Kärnan - Probably Germany's best thrill machine
With this blog entry I am sure to offend many coaster friends, because of course the opinions on different coasters are always miles apart. But in my opinion there are many great thrill-heavy coasters in Germany, but none of the ones I've ridden so far have conjured up the thrill, the “Kärnan's oath”.
At the end of the 2014 season, the construction of the almost 80 meter high tower of the Kärnan began. And on July 1st, 2015 the time had come for the Infinity Coaster, as the manufacturer Gerstlauer calls this type of railway, to make its first round (in public). Unfortunately without theming.
In 2015 I wasn't on the coaster trip and that's why I only rode this track for the first time in 2017. The theming was actually only completed in 2017. Because the high tower is actually completely surrounded by clinker bricks. What an amazing job that must have been. Respect!
The driving behavior was also optimized at the start of the 2017 season. So that some of the whiners from 2015 haven't even ridden the train in their current state. Also in this year 2019 a “little” piece of news has moved into the tower.
My first ride was with Marco, my coaster buddy from the very beginning. And like me, he has never ridden the train before. My brother also came on this adventure.
We marvel at the great theming. The story of the actually existing castle keep "Kärnan" is told in a documentation on monitors. From monitor to monitor in the queue, the story becomes more and more concrete. I don't want to write much about the actual story, but just have a look at the documentary streams on the Kärnan YouTube channel:
Kärnan also has a preshow room, in which the activation of the ban is impressively depicted and how it takes over power over the king and his throne. Then we continue into a kitchen room and through the exposed fireplace we come to the excavation site. We are the guests or visitors of the excavation work. The story is also carried on here on a monitor. A technician tells of a new area that has been exposed, into which we as guests are then shown. In the master builder's studio there are final instructions and we can put our bags in a “bookshelf”.
Then it goes into the so-called ban room. Here you always stand in a row with 4 people. Then the music sounds again and the ban chooses a row of waiting people and assigns them to a row in the train. 4 rows of 4 people.
And here I also have my problem with the train. I have taken the train 20 times since 2017. And always sat in row 3 or 4.
Once I was able to move to the front row because Marco swapped with me. This one time it started to rain heavily and in the first row the drops slapped nastily in the face. The track manages a top speed of 127 km / h at its fastest points and the track stays super fast almost the entire time. But back to the ban room and the entry zone. It was only on my 24th and 25th trip that I was able to break my personal spell and drove twice in the first row in the most beautiful sunshine. This track rocks especially in the front row. Incredibly intense driving pleasure with a lot of thrill.
Now the ban has divided the rows and the train with its 4 members is in the entrance area in front of the guests. The seats are arranged very high so that normal mortals do not put their feet on the floor.
And only a "pelvic cushion" comes from the front, which fixes the guest in the seat. So no annoying shoulder straps or vest straps. A completely free driving experience.
Then the train starts rolling quietly and gently, picking up speed quickly, around a curve, then a slight drop and comes to a stop in front of a chain. It is latched and then you can see the "misery": The lift protrudes over 70 meters into the dark tower. Only a few small lights on the lift and on the walls provide some light and increase the uncomfortable feeling of being pulled up. The climb is pretty quick. Chains rattle and ominous music steadily increase the queasy feeling. The tower smells like a lot of lubricating oil and it stays dark. Then the car comes to a stop shortly before the end of the lift. The music is hectic and then suddenly falls silent. Then the spirit of the king appears on the tower roof. So far I couldn't really understand what he's calling. But when he falls silent you are suddenly pushed into the depths. The passengers fall at about 11 meters per second ...
To be caught very gently. The music becomes more relaxed and after a few seconds the car starts climbing again. But this time over the dome. And then the car races down in the tower. He turns a little and rushes out of the tower back up to Top Head. Very briefly you realize how high the track is and how free you actually sit in the car. Then it tears in again into the depths and immediately back to the other side of the heart shape. Now it goes down again and the train races close to the ground over an area that makes up about a quarter of the Hansa Park. Very fast, with changes and several airtime moments. But the most intense airtime moment comes just before entering the train station. It's crazy how you get lifted out of your seat here.
Then it goes into the building. A little surprise awaits the passengers here. Then take the ride photo and the train pulls into the station.
When we drive this thing as a group, it always pulls us away to tumultuous applause.
In fact, I'm always flashed from the train and happy when we arrive at the train station. So my applause is always a sign of liberation. Is that also because of my aversion to free-fall towers? Does a roller coaster have to plunge straight backwards into the depths? A resounding YES! Why? Because it serves history. Here the builders have really come up with a great all-round successful attraction and realized it.
And the driving characteristics are impressive. Although you can already see how the track changes within a season. In the spring, Kärnan drives much softer and in the summer it is already quite jerky. In the autumn it will hit one or the other time.
You can ride the train if you are at least 1.35 m tall. So my little coaster friend could already ride this crazy train with her 9 years. And she's not afraid of anything!
The Kärnan's oath - watch out for its spell!
One more small note:
I only rode this great train on two dates this year. But the condition of the accompanying technology in the waiting area left a lot to be desired. Some monitors didn't work at all. The show in the ban room was broken. All the effects didn't work here.
If I now imagine taking the train for the first time and perhaps traveling from further afield to get to know this attraction, then I would be extremely disappointed to find such a state. Here the Hansa-Park should react faster and repair these elements as well. It is the total package that makes Kärnan this thrill & fun machine.