineers. When the work is completed, the six sections of track and the support will be transported for painting and dipping in an anti-corrosion formula that prevents rust in the salty sea air. Once the repairs have been completed and the sections have been painted and dipped, they will be brought back to the park and re-installed on the site with the help of the same massive crane that dismantled the sections.
“Depending on a variety of factors, most importantly the weather, we hope to reinstall the sections as soon as March 1,” said Trimper. “As long as it’s ready by May, we’ll be in good shape.”