Discussion on the 'Zero Car'

Friday, April 21, 2006 1:51 PM
A discussion has come up on a bowling bulletin board that I visit about the B&M zero car that is on Alpengeist. I know recently there was discussion here about the 'zero car', however, I can't get the 'search' feature to work (Is anyone else having that problem?). I scrolled through 15 pages of archives, but can't find the topic.

Can someone explain the purpose of the zero car and why it is on some B&M's, but not all of them?


Friday, April 21, 2006 2:38 PM
Thanks Gonch!!!!!
Friday, April 21, 2006 4:47 PM
That's not to say, "Don't add any new info" :)

Those linked threads are old. Feel free to add to the info available.

Friday, April 21, 2006 4:58 PM
In summary of the bajillion other threads:

If by "zero car" you mean a car without seats attached to it, than yes, Alpie is the only invert with a zero car.

If you mean a car that can only roll relative to the car behind it (not pitch or yaw) then all have one. Just all but alpie have seats attached.

Friday, April 21, 2006 6:10 PM
But doesn't the Alpengeist coaster become unique because there are 9 wheel-bogey sets, as opposed to 8 for most B&Ms?
Friday, April 21, 2006 9:57 PM
Yep. Though many of the inverts are showing up with 7 car trains as well.
Saturday, February 17, 2007 5:03 AM
I'll post in this thread, only because it's the most recent and has links to the other zero-car threads if interested.

According to http://www.rideworld.com/members/images/topics/BM/BMArticle.html which is an interview with Eric Berra of B&M who has been with them since B&M's inception, he has this to say about the zero car on Alpengeist:

Another question on the minds of enthusiasts is the use of a "zero car" on the Alpengeist inverted coaster at Busch Gardens Europe. Eric acknowledged that due to the rides large size, a change in wheel size and composite material prompted a design modification on the coach so that the new wheels could run without any compromise. Once the ride was tested extensively, the firm realized that new wheels would work efficient enough that the "zero car" could be used to accommodate ride seating similar to prior inverted coasters.

So there you have it. Mystery solved (which actually was the theory of several people in those threads). They had to change the design due to the ride's size in comparison with previous inverted coasters. Once it was built and tested, they realized that it would be ok to actually attach seats to the zero car.

The only question left for me is: Why doesn't Alpengeist get retrofit to allow for an unprecedented 9 rows on an inverted coaster? (Or similarly retrofit the zero-car to be the first row of seating and thus take out one of the other rows to keep 8 rows)

edit: another early-morning typo.
*** Edited 2/17/2007 10:06:03 AM UTC by dannerman***

Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:41 AM
Thanks for the link Dannerman. To answer your question, I don't know for certain, but, my instinct would answer 'money'. Maybe it's too cost prohibitive for the tradeoff of increased capacity? Obviously, just a guess....
Saturday, February 17, 2007 11:10 AM
Seeing as capacity is very rarely hit on Alpengeist, I think the park realizes that even with an additional row, they would have to stop stacking three trains to make it worthwhile to add the row in the first place.
Saturday, February 17, 2007 3:55 PM
That takes care of row 9, but what about putting seats on the zero-car, and getting rid of one of the other rows? Basically, still have 8 rows but you wouldn't see the zero car (like on all other inverted coasters after Alpengeist)
Saturday, February 17, 2007 6:02 PM
How often does Alpie run three trains these days?


Saturday, February 17, 2007 9:47 PM
Why doesn't this ride have one.

It's much longer than Alpen, and it was built in the same year. I think something he's not wouldn't sayn is safety. Obviously if you put a bumper on that ride and you add some space from the front, and that train hits the other train, people's legs would most likely hit the other train, and that would lead to injuries.

It runs 3 trains unlike the Batmans out there.

I understand that the Batmans do have bumpers on the inverts, but how many times does a two train crash compare to a three train. There are more trains to deal with, and more electronics need to deal with. You never know.

Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:03 PM
First of all, I had to read that paragraph three times before it made any sense. Second of all, the zero car has NOTHING to do with creating a buffer zone if the trains were to collide. Nothing.

Also the wheel/seatless zero car issue on Alpengeist was due to its speed, not its length.

Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:17 PM
Alpengeist is 50' taller, and a quite a bit faster.

Watch Raptor (which runs three trains and does not have a separate zero car) when it shuts down and stacks all three trains in the station and brake run. Those trains pull in close enough together that you can see that if the bumpers all hit, the front seats and back seats of adjacent trains would be no closer together than if it were all one train.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Saturday, February 17, 2007 10:47 PM

SVLFever said:
Thanks for the link Dannerman. To answer your question, I don't know for certain, but, my instinct would answer 'money'. Maybe it's too cost prohibitive for the tradeoff of increased capacity? Obviously, just a guess....

You're probably right BGE was probably looking at that and said no due to the fact that with them putting in Griffon they dont want to waste the time effort and money.

Saturday, February 17, 2007 11:07 PM
Perhaps the right answer, but I don't buy that logic at all. Alpengeist went in in 1997... you really think that they were worried about wasting time and effort that they were saving for Griffon, a roller coaster slated to open 10 years later? This also totally ignores the time and effort "wasted" installing Apollo's Chariot in 1999....
Saturday, February 17, 2007 11:51 PM
That article was very interesting in many aspects (the client/rider happiness and the ASTM part).

We know the reason it is there now, there really isn't much more to talk about. The fact that it isn't used for an extra row all comes down to BGE not wanting to. End of story.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007 9:45 AM
Not quite end of story, gomez.

There is another option besides a 9th row.. Since they found out that the zero car could be used for seating (evidenced by every other Invert built after Alpengeist) they could make the "zero car" into the first row, and ditch that extra set of axles. They would keep 8 rows of seating, just that the zero car would have seats. That would also reduce the number of wheels that run (and wear down) every time the train runs, which would translate to reduced maintenance costs down the line.

To put it simply for people that don't understand, think of it like putting trains from Talon onto Alpengeist. Still has 8 rows, and still has the zero car, but now there are seats attached.


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