Block sections on rides with no MCB's

Friday, January 28, 2005 1:56 AM
Hey
I know that this might be somewhat of a dumb question, but this has been annoying me for a while. Example being Millennium Force, which runs 3 trains. Rides usually contain 1 more block section than the total number of trains on a track (I forgot where I read that fact, maybe rideman's site?) so that would mean that Millennium Force has 4 black sections. These sections are safety sections in case the train doesn't clear a section, the trains can be stopped there. How is this if there are no brakes?

Sorry if I might have combined some issues, or if it didn't make sense. It is 2 a.m. after all :)

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Friday, January 28, 2005 1:59 AM
Millennium Force does, I believe, use 4.

There is the loading station, the unloading station, the brake run at the end, then the 2nd brake run at the end where the train completes the slowdown and stops before entering the unload station.

If you're standing inline for MF, you'll notice that when the train hits the [1st set of] brakes, it passes all the way through them but does not stop. The brakes actually have a start and stop point, so it is not a complete brake run, but rather split into 2.

As the last fin clears from the '1st' brake run, shortly after, the train begins to climb the hill while train #2 moves forward into the loading station, and that train stops, and eventually moves into the unload station..

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Friday, January 28, 2005 3:09 AM
From my observations, A well-designed ride will actually contain at least trains+2 block sections. For example, Steel Force @ Dorney:
Station, Lift, MCB, Trim, Transfer (5 blocks, not 4).

I'm not as knowledgable on MF, but it seems as if it has 5 as well:
Unload-Station, Load-Station, Lift, Trim, Holding.

You can also see the reason for this in RCT(2, not 3). Build a custom coaster, and include at least one MCBR. You'll see that it will allow you to put on #blocks-1 trains. Now try running the coaster. Keep an eye on all your trains. Most likely, they will get momentarily stopped by the block breaks somewhere (unless the ride is absolutely perfectly designed that the time between blocks is almost identical). In most applications, dropping one more train will help. Thus, it's either MaxTrains+2=Blocks, or Blocks-2=MaxTrains. Unless, of course, you ignore the lift as a block as has been done earlier in the thread ;)


"Life's What You Make It, So Let's Make It Rock!"
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Friday, January 28, 2005 3:38 AM
Blocks are just controlled areas of the course where a train can safely be stopped. Using Millennium as an example, it has 4 blocks. Lift, ready, unload, and load.

The Lift block (A) is essentially from right outside the station to right before the crest of the hill.

The Ready block (B) is from the crest of the lift hill to the final brake right before the unload platform. The first set of brakes you go through are basically just trims and cannot stop a train, therefore do not count as a block.

The Unload block (C) is just that. The unload platform.

The Load block (D) is also just that. The loading platform.

Essentially all 3+ train operation coasters have a mid-course block brake... Just sometimes it's located at the end of the ride.

If you want to get complicated, Millennium has multiple blocks programmed into both the load and unload blocks, so they can advance trains faster... But that's probably just going to confuse you :)

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Friday, January 28, 2005 8:13 AM
There aren't five blocks on MF. Lift, brakes, unload, load. The first set of brakes slow the train down the second set are what stop the train. While on the lift the train stops right before it crest the hill. That last post about multiple blocks actually makes sense to me. Meaning that a train can be advancing to the load and the other train can pull into the unload at the same time instead of waiting. That really has to be done on TTD. They'd save a lot of time that way.
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Friday, January 28, 2005 9:34 AM
Jeff's avatar Technically there are several dozen "mini-blocks" on MF that overlap. That's why they can (and must) move all three trains at the same time in order to clear the readies before the front train crests the lift.

Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Friday, January 28, 2005 11:22 AM
Ride of Steel's avatar Yea thats right what Jeff said.

You'll notice that the trains won't wait for the next to clear the block. They'll be right behind eachother to save time. The second that one train is dispatched from unload into load, the train on the break run is 'right on it's tail' and stops in the unload.

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Friday, January 28, 2005 2:17 PM
I believe once the train fully enters the unload, the train on the lift speeds up.
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Friday, January 28, 2005 3:38 PM
Ok, that does make more sense on MF's blocking system. Thanks for the info guys. (although there are indeed 5 blocks on Steel Force ;) )

If I'm not mistaken, doesn't S:UF @ GAdv use some sort of "mini-blocks" technology to allow the train in holding to begin entering the station before the front train has completely exited?


"Life's What You Make It, So Let's Make It Rock!"
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Friday, January 28, 2005 4:31 PM
If this systems works on rides like Millenium Force, Alpengeist, and more, how come it doesn't work on TTD?

SFNE Central- Online Six Flags New England Resource

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Friday, January 28, 2005 5:27 PM
I remember in September 2003 TTD was reported to running in the so called fast mode. The both trains dispatched from the station at the same time. They couldn't do it after it rained because the tires that advance the trains can slip and cause the trains to bump into eachother. Fast mode would enable the ride to run all six of its trains at once too, the launch would have to have constant intervals to which it has done in the past. *** Edited 1/28/2005 10:37:59 PM UTC by gomez***
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Friday, January 28, 2005 6:05 PM
I know several coasters have seperate load and unload stations, but does having seperate stations realy help capacity that much? Any ideas or estimates on how many more pph MF gets with seperate stations rather than if it had only one?
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Friday, January 28, 2005 6:49 PM
Think of how many times you been left stacked on the break run, and then think of MF. While I have been stacked its only been for a moment or two because of the two stations.

