Tidal Wave hitting bumper/"ring the bel"!?

Friday, August 10, 2007 3:21 PM
Found this story at the GAparks website forum. Anyone know if this really happened? Pretty scary! It's about the 14th story down.

http://www.greatamericaparks.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=308

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Friday, August 10, 2007 3:50 PM
That sounds fictitious to me. The acceleration on those first generation shuttle loops was limited to the gravitational pull on the counterweight. In order for that train to experience an increase in acceleration, either the laws of physics momentarily changed or there was a variation in the earth's gravitational pull at that particular time and place.
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Friday, August 10, 2007 4:18 PM
Thats pretty much what I was thinking. But if the cable snapped, thought something 'weird' might happen. With other impossible 'cable incidences' lately, just wonderin ;)
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Friday, August 10, 2007 4:19 PM
I do know that it did, in fact, happen. There were traffic helicopters in the area that day covering something at the Lake County Fair Grounds and they went over. I remember seeing arial footage of the front car damage.

Wasn't there a track that the counterweight slid down? If it released from the track, there could have been less friction on the weight causing a speed up of the drop and therefore the train before the cable snapped.

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Friday, August 10, 2007 4:46 PM
Actually, Schwarzkopf thought about the snapping cable scnenario. Thats why the counterweight tower was designed in a way that the air inside the shaft could not be pushed aside at the bottom. In case of a snapping cable the weight would fall on a cushion of air and would hit the ground at low speed.

I think its the same technique that is used by S&S for their Sonic Boom (?) freefall ride.
And that´s exactly what the sound was like. The weight and the compressed air made a loud booming noise.

They tested it several times and there was indeed one reported incident, where a cable snap did happen during operation in an american park.

As for the alledged excessive acceleration: Impossible! In normal operation the train was propelled by the falling counterweight. If the cable snapped, the weight would fall faster, but there would be no connection to the train anymore.

The front of the train is fibreglass. I have seen Schwarzkopf trains after rear-end collisions and the front did never "fall off". Yes, there would be damage, but certainly not a desctruction scenario as described.

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Friday, August 10, 2007 4:52 PM
Impossible? Hmmm.. Not sure about that. I thought a coaster stopping upsidedown was also impossible until I saw the Demon stuck in it's 2nd loop on the news.

As for the cushion of air, are you sure about that? Those towers did have 'holes' in them, and those weights did drop pretty fast. A cushion of air to gently let that huge multi-ton weight drop gently?

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Friday, August 10, 2007 5:22 PM
I'm not sure why you thought a train couldn't stop upside down, as there are a number of ways for that to happen. Both Arrow and Schwarzkopf knew the possibility existed and made certain the passenger restraints would contain the riders should such an unlikely event occur.

But the acceleration of a train by dropping a counterweight isn't going to change. And as tricktrack noted, once the cable snapped, there was nothing pulling the train.

I'm not doubting there was a cable snap, and perhaps the snapped cable damaged the front of the train. But I find it very difficult to believe the train hit the top of the track.

*** Edited 8/11/2007 1:10:57 AM UTC by Jeffrey Seifert***

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Friday, August 10, 2007 6:48 PM
If the cable snapped behind the bob or oscar... the stored energy in the tensioned cable could affect the speed of the train.
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Friday, August 10, 2007 7:03 PM
Since it is a first-person account I believe it. Had it been "a friend of a friend" who witnessed it I'd place it in the "urban legend" category.
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Friday, August 10, 2007 7:33 PM
I hear ya Moosh, but you gotta admit, would be nice to see some pics or more evidence. Even with my engineering degree, I still couldn't draw you a diagram. Could only think of the stored energy in the cable...
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Friday, August 10, 2007 9:19 PM

Jeffrey Seifert said:
That sounds fictitious to me. The acceleration on those first generation shuttle loops was limited to the gravitational pull on the counterweight. In order for that train to experience an increase in acceleration, either the laws of physics momentarily changed or there was a variation in the earth's gravitational pull at that particular time and place.

I understand the doubt with this, however there is also some info on a similar incident involving White Lightnin' at Carowinds in 1977.

During a morning test run, the first truck on the first car breached the top of the spike, leaving the train entangled at the top. The park had to bring in a crane to get the train down.

