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What's with the plank boards in between the rails on wooden coasters and what do they do?


Often on wooden coasters, and most often CGI and Gravity Group ones from what I've seen, you come across sections where wooden planks have been placed facing forward instead of sideways in between the rails. Example (taken from Onride.de's POV of Heidi. The images have been cropped so the parts I'm talking about are in focus):

Planks 1.png

Sometimes they're one single line right in the middle of the track.

Planks 2.png

Other times they take up the entire space in between the rails.

So I mostly wonder, what purpose do these serve? Are they reinforcement against anticipated stress on the track? Do they somehow affect the speed of the train? I'd like to know.
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Slut for Spinners
Social Media Team
The most straightforward answer is that it gives maintenance crews much more space to walk about the track and cross the structure. That second picture clearly depicts a spot for workers to cross over the track just before the right catwalk ends prior to the 90 degree turnaround and maintain a solid footing. With regard to the first photo, I know that GCI sometimes lays wood strips like that to act as a reference line that the rails and other components can be measured off of. Based on conversations with GCI engineers in the past, wooden coaster construction seems like it's almost more of an art than a science - construction techniques, tolerance stack-ups from hand cut parts, and material characteristics make it tough for carpenters to know exactly where they need to place boards. The wood strips are the closest thing the engineers can get to offering a true spline reference, but it seems to aid carpenters pretty well. Lastly, if I recall some discussion from when Heidi was built, there were some noise concerns from locals, and thus a lot of sound barriers were added to the ride. The wood between the rails likely acts as additional sound barriers to the walls along the side of the track.