We Guess the 2018 “SR1” Coaster at California’s Great America
Construction markers started popping up at California’s Great America (CGA) earlier this summer, with the cryptic notation “SR1” on them. Just a couple of weeks ago construction walls started popping up at the park (HT Robert Ingle). The park also recently started teasing the ride on social media, again with the SR1 code. Finally, just yesterday they let us know the date for the formal announcement, along with another tease. So we decided it’s time to recap what they’ve teased and lay out the best guess for what it means.
Why We Know CGA is Getting a Coaster
We’ve been pretty sure CGA was getting a new coaster for awhile. Earlier this year they received the new rezoning approval to allow for a more streamlined process to build bigger rides, like roller coasters. At the Patriot media day GM Raul Rehnborg emphasized big things were coming, and we should expect to see construction starting this summer. We also learned from a Cedar Fair investor earnings call that four new coasters were coming to Cedar Fair parks this year. It seemed pretty clear that CGA was getting one of those (the others are Cedar Point, King’s Dominion, and almost definitely Knott’s Berry Farm).
We also learned some things about what the potential new coasters on that same earnings call. We already know two of them are RMC conversions of wooden coasters (at Cedar Point and King’s Dominion). For the other two, we learned one will be from a company that Cedar Fair hasn’t worked with in awhile (but has worked with in the past), and one will be “a completely new type of coaster.” We also got a hint at a potential name when Cedar Fair recently trademarked the name Railblazer.
So What Is It?
The most recent tease we received from CGA is the image below, which includes the August 16 official announcement date. As an aside, this is also what has been hinted for the King’s Dominion announcement, and was just announced as the date for Knott’s Berry Farms new coaster/attraction announcement. It’s also National Roller Coaster Day, so be sure to check in with C101 on 8/16 for lots of news.
This tease tells us a lot, probably all we need to know. First, it pretty much lays out that, as long as we’re not being trolled by Cedar Fair, the “Railblazer” name is coming here. I mean, it literally includes the word “blaze” in the teaser, and it describes what most people would define as “Trailblazing” (blazing a new path). The image, which is of the Pacific Crest Trail that goes through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains, also hints at the mountain/trailblazing theme. The theme is a nice fit for CGA, which tied into its California history with the last major coaster built at the park, Gold Striker. Nice to see Cedar Fair aiming to add more “California” theming to California’s Great America.
This tease also hints that, of the four coasters Matt Ouimet talked about on the conference call, there’s a very good chance that CGA is getting the “completely new type of coaster.” The phrasing of the tease, that CGA is “blaz(ing) a new path in 2018” sure sounds like a brand new type of ride, right? We also know that the most likely new ride happening is a new design currently being tested at Rocky Mountain Construction, called the Raptor. This design (seen in the video above) is a single rail coaster, and that single rail is a big part of the uniqueness. If that’s the new design coming, RAILblazer seems like a fitting name. Wouldn’t it also make sense that SR1 was chosen as the code name for “Single Rail 1”, the first single rail coaster of its kind? Sure seems to fit together nicely.
Obviously we won’t know for sure until announcement day, but that’s a lot of circumstantial evidence that CGA is getting a single rail Raptor coaster from Rocky Mountain Construction, and its going to be named Railblazer. As for how big (and where in the park) it’ll be, we’ve got a lot of hints on that too. We know the construction walls have shown up near the “Invertigarden” (the former location of Invertigo), we also saw marks on the ground earlier this year on the midway near that same area. The RC boats area nearby was drained of water, and there have long been rumors Whitewater Falls could be gone soon. Inside CGA has a good video of where the walls currently are, shared below. Even if it’s just the area currently walled off it’s pretty big, but it could also be even larger if the park closes down parts of the midway (and maybe they can wait to do that until after Halloween, as this was where Winterfest ended anyway). The park also received an architectural permit recently for a 111 foot tall coaster, so that seems like a safe bet for the height.
Lots of you have asked where in the park the construction walls have appeared for the mystery 2018 coaster project.This video roughly indicate the areas which have been fenced off by construction walls so far… It'll be interesting to see if the site expands further…#projectsr1
Posted by Inside CGA on Wednesday, July 12, 2017
We’ll be down at CGA this weekend for the beginning of their Taste of Orleans Festival, and while down there we’ll take lots of construction pictures, as well as do our best find out more from the CGA team. Make sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for any updates we catch, and definitely check with us on 8/16 when all of our speculation will be proven right or wrong. In the meantime, let us know if you have any other theories in the comments!