Inverted Zero Cars

Friday, July 23, 2004 12:39 PM
Let's see if anyone knows the actual answer to this...I've never thought much about it before but Alpengeist is the only B&M inverted coaster that I know of with a zero car. I've run through a few possibilities but does anyone actually know why that is? Are there any other B&M inverts with zero cars?
Friday, July 23, 2004 1:32 PM
A quick search brought up these threads:

Friday, July 23, 2004 2:58 PM
They all have the zero cars, but Alpengeist is the only one that doesn't have a set of seats hanging off that first axle. On most of the B&M inverted coasters, the first car (mechanically, not as identified) has two rows of seats.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Friday, July 23, 2004 5:19 PM
An only tangentially related question directed mostly at Dave, but to anyone who can answer:

I was reading your article on rolling stock and wondering why most of the wheel bogey sets these days are 3 sets of two wheels rather than just 3 single wheels.

Is it a weight distribution thing?

Friday, July 23, 2004 5:34 PM
I guess I should've searched the past posts for this, I read the forum sometimes but have only posted maybe three times. Sorry about that. Dave, I've looked at your site a few times, some really good information on there. Good job. I would say the two-wheel design is a combination of stability and load distribution, probably more stability. I think it helps keep the car stapled to the track.
Saturday, July 24, 2004 3:33 AM
How so?

To follow up Dave's explanation, you're going to have to do a bit better than that. ;)

Saturday, July 24, 2004 1:28 PM
Another question in line with these others: It was always my impression that the 'zero car' referred to the first car of a train if it didn't have any seats, i.e. The 'first car' was where the first row of seats was so the car before that was referred to as the 'zero car'.

Or did I just make that up?

Monday, July 26, 2004 8:36 AM
I wasn't trying to follow up Dave's explanation, just thinking out loud :-D

Having worked at a B&M coaster, I've seen how they operate enough to say that I think it's a combination of stability and load distribution but I haven't done a mechanical analysis on the train so I can't say that for sure.

As for the numbering of the cars, that makes sense to me. I think the rows are numbered more for the benefit of the guests and ride ops and most of the GP doesn't know about zero cars. I think they just start with the first row of seats and call that row 1, anything in front of that would be zero.

More thinking out loud...

Monday, July 26, 2004 8:44 AM
Drachen Fire, I think you're right about the numbering. After all, what we're seeing is seat row numbering...having worked at a B&M coaster, unless that coaster happened to be Alpengeist, you might have noticed that the lead car has two rows of seats on it, and yet those rows are not identified as "1-1" and "1-2"; they are identified as "1" and "2".

On a related note, yesterday I saw an AH kiddie boat ride where the boats were numbered 0-5. My preferred explanation is that there is a geek working in the maintenance department.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, July 26, 2004 9:06 AM
Did Alpiengeist ever have seats on it's front axle? (In this photo there appears to be slots to insert seats)

Monday, July 26, 2004 4:44 PM
No, Alpengeist has always had the empty lead axle. Which, by the way, matches mechanically the configuration of Apollo's Chariot.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, July 26, 2004 9:05 PM
I actually worked at Apollo's Chariot the first and second years it was open...I'm looking back through my pictures and I don't have a good one of the mechanics of the zero car but from what I remember the first car is mechanically identical to the rest of the train, each car is a trailer attached to the car in front of it. The zero cars on AC and Alpengeist may be identical, but I never had the opportunity to work Alpengeist and study it up close so I can't really say. I'll take your word for it, Dave. As for the zero car and the first car being linked differently from the rest, I'm not so sure about that because I've never noticed any difference between the way the 1st car is coupled to the zero car and the way the 2nd car is coupled to the first. It makes sense, I just don't remember it that way. I'll look more closely the next time I'm there. Actually, the seats are numbered 1-9 on AC but the cars are numbered 3-0, 3-1, 3-2 (train #-car #), just in case anyone didn't know that and wanted a quick factoid.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004 1:41 AM
Yeah, and they missed a good bet on Apollo. Why aren't the trains numbered "I", "II" and "III", as the tubs on the Orbiter used to be? Great Roman theming until you see that big Arabic number on the front of the train...

Anyway, the connection between axles on the B&M coasters is a universal joint coupler positioned inline with the wheel carriers. All of the wheel carriers can "pitch" and "steer", but that reflects what the wheel carrier can do relative to the car section it is attached to. At the center beam, the joint controls what the car sections can do relative to each other: the sections can roll, pitch, and yaw relative to each other. The exception is the very first axle. That axle can roll relative to the rest of the train, but it cannot pitch or yaw. That controls the position of the lead car, which consists of the first two axles, and by extension stabilizes the position of the entire train, since each section of the train is a chord suspended between two axles.

You can really see this if you watch a ride like Raptor starting down the first drop and you see that the space between the seats doesn't change between the first and second row, while the other rows are scrunched together as the train goes through the drop. You can also see it in the front seat of Apollo's Chariot if you watch the lead axle and notice that it never yaws or pitches relative to the front seat. Yet if you ride in the second row, you can watch the front row pitch and yaw relative to the second row.

Arrow does something similar with their Corkscrew trains, except that the train is arranged backward...the controlling axle is behind the last car.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004 2:40 AM

Gotta love the Rideman Dave Althoff Jr:

Coasterbuzz's local "go-to guy"!!


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