When I took Busch’s Roller Coaster Tour, I got an up-close view of the cause of so many painful looping coaster rides over the years. In Nessie’s belly, I and the other members of the tour were able to check out blueprints on the wall, hold some wheels, and learn how this great coaster operates. There was also the frame of the defunct Python from Busch Gardens Tampa sitting on a track. There, I could plainly see the distance between some of the wheels and the track. That ‘imperfection’ causes the bumpiness we’ve all experienced on Arrow loopers (and likely other coasters). The tour guides explained that Arrow coasters weren’t designed as precisely as say, today’s B&M coasters that are designed with a tolerance that’s a fraction of an inch.
As you can see from the photo, not all of the wheels touch the track at the same time. Look at the gap between the side friction wheel on the right and the track. That gap plus over-the-shoulder restraints equals roughness in the way of head banging.
Busch does an excellent job with ride maintenance from what I can tell. They explained the replacement process for the wheels during the tour. It made me wonder what kind of procedures other parks have and whether they replace wheels as often. So, the roughness I’m referring to doesn’t really apply to Loch Ness Monster. At thirty-plus years old, the ride is no spring chicken, but it’s a good bit smoother than many younger steel loopers I’ve encountered.
It’s not breaking news that roller coasters can be rough, I just thought it was neat to see one of the causes of that roughness.
What’s Your Take?
What do you think of this photo? What do you think of rough steel coasters? Leave a comment below.
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