Today's modern roller coasters, both wooden and steel, have the same basic design of wheel assembly. Each wheel assembly has three wheels: underfriction, or up-stop, wheels; tractor, or running, wheels; and side friction wheels. All of these help the train move safely and smoothly.
All modern roller coasters have up-stop wheels that hug the bottom of the rail. As their name implies, they prevent the train from coming up off the track. Side friction wheels hug the sides of the rail, either the outside or inside, depending on the track manufacturer. These wheels help the train stay in the center of the two rails to keep the train from derailing. The last wheel set are called tractor wheels, or running wheels. Tractor wheels have a simple but important purpose. These wheels bear the weight of the train on the track, keeping the train running on the track. Tractor wheels may lift off the track in when the vertical g-force is zero or negative, but the up-stop wheels keep the train from coming completely off the rails.
Steel roller coaster wheels are made with polyurethane which increase ride efficiency and have no chemical bond to the rail. Steel roller coaster wheel assemblies can change slightly with different manufacturers. A good example of this is the difference between B&M's track style and Arrow's. On B&M's coasters, the trains have their side friction wheels on the outside of the track, allowing the rails to connect from their inner edges. On Arrow coasters, the train has side friction wheels on the inside of the track, so the rail connectors must "wrap around" the outside of the rail and under the train.
A bogie is a chassis or framework that carries a wheelset, attached to a vehicle—a modular subassembly of wheels and axles. Bogies take various forms in various modes of transport. A bogie may remain normally attached or be quickly detachable ; it may contain a suspension within it, or be solid and in turn be suspended ; it may be mounted on a swivel, as traditionally on a railway carriage or locomotive, additionally jointed and sprung, or held in place by other means.
A roller coaster is a type of amusement ride that employs a form of elevated railroad track designed with tight turns, steep slopes, and sometimes inversions. People 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.
A railroad switch (AE), turnout, or [set of] points (BE) is a mechanical installation enabling railway trains to be guided from one track to another, such as at a railway junction or where a spur or siding branches off.
A wooden roller coaster is most often classified as a roller coaster with running rails made of flattened steel strips mounted on laminated wooden track. Occasionally, the support structure may be made out of a steel lattice or truss, but the ride remains classified as a wooden roller coaster due to the track design. The type of wood typically used in the construction of wooden coasters is Southern Yellow Pine, usually grown in the US and the rest of North America.
A derailment occurs when a vehicle such as a train runs off its rails. Although many derailments are minor, all result in temporary disruption of the proper operation of the railway system and they are potentially seriously hazardous to human health and safety. Usually, the derailment of a train can be caused by a collision with another object, an operational error, the mechanical failure of tracks, such as broken rails, or the mechanical failure of the wheels. In emergency situations, deliberate derailment with derails or catch points is sometimes used to prevent a more serious accident.
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.
A roller coaster train is a vehicle made up of two or more cars connected by specialized joints which transports passengers around a roller coaster's circuit.
A brake run on a roller coaster is any section of track meant to slow or stop a roller coaster train. Brake runs may be located anywhere along the circuit of a coaster and may be designed to bring the train to a complete halt or to simply adjust the train's speed. Contrary to some belief, the vast majority of roller coasters do not have any form of braking on the train itself, but rather forms of braking that exist on track sections. One notable exception is the Scenic Railway roller coaster, which relies on an operator to manually control the speed of the train.
A suspended roller coaster is a type of steel roller coaster in which the car hangs from the bottom of the rolling stock by a pivoting fulcrum or hinge assembly. This allows the car and riders to swing side to side as the train races along the track. Due to the swing designs, these roller coasters cannot invert riders.
