Lift hill

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The lift hill of Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure Six Flags Great Adventure - Nitro lifthill.jpg
The lift hill of Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure

A lift hill, or chain hill, is an upward-sloping section of track on a roller coaster on which the roller coaster train is mechanically lifted to an elevated point or peak in the track. Upon reaching the peak, the train is then propelled from the peak by gravity and is usually allowed to coast throughout the rest of the roller coaster ride's circuit on its own momentum, including most or all of the remaining uphill sections. The initial upward-sloping section of a roller coaster track is usually a lift hill, as the train typically begins a ride with little speed, though some coasters have raised stations that permit an initial drop without a lift hill. Although uncommon, some tracks also contain multiple lift hills.


Lift hills usually propel the train to the top of the ride via one of two methods: a chain lift involving a long, continuous chain which trains hook on to and are carried to the top; or a drive tire system in which multiple motorized tires (known as friction wheels) push the train upwards. A typical chain lift consists of a heavy piece of metal called a chain dog, which is mounted onto the underside of one of the cars which make up the train. This is in place to line up with the chain on the lift hill.

The chain travels through a steel trough, and is normally powered by one or more motors which are positioned under the lift hill. Chain dogs underneath each train are engaged by the chain and the train is pulled up the lift. Anti-rollback dogs engage a rack (ratcheted track) alongside the chain to prevent the train from descending the lift hill. At the crest of the lift, the chain wraps around a gear wheel where it begins its return to the bottom of the lift; the train is continually pulled along until gravity takes over and it accelerates downhill. The spring-loaded chain and anti-rollback dogs will disengage themselves as this occurs.

Intamin cable lift

The cable lift tensioning mechanism on Millennium Force at Cedar Point Millennium Force Cable Tensioners.jpg
The cable lift tensioning mechanism on Millennium Force at Cedar Point

The Intamin cable lift is a type of lift mechanism that was first used on Millennium Force at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. [1] This type of lift has also been used for Kings Dominion's Intimidator 305, Holiday Park's Expedition GeForce, Walibi Holland's Goliath, Djurs Sommerland's Piraten (Europe's only "Mega-Lite"-model coaster by Intamin), Tokyo Dome City's Thunder Dolphin, Hersheypark's Skyrush, Flying Aces at Ferrari World and Altair at Cinecittà World. Currently, there are only two wooden roller coasters that utilize a cable lift hill: El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure and T Express at Everland.

The cable lift utilizes a cable that is attached to a catch car that moves up and down the lift hill in a separate channel between the track rails. On several coasters the catch car rolls into the station and latches to the front cars of the train to carry it up the lift hill. [2] This requires the lift hill to be positioned directly in front of the station. El Toro was the first coaster to incorporate a turn between the station and the cable lift hill and was the first (and so far only) of this type to engage the catch car while the train is moving. Once the train engages the catch car, the speed is increased and the train is quickly pulled to top of the lift. Because a cable is much lighter than a chain, cable lifts are much faster than chain lifts. A cable also requires far less maintenance than a chain. Another advantage to park guests is that a cable lift is very quiet, partly because the main drive winch is located directly beneath the top of the lift, a location which will normally be relatively far from guest-accessible areas.

Ferris wheel lift

The Ferris wheel lift is a type of lift based on the rotating circular design of a ferris wheel. Created by Premier Rides, it existed on 'Round About' (formerly Maximum RPM) which operated at Freestyle Music Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina prior to being dismantled and moved to a park in Vietnam only to never operate and was later dismantled again. [3] [ citation needed ] It uses a Ferris Wheel like motion to lift the cars to the top, as on a Ferris Wheel. The cars are then released onto the track.

Elevator lift

The elevator lift is typically used on a single car or a short, double-car train. The vehicle moves into position on a piece of track that is then lifted vertically, along with the vehicle, operating very similar to a passenger elevator. Several of these systems use a single shaft and a second piece of track in the opposite position serves as the counterweight. With the single shaft the rail may curve to the left or right as the two tracks pass each other at the halfway point. The first coaster to use an elevator system with a counterweight was Batflyer at Lightwater Valley. [4] It is believed that those same designers then founded Caripro, which then constructed nine vertical lift suspended coasters between 1997 and 2001. [5] The Mack Rides-built Matterhorn Blitz at Europa Park was the first to use a two-track system with a single shaft. [6]

Friction wheel lift

A friction wheel lift is a type of lift mechanism in which two wheels are placed in either a horizontal or a vertical position. These are commonly used for brake runs, lifts, storage and more. The train has a small vertical lip, where the two friction wheels meet at each side. The wheels pull the train up slowly, while making a jet-like noise. An anti-rollback system is not needed, as the wheels are tight against the lip.

