To Build a Roller Coaster Train, Part 1

By , February 19, 2015
Matt Brueckmann

Hi again everyone! Apologies for the lack of a blog post the past few weeks, things around here have really ramped up, and now I’ve got a lot to say.

Personally, I’m finally acclimating to the weather around here, since I never experienced anything lower than 40 degrees back home. It’s been fun to finally be able to appreciate the winter weather (mostly the abundant snowfall, and sometimes even the cold, when it’s not below like 10 of course).

Anyway, back to the shop. We recently doubled down our work on some of our junior/kiddie trains (Mini-llennium Flyers, as they’re called), that were just recently shipped out to be placed on an existing ride. Working on other park orders my first 2 weeks certainly helped prepare me for this, as I now know the basic location of most of the parts and hardware we have around the shop and our storage areas.

Working on trains has certainly been the highlight of my time here. Being part of creating a ride or experience to share with others, has been a life-long dream of mine (at least, as long as I can remember). I can actually trace it back to a 6th grade class presentation I made of what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I have only refined my dream from there. I hope to be able to describe some of what I saw and learned in this post, and in future posts.

To start, its interesting to note that our junior trains are a fairly new product. They were only released a bit over a year ago, and this is our second ride that will use them. It’s interesting because they use many of the same parts under the hood as the full-size Millennium Flyers, or slightly modified/scaled versions, which actually is a good thing.It’s not just so we can keep efficient stock of parts (since many parks often ask us for custom modifications), but also to keep many of the great factors of the original car, such as double or triple-redundant fail-safes, lessening thicknesses and designing holes into parts to lower overall weight, rounding/curving certain edges to relieve known points of high stress, and other fine details that were only refined further for the junior cars.

Lesson 2: Good design requires looking at the past, to improve the future

Stay tuned for more of my thoughts and experiences in building trains for GCI!

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