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SFoT Q&A Ask questions about rides - how they did that, etc. here.

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Old December 21st, 2004, 09:07 PM
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Default Forgotton duties of the Astrolift worker

Almost forgotten duties of working lift

(or... What you're really supposed to do with that chrome handle)

It's amazing what a little repetition will do for your memory. ;-)

o Astrolift Sky Ride - sponsored by Delta when I was there. Cars were white with a big Delta logo on the side.

There were four positions for employees...catch, swing, load, and trip. Sometimes, on slower days, we would run with just 3 employees and the catcher would also do the swing duty. I remember an experiment with Tom Blowers and myself, where the supes wanted to see if we could run the lift with 12 cars and only one of us on each side. It wasn't easy but it was do-able. Not too safe though.

There was alway debate about which Astrolift crew worked harder, Modern side or Texas side. I think it was Texas side having worked both. The differences were that at Modern, the catch position was difficult because of the speed at which cars came off the cable onto the approach rails into the station. This could be pretty tricky on the Modern Lift side as cars came in the station on those well greesed rails fairly fast. You almost had to wrestle the damn things to get them to stop. At Modern station it was tough job catching and it was easy loading...on the Texas side, it was easy catching and TOUGH loading as there was a 'hill' in the rails right where the load position was. So, you had to get a car full of 'guests' moving from a complete standstill, up over the hill and slow it down before it creamed the car at trip. Since this is my page and the ride is gone, I can now say what I want...Texas Lift was the harder station to work! =|:-)

More details on the positions...

Catch - When catching a car coming into the station, the catcher would grab the front bumper with one hand and with the other hand grab one of the upright rails of the car. The catcher would slow down the car enough then to place his handle in the door at 3 o'clock and and turn it clockwise to 6 o'clock. After removing his handle, the car's door would then swing open and the catcher would then grab the back bumper and make sure guests exited the car before the next car came in the station and off the cable.

Swing - The swing position job was pretty much one of the easier jobs. His job was to aid the catcher by catching the door as it opened and help the guests out. He then would swing the car to the loader by grabbing the door and the front bumper. He would also slow down the car and swing the door wide for the next passenger load.

Load - The loader, ran the line as well as loaded the car. By running the line, I mean he had to ask how many guests there were and pair up, if necessary, riders to make a fully loaded car of four. The process of loading consisted of inserting your handle into the door in the 3 o'clock position, holding the car's door open with your left hand, your right hand on the front bumper, leg leaning on the car so that it would be against the station's inner railing. Then, after all the guests were in the car, The loader would pull the car forward by the bumper and the door, and in one sweeping motion pull the car past him and close the door and pull the handle back, to 12 o'clock and remove it. Additionally, he had to then slow down the car before it bumped into the car at the trip position. Loading on the Modern side was not as difficult as there was not a hill in the rails like the Texas side had.

Trip - The trip position was the last position before you got to go on break. So, for that reason alone, it was a favorite. At trip, it was the worker's responsibilty to re-check the door and make sure it was locked and then position the car into the trip mechanism. There were two ways to release cars, electrically and manual. The car would remain in the trip until the operator would press the trip button(electric). Sometimes the car would stick and then a large handle would have to be pulled to manually release the car. It was also the trip operator's responsibility to space out the cars tripped out of the station by observing the previous car's progress up to the first tower. The trip point was determined by how many cars were on the cable. It took cooperation between the two sides in order to run the ride without experiencing bottle necks with too many cars in your station. When that happened, empty cars were sometimes let go, to clear a jam. Communications between the two sides was by way of a "ring-down" phone. The phone would ring in the other station as soon as you picked it up off the hook. No numbers to dial when your hands are busy... kewel. ;-)

SKYRIDES! - Steve Wilson's skyrides pictures page....Nice pictures of various lifts.
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