It’s full steam ahead for Dreamland Margate’s Scenic Railway, as the refurbished haulage wheel is set back into place.
Now sporting a vibrant green coat of paint, the haulage wheel plays a crucial role in the daily operations for the iconic roller coaster, considered by the heritage amusement park to be the heart of the ride.
Dubbed by Dreamland as the ‘Big Deal Green Wheel of Steel’, the mechanism is one of the elements that carries the ride trains up the lift hill, but not in the same manner as traditional modern roller coasters.
Rather than using a chain to haul the train to the top of the lift hill, the Scenic Railway uses a cable. The speed of this cable has to be met by the oncoming coaster train, the speed of which is dictated by the brakeman on board.
A gripper unit mounted to the train collects the cable at the bottom of the lift hill, closing over it and remaining tight until the train crests the summit. As the gripper unit separates from the cable, the fate of the train lies in the hands of gravity and the on-board brakeman.
Despite being subjected to a restoration crushing and disheartening arson attack in April 2008, the current pace to restore the crown jewel of Dreamland remains strong and steady.
Several milestones are still yet to be completed, including delivery of the new trains, station renovation and track refurbishment. The refurbished haulage wheel brings the Grade II* listed roller coaster one step closer to its highly anticipated completion and reopening later this year.