I was in the midst of a conversation about Space Mountain at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom recently, relating how Cast Members must push the rockets out of each block brake after an E-Stop and I got to wondering which ride had the first midcourse brake run installed.
I thought it odd that Space Mountain requires the rockets be pushed and surmised that, perhaps, its design came early on in the life of the brake run as the cause. I have nothing of substance to back that up, of course, though I can't immediately think of other rides with midcourse brakes from much earlier than that era. Multiple lifts do not count.
I think one of the first was the Matterhorn. It has a bunch of those old skid brakes throughout its course, which allows it to run many cars. While they don't slow the car down usually, they can stop the car in an E-stop. *** Edited 6/20/2005 5:25:58 PM UTC by coasterwiz***
The old Space Mtn's brake runs did have declines its just that they were so shallow that it would take too long to clear the block before the one behind it caught up causing more downtime. I remember reading somewhere that they used to push rockets in the station as well to get blocks cleared faster until they installed those pneumatic catapults (DL).
I remember reading somewhere that Chicago's Riverview Bobs had 2 block brakes to allow 3-train operation on busy days. If I remember right, there was a special booth where an employee sat and turned the brakes on if needed.
Anybody have more insight into how this worked? *** Edited 6/21/2005 12:16:55 AM UTC by MooreOn***
As a former Space Mountain MKP Cast Member I can tell you that the blocks are perfectly level on Space Mountain. The block brakes only have two settings Open (only manually) and close (automatic & manual). The only way to open a block after it has closed is to walk out to it and open it. Then you have to push the Rocket Sled out of the block once it is out it will almost always make to unload.
"Every history has a starting point and most roller coaster historians agree that the roller coaster's origins were the Russian Ice Slides. These slides first appeared during the 17th century throughout Russia."
I highly doubt you saw video or film of that, RavTDD.