We began our day with some general sightseeing in Almaty before boarding an early evening flight to Karaganda, the fourth largest city in Kazakhstan. We hadn't intended to visit Karaganda Central Park until the next morning, but decided to change plans on the fly when it became apparent that our hotel was within walking distance. Our guide told us that the area around the park was a little suspect in the evening hours, and for that reason he agreed to accompany us.
Roller Coaster (#2477) is one of just five remaining examples of the fifty-four metre Schwarzkopf Wildcat. It was first installed at Minsk's Chelyuskintsev Park in 1974, and ran there until the end of 2008 when it was inexplicably replaced with an Analog Hoverla, an appalling downgrade no less reprehensible than trading in a classic Mercedes for a Lada. It was subsequently relocated to the city of Mogilev in eastern Belarus, but proved too big for the local market, as less than three years later it was taken apart and trucked to Karaganda.
At some point in recent years the original rolling stock was retired in favour of a fleet of six new cars, all of which were branded with different manufacturer logos (though some have since been removed). Previous attempts at replacing classic Schwarzkopf vehicles have not always made things better, but we had no complaints about these ones. They looked a tiny bit rough around the edges, perhaps in deference to the Lada logo on the yellow car, but they were comfortable to sit in and they negotiated the forty-four year old track without even the vaguest hint of jarring. We did two laps, swapping between the front and back, and both were equally enjoyable.
Our evening concluded with a box-ticking exercise on Caterpillar (#2478), a standard Big Apple with an arthritic lift hill that took forever to haul the train to the apex. The ride quality was normal otherwise, however, and we were given two laps.