B&M, Intamin: Why all the steps?

B&M, Intamin: Why all the steps?

Post by Dave Altho » Thu, 21 Aug 1997 04:00:00


I spent yesterday at Cedar Point.  One of the things that I noticed
this time around was the platform heights, and a strange thought
occurred to me.  First, let me run through a quick rundown of the
platforms...

Blue Streak:  Less than 3'.
Wildcat:  About 5'
Mine Ride:  About 20'
Corkscrew:  About 15'
Gemini:  About 15'
Jr. Gemini:  About 6'
Disaster Transport:  About 25'
Iron Dragon:  About 20'
Magnum XL-200:  About 15'
Mean Streak:  About 20'
Raptor:  About 30'
Mantis: The Coaster Formerly Known as Banshee:  About 25'

Okay, for most of these, the height makes perfect sense.  Blue Streak
actually dives below ground (but not underground) for the turnaround
leading to the lift hill.  The lifts for Mine Ride, Corkscrew,
Gemini, Magnum XL-200, and Mean Streak all start very near ground
level.  So the platform height is used to provide enough of a drop
for the train to coast from the station to the lift.  Wildcat uses
advancing wheels, and is actually level from the station to the base
of the lift...the station is as high as it is because it is a
portable coaster, so that space is needed for the support structure
and the station mechanicals.

But Disaster Transport, Raptor, and Mantis all use advancing wheels
between the station and the lift.  In all three cases, the bottom of
the lift is at roughly the same height as the station track.  So why
do you suppose the designers make us walk up all those darned steps?  
The only effect the elevated station has on the ride itself is to
allow for a shorter lift.  Why not let the mechanicals do the
lifting, and put the boarding platform much closer to the ground?  
The only reason I can think of off-hand is that the elevated station
reduces the distance from the top of the lift to the top end of the
brake run at the end of the ride, which implies that the train will
be going more slowly...even without brakes...as it enters the station
track.  But it seems that there are other ways to use up that kinetic
energy, so I'm thinking that isn't the real reason.  Anyone got any
ideas?

I can see why Arrow's platforms are built up in the air; heck, one of
Arrow's signature elements seems to be that quick dip between the
station and the lift.  But B&M use advancing motors, and usually have
a shorter path from station to lift...on Mantis, for instance, it is
barely a dogleg.  As a result, the bottom of the lift is at the same
height as the rest of the ride.  It seems to me that this would make
it fairly trivial to put the whole station at ground level,
eliminating the need for a special-access ramp or elevator.

Hmmmmm...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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B&M, Intamin: Why all the steps?

Post by SteelFor » Fri, 22 Aug 1997 04:00:00

Quote:
> So why
>do you suppose the designers make us walk up all those darned steps?

Flooding?
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B&M, Intamin: Why all the steps?

Post by Dave Altho » Sat, 23 Aug 1997 04:00:00

: > But Disaster Transport, Raptor, and Mantis all use advancing wheels
: > between the station and the lift.

: I thought Raptor only had advancing wheels when it turned directly in front
: of the life (In other words, the curve itself is a drop)

It has them in the station as well.  And yes, the curve drops slightly,
but it isn't a whole lot.  The train gets nowhere near the ground until
the bottom of the first drop.

: > The only effect the elevated station has on the ride itself is to
: > allow for a shorter lift.  Why not let the mechanicals do the
: > lifting, and put the boarding platform much closer to the ground?  

: Good question. Another B & M coaster, Vortex at PGA, has a dip out of the
: station and a turn to the lift, and that station is elevated as well. I
: guess it was to make the lift shorter (But not by much) but it raises a
: question in my mind: On both Vortex and Raptor, why are there advancing
: wheels (let alone a small curving incline leading to the lift) right before
: theie lifts if the coasters have enough kinetic energy to reach the lift?
: The only reason for that incline is to make the lift short by what? A few
: feet?

The advancing wheels at the bottom of the lift are easy to explain...they
are there for the same reason that the earliest Arrows have brakes at the
bottoms of the lifts, that Schwarzkopf Wildcats have advancing wheels at
the base of the lift, and that newer Arrows have speed sensors and
variable speed lifts--

The advancing wheels at the base of the lift will insure that the train
and the lift are moving at the same speed, which makes for a smoother
connection between train and lift chain.  Then, once the back of the train
clears the advancing wheels, the lift can be speeded up, if necessary.

: > The only reason I can think of off-hand is that the elevated station
: > reduces the distance from the top of the lift to the top end of the
: > brake run at the end of the ride, which implies that the train will
: > be going more slowly...even without brakes...as it enters the station
: > track.

: Would the purpose of that be so the breaks wouldn't wear? (If they do?)

Oh, the brakes wear all right!  Next time you ride Mean Streak, take a
close look at the ground next to the 'tunnel' that you walk through under
the brake run on your way to the platform stairs.  See all those
gold-colored metal flakes?  Those are brake lining material and brake fin
material...

Admittedly, the higher the station is, the slower the train will be going
when it arrives in the station.
(gotta run...)
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
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B&M, Intamin: Why all the steps?

Post by Morri » Sun, 24 Aug 1997 04:00:00

But it seems that there are other ways to use up that kinetic

Quote:
> energy, so I'm thinking that isn't the real reason.  Anyone got any
> ideas?

cuz....it looks cool!

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B&M, Intamin: Why all the steps?

Post by Christopher Fra » Sun, 24 Aug 1997 04:00:00

I wonder three things, thinking about stations being so high.

One is simply that maybe people get a subconscience thrill by climbing
steps into a station. Kinda like a "we've arrived" sensation.

Two is that the elevation allows for people to walk under the break run,
which might be a space allowance for walkways or queues (a la Raptor)

Three is that the area under a station might be used for things the GP
isn't supposed to see. There could be anything down there from maint.
space, to employee bathrooms, to an illegal *** facility.

Just some ideas to be tossed around.

Chris