Upgrades and new colors for the Wildcat :the third part of the story of how Frontier City adopted a roller coaster from Missouri

1999 saw the most significant changes to the ride, when Tierco, now known as Premier Parks and soon to rename themselves to Six Flags, did a considerable modernization.  They ordered two new trains from Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters (PTC), new brakes from Costasur Inc., and performed a nearly complete track change with profile improvements to the ride. 

The new track replaced the original red track, and at the same time, the running boards were changed, both now a natural wood color.  The pipes that acted as guard rails were replaced with red wooden panels as well.  The tunnel was removed, and the two turns at that part of the turnaround were reprofiled, removing many sudden lateral forces.  The new track also didn’t require side metal braces at the lift hill’s top, and those were taken off during the rebuild. 

The most significant change layout-wise happened at the end, when the park completely replaced the last elevated section. Instead, there is a long straight section at the top, angled slightly downward.  As part of the rebuild process, Premier Parks purchased from Costasur Inc. new Cincinnati-style brake calipers. They mounted three on the elevated section,  capable of stopping the train entirely if required.  The train then goes down a small drop into the trough section that goes underwater. Finally, it rises in the pre-station section, where a single Cincinnati brake could stop the train completely.  One last brake caliper in the middle of the station parking area stops and holds the cars there.

The new red trains are articulated three-seat Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters (PTC) trains, composed of three cars with six riders over three rows each, boosting capacity to 18 riders per train versus 16 before.  The vehicles have the standard PTC mechanical individual lap bars, combined with a seatbelt for each rider and a seat divider.  The longer wheel base of the new cars versus the two-row NAD train was compensated by the articulated PTC back axle, which can pivot a few degrees.

As the PTC chain dogs and anti-rollbacks are entirely different from the NAD configuration, Premier changed the lift trough to PTC standard specifications.  A sign saying “Point of No Return” was installed right before the first drop.

The ride performed a lot better and was a lot more comfortable, but not as intense as it used to be. Nevertheless, the new experience is perfect for the park’s family target, and the ride remains quite popular. 

After the 2003 season, Six Flags transferred one of the ride’s trains to another park.  Based on timing, we suspect the three cars went to Wild Waves (Federal Way, WA), another park Six Flags owned at the time, which was about to open a new wooden coaster.  The Timberhawk, an S&S wooden coaster, opened with two trains of 3 row articulating PTC cars.  There are four cars per train, and we believe Six Flags purchased five new vehicles from PTC to complete the two new trains.  Another possibility is that the second train left after the 2002 season instead, going to Elitch Gardens (Denver, CO) to go on Twister II, which received new trains from PTC.

2012 saw a reconfiguration of the station due to the addition of a WhiteWater West Rain Fortress beyond Wildcat lift hill.  To access the new water play structure, named Wild West Water Works,  bridges over the turn leading to the lift hill of Wildcat was constructed, with the old Wildcat exit shop acting as the entrance to Wild West Water Works. It is now a proper waterpark as of 2017 with the addition of a nearly 70 feet water slide tower from Proslide.

In 2017, Frontier City sent the one remaining train to PTC’s plant in Pennsylvania.  The train was given a complete restoration and brought to an as good as new state.  The bright red paint job was modified simultaneously by PTC to a nice dark blue, and the ride’s been running amazingly since. 

In 2020, Frontier City quietly upgraded the control system for Wildcat.  It featured a new control board programmed to stop and hold the train on the pre-splashdown brake section. Although this was in preparation for 2021, when Six Flags revealed on its investor day 2021 (02/19/2021) that the Wildcat would receive a new train.   

During an off-season tour, the park initially announced that the new train would be from Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC). However, this was a diversion, and a brand new red train was purchased from PTC by Six Flags.  This new train debuted on May 30th, 2021 and features yellow pedals in front of each car to make manual restraint release easier. In addition, the transfer track area was renovated, making it a more comfortable space for the maintenance staff to work in and shielding the second train from the elements. last, additional Cincinnati brakes were installed before the station and in the station proper to stop the trains more accurately.

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