Essay about The Art of Ride Design

Essay about The Art of Ride Design

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The Art of Ride Design

With the opening of America’s first roller coaster in 1873, a new innovative market was introduced into the American industrial market. With it came a new set of challenges that pushed the limits of the engineering methods used at the time. Oddly enough though, America’s safest roller coaster ever built was also the simplest; the Mauch Chunk Railway was originally used to bring coal down the mountainside of a Pennsylvania mine. The now unused 2,322 feet of track was re-opened a few months later for the purpose of carrying passengers down the side of the mountain. The rail cars used did not have brakes or an engine; they simply used the force of gravity to take the train and its passengers, sometimes at speeds upwards of 60 miles per hour, down the side of the mountain until it came to a rest at the bottom. “The railway offered spectacular views of the Lehigh River and the Blue Ridge Mountains for the region's visitors to see. The area became a large Nineteenth Century tourist attraction and people came from all over to be thrilled by the M.C.R.” (Sandy). Throughout the ride’s 56-year span of passenger operation, not a single injury was reported. Since the ever-simplistic entertainment methods of the 1920’s, our industrial capabilities have grown in geometric proportions; however the one problem is they have been severely lagged by the safety and control systems that govern them. Recently, however, advancements in computer technology have yielded a drastic improvement in these control systems that have allowed ride designers to design increasingly safer and more reliable ride systems.

With the development of the integrated circuit in the late 1950’s, ride designers were opened to a multitude of new c...

... middle of paper ...

...ntee near 100% safety and reliability of both the riders and of the ride itself. What devices and systems that will make this future a reality, however, rests on the shoulders of park owners, ride developers, and researchers alike. Where it will take us is only limited by their imaginations.


Sandy, Adam “Roller Coaster History – Early Years in America” 1996-2000. (25 Oct 2002)

Reiss, Walt “Roller Coaster Block System” 1986-2002. (25 Oct 2002)

Magnetar Technologies Corp. “Soft Stop Brakes” 2002. (25 Oct 2002)

Althoff, Dave Jr. – Information Technology Media Service Technician – Capital
University. (25 Oct 2002)

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