Superman Ultimate Flight Question

Monday, June 6, 2005 3:17 PM
Hi All,

I've been reading some news and some trip reports about the 1 train operation of SUF at SFGADV. After checking out I noticed that SUf at SFOG has 3 trains but the SUF at SFGADV and SFAM only have 2. Is this because they have 2 stations. So they can unload load and dispatch the 3 trains at the same time. So why one is unloading one is loading and one is heading out. Also I've don't think I know a B&M off the top of my head other than these 2 SUf that have 2 trains. Do you think they only got 2 cause they could be expensive so they only opted for 2?

Monday, June 6, 2005 3:21 PM
I believe it has to do with the blocking on the track. Although it is possible to have three train op, it is just as efficient and in the long run cheaper to have two trains. Two trains/one station means you dont have to maintain the extra train, or have extra ops for the extra station.
Monday, June 6, 2005 3:26 PM
SFOG's was the first. It utilizes a dual platform station. In other words, as a train enters the station it is either sent to the right or left load/unload platform. This is all regulated by a unique track flip sequence much like the Vekoma Flyers.

This allows for a 3 train operation, as two can unload/load at once.

However, often at SFOG, the third train manuevers the short course so quickly that it typically ends up stalled in the final brake run while ops finish up unloads/loads and dispatches.

Because it was the first, this problem was addressed with future installations and a the dual station was omitted as was the unnecessary 3rd train.

I believe SFOG's may operate with 2 trains more often than 3.

Shaggy *** Edited 6/6/2005 7:27:38 PM UTC by Shaggy***

Monday, June 6, 2005 3:35 PM
All of the Batman coasters have two trains as well.

Actually quite a few only run two, like the Dorney Park B&Ms. Is that even what you wondered or did you mean just the flyers? *** Edited 6/6/2005 7:50:31 PM UTC by eightdotthree***

Monday, June 6, 2005 3:53 PM
Shaggy is right, in my experience. The third train increases capacity *only minimally*, while it takes several additional employees to run the other side of the station. SFoG usually runs 2 trains to save employees for something more essential. (Hey, we got DV on Friday, didn't we?)...;)

As for the third train being unnecessary....well, let's agree to disagree on that one. I like the idea of having a spare train, I'd hate to be forced to go to one-train ops on a busy Saturday should something unforeseen happen.

Monday, June 6, 2005 4:01 PM
Just so you know, S:UF GAdv. was running both it's trains yesterday. As Gator mentioned, while it was down to 1 train, the line was unbearable.

Presumably the dual station was in case the load times were off the charts (like they are on the Vekomas) - then they could double load. Fortunately, B&M designed the restraints so well, that it doesn't take much longer to load a train as it does for one to navigate the course. Thus, the second station and third train become redundant (ala GAdv. and GAm.).

It might also be of interest to note that the GAdv. and GAm. models have 8 row trains instead of 7 row oG trains and the track was slightly modified to accomadate the heavier trains.

Monday, June 6, 2005 4:05 PM
A third train seems to be most useful when the track/ride is long enough that they can use a third without much stacking. They need some type of midcourse usually to make this work right. A good example of a ride that is borderline is Mantis. It started out with 3, but load times were taking so long due to people not standing up (at least that is the story I heard) that it no longer makes sense to run 3. My guess with SUF is that they miscalculated the load time or something like that when they built the SFOG version.
Monday, June 6, 2005 4:18 PM
Silver Bullet, Talon, Hydra, Batman Dark Knight all only have two trains...I'm sure there are lots others.

SFOG's Superman was running two trains the last two Fridays despite small crowds.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 2:51 AM
Since I've never been on or seen one of these things live in person, how exactly does the loading process work?
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 11:24 AM
Well it's really quite simple. When the guests sit down, they simply pull down the shoulder harness to a comfortable position, and if the harness was all the way up when it was pulled down, then the flaps that restrain the legs will close simultaneously with the harness. If the harness was not completely up, then the loader will close the flaps when he or she checks the seat. After the seats have been checked they are locked into place by an attendant, and the loaders will recheck any seat that the computer reads as still unlocked.

I can speak first hand on 3 train operation and two stations. Having them definately decreases the wait time and is much more efficient than having 2 trains out of one station. At SFOG we only run two trains during the week because we have minimal crowds. The number of operating units on a ride is based on the park attendance for that particular day, so unless there are special events that bring in more guests than normal, during the week SUF at SFOG will almost always run no more than 2 trains. However, on Saturdays, our most busiest day, we will almost always get up to 3 trains sometime in the afternoon because the crowds permit it.

Having 3 trains and 2 stations is alot more efficient because it is actually alot harder to stack trains than with 2 trains out of one station. With 2 trains, it's easy to stack because the ride is so short, and one train doesn't actually start loading until the other is in the pretzel loop already. It is possible to not stack trains with 2 trains but it requires a lot of help from you, the general public. The general public is the main reason trains are stacked anyway. We tell you to secure all loose items before boarding, we tell you to take off your flip flops before sitting down, we tell you to board the train as quickly but as safely as possible, and once you get there you're still confused about how to strap in and unaware that your legs go behind the flaps, eventhough you've been standing in line watching everyone else go before you.

