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High Speed Powered Coasters

Thekingin64

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Something I've pondered for a while. The vast majority of powered coasters tend to be family orientated at relatively slow speeds. Would it be possible to create a more thrill-orientated powered coaster with higher speeds more comparable to traditional thrill coasters (e.g. 50mph+)?

Granted that Desmo Race gets close to this and has been plagued with technical issues but feel that more of an issue with the ride type than the speeds attained, can't see why a Mack powered coaster couldn't achieve similar speeds.
 

Hixee

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The world speed record for a third rail train is 174 km/h (108 mph) attained on 11 April 1988 by a British Class 442 EMU.
Basic technology says yes, assuming that the biggest hurdle is the power pick-up. There would, of course, be factors of power draw, tire lifetime, heavier trains, etc, but in principle I don't really see why these couldn't be solved.

The question is probably then - why bother? You'd be solving a problem that you don't really need to. The beauty in the designs of the powered coasters is that they can traverse a relatively long layout without needing a big launch or lift. You have a lot of flexibility in the layout as you don't have to worry about keeping the train moving. Once you're up to 'high speed', a big lift hill/launch becomes part of the ride experience rather than just a functional element.

My $0.02 at least...
 

Thekingin64

Well-Known Member

Basic technology says yes, assuming that the biggest hurdle is the power pick-up. There would, of course, be factors of power draw, tire lifetime, heavier trains, etc, but in principle I don't really see why these couldn't be solved.

The question is probably then - why bother? You'd be solving a problem that you don't really need to. The beauty in the designs of the powered coasters is that they can traverse a relatively long layout without needing a big launch or lift. You have a lot of flexibility in the layout as you don't have to worry about keeping the train moving. Once you're up to 'high speed', a big lift hill/launch becomes part of the ride experience rather than just a functional element.

My $0.02 at least...
Completely agree about the high power usage and maintenance issues, as well as there being little point in the concept. Mainly wondering about the viability of it.


Along similar lines to both Desmo Race and Ring Racer, often dreamt of a powered coaster that could follow the layout of a car racetrack, including similar(ish) speeds, slowing for corners and accelerating afterwards. Could even use the technology for something less complicated but still following a low-to-ground thrill layout. For example, imagine the Ultimate's layout with same speeds but powered track (and built well by a professional company (e.g. Mack)). The 2 lift hills wouldn't be required and ride could be equally good, if not better.
 

Hixee

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Along similar lines to both Desmo Race and Ring Racer, often dreamt of a powered coaster that could follow the layout of a car racetrack, including similar(ish) speeds, slowing for corners and accelerating afterwards. Could even use the technology for something less complicated but still following a low-to-ground thrill layout. For example, imagine the Ultimate's layout with same speeds but powered track (and built well by a professional company (e.g. Mack)). The 2 lift hills wouldn't be required and ride could be equally good, if not better.
How about this?:


Or this?:

 

Pokemaniac

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Another thing to note is, if you accelerate the train up to 80-or-so kph, it has enough momentum to make it through the rest of the track without further help from the onboard motor. Which means the onboard motor is redundant once that speed has been achieved ... which again means that at that point, you might as well just put in a regular launch. I'd imagine it saves on maintenance costs and power usage too. Making the train lighter without the whole powertrain means less energy required to accelerate it that fast.

So powered trains could be useful it you want to sustain a speed around 30 km/h or so, but once you go much faster than that, a conventional launch achieves pretty much the same much easier.
 
Would it be possible to make a powered extreme coaster? Of course it would.
Would it be worth it considering there are more reliable and efficient ways of heaving a train around a track? Nope.

The biggest problem with a self powered train is getting the juice to the motors. A sliding contact needs to be used that is rated for the ammount of power the train will pull. More power means a physically larger contact.
Then you need 5 individual contacts and rails for every motor on the train, L1+L2+L3+N+E. This setup starts to take up space very quickly.

The next problem is maintenance, sliding contacts wear out very fast even on the slowest of powered rides. You would be lucky to get more than 6 months out of some setups. I would not expect contacts to last more than a week at 50+mph.

If you want to move a train at a high speed or otherwise boost it, then LSM systems would be far more suitable and reliable. This is in a way what the multi launch coasters do without having the added complexity of another system that wears out quickly.
 
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