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Roller Coasters


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LIM/LSM Power:Extreme Thrills

The traditional electrically driven chain lift is the method that most roller coasters employ to convey trains to the ride's highest section, of course. Typically, from that point on, the simple concept of gravity is all that's required to bring the trains back to the loading platform.

In 1976, a Europ0ean conglomeraton including Intamin, Schwarzkopf, and Reinhold Spieldiener came up with a mechanical linear accelerator, which they used at the launch device in the amazing shuttle loop coaster. This method was quite similar to the way jet aircraft are propelled off carriers at sea. But two decades later, a new propulsion system involving revolutionary electromagnetic linear acceletators came into in the entertainment sectro following extensive experimentation in the passenger-train field, where the concept known as "maglev," for magnetci levitation. Trains are essentially wheeless and float above the troughlike track through opposing polarites between track and train. The trains are propelled by electronmagnetic impulses in the part of the track that surrounds the train.

Basically, two forms of this technology are currently in use on amusment rides: linear synchronous motors (LSM) and linear synchronous motors (LIM). Once the intial bugs were worked out, the latter method proved to be much more reliable and cost-effective.

I won't bore you with any further details at this point. If you want to know more, let me know.

Twenty-Forst Century Zaniness

As expected, the arrival of the New Age brings with it a number of rides which push the thrill envelope far beyond what anyone thought feasible or probable just a few years ago. Ther are three such coasters that fall into this over-the-top category.

Son of Beast, Paramount's Kings Island

Before Kings Island found itself under the stars of the Paramount banner. it became home to a legend call The Beast. In 1979, the park constructed the longest wooden roller coaster humankind had ever attempted (outside of the Mauch Chunk Switch Back Railway), and this pioneering theme park was again thrust into the limelight. And now, over two decades later, no other park had topped The Beast's claim to fame.

However, in the spring of 2000, the big daddy of wooden coasters will unleash his progeny upon an unsuspecting world. From initial impressions, this wicked kid just may give his famous father a run for his money. This outlandish effort, to be called Son of Beast, is the planet's tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster, and the only looping one. The terrain-driven ride stands 218 feet tall, sports 7,308 feet of laminated wooden track, and is spread over a hilly 12-acre site. Though the rides two recording-breaking drops of 214 and 164.11 feet and record speed of 78 MPH earn it top honors, its 103-foot-tall vertical loop really puts Son of Beast in a class by itself. Designed by German steel-coaster guru Werner STengel for the Roller Coaster Corporation of America, Son of Beast may be an anomaly, but its extraordinary ride characteristics will most likely allow it to retain it world records just as its father has. After all, who would even dare challenge this mighty pair?

Project Stealth, Paramount's Great America

The public love something new and different. And when it's very, very different, people really stand up and take notice - or lie down, in the case of Project Stealth, the work name (as of the orginal writing) of the new prototype coaster ringing in the twenty-first century at Paramount's Great America in Santa Clara, California.

Developed by Verkoma International of the Netherlands, this high-tech stomcah churner combines the rush of hang gliding with the controlled action of a steel looping coaster. As the train departs the station and begins to ascend the 115-foot, 30-degree lift hil backwards, guests are slowly tilted to a prone position in their seats. With guests lying down, the train then goes through the first inversion at the top of the hill so riders are suddenly flying face down toward the ground. Guests spend much of the 50-MPH ride on their backs and fronts, whipping along 2,766 feet of coiling twists and turns. (This ride has since been moved to Paramount's Carowinds and has been renamed Borg Assimilation).

Millennium Force, Cedar Point

Considering the high-profile, one-of-a-kind ultra-thrillers opening in 2000m in might thing Ohio's powerhouse themer's Cedar Point and Kings Islan, are in some kind of personal coaster arms race. But they both insist that competition is healthy. So it's probably nothing more than a business decision that Cedar Point is gleefully shattering the currrent world record for the tallest and fastest roller coaster.

Appropriately dubbed millennium Force, this steel super-hypercoaster arrives barely 10 years after Cedar Point took the industry by storm with the introduction of Magnum XL200, the first hypercoaster. And like MOdanna, Cedar Point is re-inventing itself again by raising the stakes--to over 300 feet this time.

It sports a lift hill of a record 310 feet and a 300-foot first drop (also a record) angled at a horiffic 80 degrees. With 6,595 feet of tubular steel track, this coaster features no conventional inversions but will instead have curves ove-banked at 122 degrees. So although the tree trains will not actually travel upside down, they will be tilted well past horizontal during certain points of the ride to compensate for the excessive speed. Besides its colossal rate of travel, the sweepiing course contains tunnels and a collection of drops and turns that guarantee you'll never forget Millunnium Force.

Don't get let your guard down quite yet, though. This coaster war is hardly over. A larger steel coaster from Morgan Manufacturing is under construction for Japan's Nagashima Spaland, and it promises to eclipes Cedar Point's newest surreal monstrosity. In the summer of 2000, the as-yet-unnamed ride will become the worlds tallest (more than 300feet), fastest (more than 90 MPH), and longest (moe than 8,000 feet) roller coaster.

NOTE: Since the publishing of the material I am using here, Cedar Point has reclaimed the tallest and coaster records with Top Thrills Dragster, 0-120 MPH in 4 seconds which sends you straight up and over a 420 foot tower to drop straight down the other side.

Taken from:

ROLLER COASTERS by Scott Rutherford

Published in 2003 by Lowe & B. Hould Publishers

Previously published in 2000 by MBI Publishing Company.

Edited by TalonRider
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