Like I said, with 3 trains it's a lot harder to stack trains because you have so much more time to load. With 3 trains, train 2 is being unloaded, train 3 is being loaded, and train 1 is going up the lift, by the time train 1 hits the pretzel, train 3 is being dispatch and train 2 is being loaded. by the time train 3 hits the pretzel train 2 is being dispatched and train 1 is being unloaded, so there's a constant motion, a constant dispatching, a constant rotation, which makes it very hard to stack trains when running 3 of them on SUF. Sure it does happen, when the operator is overwhelmed with issues. For instance, when the operator has to call out seats that are still unlocked, direct employess returning from break to their positions, the phone keeps ringing, and you have a guest staring you in the face about a phone they lost on the ride, when all that is happening at the same time, of course dispatching will be delayed and the 3rd trian might stack. And you have the issue where people can't fit and won't get up and refuse to leave. Also sometimes the ride may cause stacking. For example, the locking and folding up of the seats is controlled by a radio signal, and sometimes the signal gets lost just like a cell phone, and we have to wait for it to return before we can dispatch, which causes delays as well.

Just as a side note, with one trian SUF can run up to 476 people, with 2 trains up to 980 people, and with 3 trains up to 1260 people, so it's safe to say that 3 trains and 2 stations are far from useful, and a lot more efficient. Sure it may be more maintenance to upkeep 3 trains but in the end, it is worth it, because if one train is not operating, you still have two left that you can run. And that's another reason why SFOG only runs two trains during the week. Every night they switch a train, so if on monday they run trains 1 and 2, tuesday they will run 1 and 3, then wednesday they will run 2 and 3, and so on. This allows them give each train operating time and to fix problems on a given train before the weekend comes, when all 3 trains will be operating.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 11:32 AM
I don't buy your numbers at all, given that 2 trains is more than twice 1 train and 3 trains is about 2.5 times one train.
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 11:40 AM
Andy, I think the first number was a typo and meant to say 576. 576/32= 18, which is a dispatch every 3:20.
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 11:42 AM
u don't have to believe them, they're not MY numbers they are numbers that the manufacturers set, aka B&M. I didnt make the numbers up.

With one train with 4 direct operators it is up to 420 people, two trains with 7 direct operators is 840, 3 trains with 7 direct operators is 1120.


With one train with 5 direct operators it is up to 476, 2 trains with 9 direct operators it is 980, and 3 trains with 9 direct operators is 1260.

So like I said, the numbers didn't come from my head, B&M set them

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 11:50 AM
I have a seperate but sort of related question and I don't want to start a new thread for it.

I understand why a park would not want to staff more people to run 3 trains when the crowds only justify 2. It just costs more money. But what I don't get is running just one train with light crowds. If there is a second train, why not use it too? It does not take any more people, they just don't stand around as much. The only things I can think of is wear and tear on the trains and the power to take the extra trains up the lift. Is it really that big of a deal? If a station fills up due to a one train operation, the line might not spill out into the switch backs, but it can still be a long wait with one train leaving every 3 minutes or so.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 12:01 PM
My math teacher informs me that SFoG has only 7 rows, which means that 476/28=17 dispatches per hour, which is roughly a dispatch every 3.5 minutes.

The manufacturers DO in fact specify max. capacity, but meeting those numbers rarely occurs in the real world, where people think it'd be fun to have their oversized plushy take a ride with them...;)

Two trains ARE more costly to run than one, but it'd have to be a really SLOW day for me to decide to save money that way...making people wait in slow-moving lines, IMO, is one of the worst things a park can do. The results are clear: Grafitti, litter, line-jumping, sitting on railings, are all DIRECT results of slow-moving lines...and NOT good results.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 12:34 PM
They should have bought a 3rd train for either SFGAM or SFGADV so when train maintenance was needed they had that back up train. They could float the train between the 2 parks.
Tuesday, June 7, 2005 2:44 PM
Yeah, if one train goes bad, just have one Fedex'd from the other park ;)

*** Edited 6/7/2005 6:45:31 PM UTC by Antuan***

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 2:53 PM
LOL 'Tuan...

Seriously though, for two of your MAIN money-makin' parks, go ahead and splurge on the third train....eventually, you'll be glad ya did. ;)

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 3:53 PM
They could really use a 5th on KK. The Dark Blue train is off almost as much as it's on, and it kills capacity when it needs to transfer and test (and then rolls back).

So given the numbers, why is 2 trains higher than twice 1 train?

Tuesday, June 7, 2005 4:13 PM
Andy the only reason i could think of as to why 2 trains run more than twice the capacity of one train is maybe because they got those numbers from using two trains out of both station as opposed to one, which SFOG does do sometimes. If using 2 trains out of one station yea it will be double, but when using both stations to run two trains you can dispatch more trains than you could out of one station because if one train is still being loaded, and the other hits the brakes, instead of this train sitting in the brakes waiting for the other to dispatch, it rolls into the other station where it is unloaded and loaded, while the other train is completing the loading process and prepaing for dispatch. This therefore allows more trains to be dispatched per hour. Usually SFOG will run two trains using both stations before they add the third train to alow the more unused station to warm up and see if it will have any problems before they add the third unit.

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