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Hank

Making A Coaster Run Faster

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What could be done to make a coaster run faster - assuming it was approved to do so by the manufacturer?

I know about trim brakes being used to keep the coaster from beating itself up, but if it can be made to run faster, why hasn't it been done?

Maybe new trains? Maybe new track? Maybe something I don't know about?

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You could speed up the lift hill to marginally speed up a coaster. The effect wouldn't be too noticable though.

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I guess it would depend on which part of the circuit you'd want it to run faster on. However, if you speed up one part it would affect many other areas which would need altered to handle the increased velocity.

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more banked turns. You would lose the lateral Gs but you could hold more speed into the turns and would require less braking...

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From a physics standpoint:

1. A heavier train will be slowed less quickly by air drag than a light one, but it will experience more friction from the track. There's a balance somewhere in the middle that I'd bet is considered in train design. There's also aerodynamic considerations that can affect the drag, too.

1a. The number of riders in a train will affect the speed similarly. Empty trains likely run more slowly than full trains.

2. The more forceful the ride is, the quicker friction will slow it down. This includes positive, negative, and lateral G's.

3. The more pure airtime the ride has (meaning exactly 0G's in any direction--not negative G's like on El Toro, which fall under #2) the less friction from the track.

4. The smoother the track (i.e., the less variance in the track gauge), the faster the ride will go. I don't completely understand why that is (something to do with vibrations and natural damping?), but

's a side-by-side comparison from the Coney Island Cyclone's recent rehab for proof.

5. The fewer trim brakes, the faster the ride will go. :P (You're welcome, dare-to-fly.)

6. If the track and train axles are properly lubricated, the ride will run faster. Too little, and there's increased friction. I don't know if roller coaster grease is like oil in a car, but if there's too much in your car, it will foam and fail to work properly. Since it's grease and not oil I'd guess there probably can't be too much, but that's a complete guess.

I'm sure there's more to it, but those are the parts I'd guess primarily affect it.

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As someone said, you could speed the lift up a bit. You could also adjust the LIMs or LSMs strengths, I'm assuming.

Temperature and moisture also would affect the speed....so changing the conditions/environment.

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From personal observation, the two largest impacts of a coaster's speed without significant modification are weather conditions and train weight. Compare the run time of a coaster on a cold morning with an empty train to that of a cool (not cold) night when it has been running full trains all day and is carrying a full load of passengers ... you will get a cycle time of several seconds shorter.

A very fast way to see this difference is on Tennessee Tornado. On cold days with empty trains, it will actually be running so slow that it loses quite a bit of it's centrifugal (sp?) force in the spyro loop. You will hear it "fall" on to the upstop wheels a little past halfway through - it makes a pretty amusing groan as it does so. If it's been running all day with full trains and is nice and warmed up, it will clear the spyro loop without ever touching the upstops. The cycle time will vary by 4-5 seconds throughout the season, dependent on running conditions.

On The Beast, you can judge the speed difference in the train by how far up lift #2 it catches the chain. On cold mornings with empty trains, the front car of the train will not reach the first evacuation staircase before it catches. Under optimal wood coaster conditions (at the end of the day, full train, cool, rainy - Haunt is perfect for this), it will catch with as many as 3 cars above that staircase.

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From a physics standpoint:

1. A heavier train will be slowed less quickly by air drag than a light one, but it will experience more friction from the track. There's a balance somewhere in the middle that I'd bet is considered in train design. There's also aerodynamic considerations that can affect the drag, too.

1a. The number of riders in a train will affect the speed similarly. Empty trains likely run more slowly than full trains.

2. The more forceful the ride is, the quicker friction will slow it down. This includes positive, negative, and lateral G's.

3. The more pure airtime the ride has (meaning exactly 0G's in any direction--not negative G's like on El Toro, which fall under #2) the less friction from the track.

4. The smoother the track (i.e., the less variance in the track gauge), the faster the ride will go. I don't completely understand why that is (something to do with vibrations and natural damping?), but

's a side-by-side comparison from the Coney Island Cyclone's recent rehab for proof.

5. The fewer trim brakes, the faster the ride will go. :P (You're welcome, dare-to-fly.)

6. If the track and train axles are properly lubricated, the ride will run faster. Too little, and there's increased friction. I don't know if roller coaster grease is like oil in a car, but if there's too much in your car, it will foam and fail to work properly. Since it's grease and not oil I'd guess there probably can't be too much, but that's a complete guess.

I'm sure there's more to it, but those are the parts I'd guess primarily affect it.

Thanks for that #5...but that should read NO trim brakes, not "fewer" trim brakes. lol

Tee heeeee!!!

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We had to get out and push when we undershot the station on Blue Streak at Conneaut Lake back in 2010. It was pretty entertaining.

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Strap a cheetah to its back.

(Sorry, that's from a commercial)

I feel like its safe to say this is the funniest post I have ever read.

