Chain Lifts: A Thing of the Past?

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 4:46 PM
What is your opinion? Which do you prefer?

I personally think that nothing will be as nostaligic as a chain lift, especially on a woodie.  The smell of oil, the click of the anti-rollbacks, etc.

However, with a Cable lift, everything is very effiecient.  The ascent is quick, there is fewer moving parts to break, etc.  It seems more cost effective.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2001 5:14 PM
never been on a cable lift coaster, for the exception of vekoma boomerangs and invertigos, which i believe use cables....they seem to work ok...i dont really see, besides nostalgia, how the two would affect the ride either way.
Tuesday, October 30, 2001 5:17 PM
I agree that there is something about a traditional chain lift, the sounds of the train engaging the chain and the clatter of the anti-roll backs simply set the mood for what is to come.
Tuesday, October 30, 2001 5:27 PM
Hmm, except for when the cable breaks...

Look what happened with Millenium Force...  The Ride was down for weeks(?) after the cable snapped...

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Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:06 PM
MForce does have an anti-rollback system.  The reason it was down so long was replacing the cable itself.

This is just a theory... but cable lift systems are probably practical only on larger coasters, because they are assuredly more expensive than chains.  Although this leaves the question as to why Steel Dragon 2000 has a chain lift (2, really).  I guess maybe Intamin holds a patent on their system.

For smaller sized coasters, it just seems like it makes sense to go with the tried-and-true chain.

Or I could just be completely stupid.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:11 PM
or maybe morgan didnt think of a cable lift :)  but i love the cable lifts!!  MF's is scary as hell, like when your half way up the lift, it speeds up even more, and then your freaking out because your 200ft in the air with only seconds till your 300ft and that HUGE drop is awaiting.  omg, i love that system, it put *so* much more fear in me then a slow chainlift, because its gonna happen really fast whether you like it or not, so you cant really prepare for it.
Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:18 PM
If I could choose, I would much rather be riding a coaster with a chain lift then a cable lift for one simple reason...

You don't get a sense of height on cable lifts, the ascent is too fast.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:23 PM
I believe Intamin does not hold a patent on the elevator lift, as the idea was used before. the DLP Space Mountain launch Catapult was probably the inspiration behind it. The system works in some similar way:

MF/EGF : Lift cart comes down in the station, hooks the train, then quickly takes it up the lift. Then, its rolls down back into the station.

Space Mountain: Train departs station, pushed by pacers ( pusher wheels ), its does a turnaround in a tunnel reaching a short and steep drop. The drop gives it the momentum to engage in the catapult. Train is stopped by brakes, The Anti-rollbacks closes, holding the train, as the pusher vehicule ( a multi tons sled running on a second track, under the main one ) hooks the fourth car. The cable is rolled on a wheel at the base of the cannon and the cable runs all the length of the catapult, before coming back down. 2 electric motors rolls and unrolls the wheel, moving the pusher vehicle. The train is quickly taken up to catapult position B, where the CCS ( catapult control system ) waits for the ok to launch from the RCS ( ride control system ). As soon as the ok is transmitted, the motors quickly roll the cable on the wheel, launching the train into the mountain.

As you see, both are fairly similar, but yet, while on MF one train departs each 57 seconds, a train is catapulted on Space Mountain every 36 seconds and 2 trains can be stacked in the catapult ( one at bottom position, held by the brakes, the other in launch position ).

Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:29 PM
MF was down for I think it was a week and a half, but since it was weekend-only operation I don't remember. The thing is, they knew the cable had a problem and gambled. If they had just replaced it, they would've had one day of downtime I'd have to guess. The only reason it took so long was because the I-beams got mangled when the cable let go.

Chain lifts aren't always snappy replacements either. Look at Superman at SFA.

Overall, I would think that cables are better from a maintenance standpoint because they have fewer moving parts. That was certainly how Intamin's president justified it at CoasterMania last year.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2001 6:48 PM
I have never ridden a cable lift rollercoaster, but I love the sound of the chain slowly lifting you higher and higher into the air. I think that cable (from what I hear and read about them) are highly relaible, but at the same time so are chains. I think that personally I would want a chain over a cable. For the simple fact. I love the sound of the chain.
Tuesday, October 30, 2001 8:21 PM
MF went down on the Sunday before Labor Day and opened back up the following Saturday, so less than a week of downtime. When I saw it that Sunday the I-beam was twisted and the catchcar was banged up and was being taken off the track. On Monday the return cable was strung. Friday during Millennium Mania the lift cable was strung.

