Midcourse brakes

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 1:45 AM

As I was on Duelling Dragons' (Ice) lift hill yesterday I got a good look at Rockit's construction. There are about three mcbr's that I could see, and I thought to myself how awesome it would be if the train flew through these brakes. I think of rides like Montu of Goliath at SFMM where the train comes to an almost dead stop, totally butchering the rest of the ride. Why is it that even when the course is clear, the brakes are still applied? I'm sure there is a reason, but I don't have my phd in coastering yet and I am sure a lot of you here do. Another mcbr I hate is Incredible Hulk. Most brakes you feel a pinch, and then the train is released. Hulk feels as if the train is going through mud until almost halfway into the drop before the corkscrew. No wonder it has such a lackluster finale.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 7:17 AM

It has to do with saftey limits and all that other litigation junk. I know from talking with the crew of Magnum in the '05 season, that sometimes it has to do with how the wind is blowing, hot warm it is, and how many people are loaded on the ride.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 8:07 AM

In Goliath's case the MCBR probably catches really hard because of the intensity of that helix afterword. I've only ridden Goliath with the brake almost bringing the train to a stop and the helix was still unbelievably intense so I can understand in that case why they do it, and why Titan got that extra pre-brake helix (and as a result does not catch as hard, correct?).

For other coasters it may be a matter of unloading/loading timing in the station, and a small delay in getting the train onto the final brakes might make a big difference in keeping all of the trains moving.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 9:57 AM

It can also be to prevent additional track maintenance (Mean Streak) or for completely no reason at all (Flight of Fear at KI).

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 9:59 AM

The brakes on Rockit and Magnum have more to do with spacing and timing than trimming the speed for safety. From what I gather, when Magnum is only running two trains barely squeeze the brakes before the pretzel, they squeeze harder if there are three trains so they can time their intervals better.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 10:41 AM

What you describe is true for most coasters, I suspect. I recall John Wardley saying somewhere that the layout after a block brake is typically designed to be taken at a certain speed, but also has to accommodate a train restarting from a dead stop. In that case, they're designing for something between a dead stop and no trimming at all.

Then you have the whole timing issue. During a Dragster construction tour, the VP of maintenance at CP told us that the trim on Mantis was there to add a few seconds of travel to the mid-course to space out the trains better. The reality of that problem, however, still has to do with difficult loading, unfortunately.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 11:30 AM

I'm not sure I would characterize the use of the MCBR on Flight of Fear to be for no reason at all. That is a vicious, intense ride, and the second half is much more tolerable simply by having some of the excess speed bled off.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 12:23 PM

Because coasters are designed to use the MCBR.

Jeff explained it perfectly.

So while it seems like you're being robbed of a great ending, in most cases (where a trim wasn't added later) the ride was designed to run that way using the MCBR.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 1:53 PM

When you get a trimless ride on Montu, or on GAdv's Medusa, you sure do appreciate the fact that some riders prefer a more intense experience....but the majority probably do not. ;)

edit: Have to say, I did notice on Sunday that Rockit will have VERY little coasting between blocks, it's set up almost like a Disney ride with a bajillion blocks. Looks fun nonetheless, esp. with tearing by, and thru, the buildings in that area of the park. It didn't come out to the lagoon quite as far as I had hoped, but will keep me well-satisfied until Potterland is finished (that construction has *really* hurt the flow of IoA, IMO).

Last edited by rollergator, Tuesday, January 27, 2009 1:57 PM
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 2:21 PM

In correction to my comment about Flight of Fear's midcourse, it certainly does exist for a reason (as Ensign mentioned). My comment relates to how it is currently being operated rather than its overall existance. I would argue that a little too much speed is being "bled off" but that's more a separate discussion.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 2:25 PM

Having ridden JJ, FoF and Poltergeist sans MCBRs, I don't see the trimming as necessary...not since the OTSRs were removed, anyway. ;)

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009 4:14 PM

Paramount did run it two years wide open, and it was a totally different ride, arguably my favorite steel coaster anywhere. Knowing now what we know about the very fast direction changes and their effects on axles after the Maverick fiasco, perhaps there's a reason they back it off now. Although I agree, coming to a near stop can't possibly be necessary.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 7:22 AM

Gator, you forgot about Minenium Force being trimless.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 12:02 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
Because coasters are designed to use the MCBR.

The original post was addressing coasters that use the mcbr to aggresively trim the last part of the ride. Jeff explained it perfectly for typical mcbr's where the design has to be within allowable forces but still completable from a dead stop, that's obviously not the case for rides like SFMM's Goliath, Montu, Alpengeist, where other factors come into play, also discussed.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 12:20 PM

And that's why I ended with:

"...in most cases (where a trim wasn't added later) the ride was designed to run that way using the MCBR."

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 1:03 PM

Right it just seemed like you're initial statement wasn't addressing the first question or was addressing another one that got buried in the middle of the thread so it felt like I was missing the through-line in the conversation somewhere.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 1:36 PM

Goliath and Titan are the only rides I've bween on where I felt "trimming" was essential for the ride to operate without amking the GP miserable...

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 2:51 PM

Personally I'd rather have Titan without the trims as you got through the helix faster. The helix doesn't seem less intense to me now that they trim it almost to a stop--but it does make the helix last longer. I prefer the slightly higher Gs for a shorter period than the current operating configuration that merely prolongs the intense positive Gs.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 4:52 PM

^Notice I didn't claim that the trimming made ME happier...but I love strong positive G's (which is why I'm a big fan of the Gios, the Batmens, and the downward spiral on Fire Dragon) ;)

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009 6:16 PM

Ensign Smith said:I'm not sure I would characterize the use of the MCBR on Flight of Fear to be for no reason at all. That is a vicious, intense ride, and the second half is much more tolerable simply by having some of the excess speed bled off.

NOT IMHO. The ride is far better and smoother with it OFF than on.

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