By Donald WittkowskiGet ready. The Gale Force is coming back.Yes, the second nor’easter in a week is poised to strike the Jersey Shore on Wednesday with high winds, but in this case, the Gale Force is a roller-coaster, not a storm.After a two-month delay, Playland’s Castaway Cove, one of the Ocean City Boardwalk’s iconic amusement parks, is getting ready to add a new track for the 125-foot-high roller-coaster to give passengers smoother rides.The coaster’s original track proved a bit too bumpy, so the designer has agreed to replace it with all new steel at no cost to Playland. The distinctive blue track will be attached to the ride’s massive gray superstructure looming over the Boardwalk at 10th Street.Brian Hartley, Playland’s vice president, said S&S Sansei Technologies of North Logan, Utah, is expected to begin the work on March 19 and take about two weeks to complete it. Routine safety tests and inspections will be done before the ride is ready for the public.Brian Hartley, vice president of Playland’s Castaway Cove, says the coaster will be ready for the public by Memorial Day weekend.Playland, currently closed for the winter months, originally hoped to have the coaster operational in time for the amusement park’s spring opening on Palm Sunday weekend March 24-25. However, a two-month delay in getting all of the new track manufactured and delivered has pushed back the schedule.Hartley said the coaster should be ready in time for the Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the bustling summer tourism season at the Jersey Shore.Although the slightly bumpy rides were virtually imperceptible to passengers, Playland wanted the track to be completely smooth on a roller-coaster that zooms along at more than 60 mph, Hartley said.“It was like riding over the rumble strips on the side of the road,” he explained in an interview Tuesday. “Now, we’re taking out that tiny bit of imperfection to make it smoother.”Gale Force made its debut at Playland’s Castaway Cove last May, thrilling its riders with a series of twists, dips and loops on a serpentine-like track while traveling at a top speed of 64 mph.The ride propels passengers through a series of breathtaking twists and turns while shooting 125 feet high and plunging earthward at about a 90-degree drop. Riders also flip upside down and travel backwards, adding to the thrills.At times, the coaster gives riders the sensation of free-falling, as if plummeting off the side of a cliff. The ground below disappears as the coaster car contorts, zigzags and swerves along the undulating track.Hartley inspects some of the coaster’s passenger cars, now hidden under a tarp.After the 2017 summer season, it was discovered that the track’s steel rails were slightly misaligned, causing the bumpy rides. Hartley stressed that riders were never in danger.“There was never a safety issue whatsoever,” he said. “If there was, the ride would have never been open in the first place.”The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, the state agency that regulates amusement rides, said there was an “alignment issue” between the roller coaster’s car and the magnetic drive system that propels the vehicle. Echoing Hartley’s comments, the DCA said the safety of the roller-coaster “was never in question.”Using a huge crane, work crews dismantled the old track last November. The new track will retain the ride’s eye-catching blue color scheme.Gale Force’s grand opening last May came about a year later than originally scheduled. Hartley noted that the delays were caused by similar problems with the track’s alignment.The roller-coaster is the centerpiece attraction at Playland. Hartley said the coaster cost millions of dollars, but declined to divulge the exact price.Playland, which originally opened in 1959, is one of the Boardwalk’s oldest amusement parks. Visitors are greeted by Playland’s whimsical, giant pirate ship overlooking the Boardwalk between 10th and 11th streets.During last summer, Gale Force’s undulating, blue track provided thrills and chills. The Gale Force roller-coaster’s serpentine superstructure towers above the Boardwalk at 10th Street.
Here’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today and over the weekend. 2014 Tonys Win at Directors Guild Awards The 2014 Tony Awards picked up its own trophy this weekend! Glenn Weiss and the directing team of the 68th Annual Tony Awards have been honored with a Directors Guild Award in the category of Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Variety/Talk/News/Sports-Specials. Congrats to all. First Trailer of Bloodline, Starring Norbert Leo Butz We’ve been waiting for this! Check out below the first trailer of new Netflix thriller series Bloodline. The show’s stars include Broadway faves Norbert Leo Butz, Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini and Sissy Spacek. We can’t wait to begin binge-watching on March 20! Michael Gambon Retires From the Stage Dumbeldore is apparating stage left—theatrical legend Sir Michael Gambon has had to retire from treading the boards. The Harry Potter star revealed to The Sunday Times that he was having issues remembering his lines. “It’s a horrible thing to admit, but I can’t do it. It breaks my heart. It’s when the script’s in front of me and it takes forever to learn. It’s frightening.” Aged 74, he has won three Oliviers and appeared on Broadway in the 1996 production of Skylight. Although the news is incredibly sad, we can take heart from the fact that Gambon won’t be disappearing from our screens. Indeed, his latest performance in another of J.K. Rowling’s works, The Casual Vacancy, will air on HBO in April. View Comments Simon Shepherd & More Tapped for Hay Fever Summer fun if you’re in London. Simon Shepherd (Peak Practice), Michael Simkins (Yes, Prime Minister) and Sara Stewart (Enron) will join the previously reported Felicity Kendal in the upcoming West End production of Hay Fever. Directed by Lindsay Posner, the show will play a limited run April 29 through August 1 at the Duke of York’s Theatre. Sienna Miller Chats Cabaret Something tells us that Sienna Miller is going to be perfectly marvelous in her return to Broadway! For as she explains to David Letterman in the most adorable way during a recent appearance on The Late Show, she was “born for Cabaret.” Check out the interview below and then the American Sniper star (and her Elphaba fingernails) at Studio 54 from February 17.
Greg Hamilton, age 61 of Butlerville passed away on April 30, 2020. He was born in Jacinto City, Texas the son of the late Clade and Betty Jane (Ward) Hamilton on April 8, 1959. He grew up and attended school in Texas.Greg spent his work career as an over the road truck driver before being diagnosed with cancer in 2007. He would meet Debbie Roark and they were united in marriage on December 21, 1990. The two of them would combine and drive over the road raising their girls and visiting family. The family has many memories spending time in different states.Greg enjoyed playing his music, so that the neighbors could hear. He spent time fishing and enjoying the outdoors. Greg was known to be a jokester and always loved taking a funny selfie.He is survived by wife Debbie, daughters Brittany (James Daniel) Taylor, April Dawn (Matthew Thompson) Hamilton, and Danielle Dawn (Jacob Newsom) Hamilton, grandkids Gavin, Layla, Avery, Remy, Olivia, Geo, Westley, Shayla, and Alexys, in laws John and Linda Roark, Darrel Shouse and Judy Spurlock, sisters Robin Hamilton, Rita Pope, Sharon Raney, and Mary Ann Landrin, brother in laws Terry (Stacy) Roark, Jerry (Tasha) Roark, and Tony (Joann Fugate) Roark, along with several niece and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, sister in law Hope Cutrell, brother in laws Joe Pope and Don Raney.Graveside services will be held on Friday May 8, 2020 at 11:00 am. at Osgood Perseverance Cemetery with Brother Russell Raney officiating. Memorials may be given to the family in care of Neal’s Funeral Home. Online condolences can be placed at Nealsfuneralhome.net.