Coaster Car Connections?

Tuesday, December 24, 2002 10:56 AM

Just exaclty how do they connect the various cars of different manufactors, Vekoma, B&M, Intamin, etc. Is it by powerful magnets, chains, stuff like that? Just wondering since everytime I get on the Inverted Beemers I am always looking up into the gear stuff and just wondering how the hell they do it...

Tuesday, December 24, 2002 11:02 AM

Wheres rideman?

I think they're bolted onto a spine type thing. That has seperate sections that are bolted together.


Tuesday, December 24, 2002 12:06 PM
If there is one site that should be bookmarked, it's Rideman's :)

My fellow Americans; Let's Roll!
The World of Thrills

Tuesday, December 24, 2002 6:35 PM
That site isn't gonna tell you much about hitches, though! :)

How cars are connected is dependent on how the trains are designed (duh). Here's a few common ones...

PTC's trains have a casting on the ends of the cars with a pin going through. The drawbar is basically a long steel rod with an eye on the end that is basicaly like an automotive tie-rod end. The pin goes through the eye of that joint. I think one end is oriented verticaly while the other end is oriented horizontally.

Most other two-axle cars are similar to the PTC train. Trailered trains are simplest if they use a ball-and-socket hitch as you might find on a motor vehicle trailer.

Arrow's Corkscrew has a split hitch, which is kind of neat...the axle assembly is attached to the back end of the car by means of a pin that runs longitudinally through the beam at the base of the car right above the brake fin. Then the front of the next car is attached to the center of the axle assembly by means of a 2-axis coupler, basically a universal joint that can pitch and yaw.

B&M use essentially a universal joint between cars; it's located in-line with the wheel assembly.

Intamin's trailered cars (as on the Supermen...) have a vertically-oriented spherical bearing at the back of the car with a pin going through the bearing. Again, the hitch point is in line with the wheel assembly. The design is similar to that used on the GCI Millennium Flyer cars.

I hope that makes some kind of sense. And I hope you're all having a very Merry Christmas!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, December 24, 2002 7:04 PM
Are you sure it's just a ball and hitch? The Phare patent, for instance, is for a universal coupler [Vancouver Coaster].

I think Prior&Church's was more complicated than that, too, even if it was a captured sphere mechanism.

Wednesday, December 25, 2002 9:07 AM
Wolf, don't argue with RideMan :-D

Shaun Rajewski
"a recently crowned person in the 'know'"

Wednesday, December 25, 2002 5:45 PM
No, Wolf has studied this stuff, too. And for all I know, he's seen the display of parts from Crystal Beach that seems to accompany the 'physics of roller coasters' exhibit that tours the science museums (taking Mike Graham's 'Black Plague' coaster with it). The Cyclone coupler was in fact a captive ball in socket arrangement. :)

Thing is...and one of the neat things about roller coaster scholarship, IMHO...there is more than one way to do almost anything, and different manufacturers have come up with different tactics, for different reasons. The Wisdom kiddie coasters, for instance, literally use a trailer hitch, located well off-center on the back of the car.

Consider this for a moment: All roller coasters work by converting energy. Every coaster has some mechanism for applying energy to the train, energy which is then used to propel an unpowered train. How many different mechanical designs can you think of for doing this? Considering only those permanent coasters within 200 miles of home (Wyandot Lake, Wonderpark, LeSourdsville Lake, Kings Island, Coney Island, Putt 'N Pond, Erieview Park, Cedar Point, Kennywood, and Kentucky Kingdom)...I can think off-hand of thirteen different lift mechanisms, and four different launch systems, all at least slightly different from one another. So for an open ended question like "How are coaster cars coupled" a certain amount of simplification is needed, or I'll be typing all night! :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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