Superman Brakes

Saturday, March 23, 2013 11:56 AM

Hey all, this has been on the brain for some time. How is it that the Supermen at Darien Lake, Six Flags America and New England get away with such short brake runs? I'm not a block expert, but I guess most brake runs have atleast 2 block sections if they run >2 trains. It just seems like there is more risk of collision if the brakes should fail.

Last edited by delan, Saturday, March 23, 2013 11:56 AM
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Saturday, March 23, 2013 12:04 PM
Fun's avatar

Not sure if you are aware but the Superman at SFNE did in fact skip through the brakes and collided with another train back 2001. Rideman has a great write up on that accident: http://www.davealthoff.com/tech/sros.html

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Saturday, March 23, 2013 12:05 PM

Maybe with two train operation that's all you need. The system won't let train 2 off the lift unless train 1 is completely in the station, so there's no danger of them colliding.
You're right tho, my first ride on a Superman was at Darien and I sat in the front seat. I had no idea that the brake run would be so short. The other train was still in the station and I about died of fright thinking we were gonna hit it. Nice smooth stop tho, every time. We hope.

Edit to add:

Oops. I had forgotten there was an accident. Even though SFNE's ride is different they still have a fairly short brake run like the other two.

Last edited by RCMAC, Saturday, March 23, 2013 12:10 PM
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Monday, March 25, 2013 6:12 PM

The ride has three blocks, which is the minimum for two train operation. As long as we're quoting my web site (nice going, Fun, by the way, using the new address) you might as well have a look at this page as well: http://www.davealthoff.com/tech/blocking.html . In general, you must have t+1 blocks on a ride at minimum, where t is the number of trains you intend to run. Launching systems and lifts without anti-rollbacks complicate this because you have to deal with aborted launches, but the Supermen are entirely conventional rides. In practice there are often additional blocks, and many companies prefer to keep an empty block between trains (that is, trains don't run in adjacent blocks) but in theory the limit is t+1.

The disturbing thing about the Darien Lake ride (and presumably the SFNE and SFA rides as well) is that all of the brakes on the holding block are switchable...that is, they can be mechanically disengaged and there are no fixed brakes as we see on Millennium Force and Dragster. But how disturbing is that really? You can make the exact same criticism of EVERY coaster that relies exclusively on friction brakes, and many of those systems are redundant but not failsafe (see: almost everything Arrow or Vekoma ever built). And of course Superman has the kicker wheel that brings the train to its final stop, that provides an additional safeguard.

It is worth noting that so far as I know, we have never seen a failure of a magnetic brake. Only failures of the engagement means.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Last edited by RideMan, Monday, March 25, 2013 6:14 PM

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Monday, March 25, 2013 10:15 PM
bjames's avatar

Um I don't understand your question because there is no Superman at SFNE. lol.

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Monday, March 25, 2013 10:54 PM

There was.

You're lucky I am not referring to SFA as Adventure World. Which is what it was called the last time I was there.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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Tuesday, March 26, 2013 5:39 AM

Whippersnappers. I went to Wild World once...

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Friday, March 29, 2013 12:33 PM

Haha everybody still refers to Ride of Steel (possibly the worst coaster name of all time) as Superman at Darien Lake. I even heard the ride ops slip up a few times the first couple years after the park was de-flagged...


But then again, what do I know?

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Friday, March 29, 2013 12:46 PM

RCMAC said:

Whippersnappers. I went to Wild World once...

Alliteration is fun.


The amusement park rises bold and stark..kids are huddled on the beach in a mist

http://support.gktw.org/site/TR/CoastingForKids/General?px=1248054&...fr_id=1372

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Friday, March 29, 2013 1:56 PM

RCMAC said:

Whippersnappers. I went to Wild World once...

Do you mean Wally World? The Whipper Snapper was a great ride!

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Friday, March 29, 2013 2:55 PM

GayCoasterGuy said:

RCMAC said:

Whippersnappers. I went to Wild World once...

Do you mean Wally World? The Whipper Snapper was a great ride!

Sorry Folks! We're CLOSED for two weeks to clean and repair America's Favorite Family Fun Park. Ya Ha Ha ha!

Last edited by Regulus, Friday, March 29, 2013 2:56 PM
Answer my Prayers, Overbook my next Flight!
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Saturday, March 30, 2013 10:11 PM
Alexx Argen's avatar

Dave I believe that on ROS at Darien Lake the right side of breaks are stationary and never disengage. If you look at a overhead shot of the ride you can see that the right side has a metal cover/ roof over them in the stationary position. I have noticed this while riding and DL being my home park I have looked at the breaks more than I would like to admit (queue is next to brake run just above eye level) I think the right side is always doing its job so to speak but the left is able to disengage to make it easier on the kicker wheels as they move the train into the station. Thats what I always figured.


Its sad when your best friend asks you the exact running time of a ride. Good thing I didnt know.

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