For those of you who aren’t aware, Mach Tower has had a very troubled life ever since its announcement back in 2010. It started with manufacturing delays by Moser, shipping problems on its way over from Italy, and then terrible weather which delayed construction even further. Once the tower was actually built, getting it running was the next task. Both the park and Moser encountered a menagerie of issues with the ride during testing (including a minor crash) which caused the opening date to be continually pushed back for weeks. Slowly the weeks turned into months until the ride, which was originally meant to open with the park in March, finally opened to the public on August 18th, 2011. Sadly, the opening was only the beginning of Mach Tower’s troubles. Since it opened less than a year ago, it almost seems as though maintenance workers spend more time working on the ride than guests do riding it. I can only recall one or two visits to the park since Mach Tower opened when it hasn’t been shut down for at least a good part of my time at the park. Not only that, but when Mach Tower breaks down, it doesn’t just take a system reset and a few tests to get it up and running again. In fact, it’s quite common to see maintenance workers physically working on the ride vehicle. It’s the only ride I have seen where maintenance workers bring out toolboxes and make physical repairs to the ride itself.
Anyway, all that said, a few weeks ago I saw a tweet saying that Mach Tower had once again broken down again. Now, because this is such a common occurrence, I didn’t think much of it and went along with my day assuming it would reopen the next day like it always does. Well, it didn’t reopen the next day, or the day after that, or even the following week.
As far as I know, it hasn’t opened since. (Update: It did for a very brief time. See Update 1 below) People have speculated that it was struck by lighting during a recent string of severe thunderstorm that had rolled through the area around the same time as it originally closed; however, from what I’ve heard, the issues were much less interesting than a bolt of lighting. The first week it was down I was told that they were working on getting a new part shipped over from Moser and installed to replace a faulty one which was causing the most recent problems. They got the part they needed and installed it. During testing, another part failed. Again, another week went by while the park waited for another new part from Moser and installed it. That brings us to last Friday when I heard that Mach Tower’s repairs were completed successfully and that it should reopen soon. Well, it sounds like something else went wrong since then that triggered today’s surprising news: Mach Tower is now closed indefinitely.
Where does the ride go from here? Well, I guess Moser will be flying back across the pond and, once again, attempt to diagnose and repair the source of the ride’s constant problems. The real question is what happens if Moser can’t get the ride working as it was originally meant to. I have to wonder if we’ll be looking at a situation similar to what happened between HUSS and Dollywood with Timber Tower. Like Mach Tower, Timber Tower suffered near constant downtime and HUSS was never able to get it back to a point where Dollywood was happy with it. Dollywood has since removed Timber Tower and sued HUSS for not fulfilling their side of the agreement. The next month or so should be very interesting. Stay tuned…
Want to discuss the most recent twist in Mach Tower’s story? You can do so here in our Mach Tower thread.
[Source: The Daily Press via @WDWRLD]
Soon after publishing this post, friend of the site @JordanFord replied with the following on Twitter. Thanks Jordan!
A local newspaper, WYDaily, is now reporting that they have been told by Kevin Crossett, the park’s spokesperson, that “Mäch Tower will return to service soon, but no official date has been set.” The full quote as well as some other information can be found in WYDaily’s article on the ride’s closure, here.
That must have been the shortest indefinite closure of a ride in the industry’s history. Just yesterday, the park’s spokesperson announced to the Daily Press that Mach Tower would be closed for the foreseeable future to “review manufacturer-recommended changes to the ride’s parameters.” Today, Kevin Crossett, the same person the Daily Press quoted yesterday, announced that Mach Tower has reopened early this afternoon. Either that was the quickest review of a ride’s condition in the history of of the industry or something very fishy is going on here. Oddly enough, this announcement happened just an hour or so after the park’s new coaster, Verbolten, once again, broke down. At the time of this update (5PM) Verbolten is still down.
Honestly, I have no clue what on earth is going on over there. Obviously, announcing that your second newest thrill ride will be closed for an extended period of time is a big deal. It isn’t something that parks take lightly. Doing so, and then opening the ride the following day is, frankly, crazy. What changed between yesterday’s announcement and today’s opening is anyone’s guess.
EDIT: I thought I’d quickly point out another quote from Mr. Crossett which was posted today to the Daily Press’s updated article on the situation: “We worked with the manufacturer and looked at some issues. That’s all I have to say. Everything checked out fine and we’re back in operation.” Not suspicious at all Mr. Crossett, not suspicious at all.
Within minutes of posting the last update, a trusted member of the site who prefers to stay anonymous sent us a copy of the email they received back from Moser, the ride’s manufacturer, when they asked what was going on with Mach Tower. The response is provided below. Thanks a ton to the person who hooked us up!
The Moser Mach Tower has successfully completed over 16,000 ride cycles as of last week. It has operated this 2012 season almost flawlessly from spring opening until now.
The tower is outfitted with multiple safety and redundant systems to insure the ride operates perfectly and safely to the public. Last week, the ride tripped 2 alarm sensors. Busch Gardens, being one of the most diligent park operations for safety, chose to close the ride until the sensor issue was addressed by Moser Rides. There was no concern from Moser Rides as to the towers ability to operate safely with the sensor issue, but the decision was Busch Gardens. This was successfully addressed and resolved. Our understanding is the tower has reopened today.
Moser Rides has built hundreds of tower rides worldwide, small and large, over the years and has a solid reputation for engineering and manufacturing of towers with a stellar record for operation and minimal down time. This tower is one of the largest Moser Rides makes and was custom designed for Busch Gardens, with several new features and specific requirements. Moser Rides stands behind their rides and their reputation for quality.
This post will be continually updated as more information comes in…