Wooden coaster track gauge

Saturday, October 18, 2003 1:17 PM

I have a few questions and I will be really impressed with anyone who can answer these for me. I hope someone knows! :)

Does anyone know exactly what the inside track gauge of a standard wooden coaster is in inches, and the distance across the top rails in inches? I have read between 42 and 44 inches but I am unsure what part of the track this was referring to.

Are smaller woodies like Zach's Zoomer smaller across then larger rides like Shivering Timbers? I am unable to fit two people in one seat on Zach's Zoomer, but I have no problems on most other rides. Are the trains and the track actually a little smaller?

Thanks, and I hope someone knows the answers!
My knex coasters and the Roller Coaster Tour 2003
GOCC member # 671

Saturday, October 18, 2003 6:07 PM
I don't think there is a standard. That said, I've seen some measurements, showing two widths for adult cars and a narrower width for junior cars.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, October 20, 2003 7:00 AM
I'd venture a guess that the narrower the gauge, the tighter they can make the turns. Does GCI use a narrow gauge?

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza

Monday, October 20, 2003 8:02 AM
There could be a standard gauge now, but I don't think that was the case long ago when dozens of companies were building wooden coasters. I think that when an older wooden coaster gets new trains, the wheel assemblies have to be designed to fit that particular coaster. I would imagine that Dinn, CCI and GCII coasters use the same track gauge.

A.C.E. member since 1990
Posting @ Coasterbuzz since 2000
E.C.C. member since 2002

Thursday, October 23, 2003 8:03 AM
The track gauge of the PNE Coaster is 38 inches .I have a copy of the original blueprints. I suspect that was the standard gauge of all Carl Phares' coasters.

The best coaster in Oregon is a second hand Schwartzkopf!

Monday, October 27, 2003 4:12 AM
Hopefully, here's the answer to your question:

The correct distance between the top two layers is 34" when using 3/8" steel, and the distance between the rest of the bottom plys is 39". The top two layers must be adjusted when using 1/2" steel. PTC trains need a minimum distance of 2 1/4" for the safety wheels to clear the lower plys or the wheels will dig into the wood. What you heard might be correct in that the gauge is 42 - 44" for the running wheels which run on 5" wide steel with a inside measurement of 39".

Are you thoroughly confused now?

Monday, October 27, 2003 6:09 AM
That is correct about PTC's because that exact thing happened on Rampage earlier this year. It didnt have the 2.75 inches and it rippedsteel and wood out of place at the bottom of the first drop.

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