Virtual Midway adds new Top Thrill Dragster article

Posted Monday, February 17, 2003 4:17 AM | Contributed by Gemini

Top Thrill Dragster features a number of technological innovations that make such a tall, fast, high-impact ride possible. Dave Althoff presents a technical introduction to Cedar Point's newest ride.

Link: Cedar Point Virtual Midway

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Monday, February 17, 2003 6:00 AM
Wow, very interesting information...

.. I never realized alone how intracuit (sp) the lapbars on my fav intamin's work.... that's about all i could (barely) comprehend, the rest was just hurting my head, hehe ;) . Great info! I don't think it could be explained any better, or more detailed.

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Monday, February 17, 2003 6:35 AM
ApolloAndy's avatar On a rollback, will the train catch the launch pusher and pull the thing back with it or does the launch pusher pass under/through the track at the end of the launch section, getting out of the way of a train rolling back?

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"It was like that when I got here."
"faster, cheaper, and more often" that's somebody's new sig -UpsideDawnGrrrl

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Monday, February 17, 2003 6:55 AM
Andy,

I believe the pusher passes under the track after the train launches. Gravity itself will take the train back towards the station, however, do to the 'toaster brakes', the journey back will be very slow. I witnessed this at Knott's last week. The train crawls back to the station after a rollback.

-Sean

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Monday, February 17, 2003 7:29 AM
Are they really going to be unloading in the area behind the load station? To me it doesn't seem like it really provides any advantage to have the unload stations. From the concept art, these "stations" would be outside anyway meaning ops would stand out there in the blazing sun.

On MF, they move the trains up (unload to load and load to the lift) at the same time. On MF, the delay is obviously plenty long where it isn't a problem to move the two trains up at the same time, but on Dragster, we're talking about moving twice the number of trains up in half the time. Wouldn't it be easier to just let the people sit in there (making their ride seem longer too!) and letting them get out and exit in the load station? I mean even on MF, there really isn't much of an advantage gained by having an empty train roll into the load station. It was probably only done that way because the delay is so long that they might as well let the people out! :)

Also, if they unload on the curve, they're going to have to pour some concrete and put a fence along the opposite side of the track in case some silly person tries to get out on the wrong side (like they do at MF).

I've just got to wonder about them unloading on the "curve" with Dragster. It would require more staffing and provide probably no advantage over just letting people exit as others enter. It works fine at Magnum, Gemini, ID, Mean Streak, Blue Streak, etc.

One more thing about the concept art, and I realize that it is only concept art. :) There are people walking on the unload side of the train in the loading station - it looks like they are walking toward the back of the station toward the "curve" where the exit gate/ramp will probably be. Why would these people be there if they were going to unload from the curve?

-Matt
2001 Magnum Crew
2003 Magnum Crew
*** This post was edited by MDOmnis 2/17/2003 12:46:56 PM ***

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Monday, February 17, 2003 7:34 AM
True, but none of those rides, Matt, have a 30 second ride time...

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--George H
---Superman the ride...coming to a SF park near you soon...
Currency tracking experiment... http://www.wheresgeorge.com (Referring to The "George" on the $1 bill - Not Me)

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Monday, February 17, 2003 8:00 AM
Jeff's avatar I doubt very much that there will be a seperate unload station, as Dave suggests. There's no reason to. They've got about a sixty-second interval with each pair of trains, and that's plenty of time.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Monday, February 17, 2003 8:57 AM
I think that it would be better if they did use the curve as an unload station. I think it would slow done the interval if they unloaded in the load station. I could be totally wrong but I guess we will find out here in 75 days.
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Monday, February 17, 2003 9:35 AM
Jeff's avatar Why? Are you suggesting that it is not possible to load and unload a pair of trains in 60 seconds? Magnum and Raptor do it, and Raptor in particular is harder to load because ride ops have to go between each car.

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Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - CoasterBuzz.com - Sillynonsense.com
"The world rotates to The Ultra-Heavy Beat!" - KMFDM

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Monday, February 17, 2003 4:02 PM
Great article...I've always wanted to know the science behind the hydraulic launch. Thanks Dave! :)

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"Enjoy your record-breaking ride on Millennium Force"

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Tuesday, February 18, 2003 5:12 AM
I would like to see the actual patent drawings but I can't find the patent on the patent site. Does anyone know the address to this patent?
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Tuesday, February 18, 2003 10:09 AM
Mamoosh's avatar Thanks, Mr Wizzard!

