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Lightning Rod Status

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
1. Never judge a coaster by its testing speed.
2. Always assume controls are reprogrammed with a retrack.

On the coaster zero car design, at least the roller coaster still has anesthetic applied. Let us not forget how badass the Top Thrill Dragster trains were before they removed the entire back fin and engine theme. But whatever improves ride reliability - I’m in.

... since you know, I’ve been to Dollywood three times and not gotten to ride this damn coaster yet.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
When this coaster was built, I was hoping it would herald a new era of big, launched thrill woodies. The fact that almost four years later, we still have a an active thread discussing whether the coaster is running, kinda suggests we shouldn't quite expect Lightning Rod 2 anytime soon.
 

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
When this coaster was built, I was hoping it would herald a new era of big, launched thrill woodies. The fact that almost four years later, we still have a an active thread discussing whether the coaster is running, kinda suggests we shouldn't quite expect Lightning Rod 2 anytime soon.
It does make me wonder if Topper Track will just fade into the night. As I've always understood the marketing pitch; Iron Horse was for conversions, Topper Track was for new builds. Yet Zadra broke that "concept" in 2019, and this adds more the case. Ultimately, why would a park risk a new build with Topper Track, when Iron Horse has come to be a far more proven application?
 

UP87

Mega Poster
Oh... first time I heard Iron Horse used for the I-Box track.

There's no benefit in using Topper Track except for maybe naming the result a wooden coaster. (Which Energylandia did while they were using I-Box track)
 

Luca B

Mega Poster
I can't help but notice this last section seems faster than it was when it was wood track:-


Does IBox have a lower friction coefficient than Topper? It would explain why it seems faster. Hopefully they won't need to install any trims to compensate for this.
According to the park at the event, it reaches a slightly higher speed at the bottom of the quad down, and how it ran the other day is how they plan to keep it when the ride opens.
 

JuliOverbank

Roller Poster
I can't help but notice this last section seems faster than it was when it was wood track, even before the launch was slowed:-


Does IBox have a lower friction coefficient than Topper track? It would explain why it seems faster. Hopefully they won't need to install any trims to compensate for this.
I expect the friction coefficient to be the same, as it is both steel that the wheels are running on and I think they use the same kind of paint for it. I do think the IBox is stiffer and therefore less vibration will occur which will increase the speed, call it a lower practical friction or so
 

jay37415

Mega Poster
I can't help but notice this last section seems faster than it was when it was wood track, even before the launch was slowed:-


Does IBox have a lower friction coefficient than Topper track? It would explain why it seems faster. Hopefully they won't need to install any trims to compensate for this.
I also noticed that it seems to carry more speed at the top of the final turn.
 

CrashCoaster

Strata Poster
I'm gonna summon @Hixee in here, because if anyone knows it's probably him. It would make sense to me for IBox to have less friction since the track is sturdier and is less prone to warping and moving. It would explain the speed increase.
 

Hixee

Flojector
Staff member
Administrator
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I mean, that's one side of it. If I was a betting man I'd say that all other things being equal, steel track will allow the train to keep it's speed longer than wood. Lightning Rod may, with enough time and effort in analysis, be one of the first times we'd be able to do a near direct comparison.

Of course, there's also a hundred and one other generic things at play - wind speed and direction, air temperature, wheel assembly temperature, humidity, train weight, bearing condition, grease type, wheel material, wheel age, etc. That's not to mention we don't know exactly how fast the train was launched in this specific case.

So yes, perfectly plausible to me that it would run faster on the IBox.

For my two cents - it's the quad-down that makes Lightning Rod as good as it is. It'd be a Top 20 coaster without it, but with it it's a Top 5. Launch is a little slower? Meh, that's not really that good anyway (I rode it very shortly after it opened, so got the 'original' speed). Now it's faster through the quad-down? Okay, I'm listening. :p
 

Ries

Mega Poster
This sounds logic to me, but maybe I am wrong.
The whole thing is steel now and expands different from wood and steel.

Where it expanded irregular and caused more friction on the inner wheels.
I could think that the iBox is indeed a bit faster because of this.

But I could be wrong. :D
 

Hyde

Matt SR
Staff member
Moderator
Social Media Team
I mean, that's one side of it. If I was a betting man I'd say that all other things being equal, steel track will allow the train to keep it's speed longer than wood. Lightning Rod may, with enough time and effort in analysis, be one of the first times we'd be able to do a near direct comparison.

Of course, there's also a hundred and one other generic things at play - wind speed and direction, air temperature, wheel assembly temperature, humidity, train weight, bearing condition, grease type, wheel material, wheel age, etc. That's not to mention we don't know exactly how fast the train was launched in this specific case.

So yes, perfectly plausible to me that it would run faster on the IBox.

For my two cents - it's the quad-down that makes Lightning Rod as good as it is. It'd be a Top 20 coaster without it, but with it it's a Top 5. Launch is a little slower? Meh, that's not really that good anyway (I rode it very shortly after it opened, so got the 'original' speed). Now it's faster through the quad-down? Okay, I'm listening. :p
Another consideration that could aire in I-Box's favor is structural rigidity. While the mating surface of wheel and steel is the same between both Topper and I-Box; Topper track still uses a laminated wood process for the remainder of the track structure, while I-Box is (surprise!) all steel framing.

395096_10151285414613566_1614260270_n (1).jpg
While the Topper Track is tightly built, any imperfections or warping wear of the wood could cause the track to sit uneven, or allow for side-to-side shaking when the train passes - essentially not allowing the train to get up to proper speed in making best-contact possible with the track, and creating energy loss/friction.

As folks can see in our latest video of Iron Rattler's wheel assembly, the wheels take a beating each run, so any opportunity to minimize track rattle/maximize wheels sitting nicely on the track is a good thing!

 

Hutch

Strata Poster
That speed through the final elements seem pretty similar to when it was all wood. I'll echo what was said above, the launch speed isn't a huge deal so long as the rest of the layout holds up like it did before.

Man I can't wait to ride this again someday.
 

jay37415

Mega Poster
Scott shot footage of Lightning Rod’s truck assembly in the very beginning. Would be interesting to see the entire footage.

 

MLDesigns

Hyper Poster
That speed through the final elements seem pretty similar to when it was all wood. I'll echo what was said above, the launch speed isn't a huge deal so long as the rest of the layout holds up like it did before.
Definitely won't have any issues with the 2nd half. It's always impressed me that even after the launch modification (sometime between April-July 2017) that the quad down felt the same. The first half is what really suffered from the change, on the original speed that entire ride felt like the quad down. God I miss it.
 

JJLehto

Hyper Poster
Yeah seen a lot of sad feels about the OG, how out of control it was, just wont ever be the same etc
......Meanwhile some of us have never ridden it once :(
But I'm excited to finally get out there. I've asked around and all have said the reduced launch while it doesnt give so much air over the top, didn't impact the rest of the ride. So yeah that's what matters to me, long as the whole experience is the same. I HOPE they do increase/restore the launch to what it was, now that it has I-Box but if not clearly its no big deal.

Reliability is indeed what matters. Esp for the long run. I am not great with the engineering side of things but wont a ride just get worse with time? So like....lose speed, downtime even worse, rougher, take a toll on the long run health of the ride etc? If so this change is nothing but positive. OH and I did read thats possible it'll run a little faster over the course now :D
 
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