Below is an account from another website by Swampfox43, who is also a member here. (Carowinds Connection - 2nd post down)

"I worked at Carowinds myself for 1 season (1977) and vividly remember the day White Lightnin' DID crash through the stopper at the high end. It was early one morning, and yes, the track was wet from a rain storm. The launch, combined with the wet track, created a little too much speed during the morning test runs. When I got to the park, the front car was dangling off the top end. Needless to say, the crane rushed to get the train down before the park opened to the public and the actual incident remained hush, hush in fear of the media finding out. It never made it to the papers. We were told not to mention this to the public that day."

*** Edited 8/11/2007 1:38:05 AM UTC by Dukeis#1***

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Friday, August 10, 2007 9:30 PM
Wow! Thats totally crazy. It's still one of thoese things I would like to get a pic or confirmation on.

Some 'crazy' things happened when I worked at the point, and we were also told (in a very direct way) to keep quiet, in one case, not to even look that way.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007 9:14 AM

tricktrack said:As for the alledged excessive acceleration: Impossible! In normal operation the train was propelled by the falling counterweight. If the cable snapped, the weight would fall faster, but there would be no connection to the train anymore.

The front of the train is fibreglass. I have seen Schwarzkopf trains after rear-end collisions and the front did never "fall off". Yes, there would be damage, but certainly not a desctruction scenario as described.


My possible explanation involved the weight drop speed increasing before the cable snap. Therefore increasing the speed of the train. The suddenly faster drop rate of the weight contributing to the snap. And, I saw the images of the train on the news. there was very little distinguishable of the front car.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007 4:52 PM
From my point of view it kinda makes sense, look at top thrill dragster it has 1 cable to reel the catch car back and 2 to send it forward. Same thing for other launch coasters. If the back cable snapped the weight would have less to pull so it would send the car faster.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007 10:21 PM
Anyone have any pics they could share?
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007 11:05 PM
Don't know about the train hitting the top, but I've heard that the one in Santa Clara did snap and the counter weight caused a small earthquake in the employee cafeteria.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2007 11:23 PM

Sheikrafanatic said:
From my point of view it kinda makes sense, look at top thrill dragster it has 1 cable to reel the catch car back and 2 to send it forward. Same thing for other launch coasters. If the back cable snapped the weight would have less to pull so it would send the car faster.

Where is the wonderful Physics mind of Dave Althoff when you need it.

The "less to pull" argument doesn't hold up when the scenario is pushing the train up the spike to "ring the bell".

If I remember Physics 101, the potential energy of the falling weight, regardless of whether it is pulling am empty train or a full train, (stop sniggering) can only push the train so far. That was the safety design redundancy of the [counter weight} shuttle loop. While the car may fling out of the blocks "faster" (empty train vs. full train) it still doesn't provide enough energy to push it through the loop and up the spike any higher than normal. Adding something to the equation such as grease and water (rain) might push it higher than normal, but again, not enough to get it to "ring the bell".

The fact that there are no pictures, and no record of this event at the time (even in the history of R.R-C) gives us our true answer.

Now if you are implying that the falling weight is somehow normally slowed by cableS, and if one breaks, (others remaining intact), then inherent friction is lessened, and the falling weight provides more energy to the train... I would say you're just plain wrong, as that's not the design of the Schwarzkopf counter weight Shuttle Loops. *** Edited 8/15/2007 3:55:37 AM UTC by CreditWh0re***

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007 8:33 AM

CreditWh0re said:
The fact that there are no pictures, and no record of this event at the time (even in the history of R.R-C) gives us our true answer.

This was before the days of small digital cameras and camera phones. Not everything got caught on film in that time.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007 12:18 PM
The pusher of the Shuttle-Loop is not pulled back as on the Intamin Rockets. It travels back underneath the track. The pusher is not connected directly to the counterweight. The counterweight sets a wheel in motion which is also pulls the pusher.

After the counterweight cable snaps (either way) there is no further connection to the wheel that moves the pusher.

Furthermore, the wheel-assembly for the counterweight is controlled by a brake which keeps the wheel from turning too fast and keeps the cable steady.

Maybe check out the Shuttle-Loop page on Schwarzkopf coaster net:
http://schwarzkopf.coaster.net/ESshuttlelooptyp1GF.htm

There are sketches and explanations in english as well. It sounds complcated but you will see that there are even more safety measures that prevent the train from overshooting.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007 1:18 PM
You had one incorrect statement in that, the pusher did no go back under the track, it would travel back on top of the track. Even though that sounds obsurd b ecause on its way back it would possible engage its true I have watched how Montezuma's Revenge at Knotts works and thats what I learned about the catch car or pusher.
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