Tilt lift/thrill lift section

A tilt lift is a new way to elevate coasters. The tilt lift is essentially an elevator lift, but the elevator lift rotates 90 degrees so that the train is now vertical, with the nose of the train facing the ground. This design has not been made yet; the only places where this occurs are in the video games RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 , Thrillville Off the Rails and Coaster Crazy. However, there are coaster designs that use the tilting aspect of this lift already. The first operating tilt coaster in the world is Gravity Max at Lihpao Land in Taiwan. The coaster was built by Vekoma. In this coaster, after going up a chain hill, the train is held on a horizontal section of track, which then tilts forwards, to become a vertical section, which then leads into a vertical drop accelerated by gravity. The Chinese company Golden Horse has made several unofficial recreations, each featuring a less than vertical drop and significantly different track elements. [7]

Anti-rollback device

Diagram depicting the anti-rollback safety feature Antirollback.svg
Diagram depicting the anti-rollback safety feature

The familiar "click-clack" sound that occurs as a roller coaster train ascends the lift hill is not caused by the chain itself. The cause for this noise is actually a safety device used on lift hills—the anti-rollback device. The anti-rollback device is a standard safety feature, typically consisting of a continuous, saw-toothed, section of metal, forming a linear ratchet.

Roller coaster trains are fitted with anti-rollback "dogs," essentially heavy-duty pieces of metal that fall and rest in each groove of the anti-rollback device on the track as the trains ascend the lift-hill. This makes the "clicking" sound and allows the train to go upwards only, effectively preventing the train from rolling back down the hill should it ever encounter a power failure or broken chain.

This feature was derived from the similar feature originally used on the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway in Pennsylvania, starting in 1846. The two uphill planes that cars were drawn up under the power of a stationary steam engine had two slightly different early forms of this anti-rollback device. The entire concept of the modern roller coaster was also initially inspired by this railroad.

Related Research Articles

Roller coaster Rail-based amusement park ride

A roller coaster, or rollercoaster, is a type of amusement ride that employs a form of elevated railroad track designed with tight turns, steep slopes, and sometimes inversions. Passengers ride along the track in open cars, and the rides are often found in amusement parks and theme parks around the world. LaMarcus Adna Thompson obtained one of the first known patents for a roller coaster design in 1885, related to the Switchback Railway that opened a year earlier at Coney Island. The track in a coaster design does not necessarily have to be a complete circuit, as shuttle roller coasters demonstrate. Most roller coasters have multiple cars in which passengers sit and are restrained. Two or more cars hooked together are called a train. Some roller coasters, notably Wild Mouse roller coasters, run with single cars.

Wooden roller coaster Type of roller coaster

A wooden roller coaster is a type of roller coaster classified by its wooden track, which consists of running rails made of flat steel strips mounted on laminated wood. The support structure is also typically made of wood, but may also be made of steel lattice or truss, which has no bearing on a wooden coaster's classification. The type of wood often selected in the construction of wooden coasters worldwide is southern yellow pine, which grows abundantly in the southern United States, due to its density and adherence to different forms of pressure treatment.

Vekoma Dutch amusement ride manufacturer

Vekoma Rides Manufacturing is a Dutch amusement ride manufacturer. Vekoma is syllabic abbreviation of Veld Koning Machinefabriek which was established in 1926 by Hendrik op het Veld.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Flying roller coaster</span> Type of roller coaster

A flying roller coaster is a type of roller coaster meant to simulate the sensations of flight by harnessing riders in a prone position during the duration of the ride. The roller coaster cars are suspended below the track, with riders secured such that their backs are parallel to the track.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bolliger & Mabillard</span> Swiss roller coaster manufacturer

Bolliger & Mabillard, officially Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers, Inc. and often abbreviated B&M, is a roller coaster design consultancy based in Monthey, Switzerland. The company was founded in 1988 by Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard, both of whom had worked for Giovanola.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intamin</span> Swiss design and manufacturing company

Intamin Amusement Rides is a design and manufacturing company in Schaan, Liechtenstein. It is best known for creating thrill rides and roller coasters worldwide. The Intamin brand name is a syllabic abbreviation for "international amusement installations". The company has offices throughout the world, including three in Europe, three in Asia, and two in the United States.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mindbender (Galaxyland)</span> Roller coaster in Galaxyland Mall, Alberta, Canada

The Mindbender is an Anton Schwarzkopf looping roller coaster located at Galaxyland Amusement Park, a theme park located in West Edmonton Mall, in Alberta, Canada. The ride officially opened to the public on December 20, 1985 at a cost of $6 million. At 44.2 m (145 ft) in height, it is the tallest indoor roller coaster in the world as of 2020.

Rollback (roller coaster)

A rollback occurs on a launched roller coaster when the train is not launched fast enough to reach the top of the tower or hill. It will roll backwards down the tower, and will be stopped by brakes on the launch track. Any roller coaster on which it is possible for a rollback to occur will have these brakes. Intamin, a manufacturer of roller-coasters, refers to the "rollback" as a "short shot".

