Monday, September 3, 2001 11:08 AM
If a steel coaster had a trainload of passengers, and a sudden  bolt of lightning hit the coaster-- what would happen? Would the train keep going? I assume everyone on board would be toast.
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Monday, September 3, 2001 11:11 AM
I don't think that it would keep going....In fact, I don't think it would've even started to go.  These coasters now have a radar system that picks up lightning strikes from miles away and refuse to let the train run.  The Hulk for example has one that goes for 15 miles.  Any lightning strikes within that radius and the ride will shut off.  So, in that statement, I don't think that that would even be possible.

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Beware of the Dragons! - Dueling Dragons
http://www.rollercoasterfreaks.com/

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Monday, September 3, 2001 11:13 AM
The train would probably keep going until it hit the next set of brakes which would probably be closed.  As for the people, lightning is a funny thing, sometimes it kills one person and doesn't hurt the guy next to him.  The people might be toast, or they might just need clean underware.
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Monday, September 3, 2001 11:13 AM
I mean if it were already out on the middle of the course.
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Monday, September 3, 2001 11:24 AM
Ok, if that were the case, I would have to say it depends on where on the coaster it struck.  If it were the train itelf, it's possible that nothing would happen to the people or the train b/c you aren't sitting on a big hung of metal.  If it's Arrow, you're on platic, B&M you're on rubber...If it were to strike a person on the coaster, that person would be in the hospital I'm sure if they weren't fried already.
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Beware of the Dragons! - Dueling Dragons
http://www.rollercoasterfreaks.com/
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Monday, September 3, 2001 12:52 PM
the lighning sensors would not let the coaster operate, probably a radius of about 10-15 miles
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Millennium Force
Millenniumforce3@aol.com
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Monday, September 3, 2001 1:00 PM
I know that SFoT has a lightning policy of 20 miles away... I've noticed several weather systems on the top of the tower at the park.
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.:| Brandon Rodriguez |:.
http://www.coasters2k.com
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Monday, September 3, 2001 3:25 PM
I guess I am not on the reality side, but rather I am just curious as to what would happen if say, a freak bolt of lightning hit during a light drizzle.
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Monday, September 3, 2001 7:49 PM
I don't know about systems where the computer automatically forces the ride to stop when lightning is detected, but most larger parks have a very modern weather center of their own, and when lightning/severe weather is detected it is a policy to have the rides shut down. Besides, all the coasters are grounded, so I don't know that it would do more than fry out the computer (doubt it, their surge protectors must be monsters) or freak some people out.

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Po!nt of View: A different look at Roller Coasters.
http://www.crosswinds.net/~justmayntz/thrills/

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Monday, September 3, 2001 7:53 PM
North-central FL is the "lightning capital of the world", or so they say.  I've missed out on a few rides when they were shut down for lightning, but figured it was "for the best"...LOL
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rollergator - intent on improving the "guest experience" - coming soon to a park near you
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Monday, September 3, 2001 7:57 PM
Both Millennium Force and Power Tower were hit by lightning before, causing the computer mainframe, circuit boards and such to fry. But of course, nobody was on the ride when these incidents happened.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 5:34 AM
From experience this past Friday...

At Hersheypark they shut down all coasters and "arial rides" (Sky View, Kissing Tower, etc) when lightning strikes are picked up in the vacinity by radar.

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"I wasn't always this cynical, but then I started kindergarden..."

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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 5:51 AM
Generally, when lightning strikes rides, nothing very exciting happens.  It's the nature of the business that things like this will occur, so precautions are taken.

If there were people on a ride, I seriously doubt that they would be injured.  As someone previously stated, sitting in a coaster train keeps you isolated from the metal of the track.  This is done with the plastic coating on the wheels, the fiberglass bodies, the rubber seats.

Electricity ALWAYS takes the path of least resistance.  The charge in the air hits the closest thing that will deliver it to ground.  Your body is not that path.  The top of a 200 foot metal structure, down a support, and through grounding rods is.

Occasionally severe storms will mess with computer systems or sensors.  These occurrances are few.  Rides get hit A LOT!  (Especially tall coasters, S&S/Intamin Drop rides, & Skycoasters) Very rarely do you see them not reopen after a storm.

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"Let's go out and have some fun!" (New Order)

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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 11:54 AM
One thing you must remember is that coasters are grounded.  This meens that if a bolt of electricity strikes it, it will go down to the ground.  It might fry some hardware, but it's unlikly that it would harm riders unless it hits them.
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Tuesday, September 4, 2001 7:04 PM
One thing no one is considering is there is always a first lightning bolt and the odds are just as good for the storm to develope right over the park and the first strike to be there as it it to form 50 miles away. That being said, electricity is VERY lazy. It will ALWAYS take the path of least resistance! The odds of a person being hit are much lower than the odds of the superstructure being hit. Not impossible, but not highly likely. I have been on an airplane that had lightning pass through it and the only effect on the plane or passengers was VERY bright light and VERY VERY loud crash, but no affect to the plane. Everyone panicked, thinking an explosion had occured, I thought cool we were hit by lightning. I knew we were OK because I still heard 2 engines running and the plane was still flying level. The pilot came over the intercom and joked that as soon as he got his vision back he would land the plane!!! :) 
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Just a couple of G-force junkies!
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