Wooden Coaster Trains.

Monday, August 1, 2005 10:04 PM
There's always been the complaint that wooden coasters are rough. Many people always complain that g-trains are the cause of it.

What are the positives and negatives are g-trains and PTC Trains? I remember when the Legend opened at Holiday World, HW acted as if enthusiasts gave them the suggestion of using g-trains.

I hear how rough Villain is and then people seem happy when g-trains are added to Raging Wolf Bobs.

If these trains really bad or it the coaster itself? I've never ridden a coaster with g-trains so I don't know.

Also, are the Millennium Flyers much different from g-trains? Because at Hershey Park Lightning Racer seems like it's gotten great reviews?

Any ideas?

Monday, August 1, 2005 10:25 PM
GCI trains tend to track smoother than PCT and G-trains because they are single-bench articulated trains. They are able to negotiate the track much easier than a two or three seat vehicle.

G-trains are rather rigid, and from my experience the restraints prove to be the most uncomfortable aspect of the vehicle. The way your legs are wedged between the lap bar causes discomfort during lateral g-forces.

As for PCT, I have had both smooth and rough rides. I think it mostly depends on the quality of the ride itself and the design with PCT trains.

Monday, August 1, 2005 10:28 PM
I'd say 99.9% of the time the rough ride comes from the lack of maintenance and NOT what trains are on the coaster. Holiday World [and Jeff Hammersly] proved with Legend that a Gerstlauer train can run VERY well.
Monday, August 1, 2005 10:35 PM
In Europe, Gerstlauer build a serie of wild mouse/compact twister called the Bobsled coaster. Guess what? It use the exact same restraints and seats as the wooden trains in America and I haven't heard a single negative or pain critic regarding the bobsleds. Surprising, since all the bobsleds feature at least 1 or 2 hairpin turns!
Monday, August 1, 2005 10:40 PM
Mamoosh is right... the trains have little to do with the roughness of a ride. If you ride Wolf Kabobs at Geauga Lake, the first half recently repaired (by the Canadians with engineering work by The Gravity Group), you can experience just how little the trains really matter.

Cross the park to Villain, and you'll get beat up, but you'd get beat up with any train. The good news is that structurally that ride is fine, it's the track that's a problem.

I mean, get on Mean Streak and tell me if you think that PTC trains make any difference. (Bad example, perhaps, with those horrible seat backs, but still.)

Monday, August 1, 2005 11:00 PM
I have noticed though that coasters with g-trains sound much different when the ride is bad, it almost sounds as though the wheels aren't even moving.

Ex. Twisted Twins, Villain.

The lapbars are part of Villain's problems as well.

Curious, why would HW replace the trains if they ran so great?

Monday, August 1, 2005 11:10 PM
Lapbars on G's i agree are the worst thing to the whole train. Those things are terrible. The ride i agree with most in this thread is the problem for the roughness. Geauga Lake really needs to retrack hardcore next offseason.

As far as Lightning racers Millenium Flyers go, those are about as good as it gets. The lap bar is similar to a g train. But they are so padded and the ride itself runs spectacularly well on the track.

Monday, August 1, 2005 11:37 PM
A couple questions I have...

1. Is there a weight difference between the train types? (g-trains look lighter to the eye)

2. Are they priced in the same ranges? Or is there major savings with one company over the other?

I never got to ride Legend with the g-train, but I did get on Villian the first year and loved it. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of another g-train ride I really love. This could be a chicken-egg thing though...

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 12:17 AM
If I recall correctly, the G-trains are cheaper. You're right, they certainly LOOK lighter, but I don't know if that's the case.

G-trains are less comfortable than PTC's on rides that give strong laterals. For Legend, the difference was profound, IMHO. However, a ride like Villain isn't about laterals, it's about airtime. I honestly don't think changing to PTCs would make much difference -- I personally find the G-trains quite comfy on that ride. But that might just be my particular dimensions at work...

GCI's "Flyer" trains are great, but we'll probably only ever see them on GCI's own rides.

For an example of a "new" PTC train that's incredibly comfortable, visit Kennywood and ride the Racer...

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 12:28 AM
The lap bar on Millennium Flyers is similar to the G trains in what way? The Millenium Flyers are good trains, but Roar at SFMW gets pretty rough, especially at the bottom of the second drop. Every single year they do work to that drop, then the next year it gets rough again. Also heard the Millenniums are pretty heavy, so you have to keep the track up to keep them smooth.

Millennium Flyers restraints
Millennium Flyer restraints (T bar)

Gerstlauer restraints (U bar)
*** Edited 8/2/2005 4:45:00 AM UTC by GoliathKills***

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 12:33 AM
Any train with a buzz bar is great! I dig the layout of the g-trains, they are more open feeling, have nice handles. I wish PTC would design a new train that was less like a box.
Tuesday, August 2, 2005 12:36 AM
See I love the box look on them just the lapbar. I'm not sure why they need that little curve in them that hits you right on the leg from lateral forces. On some occasions its so the lapbar fits in the train but not always.
Tuesday, August 2, 2005 3:17 AM
Well From a maint. stand point the trains have absolutely no bearing on the smoothness of the coaster it all relies on how well the track is kept for example if the wooden stacks are off just a touch in shimming you will definitely notice a difference, if any of the track steel is bad you will also notice, if the track bolts are missing heads you will also notice. Ptc has had the same basic design for over 100 yrs, after all why change what works,and the g-train is nothing more than a Ptc train with body fat trimmed off. In all Moosh hit the nail right on the head.
Tuesday, August 2, 2005 4:21 AM
NAD rules!
Tuesday, August 2, 2005 4:33 AM

sluggo907 said:
and the g-train is nothing more than a Ptc train with body fat trimmed off.