Giant Inverted Boomerang Steel roller coaster

A Giant Inverted Boomerang is a type of steel shuttle roller coaster manufactured by the Dutch firm Vekoma. The ride is a larger, inverted version of Vekoma's popular Boomerang sit down roller coasters. As of August 2022, four installations of the model are operating, with another one under construction.

Xcelerator Steel launched roller coaster

Xcelerator is a steel launched roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. It was Intamin's first hydraulically launched coaster, while also the fourth Intamin installation at Knott's, alongside Sky Cabin, Calico River Rapids and Perilous Plunge.

Accelerator Coaster Roller coaster model by Intamin

An Accelerator Coaster is a hydraulically launched roller coaster model from Intamin. The model usually consists of a long, straight launch track, a top hat tower element, and magnetic brakes that smoothly stop the train without making contact. The technology was developed by Intamin engineers as an alternative to electromagnetic launch systems, such as the Linear Induction Motor (LIM) and Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM), that are found on earlier launched roller coasters like the Flight of Fear and The Joker's Jinx. Unlike the earlier linear induction motors, the Accelerator Coaster's launch system exhibits constant acceleration and is capable of reaching greater speeds.

Dragon (Adventureland) Former roller coaster at Adventureland

The Dragon was an O.D. Hopkins steel roller coaster located at Adventureland in Altoona, Iowa. The coaster opened for Adventureland's sixteenth season of operation on May 12, 1990, and was partially dismantled during the spring/summer of 2020 to make way for the Dragon Slayer 4D Freespin.

John A. Miller was an American roller coaster designer and builder, inventor, and businessman. Miller patented over 100 key roller coaster components, and is widely considered the "father of the modern high-speed roller coaster." During his lifetime, he participated in the design of approximately 150 coasters and was a key business partner and mentor to other well-known roller coaster designers, Harry C. Baker and John C. Allen.

Chance Rides Ride manufacturer

Chance Rides Manufacturing is a roller coaster and amusement ride manufacturer. The company was formed on May 16, 2002, when the former Chance Industries Inc. emerged from bankruptcy. The main office and manufacturing facility are located in Wichita, Kansas.

Roller coaster elements are the individual parts of roller coaster design and operation, such as a track, hill, loop, or turn. Variations in normal track movement that add thrill or excitement to the ride are often called "thrill elements".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Goliath (Six Flags Fiesta Texas)</span> Steel inverted roller coaster

Goliath is an inverted roller coaster located at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas, United States. Designed by Werner Stengel and Swiss manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard, Goliath initially opened in 1995 at an amusement park in Japan, and has been operating at Six Flags Fiesta Texas since 2008. It stands at a height of 105 feet (32 m), reaches a maximum speed of 50 mph (80 km/h), and features multiple inversions.

History of the roller coaster

Roller coaster amusement rides have origins back to ice slides constructed in 18th-century Russia. Early technology featured sleds or wheeled carts that were sent down hills of snow reinforced by wooden supports. The technology evolved in the 19th century to feature railroad track using wheeled cars that were securely locked to the track. Newer innovations emerged in the early 20th century with side friction and underfriction technologies to allow for greater speeds and sharper turns. By the mid-to-late 20th century, these elements intensified with the introduction of steel roller coaster designs and the ability to invert riders.

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Steel roller coaster

Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit is a steel roller coaster at Universal Studios Florida in Orlando, Florida. With a height of 167 feet (51 m), a length of 3,800 feet (1,200 m), and a top speed of 65 miles per hour (105 km/h), it is the largest X-Coaster ever built by German manufacturer Maurer Söhne. Announced on March 19, 2008, the coaster officially debuted on August 19, 2009, despite original plans to open several months earlier in the spring. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit features on-ride music LED lighting, and on-ride photos and videos captured from cameras mounted in each passenger row.

Mumbo Jumbo (roller coaster)

Mumbo Jumbo is a roller coaster which opened to the public on 4 July 2009 at Flamingo Land Resort, UK. Mumbo Jumbo is situated in the Lost Kingdom section of the park and has orange supports and black tracks.

SkyLoop Steel roller coaster

SkyLoop is a type of steel roller coaster manufactured by Maurer Söhne. There are currently 10 SkyLoops operating worldwide, nine of which are identical XT 150 models, and one of which is an extended XT 450 model. The first SkyLoop to open was Sky Wheel in 2004 while the sole XT 450, Abismo, opened in 2006. There are also three other models available—XT 900, Custom, and Launch—which have not seen any installations as of 2021.


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  2. Rogers, Joel. "Millennium Force (slide show)". Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  3. Marden, Duane. "Paradise Fall  (Asia Park)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  4. Marden, Duane. "Batflyer  (Lightwater Valley)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  5. "Caripro" . Retrieved November 22, 2020.
  6. Marden, Duane. "Matterhorn Blitz  (Europa-Park)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  7. "Broken Rail Coaster (KSC-24B) - Golden Horse (Torch Hi-tech Industrial Development Zone, Zhongshan, Guangdong, China)". Retrieved 2020-09-11.