What probably happened was they had to rework the catchcar and more importantly either repair or replace the I-beam which if you saw it was a BIG mess. It amazes me how fast they got it up and running considering the situation. The new I -beam parts looked flawless so they just may have got a new one's which probably cost a pretty penny.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2001 4:06 AM
The operation of a continuous chain is much simpler than the operation of a cable lift with its reversals clutches, brakes, etc operating each clcle.  Cable lifts make sense for very tall coasters where they speed up the lift process and are better for steep lift hills.  Steep lift hills save a lot of steel on coasters over 200 feet.  Of course cables or LIMS are the only way to go for shuttle coasters.  In other words, if its not a shuttle, its not over 200-250 feet tall, and it's not a LIM chains will continue to dominate.
Wednesday, October 31, 2001 4:39 AM

MillenniumForceX said:

I personally think that nothing will be as nostaligic as a chain lift, especially on a woodie.  The smell of oil, the click of the anti-rollbacks, etc.

I guess in my old age (?) at 34, the nostalgia factor has increased astronomically for me.  I smell the chain-lift grease and my pace quickens until I find myself standing in the queue of a woodie...the walk/run there seems a blur.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2001 9:31 AM
With all this talk of MF's cable snapping. Has any of the Schwartzkoph Shuttles snapped a cable before?
"ok everyone go ahead and pull down on your shoulder restraint so you feel nice and stuck!"
Wednesday, October 31, 2001 9:42 AM
Invertigo uses a standard chain lift on both of it's towers.The original design called for either a cable or LIMs but I guess it wasn't as efficient as a chain so that's what they went with.Personaly I prefer the tried and true chain to a cable any day.With a chain you get all the anticipation of climbing the lift slowlythast way you get plenty of time to think about what lies ahead.
Wednesday, October 31, 2001 10:04 AM
I think the chain is part of why Magnum scared me more than MF. I loved it!

But I'll have to try them both a few more times to give a good opinion ;)


Wednesday, October 31, 2001 11:40 AM
I am pretty sure that the chain on Magnum broke in one of the first couple of seasons.

We will continue to see chain lifts just like we will continue to see wood coasters, complete circuit coasters and all of that other old-fashioned stuff.  (Wink)

Wednesday, October 31, 2001 3:40 PM
While a chain may have more moving parts, cables have to be watched too. There is the posibility of stress points that  can't be seen from the surface. This is a problem that the San Francisco cable car system has delt with since it's inception. These cables are visually inspected very night, repairs are made,and the cables are replaced at scheduled intervals.

As far as the length of chains, this has been overcome a few times by running two chains instead of one long one. Dragon Mountain comes to mind with this solution.

Wednesday, October 31, 2001 3:45 PM
"Chain Lifts: A Thing of the Past?"

Chain lifts are not a thing of the past. How can they be a thing of the past when there were over 50 new roller coasters for the 2001 season that use chain lifts? Chain lifts will be around for awhile.

The cable lift will start being seen on coasters in the future. Does Deja Vu count as using a cable lift?

"Duff Man Says... Ohhh Yeah!"
Current Favorite Coasters:
1)Raging Bull 2)Millennium Force 3)Medusa (SFMW) 4)Vertical Velocity (SFGAm) 5)Dueling Dragons (Ice)

Wednesday, October 31, 2001 4:21 PM
The 2 most thrilling lift hills I've experienced (and I do mean 'thrilling') are MF and SD2000, and they're a perfect contrast to each other.   Steel Dragon, with its 2 chains--one after the other-- pulls you very slowly to the peak.   You have time to enjoy the view of the park and of the bay, and it keeps going higher and higher...and the anticipation builds and builds, until you finally reach the top, and...weeeeeee

MF just HURLS you up and over that first hill.  You get no time to think.   You get no time to prepare.   You just get the shimoley scared outta ya'.   Accelerating over the crest of that hill is frightening, to put it lightly.  It's the only moment on any coaster where I'm completely terrified to the point of wanting to get out of the train and curl up into a warm ball, sucking my thumb.   Thankfully, it doesn't last too long.  I'm always able to walk myself back into line for another go.


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