I doubt that. Maybe the way the work under the train, but when you sit in a G-Train, there is a profound difference between that and sitting in a PTC train. I don't dislike G-Trains, mind you, but I like what was said earlier:

G-trains are less comfortable than PTC's on rides that give strong laterals.

Yes! All of the woodies I've ridden with G-trains that were uncomfortable were uncomfortable in the Helix or any other laterals. If you take Swamp Fox's trains down the street and put it on Hurricane, The bottome of the first drop is still gonna shuffle a little bit. But the Helices won't be so bad, in fact, they would probably be more than tolerable.

Oh, and I rode Villain last year, with G-Trains, and loved it, Parts of RWBs were rough, but I've heard even with PTCs the same were rough, but YMMV.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 8:27 AM

Charles Nungester said:
NAD rules!

Beavis Voice

Huh huh... huh huh. He said NAD!

I have to say my favorite wood coaster train is the GCI Flyer. You are secured but you feel free, and with the flared tops of the trains you can probably have extreme laterals and the ride will still feel comfortable. Of course I've only been on one ride with the GCI Flyers, Thunderhead.

I don't have much of an issue with the Gerstlauer trains. I'm just so used to PTC's around here that they feel funny to me because of the lapbar and how tight it can feel.

NAD trains are pretty bad-@ss because they feel loose and out of control with the single lap bars. You are also deep in the seat which makes the airtime feel more real as you pop out.

~Rob Willi

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 9:21 AM
To me, restraints matter a lot more than the trains themselves. Gerstlauers probably wouldn't be too bad if they had restraints that were more condusive to lateral forces. GCII's Millennium Flyers are fantastic except for the fact that the lap bars "drop" into your lap during the ride.

As for Morgans, everything about those things is wrong. Those are examples of how NOT to design a train!

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 9:36 AM
But the Morgans run so well on both of the Giant Dipper coasters out here. Although they don't have enough pading (it was only a problem after 20+ rides in a row ;)) they still track quite well, and are easy on the structure as I understand it.
Tuesday, August 2, 2005 9:56 AM
I haven't been on the Santa Cruz coaster but I did find the San Diego ride to be pretty lackluster last year. But I think the ride simply needed some TLC, which is seemed to be on the verge of receiving, judging by the stacks of wood beneath the ride.

There are a few coasters that Morgans work well on (Seabreeze's Jack Rabbit is one) but the majority of Morgans are just plain awful. They should be melted into plastic for credit cards or spring water bottles.

Tuesday, August 2, 2005 10:08 AM
I did an essay years ago that talked about how coaster cars work (or more often, don't) which you can read HERE. It's a little dated, as it predates the Gerstlauer train, but it covers the mechanical issues of trying to go around curves, which explains why there are insoluable problems with every full-size wood coaster train that PTC, Gerstlauer, Premier Rides or NAD ever built.

Mechanically, the PTC articulated train, the Gerstlauer train, and the Son of Beast train are all very much alike. The wheels cannot steer, and the rear axle can swivel through about 3 degrees of roll. PTC's boxcar train (and you can only tell the difference by looking really close at the rear axle) does not have a roll axle, but the entire car body can flex, which won't happen with the Gerstlauer steel-frame cars.

The real differences between the PTC and Gerstlauer trains are up in the passenger compartment. Gerstlauer uses a different lap bar arrangement and a nearly flat seat, but perhaps the most important difference is that the Gerstlauer train has almost no padding in it. It's built more like a steel coaster train, in that you're sitting on a piece of high density foam that has no 'give' to it. By comparison, with very few exceptions (Mean Streak is one, unfortunately) even the worst PTC trains still have soft seat cushions, even if the back, side and divider cushions are rock-hard foam. That extra couple of inches of padding makes a big difference as it uncouples your body from the shock of rolling over a less-than-perfect wooden track. Want proof? Go ride the Conneaut Lake Blue Streak or the Camden Park Big Dipper. Both of those coasters are horribly rough, and yet will give you a better ride than, say, the Kings Island Racer or the Stricker's Grove Tornado, which has much better track on it.

We learned in an earlier discussion from our friend at Holiday World that the PTC trains are quite a bit heavier than the Gerstlauer trains.

As for the GCI trains...those are a special case. First of all, they have all the cushioning of the "good" PTC trains. Next, mechanically they are single-bench trailers, based in large part on the Prior & Church design. Only the lead car has to slide around curves, and that car has an extremely short wheelbase which limits the variation between the front and rear axle. The remaining cars are trailered in such a way that they can independently track the curve, making GCI's ridiculously twisted layouts possible. You could run a GCI Millennium Flyer on just about any coaster, but you can't run a 2-bench PTC train on, say, Thunderhead. I don't think the PTC train can make the turns quick enough.

Oh, someone brought up the Kennywood Racer and its new trains...I like those trains, except for the seat divider. At nearly 4", the divider is a whole lot wider than it needs to be, and since I am also wider than I need to be, I find it awkward to get in and out, and I find that the divider rail gores me in unpleasant ways. Other than that, though, it IS a nice set of trains.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


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