Arrow still has highest ridership/ capicity @ CP as of 2007

Thursday, September 4, 2008 7:48 PM

The numbers I posted are based on some very dusty figures for dispatch interval, where theoretical capacity = (3600/i)*p where i is the dispatch interval in seconds, and p is the number of seats on the train. The interval is the time from when one train departs until the next train departs. That's important, because if you are reading Cedar Point manuals (or so I am told) , the number THEY use for "interval" is the time from when the train stops until it leaves, which, in transit terms, is the "dwell time".

I tend to use transit terms--
INTERVAL: Time between dispatches
HEADWAY: Time between vehicles (that is, from the time one vehicle leaves the station until the next stops)
DWELL TIME: Time spent in the station (from vehicle stop to vehicle start)

So...DWELL + HEADWAY = INTERVAL

Usually the manufacturers numbers are out of whack, except that Arrow always seemed to come up with a reasonable number and Cedar Point always has been very consistent with dispatch intervals (even if they can't match the manufacturer's theory).

It has been a while since I took a calculator into the park and measured the intervals on every ride, and admittedly the average interval numbers I used above are mostly faulty memory. But they are generally ballpark.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008 8:42 PM

This may be slightly off topic, but when speaking to the Ride Manager and Operations Manager at Canada's Wonderland regarding Behemoth, they told me that they count cycles per hour. B and M set theoretical capacity for Behemoth at 48.12 cycles per hour and they hit that with guests in August, and then exceeded it shortly after by hitting 49 cycles with guests in one hour, getting them to almost 1600 riders.

He told me this was the first time Wonderland had exceeded a theoretical capacity figure with guests.

He did say that on an average day they run 42-44 cycles per hour consistently, putting them well over 1,300 riders per hour. I think B and M was a clear winner for capacity.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008 8:58 PM

Millennium blocking is set up so that only one train can be on the main track at a time. Millennium is split up into four main blocks: Load, Lift, Waiting, Unload. A train that has been dispatched from Load to the Lift cannot enter Waiting block till the train that was previously dispatched has cleared the brake block and is in Unload. That why some times you see train slow or stop at the top of the lift from time to time, because the last train hadn't cleared from the waiting area (which usually translates that trains are running slower than normal like on colder days). Also to factor in is the time it takes for the catch car to make its way back to Load for the next train. Trains are not allowed to be dispatched till the train on the course is at or around the station flyby (which is usually when the catch car is parked under the train in Load).

Dispatch Interval = 1:40
Cycle Time/Train = 5:00
Trains/Hour = 36
Max Capacity = 1,296

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Thursday, September 4, 2008 9:28 PM

I think everybody understands that, but more to the point, you see a lot of trains not dispatched until the returning train has stopped. It only works out right when that returning train never actually stops.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008 9:53 PM

Yeah, I've always wondered what the point of running three trains there is when there's one at load, one at unload, and one waiting to unload. I've never seen that ride run without stacking.

Unless you have one on the lift with one at load, and one at unload, you're still going to have the same capacity as running two trains.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008 10:09 PM

I've seen it work that way... the returning train has to be warm so that it comes in fairly hot though, otherwise you get the lift stoppage. I just haven't seen it in a very long time.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008 10:09 PM

For me, it speaks to what Jeff was getting at about waiting in line. Even if capacity isn't improved with the extra train, I am still happy once I get to sit in the train. I don't really care if I end up parked, so long as I don't have to stand in line any longer than necessary.

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Thursday, September 4, 2008 10:32 PM

PCWCoasterBoy said:
I think B and M was a clear winner for capacity.

While B&Ms CAN have great capacity, Arrow came up with an ingenious way to, in a sense, FORCE capacity. The Arrow coasters at CP (except for Corkscrew) all have a built-in safety feature that is called "setitng up". This is perhaps most noticeable on Magnum. If you've ever been nearly next to board, or been on the boarding train in the station and it's taking a bit long to dispatch the train, and you have a feeling that the third train out there on the track is about to finish the course, if you pay attention, you'll see a ride host grab a set of keys from the control booth and start to run down the catwalk that runs next to the track that passes over the midway.

When that train out on the course comes out of the third tunnel and gets stopped out on the safety breaks (because all three trains have stacked since the transfer brake is still occupied), it cannot be released until that ride host that ran out there turns a key underneath the safety brakes. It's not an automatic thing like newer coasters. Every time this happens, we actually have to call to Park Operations and let them know that Magnum was "down and back up" for whatever reason - whether it be due to a slow guest, a seatbelt difficulty, guest article, etc. Every time it happens, it also needs to be documented on our Daily Operational Report (DOR).

As you can imagine, it's quite a hassle to have someone run out a good 100 yards to turn that key and run all the way back, and it also makes the crew look bad to have several documented downtimes on the back of our DOR. It's a phenomenal motivator to have your crew hustle. Our crew this year was fantastic at not setting up - there were a number of times that it didn't happen even once all day. That's 13 hours of operation without stacking all three trains a single time. How many other parks can say they have a crew that can do that? Our interval at Magnum is when the previous train hits the top of the second hill, which is 45 seconds from the time the next train stops in the station and the gates open. 35 seconds after that, if the train hasn't been dispatched, the ride sets up. Our record number of intervals in a row this summer was 77, where we achieved a 1,530 hour.

I'm curious to know if "setting up" is a purely Cedar Point Arrow coaster thing, or if there are other Arrows at different parks that do the same thing with the key and all. Anyone?

