Headrests on wooden coaster trains

Tuesday, May 28, 2002 7:07 PM
After watching several different coaster shows, I have noticed that many of the wooden coaster trains have either no headrests or ones with large holes in them, as opposed to solid headrests that can't be seen through. Two of the woodies at my home park have solid headreasts. As far as I know the trains at my park are PTC's and the ones that I have seen on the videos appear to be PTC's as well...I may be wrong. Examples: Mean Streak, GA Cyclone. Is there any reason for these different types of headrests? I would think that the ones with the holes would allow the trains to go faster...plus I think they make the trains look better.

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-Hurler Crew 2002-


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-Hurler Crew 2002-

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Tuesday, May 28, 2002 7:21 PM
I hate headrests. There is really, IMO, no reason for them. They just block your view. Both wooden coasters at Great America have them. Even worse are the things on American Eagle. They stick out on the side and get in the way alot. I think they are so you can't slap hands or touch the trees. Does anyone know for sure?
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Tuesday, May 28, 2002 7:40 PM
They're there to keep riders' hands in the car, that's for sure. It'd be my guess that they're there to prevent hand slapping, as there aren't exactly a whole lot of trees (or anything else) to touch around AE.

-Nate

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Tuesday, May 28, 2002 8:36 PM
As an op, I've seen folks reach in between and around the headrests...solid ones...trying to touch their lil buddies sitting behind them. Headrests don't seem to stop them from reaching out'n'back. I was sort of thinking that solid headrests were used on trains that were intended to go slower due to wind resistance. And that open rests were on faster rides..but that is only my guess though...


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-Hurler Crew 2002-

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Tuesday, May 28, 2002 8:49 PM

I think it's purely the park's choice. I can't see huge andvantages in each design over each other.

And, as an operator, I do believe they are necessary for safety.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2002 8:55 PM
If you read my post on air gates you are going to think that i am one negative kind of guy. But i REALLY hate headrests. Loath may be a better word. I cannot express fully how much i dislike them. They are never soft enough to provide any rest for your head. And on a good and rough type of wooden coaster i will innevidably hit my head on the one if FRONT of me (or come close). On rides like the Blue Streak (truely a very good ride before the overhaul) i must have my hands up to brace myself from swinging over the lap bar into them. As far as i can tell they provide no purpose.
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Tuesday, May 28, 2002 9:32 PM

They're put on for a reason... they do have a purpose, albeit an annoying one to some.

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Tuesday, May 28, 2002 10:15 PM
On American Eagle, the only reachable objects outside the train (other than riders on the other train) are the trees by that final helix, where they have the pine needles, but I don't think anyone would be stupid enough to reach out to try to touch one of those. So in other words, I think they're designed to prevent hand slapping, which I find somewhat silly, since the fun of other racing coasters like Gemini for instance, is partially in the hand slapping. As for solid vs. open headrests, I'm also assuming that it's in order to either let the train go faster or slower.

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"You can't kill what's stronger than death" - Zakk Wylde

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 6:39 AM
If they have a purpose, what is it?

I have yet to hear an explanation that is suitable.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 6:46 AM
meangene, pretty sure they're there to prevent us from looking like those bobblehead dolls.....ouch....;)
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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 6:55 AM
one would think that they would be softer then.

And why aren't there any one steel non-looping coasters like the Magnum??

*** This post was edited by meangene on 5/29/2002. ***

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 7:35 AM

I don't have a problem with headrests. Yeah, they block a small amount of the view but nothing to cry about. However, I think the headrests with the holes look a lot better than the solid ones.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 7:44 AM
The headrests are only there to prevent your head being whipped back (aka whiplash). They aren't necessarily meant as a pillow for your head.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 8:03 AM

So how come the Gerstlauer trains (Villan @ SFWoA, old trains on Legend, etc.) don't have headrests?

My guess is that PTC has been sued for whiplash and has put headrests on their trains as a "cover your own @$$" measure to prevent future lawsuits. (Same goes for seat dividers and removal of buzz bar lapbars...)

As for why some are solid and some aren't... I have no clue.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 9:15 AM

meangene said:
If they have a purpose, what is it?

I have yet to hear an explanation that is suitable.



The first time that I rode GASM, at SFOG ,back in the early Seventies, I was probably just tall enough to get on the ride. At the bottom of the first hill, my head snapped back and hit something, I'm guessing metal, on the back of the seat. I was doubled over in pain for the middle section of the ride. The second time I rode the coaster, I did not remember anything between the first drop and the final bunny hills approching the station. So, even though I do not like having them blocking the view, I think they do have a purpose.

Alan T.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 10:50 AM

kip099 said:

My guess is that PTC has been sued for whiplash and has put headrests on their trains as a "cover your own @$$" measure to prevent future lawsuits. (Same goes for seat dividers and removal of buzz bar lapbars...)



I'm positive that the decision to have or not have headrests, seat dividers, and buzz bars is all up to the park.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 10:51 AM

The reason for headrests:

One word: Lawyers.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 10:56 AM
The type of headrest you find on a PTC train will be determined by the type of seat-back that train has. Earlier trains that have been retrofitted with high seat backs, or some of the ones that shipped that way in the early '90s, have seat backs which are self-supporting, covered with high-density urethane foam. These are the ones with the holes in them. At Kings Island, this is what they've got, but the park covered the urethane seatback with a vinyl upholstered slip cover...so no holes.

Newer trains with higher seat backs have no holes. If you look at the back of the seat back you can see it's all plywood; the front side is foam rubber and vinyl upholstery. No holes because the back panel has to be stiff enough to support the seat cushion.

The reason headrests are used is to prevent whiplash-type injuries. But on a wood coaster, you will only get a whiplash injury in the event of a sudden stop, in which case the brakes need adjusted, a collision, in which case something went terribly wrong, or if there is something dreadfully wrong with the trackwork. Three ways to get whiplash, none of which can be considered "normal operation." Parks are starting to realize this, and we've gone from virtually all new wood coasters having headrests to virtually no new wood coasters having headrests. I think the last new wood coaster in the US to have 'em was probably the Hersheypark Wildcat.....

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Wednesday, May 29, 2002 11:23 AM
Well, you may prevent whiplash... But you create concussions. I especially dislike the retro fits where they remove the handle bars (like on the Blue Streak). If they are ment to have my mellon bash into it i expect them to have some sort of padding to prevent head trauma.

On the other hand, I think RideMan has the jist of it.

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