Station Design for Ride Ops

Friday, October 22, 2004 3:56 AM
What is your ideal station design with the ride operator in mind?

Lots of stations focus a lot on guest flow, but what about making things easier for ride ops? Some things that I have noticed from the parks I have worked at that annoy me include...

1. Control panel on load side. This annoys me because its hard to see if everyone is standing back if you are right next to them. Plus people like to ask questions to the nearest person.

2. Dispatch enable on the same side as the control panel. I guess they did this to limit the amount of wiring, but I think its safer to have it on the opposite side so as to have it away from guests...i have had guests accidentaly or purposely hit a estop.

3. Gates that prevent an op from walking down the side of the train when opened. On one hand I understand that if the gates are close to the train it prevents people from switching rows (in theory because if there is a will there is always a way). On the other hand, if an op needs to get somewhere quick and the gates are blocking, its frustrating as hell.

4. Yellow line far behind the gates. I understand that people shouldnt be on the gates, BUT its human nature to keep walking to the gate...most people dont even notice the line.

5. Control booths not made for ease of operation. Monitors here or there, extra mic panel here, gate panel here. It seems most newer attractions remedy this with everything on the same panel. I know at Disney every panel is essentially laid out the same.

Theres so much more, but what do you guys think? What bothers you? What should be done?

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Friday, October 22, 2004 7:41 AM
I know CP went really far on the design on TTD's station by making the unload platform visable to the control booth. The open design makes seeing the lines and gates easy to see. MF also has the control booth on the side of the lines. I'm not a ride op, so I can't really say much about operating the ride's.
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Friday, October 22, 2004 7:52 AM
Most of the coasters at sfgadv ahve the control station on the opposite side of the lines and the yellow lines are at the edge of the gates. All of their coasters are set that way.
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Friday, October 22, 2004 11:20 AM
I can think of an exception to the one about putting co-dispatch on the opposite side from the control point, and that's Magnum XL-200.

(never worked there, I'm an observer...)

Historically, the operator at Unload 1 did the spiel, checked lap bars in the first car, and handled co-dispatch. The controls operator in the doghouse would signal Unload-1 when the ride was ready to go, the Unload-1 operator would check with the other attendants, then signal the controls operator when the train was ready.

When the park remodelled the station, they put the gate control and co-dispatch button at Load-6...opposite end of the platform from the controls, and on the opposite side of the track. The trouble with this is that while the unload side is wide open, the load side is obstructed with five large concrete posts. So the attendant at load-6 can't see a thing on the platform. As if to emphasize this difficulty, the control panel is mounted on the uptrack side of the attendant station, so that when standing at the panel and pressing the co-dispatch button, the Load-6 attendant not only can't see the first five cars of the train, he also has his back turned to the doghouse!

On that ride, they should have mounted the co-dispatch control on the front wall of the doghouse. Or if they wanted to put it at the end of the platform (the glass doesn't afford enough separation?) then they should have put the control panel at UNload 6, because an attendant standing there has an unobstructed view of the entire train, all of the platform attendants, and the doghouse.

What I don't understand is why a park like Cedar Point, which spends many hours, lots of effort, lots of money, lots of research, and many meetings making sure that they design their stations to be as efficient and as useable as possible for their crews, managed to screw up something so simple, so completely!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, October 22, 2004 1:37 PM
So the enable was on the front of the doghouse and then they moved it? Interesting...

Something I have noticed at Six Flags is the use of the secondary control panel (I guess you can call it). Basically, its an entire second panel on the outside of the booth so they can run rides with just two operators instead of three.

Now, is this safe? With one train, I guess it doesnt really matter as they wouldnt be doing much other than watching the ride between interval. BUT when there is more than one train, shouldnt there be a controls op to watch the blocks, monitors, lift, etc?

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Friday, October 22, 2004 2:21 PM
No, before the changes, Magnum's interlock (as on most of CP's rides) was procedural, not electrical. The op in the doghouse would watch the train going up the lift and take signals from the attendant at unload-1, mostly in the form of a lot of window-pounding. Mechanically, there was no dispatch enable. But the controls op *wouldn't* hit the go button until he got the go signal from the platform.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, October 22, 2004 2:34 PM
From the opinion of someone who has worked on Magnum, the dispatch enable is actually not as bad as it would seem. From where the panel is guests cannot reach E-Stop or any other buttons also you can see the whole train and the gates from back there. As far as the window knocking that is partly because there was no mic in the control booth to relay verbal "clears" "ready" etc.
I noticed it was mentioned that Top Thrill Dragster was mentioned about being able to see the Unload platform easily from controls. Actually it is difficult to see unload from controls.
What I would really like see changed is having the gate controls be in the main control booth. It seems like it would take less time to load the ride if all ride hosts could begin checking and assiting guests immediately instead of waiting around for a slow guests to walk through the gates.
Interesting topic, what do other ride op's have to say?
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Friday, October 22, 2004 3:34 PM
wow...no physical enable...that takes a good crew who knows how to use handsignals! i remember seeing the knocking but never noticed the lack of an enable.
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