Thrill-seekers love the fun and excitement of an amusement park. But behind the scenes a lot of work goes into ensuring adrenaline junkies can go home safely after an exhilarating day of thrill-riding.
Liu Ching-wing has been responsible for the maintenance of the Hair Raiser rollercoaster at Hong Kong Ocean Park for six years now.
The park’s rides maintenance senior mechanical technician and his team work when the park is closed, examining the intricate equipment and all the auxiliary parts thoroughly.
“We need to conduct daily checks, including examining the wheels and screws. If we find signs some components may have loosened, we need to double check them.
“After the park closes for the day at 8 p.m., we also need to do general maintenance work, such as apply lubricating oil.”
Ready to roll
The Hair Raiser is Hong Kong’s first floorless rollercoaster – not for the fainted-hearted. It can hit speeds of up to 88 kilometers per hour, a breathtaking ride that hurtles, plunges, loops and dangles you around in the air, at some point with the gravitational acceleration of 2G or more, against the tranquil backdrop of the nearby Repulse Bay.
Liu said morning-shift technicians need to check the scream machine’s cars, platform, rails, brakes, seats and safety harnesses and ensure they are all in working order, well before excited visitors queue up for a one-of-a-kind ride.
Liu and his team also test the rollercoaster every day before the park opens. They actually ride the rollercoaster every day before the park opens, not for fun, but to look and listen for problems.
“It should all sound normal when the ride is running. If I hear an unusual noise, or it sounds like something is loose, we need to re-check things.”
Liu studied in a Vocational Training Council mechanical engineering program before joining Ocean Park.
He first worked as a maintenance technician in a shipyard. His friend soon encouraged him to join the Ocean Park Rides Maintenance team.
Eighty-five elite technicians maintain the 22 rides that cover the 91.5 hectare park, plus a cable car system, an underground automatic people mover as well as ultra long escalators connecting the headland and lowland parts – all are inspected daily. Additional checks are conducted on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
With the park’s expansion underway, in particular the 57,000 square meter Water World slated to welcome visitors in 2019, the size of the park’s maintenance team will be further beefed up.
Ocean Park’s assistant rides maintenance manager Yuen Siu-hin joined the park as a technician 13 years ago.
During this time he has furthered his study, attending internal training programs to become the maintenance department’s assistant manager.
He said the park’s technicians meticulously follow servicing requirements and have a strong sense of responsibility, for the 8 million tourists that visit the park each year.
– Contact us at [email protected]