When we started Garmendale in 1980 we focussed on welding and general engineering. But over the years, the business has evolved and is now a firmly established second-generation family run theme park engineering business.
Those years in the background, quietly mending and maintaining rides for others have really paid off. This year saw Garmendale come out of the shadows and stand tall in our own spotlight. Looking back, it’s been a huge year for us and here are some of the highlights.
After a huge amount of work and additional training for some of the team, we finally reached the engineering standard BSEN 10/90 and received our certification. This ensures that the work we produce is not only built to a worldwide standard of excellence, but also that all of the materials and components we use are both traceable and of a recognised quality too. As it slowly rolls out, it will have a huge impact on the quality of rides being manufactured for the theme park industry and ensure that users are safe and protected.
We travelled to Dubai and were first time visitors to the DEAL show. At Blooloop Live the first speaker was Amina Ahmed Mohammed, Director, Dubai Accreditation Department, Dubai Municipality. In her speech, she gave us six things to concentrate on in order to do business in Dubai. Quality, Quality, Quality, Safety, Safety, Safety. As these words are straight out of our quality standards operation manual, We knew we were going to enjoy the rest of the visit – and we weren’t disappointed at all.
Our own team designed, specced, built and completed our own gigantic spray booth. It’s 12m x 4.5m and with a working height of 4m, allows us to bring all of our paint and spray work back in-house. It’s already seen some huge ride sections and the LCC1 tram being painted.
We welcomed the London County Council no.1 Tram, otherwise known as ‘Bluebird’ into our workshop for a complete overhaul from Crich Tramway Village in May. The overhaul took less than six weeks and saw us completely re-engineer and reconstruct the tramcar to full operational and (better than) original specification. We launched it at an exceptionally well attended open day which was full of enthusiasts, friends and family.
And perhaps a highlight of the year was at the European Attractions Show (EAS) in Barcelona, where we unveiled the first of our new QuadTrack rides that was built for Santa Park in Rovaniemi, Finland. It’s now running beautifully for its first winter season and taking many thousands of festive families on a magical sleigh ride through their beautiful snowy winter wonderland.
The QuadTrack dark ride is the first one off the production line of our new range of rides. These include Motion bases to follow up the one built for Bobbejaanland and the two being installed as we speak in Dubai for a client. We also have a fully tested and developed dark ride, an aerial roundabout – The QuadStar, the recently added electric boats and cars and the now formalised range of trains and people movers – developed after building more than 50 over the years for clients throughout the world.
The first QuadStar ride has been in the workshop for the last few months and is shaping up to be a beautiful ride that’s got safety built into the core. It’s going to be completed in the very early new year but it’s looking exceptional and is a genuinely exciting build for us to be creating. We will share that with you as soon as the embargo is lifted, but if you simply can’t wait, we have had a great and positive reaction to our step by step build stories that have been running on the blog over recent months.
In our own Derbyshire town of Ilkeston, we have had some huge press coverage and been heavily featured as a growing engineering business – all too rare in these challenging economic times. And we have become sponsors of Ilkeston RUFC Colts. The good news is that they are having a great year too. They focus on bringing their young talent through to the adult game with a real emphasis on skills training. These are values we share and that are very close to the heart of our business.
And finally, I was extremely proud to join the Europe & Middle East Division Board of the Themed Entertainment Association. It will mean even more travel, but the opportunity to get involved and help shape some of the industry thinking was too good to miss. I can’t wait to get started.
So, as we look back at 2016, it’s been a great year for Garmendale and I hope it’s been as kind to you too. 2017 will present a whole set of new challenges, but working together with our exceptional partners and team, we’re confident it will be an even bigger year again.
We’re off for a much deserved Christmas break and looking forward to seeing you in the new year.