MF Blocks and Capacity

Wednesday, March 19, 2003 10:09 AM
Can anyone explain the blocking system on Millennium Force at Cedar Point, and what the usual capacity is, compared to the estimated 1600 PPH? I'm trying to understand how stacking can be ovoided on MF, but I can't figure out how it would be possible.

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Intelligence is a God given gift: Know how to use it.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 10:20 AM
Dont know about capacity but I am pretty sure that there are just 4 blocks (station 1, lift, ride/outside break run, and station 2).

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I don't care what anyone says, Magnum is better then Millenium Force.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 10:20 AM
MF doesn't usually stack. However, they also aren't doing 1,600 pph. In fact, it's impossible. Reality is more like 1,200.

If everyone is doing what they should, a train enters the standby brakes while the load train starts pulling up the lift and the unload train pulls into load. The incoming train pulls right into unload, clears the block. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The key is that the control system moves three trains at a time, something usually not done.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM
*** This post was edited by Jeff 3/19/2003 3:21:32 PM ***

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 10:28 AM
Well, that depends on what you mean by "stacking." Even if Millie could be opperated at theoretical capacity, there would still be an empty train just sitting in the unload station for over a minute during every cylce. If you consider this stacking, than, yes, Milliennium Force has a permanent case of stacking whenever it runs three trains.

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I hear America screaming...

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 2:37 PM
Let me see...using the standards I used in the TTD article on Walt's site...

A: From the station exit to the top of the lift
B: From the top of the lift to the end of the safety brake uptrack of the unload station
C: From the end of the safety brake to the downtrack end of the unload station
D: From the downtrack end of the unload station to the load station exit

That's four blocks. The problem is in the timing. To get from A to B takes about 20 seconds. To get through B takes about 2:00. A train may not exit any block until the block ahead is clear (with the caveat that the stations are tied together in the control system so that the boundaries of blocks C, D, and A are logically moved as the trains advance...an important key to this is that a train in D cannot overshoot into A because of the catchwagon design...that is, it is impossible to accidentally put two trains on the lift at once). This means that a train cannot exit D until 0:20 before the train ahead exits B...otherwise it will have to wait at the top of the lift. That means the absolute minimum interval, assuming my numbers are correct, is 1:40, which would yield a capacity of 1,296 PPH.

In order to increase the capacity, the train would have to move much faster through the final brakes and into the unload station. It only takes about 1:20 to get from the top of the lift to the uptrack end of the safety brake; the problem is that getting to the end of the safety brake isn't good enough...it takes another 0:20 or so to get through the safety brake and fully into the unload station. Partly that is because of the time it takes to unload and reload the train, then move everything forward. Loading on Millennium Force is slower than on most coasters at Cedar Point, and I haven't entirely figured out why, but the seat belt design doesn't help much. Partly it is the time required for four people to coordinate getting to their stations and all pushing their buttons at the same time to move the trains. But mostly the problem is that the train spends too much time in "B". If the train got through "B" 20 seconds faster, the minimum possible dispatch interval would be reduced from 1:40 to 1:20, which would yield 1,620 PPH.

I hope that makes some sense...!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 2:54 PM
Capacity is very hard to reach. When they calculate it they only give about 45 seconds of unloading and loading time. I know at SFGA, Bull's capacity is 1600. They never reached 1600 before because if they are sending the trains out on time, when the train leaves the station the other train is usually 2 breaks away.

I agree with ride man, if trains didnt spend that much time in the breaks then capacity would be higher. At Bull the trains go somewhat slow through the breaks.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 5:38 PM
But dispatching isn't the hold up on MF. Trains sit, loaded, waiting for the train to come back. Unless the train can complete the circuit faster (obviously impossible), it won't get any faster than the numbers he describes.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 5:39 PM
This is why I grow tired of people nagging about their park not getting the theoretical capacity. I've often thought of capacity as a manufacturer's selling point more than anything else, and they tend to approximate it to unreachable goals with normal humans working on the dock. Don't take what the ride manufacturer says the capacity will be as the absolute truth.

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 5:54 PM
Why are we talking about numbers? How about we all agree that with three trains (the most that coaster could have without dreaded blocks) the ride capacity is, as standard for CP, excellent.

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I don't care what anyone says, Magnum is better then Millenium Force.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 6:14 PM
Actually Dave.. The #'s the control panel displays for "completed circut" is around 60 seconds and that is top of lift to first brakes.

Tends to run about 64 seconds in colder weather.

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June 11th, 2001 - Gemini 100
VertiGo Rides - 82
Technical Services - 2002-2003
Frightzone Screamster - 2002-2003

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 7:01 PM
But Rob, I think the number I am talking about is significantly longer because getting to the brakes isn't far enough. The train has to clear those first brakes. And that's assuming that by "first brakes" we're talking about the first block brake, immediately uptrack of the unload platform. I understand why the train runs so slowly through there, because there are a lot of hazards, and there are places where workers and riders both are endangered if the train moves faster. But the train has to get past all the trims AND the first safety before the next train can clear the lift.

Now, converting the downtrack end of the trim brakes into a block brake would effectively add a fifth block to the ride, and could possibly bring about a meaningful improvement to the interval.