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Wednesday, February 19, 2003 6:29 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar It seems that the major difference between TTD and, say, MF is that the bottleneck for TTD is NOT the load/unload block but the double launch block. Thus, as long as the load/unload is shorter than the double launch, it won't help you to separately load/unload.

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Be polite and ignore the idiots. - rollergator
"It was like that when I got here."
"faster, cheaper, and more often" that's somebody's new sig -UpsideDawnGrrrl

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Sunday, February 23, 2003 8:19 AM
Various issues...

olov would like to see the actual patent drawings...

Victor Canfield has a link on his amusement ride patents site, specifically on the roller coaster patents page. Scroll all the way to the bottom and there with the US patent applications is a link to the applicable patent, located on the USPTO web page. My drawing (Figure 2 on the Virtual Midway page) is based almost line-for-line on one of the drawings in that patent; I only re-created it because first I wanted to eliminate some unnecessary object numbers and second I wanted to have it in an object-oriented drawing format. Figure 3 on the Virtual Midway page actually is a picture from the patent application.

Sean F. suggests that the launch pusher extends beneath the track at the end of the launch...

In the text of the patent, Herr Spieldeiner is pretty specific about the benefits of a bi-directional catapult system as opposed to a continuous loop system, so my assumption is that this is what Dragster will use. In the patent text he indicates that some means may be used for raising and lowering the pusher (17) on the launch carrier (14). The simplest way of doing it would be to counterweight the pusher so that it operates like a chain dog, but that might cause damage in the case of a short-shot with the train (2) hitting it backwards at 100+ mph. I haven't seen the mechanism, so I don't know exactly what will happen. The simplest solution might be to use an electrically-actuated pusher plate on the back of the train (2) as Schwarzkopf did with the shuttle loop coasters. My GUESS is that in a roll-back situation, the train (2) will clear the launch pusher (14, 17).

Regarding the loading/unloading situation...
I swapped some confusing email with Bryan Edwards of Cedar Point in which he described the ride's operating sequence, and while he did not say specifically that there would be separate load and unload stations, he implied it pretty clearly. Plus the implication is made in the animation. In any case, the reason for using separate load and unload stations instead of flush-loading wouldn't be because of the time required for load and unload, but rather because the extra blocks are required for 6-train operation...and while people don't have any trouble waiting on a single safety brake for unload, making them wait at three different safety brake stations seems a bit unreasonable. They'd spend more time waiting to unload than they spent on the ride.

Consider also that the station is not built yet. I don't know about the exact dimensions up there but why could it not be a four-train-length single station for both loading and unloading?

One last issue...
There is, or at least was, a minor error in Figure 1, the hydraulic lap bar circuit. The original drawing had the accumulator on the wrong side of the valve. I've sent Walt a corrected drawing; the corrected drawing has the accumulator positioned ABOVE the spool valve.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Sunday, February 23, 2003 9:59 PM
While 60 seconds is plenty of time to load/unload a train, let me just say that the more time you have, the less stressful it is. Raptor has no problem unloading/loading a train in 45 seconds, but they also have 6 people loading that train. Same with Millennium Force, a lot of people loading that train. So I see two benefits to seperate load/unload stations.

First of all, you would think that people would leave the train right away when they get into the station, but that's not always the case. People can't figure out how to undo their seatbelt (MF), and sometimes they just don't move. I think especially with a ride with such a high thrill factor, that they won't just jump up out of their seat. If they spend 10-20 seconds just sitting there or messing with their seatbelt cuts down on that 60 second interval.

Second, I have a feeling that with such small trains, they wont' have 6 people loading each train, more like 2 or 3. This means that if guests are having problems, there arent' as many people there to grab the other rows. You have one backup, it's going to take longer than it does on other coasters.

You want this ride dispatching on cue, even a 10 second delay every few trains will reduce capacity by a lot. Raptor could hit 1600+ an hour when interval was hit every time, but even if you were hitting it every other time, numbers were usually like 1400s. With the line that this ride will generate, capacity will be key.

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Kyle
-Raptor Crew-
2000-01

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