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From pier to eternity means happy people

01 July 2013

Curtis Instruments describes its involvement in the refurbishment of Weston-super-Mare's Grand Pier, which was all but destroyed by fire in 2008.

Curtis Instruments is noted worldwide for the quality of its products and the flexibility of solutions to meet varied customer needs and this ethos has been tangibly confirmed recently, by unique challenges posed by the refurbishment operation of the Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset.

This famous landmark, originally built way back in 1904, is a major feature of the town to residents and visitors alike but a disastrous fire in 2008 looked set to be the end of an era. Thankfully the highly progressive and enthusiastic parent company – AGM – invested some £40 million in a futuristic pavilion redesign from architects Angus Meek, supported by a structure built by contractors John Sisk and Son that has literally risen out of the ashes with a new super lease of life and reopened in the autumn of 2010. 

A key factor of the new entertainment facilities is the splendid selection of electrically powered amusements including the Ghost Train, two land trains and the Go–Kart track, all of which are designed to keep visitors safe and happy - very much the Curtis domain.

The attractions demanded reliability; consequently all were fitted with Curtis ac speed controllers, providing an unbeatable combination of power, performance and functionality.  Curtis Specialist Technical Support Engineers worked on site with AGM to create the bespoke VCL (Vehicle Control Language) required for each ride.

Equally AGM have provided their very experienced input such as a modern steel embracing design fitted with lap bars for the Ghost Train rather than the usual open carriage format.

Twenty two highly popular Go Karts race around a miniature circuit so would-be Formula 1 stars can take comfort from the seven different speed settings which can be applied to separate Karts or across the whole track as desired.

Speeds are remotely controlled and can be set according to user ability or age group for example. A complex set of requirements made easy by the consequential logic of the Curtis VCL.

The two 4 ton Land Trains are attractive and vital – especially given the quarter mile length of the pier! – and also feature Curtis AC speed controllers in this case models 1234 and 1232 set to control speed at 6mph for safety, with manual override functions written in.  To further ensure safety they feature Curtis FP8 foot pedals in place for braking and acceleration and the enGage IV instrumentation for the dashboard display.

Mark Phillips of AGM is very proud of the end result and very impressed by the expertise and on-site attention from Curtis Instruments “They carefully studied our situation and understood our very specialist needs and nothing seemed a problem to them.

Each different attraction has been equipped to perfection and the Curtis engineers pretty well became part of our team to see the project through. We average 25000 visitors a day and their safety and pleasure are at the core of everything we do. The pier is a fundamental feature of the economy of the town and we are truly proud of our enhanced presence”.  


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