Luna Park Melbourne

1st January 2010

My trip report from Luna Park Melbourne in 2008 remarked that a large proportion of the staff seemed to be surly foreigners with a mediocre command of English. While this was still the case today they have been augmented with at least a few token Australians, including the friendly gentleman with the job of brake-man on the second oldest roller coaster in the world. He seemed very into his job, and it was rather fun to watch as he maintained his careful perch between the two five-bench cars. The ride in question is the Scenic Railway (#1485), notable for being the oldest surviving coaster to have operated (more or less) continuously from its construction. This can be seen most clearly in the seating, which was designed for the average height at the start of the last century. It was just about possible for me to sit facing forward, but I did have to occupy two seats.

Luna Park Melbourne

Trying to judge the ride capacity proved a truly depressing experience. Only one train was in use today, which clearly didn't help, but notwithstanding that the staff (barring the brakeman) appeared to be in no hurry whatsoever. One of my fellow guests remarked loudly that he knew he should have brought a packed lunch, to a ripple of laughter accompanied by a slightly surly glare in C minor from the ride operator of unspecified nationality. The biggest problem was that guests for the next ride were only allowed onto the platform after the previous group had left, despite separate load and unload platforms, which might have improved throughput by at least ten percent! As it was it took almost an hour to dispatch six trains, hardly ideal for a signature attraction like this.

Even with the rather painful loading speed I'd still planned to do a couple of laps, but this idea quickly vanished at the base of the first drop. My car kept bouncing up and down on the rail, and the lack of any padding meant that every impact hurt. By the half way point I'd had enough, something which practically never happens to me on a coaster. On my last visit to Melbourne this ride was closed for a major rehab; if today was representative it's time for another one. After brief contemplation I decided to use my spare ride ticket on Metropolis, which says it all really.

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Luna Park Melbourne

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