Dr. Diabolical’s Cliffhanger, the steepest B&M dive roller coaster to date, opened this weekend at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. It features a 150-foot drop and unique 7-across seating in each of its three trains.
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In thinking about this 7 across seating I'm wondering what the reasoning was in choosing this. Although coaster trains aren't cheap per se, it would seem the cost of the additional seat for each row would be somewhat minimal in the overall construction cost, so why not go to 8 or 10 (since there are other trains that big)? Maybe size doesn't matter to SFSA? (insert your own joke here).
I also wonder if B&M offered 7-across as a standard option, or if it was a special request by Six Flags for whatever reason. Perhaps when they developed the vest restraints, they designed 5/7 width row trains as well but nobody has chosen one until now (at the expense of just additional cost for the wider train, but not having to pay for development and all that).
B&M has built 4/6/8/10 across models, so those should be 'off the shelf' options. With the vest restraints in particular, 6 and 8 across models. I can't tell if Dr. Diabolical utilizes a smaller track gauge than say, Valravn or Yukon striker with 8-across trains. Perhaps you can take a hit in capacity (24 down to 21) but save a bit on cost due to material savings of the ride fabrication itself.
I doubt the 7-across is "just to be the first" and was a result of other decisions that they of course turn to market like it was intentional.
Knowing B&M they decided that 3 trains of 21 gives you more theoretical capacity than 3 trains of 8. I prefer the ride quality of the narrower trains myself.
Apparently there were two track gauges, for 6-across and 8+. The 7 works on the narrower one. That's the entire story. Napkin math says that a solid 100+ extra riders per hour with a good crew.
Jeff's track gauge comment makes a lot of sense to me, as that probably does have enough of an impact on the overall cost, especailly with the cost of steel currenlty. Although the odd number seating still seems a bit strange to me, it would make great use of a single rider row if they have one. I'll be curious to see if we see more of the odd number in the future.
Thanks gang for the thoughts on this.
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