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In answer to Hanks question, nothing can be done to make them noticeably faster on a consistent basis. Coasters are designed to go the speed they go and increasing a coasters speed would have catastrophic consequences further down the road.

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In answer to Hanks question, nothing can be done to make them noticeably faster on a consistent basis. Coasters are designed to go the speed they go and increasing a coasters speed would have catastrophic consequences further down the road.

Only if you didn't have maintenace, in which case it would be catastrophic either way. The inconsistency is what makes it fun. A good rain ride sounds wonderful right about now.

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Principle Losses are 1.) Wind Resistance 2.) Wheel Friction. A cookie to the first one to tell me where that's from.

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Has there ever been any Scientific Proof that The Beast is Faster at Night after rain or is it all just a Myth? Just Curious.. It always seems like it is, but is the speed actually faster?

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Speed is calculated by dividing distance by time. A distance between any two points. Which two should be used?

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Has there ever been any Scientific Proof that The Beast is Faster at Night after rain or is it all just a Myth? Just Curious.. It always seems like it is, but is the speed actually faster?

Read post #13.

From personal observation, the two largest impacts of a coaster's speed without significant modification are weather conditions and train weight. Compare the run time of a coaster on a cold morning with an empty train to that of a cool (not cold) night when it has been running full trains all day and is carrying a full load of passengers ... you will get a cycle time of several seconds shorter.

On The Beast, you can judge the speed difference in the train by how far up lift #2 it catches the chain. On cold mornings with empty trains, the front car of the train will not reach the first evacuation staircase before it catches. Under optimal wood coaster conditions (at the end of the day, full train, cool, rainy - Haunt is perfect for this), it will catch with as many as 3 cars above that staircase.

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Speed is calculated by dividing distance by time. A distance between any two points. Which two should be used?

Without turning this into a full-blown Calculus lesson, I'll say that distance over time gives you average speed. If it's 240 miles to Holiday World from my house and takes me 4 hours to get there, distance over time says I'm going 60 miles per hour. Thing is, I've got to go 55 (or less) for the first eighth of the trip, then 65 for an hour, then 35 for about 15 minutes when I inevitably and consistently hit traffic trying to leave Cincinnati, and so on.

I guess my best answer to your question is that you would let the train travel for a specific amount of time (e.g. 1 second.) Every second, you measure how far the train traveled in that second. The distance the train traveled divided by 1 second would approximately be the speed of the train at that point in the track. Calculate that throughout the course, and you'll roughly know the speed of the train at any given time. If you start measuring how far the train travels every 0.5 seconds, then your calculations become more accurate. Make it every 0.25 seconds, and they become even more accurate. (The idea behind derivatives in Calc is that your chosen amount of time becomes infinitely small, so you know exactly how fast something is changing or moving at any given time.)

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(Terp reminds himself of why he's spent entire careers working with engineers and scientists, rather than being one..and other careers interpreting what those experts say and said...for laypeople, public relations types and...observers)

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I teach math, so I get enough of this kind of thing. How about we just say that all the aforementioned factors have an effect on the speed. It is possible to change it within a few miles per hour at any given point, but not significantly faster or slower one way or the other.

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Here goes Terp. Wheel bearings are packed in grease. Grease that is thicker when cold. As weather heats up and/or a coaster runs longer, the grease thins and the wheels spin more freely and quicker. Brakes work by friction (skid brakes) or by magnetic repelling/attracting. Rain acts as a lubricant and lessens the effectiveness of skid brakes while having no measurable effect on magnetic brakes.

All explained with little physics and no math.

That's one...interpretation.

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Speed is calculated by dividing distance by time. A distance between any two points. Which two should be used?

Without turning this into a full-blown Calculus lesson, I'll say that distance over time gives you average speed. If it's 240 miles to Holiday World from my house and takes me 4 hours to get there, distance over time says I'm going 60 miles per hour. Thing is, I've got to go 55 (or less) for the first eighth of the trip, then 65 for an hour, then 35 for about 15 minutes when I inevitably and consistently hit traffic trying to leave Cincinnati, and so on.

I guess my best answer to your question is that you would let the train travel for a specific amount of time (e.g. 1 second.) Every second, you measure how far the train traveled in that second. The distance the train traveled divided by 1 second would approximately be the speed of the train at that point in the track. Calculate that throughout the course, and you'll roughly know the speed of the train at any given time. If you start measuring how far the train travels every 0.5 seconds, then your calculations become more accurate. Make it every 0.25 seconds, and they become even more accurate. (The idea behind derivatives in Calc is that your chosen amount of time becomes infinitely small, so you know exactly how fast something is changing or moving at any given time.)

So, are you saying that there's a certain point at which a speed measurement is not an average?

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Taking out sections and replacing them with longer, steeper, sloping, etc - this could also be done - of course then it becomes version 2!

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