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The Talon House

Roller Coasters


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7_2_111[1].gif Riding roller Coasters is something that most people like to do. I will do a series of posts here explaining a little bit about them for those that don't know. I've already done one post in the Complaint section.

I will begin with Nuts and Bolts: How Coasters Work.

Generally, there are a great number of misconceptions about how roller Coasters actually work: What powers the trains? What keeps the cars from jumping the tracks? How do the brakes function?

To begin, there are two basic types of roller Coasters: the classic wood-track rides and those sporting track fashioned of steel. As will come apparent, the track construction itself-not the track supporting structure-defines the category into which a Coaster is placed.

To confuse matters, many wood-track Coasters have a steel support structure or a combination of wood and steel. By the same token, a few steel coaters have wood support structurework beneath those tubular steel rails. But in ennence, if the track is made of laminated wood on which steel strap rails are mounted, it's considered a wood Coaster. If the track is made of entirely of steel components, it's a steel Coaster.

Today there are numerous variations and combinations of each type of ride, but virtually all roller Coasters are slaves to one very common attribute; gravity. The roller Coaster is a perfect illustration of the simple concept of what goes up will, in all likelihood, eventually come down. On a roller Coaster, this usually occurs quite rapidly, and that's a major reason why we ride the things in the first place. For purposes of these posts, we define a roller Coaster as any wheeled entertainment device operating on a fixed guideway course and propelled primarily by means of gravity and momentum.

Mechanically, all modern roller Coasters are incredibly complex machines. Included in future posts will be descriptions that may help the novice thrillseeker understand just what makes these towering scream machines tick.

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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