Coasters-101: Track Fabrication

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7 Responses

  1. Larry T. says:

    Good info here! The tubular steel formation explains why Arrow Dynamics coasters are sometimes rough and why some of them are slowly starting to be torn down, like Great American Scream Machine, or the track completely replaced. I don’t think many of the higher stressed Arrow coasters will survive past their 40th year without some sort of an overhaul.

  2. Great article, as always. :-)

  3. Tyler (cf101) says:

    Really interesting! I always wondered how they made all that track…and how B&M and Intamin make it so perfectly – looks like that’ll have to wait!

  4. TF says:

    I think your saying “Wooden coasters have a large tolerance and often deviate from the desired design due to the manual fabrication processes” is not an accurate statement, and certainly not why prefabricated wooden coaster track feels different.

    Prefabricated track feels the way it does because the track is glued to form a solid unit before it is cut to the exact desired shape, rather than laminated with nails. It is also fixed to each bent of the coaster, creating a rigid connection and rigid system, while traditional wooden coaster tracks “float” on the structure.

    I think that wood coaster track rarely deviates from the desired design initially, though differences in the initial quality of design/construction and operators’ maintenance may allow slight deviations from the original designed centerline over time. This, plus a combination of poorly-tracking trains on some coasters, is what causes “rough and bumpy rides”, but that is not a generalization that should be assigned to all wooden coasters.

    Also, Rocky Mountain’s track certainly does need to be bent. It’s just easier because it’s individual pieces of flat steel (prior to welding), rather than a hollow section.

    I appreciate these “Coaster-101″ features, but you should be careful.

  5. Nick says:

    Thanks for the feedback. Yeah, that may have not been the best written sentence, deviate is a pretty open ended word and almost makes it sound like the carpenters can do whatever they want which is not the case. Rocky Mountain does bend their track but theoretically if you have big enough steel stock you could machine every piece with no bending, although that would be very impractical.

  6. Bill says:

    Rmc does not bend there track!

  7. jim says:

    The written staatements are very close to actual track sections. One sleeper may exhist on all steel coaster and woodies. If a certain has excessive structure deflection/columns/ the track section then becomes a linkage which tends to restrict framing from deflection. this then can cause
    early fatigue problem’s, and or track failure, I have seen this happen and all should condider this, Look for structural deflection which finds it way up to a track section

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