Ideally the unload/load time should equal the time spent in every other "block" on the track, the problem is that the world is full of stupid people who dont know how to buckle a belt, pull down the lap bar, etc. Having a second station allows you to split up the unload and load process allowing for double the time to complete these processes and avoid stacking.


2017 Trips: WDW, Dollywood, Cedar Point, KI, SDC, BGW, BGT, SWO, Universal Orlando

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Friday, January 28, 2005 7:17 PM
The ending of a ride is the most important. It is your last impression as you leave it. Being stuck out on a block brake while others load in front of you is not a very positive way to end a ride. Thats why I always preffered load and unload platforms. *** Edited 1/29/2005 12:19:16 AM UTC by kyleds108***
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Friday, January 28, 2005 7:39 PM
Those brakes saved you about 30% in wait time if you are on a 3-train coaster ;)

As far as additional stations, I think that they should help, but I don't know. A good example would be the S:UF's: the one at Great Adventure seems to have a longer, slower line than the one in Georgia, when they do run two stations (I don't think they do anymore though... anyone know for sure?)

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Friday, January 28, 2005 11:21 PM
Jeff's avatar

SFNE Freak said:
If this systems works on rides like Millenium Force, Alpengeist, and more, how come it doesn't work on TTD?
It works fine, now. What are you talking about?

Dragster's "pressure" is to get two trains out to launch and stand by when the system is ready. Load needs two trains and usually has time to spare, and obviously unload it doesn't matter. It also is true that there's no need ever to run six trains, because all you need to keep dispatching on time is two in the station to load. Five does that just fine.

Interestingly enough, I noticed when I was up there yesterday that they still had a train on the transfer.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Friday, January 28, 2005 11:23 PM

kyleds108 said:
The ending of a ride is the most important. It is your last impression as you leave it. Being stuck out on a block brake while others load in front of you is not a very positive way to end a ride. Thats why I always preffered load and unload platforms. *** Edited 1/29/2005 12:19:16 AM UTC by kyleds108***

That's what makes TTD one of my favorite coasters. You're going 120mph, in a few more seconds you're going 10mph, you then lift up your lapbar and get out. All this happens in under 15 to 20 seconds. It's what builds up the rush so much more.

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Saturday, January 29, 2005 12:02 AM
Someone described the blocks on Millennium Force and ignored the fact that Millennium Force has a block brake (other than the fixed approach brakes) immediately uptrack of the unload station. So there are three blocks in the stations...the load station, the unload station, and the safety brake uptrack of the unload station. The lift, then, is the fourth block. According to The Rule™ posted on my web page, the train on the lift cannot leave the lift until the safety brake is clear.

Intamin cheated a bit on Millennium Force (and likewise on Top Thrill Dragster) by allowing trains to share the blocks, but they can get away with it because the trains are positively controlled and powered through the blocks. The usual blocking rule assumes that the train's motion is not controlled through the block, and that the blocks have to stop a fast-moving train.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Saturday, January 29, 2005 12:05 AM
If Millennium Force didn't have two stations, it would need an additional block brake where the unload station is now, and every train would have to wait on that block brake for the train ahead to unload. Switching to flush loading might not have a significant effect on the hourly capacity, but it would lead to an awful lot of downtime at the end of the ride between the end of the ride and unloading.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Saturday, January 29, 2005 12:22 AM
Space Mountain at DLP had an interesting blocking system, which allows 5 trains operation with 9 blocks... But, the catch is that some of the blocks can't have trains in them at same time. There are two stations (set up like BTM) and after that, the blocks are: bottom of catapult (the catapult is covered with brakes and has anti rollbacks), top of catapult.

The next block is from the moment the train leaves the catapult till the block brake, where a train can be stopped. Block 4 is out the block brake to bottom of B Lift. Block 5 is top of B lift. Due to the fact that the lift is almost exactly 2 trains long, if a train is stopped at the top of B lift, the block brake will stop and hold the train until the B lift is clear.

B lift drop to the trim brakes is zone 6 and zone 7 was added as a buffer between trim brakes and the stations. But, if a train is in zone 7, the B lift will stop the train from going into zone 6.

Transfer tracks were placed in a very efficient way: there's a transfer track for 2 trains behind each station.

Now, what happens if both stations are occupied and a train comes into the Zone 6 trim brakes? Its will be stopped on a dime there, the next train will stop on the B lift and the fifth train on the block brake. Normally, the ride can resume operation without any problems when one of the station is empty.

The braking in zone 6 and zone 3 put so much wear and tear on the brakes that Vekoma came up with a new kind of brakes for them. They now use metal blocks, which can be bolted off the brake jaws for replacement while its still on the ride. The normal Vekoma brakes involves taking apart the brake jaws so you can replace the metal pads. But, if logic follows its course... you can expect the brakes used for trimming on Space Mountain to be replaced by magnetic ones, like WDW did for RnRC. *** Edited 1/29/2005 5:24:11 AM UTC by Absimilliard***

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