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Friday, September 5, 2008 12:00 AM

There was nothing genius about that. Hell, nothing good about any surviving Arrow came from anything other than a happy accident. To me that's poor design, and something that other Arrow owners have "fixed" to allow super stacks whenever. If Magnum's control system were rebuilt, it could work the same way, with stacking points on the transfer and the safeties.

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Friday, September 5, 2008 12:04 AM

But a Millennium train can still stack even if they hit the dispatch interval. They will still draw in the same numbers no mater what. Just because they stack does not mean interval is lost. Just depends on the temperature and how fast the trains are moving. Most trains have a trip time of around 60 seconds, but when its hot they run closer to 58.8 seconds. You usually will see every train stack no mater what, that pesky catch car has to be ready before they can do anything.

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Friday, September 5, 2008 12:20 AM

The catch car is always down well before the train can dispatch anyway. Unless it has a hard time parking it, that should be a non-factor. If the trains stack, that means there's a clear track ahead and the train is still sitting in the station. How does that not affect capacity?

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Friday, September 5, 2008 1:06 AM

Ride ops are unable to dispatch until the catch car is in place, which marks the 1:40 interval (that's the time it takes the catch car to go from dispatch to ready). There are no sensors anywhere on Millennium's track between dropping off the lift and the final break (sort of a blind dispatch for the computer), so they could dispatch a train even if the train were to valley somewhere or if is running really slow (hence it block stopps at the top of the lift).

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Friday, September 5, 2008 1:10 AM

Jeff said:
There was nothing genius about that. ...that's poor design...

Says someone that has never operated a ride before. But I thought the same thing before I worked on Magnum. It's a motivator to hustle. Why do you think that having no consequence for three trains stacking is a good thing? When you have no consequence, you get crews like Raptor back in 2007 when all three trains would stack every time all season long. I guarantee you that if Magnum's control system were rebuilt to where the safeties were released automatically as soon as the transfers were clear, that you would see a dramatic increase in the number of times all three trains were stacked throughout the day. Lines would be longer. Ridership would go down. It's not "poor design".

Last edited by Dusa65, Friday, September 5, 2008 1:14 AM
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Friday, September 5, 2008 1:18 AM

Yea, set-ups would make me work faster. I would not want to be running out to the lift when its 100+ degrees out.

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Friday, September 5, 2008 8:18 AM

Dusa65 said:


It's not "poor design".

What you're describing sounds to me like poor design which you're trying to justify but pointing out a unintended, positive side effect. There are plenty of other ways to motivate a ride crew, and hassling them to run out and release a train doesn't have to be one of them.

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Friday, September 5, 2008 9:44 AM

BGRooDoG: So what? That catch car is back in place before you could dispatch the ride anyway, what with the train still on the course somewhere. Again, if that last train stops in the standby, it does it because the first train hasn't been dispatched. I don't understand your point. It sounds like you're trying to justify stacking by way of some limitation of the ride.

Dusa65 said:
Says someone that has never operated a ride before... It's not "poor design".

What Matt said. Operating a ride is not rocket science. I'm glad that you take pride in the job and want to move guests through the line quickly. That's super. You don't need a ride design flaw to motivate you. A couple of years ago I saw them manually release a setup out of order, which scared the crap out of me because I was on the transfer! I've also seen setups time after time when you get a special needs kid, twice, once when he boards and once when he gets off. The extra running around negates whatever savings your "motivation" had gained. Besides, I've seen crews hussle with two trains running despite the lack of "motivation."

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Friday, September 5, 2008 12:20 PM

Carrie M. said:Even if capacity isn't improved with the extra train, I am still happy once I get to sit in the train. I don't really care if I end up parked, so long as I don't have to stand in line any longer than necessary.

I think that's a point that is sometimes lost on some guests, and sometimes on park management. Since we often talk about guest PERCEPTION....many/most people really are "happy once they're in the train". They might even feel like they got a longer ride, hehe. But honestly, it's my belief that Carrie (and myself, and we're NOT the only ones) really do breathe a sigh of relief that the *waiting* is over once they board. Waiting ON the train is probably perceived MUCH more positively overall than waiting FOR a train. ;)

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Friday, September 5, 2008 1:30 PM

I assume the downside to running too many trains isn't just that guests sit on the brake for too long. I assume it's the increased maintanence (which the guest probably doesn't care about much, but affects the bottom line).

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Friday, September 5, 2008 1:46 PM

Working Millennium, I've seen my fair share of stacked trains even though we still enabled the dispatch button as fast as possible. Usually we have the whole train checked before the train on the course hits the second bunny hill off the Island. That leaves us with Idle time waiting for the catch car to park. When that dispatch light lights up we give the clear as fast as possible, usually within a second. I have seen trains stack even after that, which is usually a hot day and the full trains are running very fast. We didn't miss interval, we would still hit those high numbers if this were to happen every train for the entire hour.

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Friday, September 5, 2008 2:04 PM

You call it what you want, Jeff, and I'll call it what I want. The title of the thread is "Arrow still has highest ridership @ CP as of 2007" and I was giving one reason as to why the most ridden coaster in the park last year achieved those numbers. I also know that nobody I've ever talked to on the matter who has worked Magnum would say that being able to set-up is a bad thing.

Last edited by Dusa65, Friday, September 5, 2008 2:04 PM
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