Now to comment on something that General Public said...you should know that at Cedar Point, my own informal measurements taken over just a few cycles at completely random sample times indicate that on Gemini, Magnum XL-200, Corkscrew, Iron Dragon, Raptor, and Disaster Transport, when the park is operating at full scale, those rides almost always meet *or exceed* the published theoretical hourly capacity. Mantis doesn't come close anymore, but Millennium Force is the only coaster I can think of at Cedar Point that never even came close.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
Who has clocked Gemini at 3,650 PPH more than once...

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 8:49 PM
Dave is right if he is counting the number of dispatched seats (which I think he is), rather than the actual numbers of dispatched riders. Simply put, rides at CP hit their interval probably 90% of the time. When you take the actual turnstyle numbers, they'll be slightly lower due to empty seats. Magnum's dispatch interval is supposed to be 1:15 delivering an hourly capacity of 1,728 riders. Most hours on Magnum ARE between 1,600 and 1,700 so they do pretty well. In reality, it is possible to dispatch almost right after the previous train drops off the lift (1,944 would be the manufacturer's max), but Cedar Point has set the dispatch point as being the top of the second hill and the crews shoot to hit that consistently.

In terms of capacity, I don't believe MF is set up very well. When you think about it, three trains with the unload station on MF is almost like two trains on a coaster that has flush loading. The third train just pretty much sits in the unload station for the majority of the cycle and the train in load can't head up the lift (even if it's ready) until the one on the course has almost finished. Capacity on MF with only two trains is terribly bad since the load station sits empty while the second train is unloaded in the unload station. What they should have done (it would have cost more, sure) is built the load station so people can exit there and they can use flush loading in the event that they are down to two trains.

-Matt
2001 Magnum Crew
2003 Magnum Crew

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Wednesday, March 19, 2003 9:44 PM
My point was don't complain when your park's rides don't hit capacity.... it takes a lot to hit max. cap. and keep it there...

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Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

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Thursday, March 20, 2003 2:55 AM
Nah GP, that is poppycock. When you can look at examples like Disneyland, Cedar Point, and (to slightly lesser extents) SFGAdv and SFGAm and see that *they* can pump out the peeps, it makes you wonder why other parks do not.

I mean, seriously, what is "inherently" different with the rides @ those places and the rides @ say IOA, SFKK or Dorney? In mechanical operation, not much, but in "practical" operation, it's night and day. *IF* a park makes a dedicated commitment to capacity, I believe that any park can get substantially close to the so-called "theoretical" numbers. However, most parks do not have that as a major focus, for whatever reason.


And I *really* dont think people are mad because their parks dont hit "max". Truth be told, many parks haven't even been in the vicinity of "max" and dont appear to be trying. *That* is what pisses ppl off. Like when you have three train op and *consistently* two trains are waiting in the brakes. That doesnt give a good showing. Especially in the wake of parks like disney that keep rides flowing in extremely tight intervals and dealing with a lot of smaller children.

In the words of Yule Brenner "Is a puzzlement!"

lata, jeremy

--"YOU STOLE Fizzy Lifting Drinks!"

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Thursday, March 20, 2003 4:07 AM
Some parks it varies from ride to ride. As huge as Alpengeist is, for example, I've never seen that ride run efficiently. I've only seen them stack all three trains, the course silent. Cross the park to Apollo's Chariot and watch the magic happen. That ride eats people and seems to always have a great crew.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Thursday, March 20, 2003 5:01 AM
That was my experience at Great Adventure last year as well. Nitro was moving pretty well with three trains, but when I went over to Medusa, they were stacking with two, which is pretty sorry... :( Then again, as much as I hate to say it, it is pretty sad that Mantis stacks with two trains sometimes.

-Matt
2001 Magnum Crew
2003 Magnum Crew

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Thursday, March 20, 2003 5:11 AM
KrazyKoaster said:

I agree with ride man, if trains didnt spend that much time in the breaks then capacity would be higher. At Bull the trains go somewhat slow through the breaks.

For Bull, this is clearly not a problem. The BOTTLENECK on Bull is the load/unload, which is NOT related to how slowly the "active" train is coming into the brakes (because of the handy MCBR).

On MF, no MCBR -> the bottleneck is the course block which means the slower the train clears the final brake, the longer the BOTTLENECK block time is.

My question is: On MF, do full trains sit in load consistantly, waiting for the previous train to complete the course (minus lift time)?

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"faster, cheaper, and more often" that's somebody's new sig -UpsideDawnGrrrl
My shirt in my photo seems to be for "Aging Bull"
*** This post was edited by ApolloAndy 3/20/2003 10:12:27 AM ***

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Thursday, March 20, 2003 5:49 AM
In my (admittedly small) experience, they certainly do.

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I hear America screaming...

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Thursday, March 20, 2003 6:09 AM
Andy: Yes, ask previous ride crews if their thumbs get tired from waiting to dispatch a train.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Thursday, March 20, 2003 7:24 AM
Theoretical capacities are just that, "theoretical". If they are limited by time in a block on the course, it is possible to operate the coaser very close to theoretical capacity. However, on many coasters, they are limited by locading time. Often the loading times assumed in theoretical capacities are the kind that could only be achieved during ERT with enthusiasts riding and a really good crew.

We've certainly all seen the way that riders can delay even the best crew. This has been a real problem on Jokers Jinx at SFA since the lap bar conversion. People can't figure out the restraints, can't understand that their stuffed animal can't ride with them etc.

Of course there are also many crews out there that can delay things terribly.

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