GCI 101: Intro to Trains

By , May 12, 2014
Manny Esteves

So this blog is going to consist of the random facts I’ve picked up throughout the whole assembly process of the trains. I’ll start with some basic Millennium Flyer facts and then go into some more detail.

So Millennium Flyer trains have been a big selling point for Great Coasters, except for the first three coasters; Wildcat, Gwazi and Roar. A lot of people like them because they embody what GCII is all about, creating rides with that classic feel to them. However, they were created with the intention of entering and making turns with a much smoother transition and that’s why you’ll see some parks swap out their original cars for Millennium Flyers (after we modify the track a little bit). The technical term used is “roll”, “pitch” and “yaw.” Basically in terms of mechanical physics, roll is the movement in the x-axis, pitch is the y-axis and yaw is the z-axis. They’ve been called the “gold standard” in the wooden coaster industry and are something Great Coasters takes a heavy amount of pride in.

Our coasters are in a transition period in terms of brake systems. We carry the brake fins and supplies necessary for the traditional system, however all new rides use a copper-zinc alloy magnetic brakes we now carry. Magnetic brakes basically use eddy currents when entering the brake run to slow it to a gentle stop. For the younger readers, an eddy current is basically a current that is produced by changing magnetic fields to repel the brake fins and slow it down. It’s cool because it’s directly proportional to the speed of the ride coming in and therefore makes it a lot safer.

I’ll finish with restraint systems, which is what I consider the most important part. Even though we make zero G coasters, GCII still goes the extra mile with safety by including seatbelts in addition to the traditional, single person lap bar. I spent two whole days the other week just assembling the lapbar mechanisms and getting familiar with every individual component. The lapbar mechanisms are attached to the gear hubs (which are shown in one of my previous blogs and responsible for that clicking sound you hear when you pull it down) and if you buckle up, you’ll have me to thank for enjoying the comfort of our awesome trains! …Okay I guess Dan gets credit for making sure I’m doing everything correctly too, but you get the picture! So, class dismissed, don’t forget we’ll be taking a field trip in the next blog and finals are coming up soon!

Lesson 7: Despite what people will say, roller coasters undergo strict safety inspections and regulations. If they’re operating, the company and park has done a massive amount of work to ensure your safety.

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