Put it this was, PTC trains also limit what designers can design if they have no other options. As stated by others. PTC's, NAD's, Gerstlauers and Premiers are pretty much the same thing.
Only from full articulation can you make quick dive turns and such without the trains physically twisting on the track from pure wheelbase alone. Just wait till Wildcat opens this year. I think many will be amazed.
Chuck *** Edited 2/15/2007 2:35:24 AM UTC by Charles Nungester***
...And by the same token, the Gerstlauer and Premier trains are mechanically similar to the PTC. Completely different design, but the same mechanical layout. Which is useful because that way if you designed the coaster based on what a PTC train can do, then within the limits of the wheelbase and drawbar length, you know that the Gerstlauer or Premier train can pretty much behave the same way.
Actually, Chuck, they have gotten really close to the limits for the GCII trains. I remember Chris telling the stories about the construction of Thunderhead where they had to do some tweaking because they were so close to the maximum roll rate for the train. What you have to remember is that while it is possible to have one car banked one way and the next car banked the other...the hitch will allow for that...the car itself is still a chord between the axles, and you have to worry about the car frame colliding with the rails.
That's not to say they can't do more. It's the roll *rate* that is important here (degrees banking per unit of length) not the total amount of roll. You could, for instance, do a shotgun roll with a GCI train. But then, you could do a shotgun roll with a PTC train, too, but it would be a much larger affair...! :)
Besides allowing for very twisted layouts because each car is a single row and single wheel base, Millennium Flyers are very comfortable to sit in. The sides are flaired at the top so that even lateral G forces are aren't painful to the ribs. It also accentuates the feeling of being completely free in a ride, where PTC's, Gerstlauers, and NAD trains make you feel like you're sitting inside of an oversized shopping cart. The cushioning is also a bonus.
My only complaint are the lap bars. They fall right onto you much like the late 70's - 80's Arrow lapbar restraints when set to lock. (Think Magnum, Gemini, Excalibur, etc.)
When you get right down to it, aside from a few cosmetic changes and restrain changes, the basic core of a PTC train of today is essentially the same as the PTC train of the 1920's. (OK, for a moment I am ignoring the tweaks made for Voyage.) PTC did build some articulated trains in the 1980's, but they have all been removed from service due to poor riding characteristics. (I believe the last set was on Raging Wolf Bobs.)
To add a little to what ^^Rob^^ said, the fact that each car followis its OWN path thru the course means there is VERY little damage done to running rails. Take a twister coaster running another set of rolling stock, look at the steel plates, and you can see the damage done by the trains. This DOES translate to the riders as well. Since the MFlyers navigate the course *individually*, the wear-and-tear ranges from minimal to negligible.
Does anyone know why PTCs don't just have another crack at trailered trains? It seems to me that short of duplicating GCII or Church single-benchers, that would be a (relatively) simple solution. You could basically keep the same seats, restraints, and basic car shape, just redesign the chassis to allow for greater articulation (roll & yaw wise) so the train doesn't fight the rails of the track through every twist & other maneuver. I almost feel like they have to, or they will have to at some point in the near future.
Other than produce & rehab coaster trains, what does PTC do? What happens if their trains are suddenly neither the top of the line product, nor the cheapest? What if TGG pulls a GCII and designs their own trains? What if GCII has success retrofitting their past creations (starting with Wildcat) with MFlyers and decides to expand their operation to coasters built by other manufacturers? They already have working relationships with several parks due to their re-tracking projects, so their client base is not limited simply to the handful of parks that have purchased scratch-built GCIIs already. Sure, this is all conjecture at this point, but I don't think any of these scenarios are all that unlikely, and all of them are things PTC should be thinking about. I think PTCs are great, but I do think they could be great without causing as much wear-and-tear on tracks as the current design does. Maybe not next year, maybe not for a couple years, but I do feel like PTC is in danger of being eclipsed as the preeminent supplier of wooden coaster trains, and it's in their best interest to be doing something about it.
All good points, However the articulation you talk about with PTC trains is the length between hitches that still cause a shuffle and bottoming out and clearing hill tops factor.
I was told a couple years ago that PTC did have a different line of trains available but the fact that their standard line was so much cheaper and parts are more redily available. That parks were choosing to stay with the old standard. (I HAVE NO IDEA IF THIS IS TRUE OR NOT)
Other than Trains, PTC sells parts and Q systems to parks.
Chuck, who thought he also seen a couple years ago that they were getting back into carousel horses in some fashion but not at their Train assembly place.