X² is a steel roller coaster operating at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. It is the world's first 4th Dimension roller coaster and was the final roller coaster conceived and installed by ride manufacturer Arrow Dynamics. The ride is unique in that the trains' seats pitch 360 degrees forwards and in reverse independent of the main chassis. The coaster initially opened to the public on January 12, 2002; numerous malfunctions delayed it from debuting in 2001 as was originally anticipated. On December 2, 2007, the ride closed for its transformation into X². It was completely repainted, received new third generation trains and featured new special effects including a sound system and a pair of flame throwers. The ride reopened on May 24, 2008, following the upgrades.
Track brakes are a form of brakes unique to railborne vehicles. The braking force derives from the friction resulting from the application of wood or metal braking shoes directly to the tracks. Early examples of track brakes used on the horse hauled mineral tramways that preceded the steam locomotive were described as sledge brakes, and are usually associated with lines that used gravity propulsion. In 1849 locomotive engineer Daniel Gooch fitted early examples of his Corsair Class tank engine with these devices; later these were replace with a conventional wheel brake.
Hercules was a wooden roller coaster located at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Manufactured by the Dinn Corporation and designed by Curtis D. Summers, the roller coaster opened to the public on May 6, 1989. It set a world record for having the longest drop on a wooden coaster at 151 feet (46 m), surpassing the previous record of 147 feet (45 m) set by American Eagle in 1981. Hercules was the third wooden coaster to be constructed at the park. A scenic railway operated at Dorney from 1905 to 1912. The park's existing wooden coaster, known simply as "Coaster" opened in 1924 and was remodeled in 1930. With the opening of Hercules, the existing coaster was given a formal name — Thunderhawk.
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.
A wheelset is the wheel–axle assembly of a railroad car. The frame assembly beneath each end of a car, railcar or locomotive that holds the wheelsets is called the bogie. Most North American freight cars have two bogies with two or three wheelsets, depending on the type of car; short freight cars generally have no bogies but instead have two wheelsets.
Wheel slide protection and wheel slip protection are railway terms used to describe automatic systems used to detect and prevent wheel-slide during braking or wheel-slip during acceleration. This is analogous to ABS and traction control systems used on motor vehicles. It is particularly important in slippery rail conditions.
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".
The Ewing System is a balancing monorail system developed in the late 19th century by British inventor W. J. Ewing. It is not to be confused with the much later system patented by Robert W. Ewing.
Roller Coaster – also known as Scenic Railway or The Scenic – is a wooden roller coaster at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, Great Yarmouth, UK. The ride was built at the park in 1932 and has remained operational since. It is one of only two scenic railways still in operation in the UK and one of only eight in the world. In common with most scenic railways, a 'brakeman' is required to ride with the train to control its speed and to stop it at the end of the ride, as there are no brakes on the track. It is the second tallest and second fastest wooden roller coaster in the UK. It is also a Grade II listed building.
A roller coaster is a machine that uses gravity and inertia to send a train of cars along a winding track. The combination of gravity and inertia, along with g-forces and centripetal acceleration give the body certain sensations as the coaster moves up, down, and around the track. The forces experienced by the rider are constantly changing, leading to feelings of joy in some riders and nausea in others. The basic principles of roller coaster mechanics have been known since 1865, and since then roller coasters have become a popular diversion.
A train wheel or rail wheel is a type of wheel specially designed for use on railway tracks. A rolling component is typically pushed onto an axle and mounted directly on a railway carriage or locomotive, or indirectly on a bogie, also called a truck. Wheels are cast or forged and are heat-treated to have a specific hardness. New wheels are trued, using a lathe, to a specific profile before being pressed onto an axle. All wheel profiles must be regularly checked to ensure proper interaction between the wheel and the rail. Incorrectly trued, or worn out wheels can increase rolling resistance, reduce energy efficiency and may even cause a derailment. A railroad wheel typically consists of two main parts: the wheel itself, and the tire around the outside. A rail tire is usually made from steel, and is typically heated and pushed onto the wheel, where it remains firmly as it shrinks and cools. Monobloc wheels do not have encircling tires, while resilient rail wheels have a resilient material, such as rubber, between the wheel and tire.