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Roller Coasters

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Roller Coater Trains

Roller coaster vehicles come in all shapes, sizes and styles. Many early coasters and some later steel coasters such as the Wild Mouse and Jet Stars, use individual cars seating between two and four passengers. Traditional coaster cars seat four, six or eight passengers, with six being the most common. On larger rides of both wood and steel variety, cars are linked together of varying lengths ans passenger capacities. Larger rides usually ude two or more trains to increase capacity and keep the queue lines flowing. In fact, some German portable fairground coasters use asmany as five seven-car trains, all operateing on the same track layout. This type of operation requires split-timing on the operator's part, as well as an advanced computer systen capable of keeping the trains all properly spaced to avoid collisions.

Typically, wood coastes use a boxy, low-slung collection of cars made of a combination of wood and steel or aluminum, and there have been a few instances of wood-track coaster trains incorporating fiberglass carbodies-though some judge their comfort and ride quality to be inferior to wood-and-steel carbodies.

Steel-coaster trains are almost always constructed of fiberglass, steel, and aluminum.

Generally, there are three types of coaster trains: conventional, articulated, and trailer articulated. The cars of a conventionalTrain are coupled together railroad-style and each have their own set of wheels (usually four wheelsets to a car). With an articulated train, adjacent cars share "truck" or "bogies" (wheel assemblies), thereby reducing the overall weight of the train and allowing for smoother flow over the course. Most steel-track coaster trains are of this design. With a trailer-type atriculated train, the foward end of each car is wheelless ans is supported by the wheeled back end of the preceding car. Trailered trains have flexible wheelbases and therefore are ideal on wooden coasters that have partricularly gnarled track layouts.

The model of train chosen for any given coaster depends on the type of ride itself, the maxumum number of patrons the park wishes to handle efficiently, and construction budgets. Some parks will adjust train size to meet anticipated customer demand. After King's Island (Cincinnati) opened it Beast roller coaster in 1979, the wild coasters popuilarity required the park to add a car to each of the rides three trains.

Taken from:

ROLLER COASTERS by Scott Rutherford

Published in 2003 by Lowe & B. Hould Publishers

Previously published in 2000 by MBI Publishing Company.

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