It is almost impossible to go to a park and not find at least one roller coaster with a trim brake. Often times, these trim brakes are in place to make the ride more bearable for guests (Mainly wooden and Arrow/Vekoma coasters) These trim brakes take power and up-keep, which equals money. I realize that trim brake maintenance isn't incredibly expensive, but over the long run, would it be smarter for parks to re-design the problem areas and be able to remove the brakes all together?
Trim brakes exist for the complete opposite reasons you just listed them as. They preserve the structure of the ride by preventing the trains from exceeding the designed speed for a certain section of the coaster's track. Some wood coasters without trims would deteriorate faster than normal due to excessive wear and tear that is aided by minimalizing excess speed in some portions of the ride.
And no, it would not be smarter for parks to redesign "problem areas" and to remove the trim brakes. They would need to close the attraction, contact the manufacturer have them design an alternative "fill-in" for the spot that once was, remove the "problem areas", reinstall the new parts, test it and reopen it. It's not worth it and it's not feasible for steel coasters just for the sake of removing trims.
Rides already have dozens of brakes on them, so will one or two more really make a difference? I see where you're coming from, but eliminating trim brakes on some rides would require a redesign and more track to be installed, which is *much* more expensive than simply adjusting a set of brake fins during routine maintenance. In addition, coasters operate at different speeds based on weather, wheels, the time of season, among other factors. Trims may be necessary on rides particularly affected by this, because trains that may barely clear the hill early in the season may need to be slowed down later when the trains are "warmed up", so to speak.
Who cares. Enthusiasts have been crying about trimmed rides for years and it's still not interesting (especially when it's to time the ride for interval or, as Wardley put it on his site, to compensate for the difference in moving a stopped train off the mid-course).
Trim brakes serve their purpose, and they do just fine at it. For the most part, coaster people make way to big of a deal about them. Some trims actually make the rides they are on perform better.
Also, it seems that a lot of coaster enthusiasts are confused over what a "trim" brake is and what a "block" brake is. The two are mutually exclusive, although the latter can be used to achieve the same effect... although that is another argument altogether.
There are times that trims severely damage a ride. Mantis at Cedar Point is the perfect example. The trimmed first drop really changed the ride, and not in a good way. The American Eagle at Great America is another perfect example -- when the ride isn't trimmed, it is a very fun out and back ride. With the trims on, the ride actually becomes uncomfortable, even for the general public.
Other than the above two examples, Jeff, I completely agree with your comments. Most trimmed rides are trimmed for a reason, and their pacing is actually *better* because of it...
Have the trims on Hiede Park's Colossos been removed? I saw trims on the recent Travel Channel top 10 coaster show. I was wondering if this is older footage? It looked like the ride was still running well even with the trims. Also didn't Intamin add an automatic trimming feature to their trains to eliminate the needs for trim brakes since the "trim brakes" were built into the train?
^Yes the trims have been removed. Apparantly they now use an axle brake which slows the trains as soon as they exceed the desired speed.
The good thing about this is, that you don´t feel the slowing down as the effect sets in when the train is actually reaching its "terminal" velocity at the bottom of a drop and not while still accelerating on the drop.
The axle brake is what I was thinking of. Now I wish the USA especially trim happy Valleyfair because with an Intamin woodie I can get the same ride experience every time instead of relying on a nice operator (or maintenance person) to lighten up the brake. The problem with Wild Thing is that most of time the brakes are on EXTRA HARD completly killing all of the airtime on the last 5 bunny hops but once in a while the last 6 brakes or so are off being able to still get a good ride. So what is up with that? Why do you have to be lucky to get a good ride? In other words why is VF willing to lighten up on brakes only once in a while thefore making the last hills at least work but most of the time have maximum braking? In other words what determined whether or not Valleyfair want to give you a good ride or not? I'd be very happy with just the last 1/3 to 1/2 of the brakes off. NOT every brake need to be off to insure a good ride!
EchoVictor said: Ahh, didn't Holiday World just re-profile a bit of the Legend to change/manage speeds in a certain area?
I'm of the understanding that the hill before the Legend's helix was raised to increase the height of the drop leading into the helix, thus giving the train more speed to eliminate a dead spot about halfway through. Gotta love Holiday World.
I disagree with the statement that the "trim brake issue" is pointless. Sure, there are rides when trim brakes don't have a noticable effect, but there are others when they make all the difference in the world. Take a ride on Dorney's Thunderhawk and Hershey's Comet and tell me that the trim brakes don't eliminate the airtime on the final hills of these rides. Montu gives a much more intense ride with the trims turned off. Think about your favorite coaster, then think about it with trim brakes. Or more trim brakes than it already has. Why do you think that rides like the Beast have steadily declined in the ratings since they were built?
I believe that trims are sometimes necessary, but that doesn't mean that we have to like them.
All of SFSTL's coasters arent trimmed (Mine Train has one right before it's third lift but that is needed to slow the train speed entering the lift).
Yes many people confuse trim brakes and block brakes. Block brakes function as a trim brake as well but also as a control point for stopping a train if there is a block violation or for slowing down a train before entering a part of a ride. Regular trim brakes cannot completley stop a train and are only used to slow down a train speed. Trims are usually set to come on if a train has reached an excess set speed. There are usually two or three sensors which detect a train's speed right before the trim brake. If the train has gone above the speed that is set, the brake will slow it to the right speed. This helps on rider forces (Mantis), structures (many woodies), and entering a block brake or lift (Mine Train at SFSTL or Phantoms Revenge).
I think it is defintley more cost effective for a trim brake to be added and not reconfiguring a ride. My peace is said.