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Why do parks often go with one train operations on coasters?


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Besides the obvious that the park just opened or it's a really slow day. It seems that it would be in the parks interest to get you through the line at a good pace, so that you'll have more chances to spend money on food/souvenirs.

 

Often the wait times for single train operations gets excessive. (Read various trip reports from Knotts/Six Flags) Does running multiple trains put so much wear and tear on the rides that the parks would rather just make people wait?

 

I think that happy patrons would tend to spend more, and no one like standing in line.

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Alot of times the reason for a one train operation is just do to the number of operators they have working at that time. Some rides would only would need 2 operators when doing a single train. But to run muliple they would need at least 3 operators.

 

Also at mainly the parks open year round, some of rides like Silver Bullet or Xcelerator only have 2 total trains. So they would have to do a preventative maintenance or rehab on the trains at some point.

 

And finally another thing I like to think is a reason particularly at six flags parks now a days, mabey they want you to take the time and check out the advertisements.

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I tell you, one train operations are one of the most annoying things, if there's a queue the ride "should" be running at a decent enough capacity to cope with it.

 

Thorpe Park occasionally likes to do this and it's just bizarre really e.g. Colossus had a 45 minute queue on 1 train and the reply when I asked a host why only 1 train was working was... "Because we don't need to run the other one" now in my opinion, if there is a queue, all that can possibly done to make this as short as possible should be done. It does annoy me when your waiting and that wait could very easily be shorter.

Edited by Koolkid
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Alot of times the reason for a one train operation is just do to the number of operators they have working at that time. Some rides would only would need 2 operators when doing a single train. But to run muliple they would need at least 3 operators.

What? I've not ever heard of any coaster that requires three operators in order to run a 2-train operation.

 

In fact, I've actually seen a 2-train operation on a B&M Floorless run by a SINGLE operator once!

 

--Robb

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Alot of times the reason for a one train operation is just do to the number of operators they have working at that time. Some rides would only would need 2 operators when doing a single train. But to run muliple they would need at least 3 operators.

What? I've not ever heard of any coaster that requires three operators in order to run a 2-train operation.

 

In fact, I've actually seen a 2-train operation on a B&M Floorless run by a SINGLE operator once!

 

--Robb

 

I thought I had heard something like that before where somebody would always having to be stationed at the control panel at all times when running multiple trains. So then they wouldn't have just one person checking restraints with multiple trains. At least that was always a theory of mine when there was 2 ops and only one train with one train that appears useble on the transfer track on a sunny day with a 30 min wait. Well I guess it shows how someone like me who has never worked as a ride op really doesn't know what the heck I'm talking about. BTW you got feel sorry about that lone operator on a B&M.

Edited by gforce532
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If you use two trains, it means they will need new components twice as fast, making the maintenance of the trains twice as expensive. So it's up to the park to decide when to call in the 2nd (or more) train.

 

 

In fact, I've actually seen a 2-train operation on a B&M Floorless run by a SINGLE operator once!

 

--Robb

 

LOL, how did that go? Wouldn't it take a lot of time checking all those restraints?

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I'm guessing that if a ride is running only one train it is for one of the following reasons:

 

1. There are no other available trains either because the ride only has one train, there is a mechanical issue with the other train(s) or because all other trains are in the process of refurbishment. At seasonal parks, it is rare for trains to be refurbished during the season but at year-round parks it happens all the time.

 

2. It would be unsafe to run more than one train. This is especially common when it is raining due to the possibility of a train to overshoot the brakes when they are wet, and is the case on every shuttle coaster I know of (except Mr. Freeze).

 

3. It is a low crowd day and the park doesn't see a need to operate more than one train. I see this all the time during the winter at my local parks because most of the time a park won't run two trains when there is at most a two or three train wait and it would take additional people to add a second train without stacking.

 

4. The park wants to encourage guests to buy their skip the line passes. I have only seen this at Six Flags (more at Discovery Kingdom than Magic Mountain) where they were running one train on everything or running two trains with a minimum three minute dispatch interval. I find this to be a very bad tactic as it means the park may not be very crowded but you will still wait a half hour (at least) for any major ride.

 

I have also found that some parks (most notably Knott's out of places I've visited) will run two trains but only load one. I am not entirely sure why they do this, but I assmue it is so that they can use both if the line gets long without having to shut the ride down to add an additional train. I really don't see why they don't load both trains in this case but I'm sure there is a reason for it.

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Thorpe Park occasionally likes to do this and it's just bizarre really e.g. Colossus had a 45 minute queue on 1 train and the reply when I asked a host why only 1 train was working was... "Because we don't need to run the other one" now in my opinion, if there is a queue, all that can possibly done to make this as short as possible should be done. It does annoy me when your waiting and that wait could very easily be shorter.

 

Thats Thorpe though. My personal favourite was the purchase of 3 trains for stealth with the logic that there would always be two running. By mid 2007, one of them was pretty much reserved as a filming rig and it ran 1 train most of the times I was there.

 

Dave

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4. The park wants to encourage guests to buy their skip the line passes. I have only seen this at Six Flags (more at Discovery Kingdom than Magic Mountain) where they were running one train on everything or running two trains with a minimum three minute dispatch interval. I find this to be a very bad tactic as it means the park may not be very crowded but you will still wait a half hour (at least) for any major ride.

 

I highly doubt that is the intent behind low capacity/bad ride operators.

 

It doesn't even make sense. They couldn't possibly sell enough Flashpasses to offset the amount of people they would be pissing off. Not even Six Flags is that dumb.

Edited by Jew
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^^ Ha yes, I also remember that, during construction I remember an interview with one of the project managers and hearing "We will have 3 trains for Stealth so that it will always be able to run at full capacity" But yes, like you say, it is often on just 1. Quite funny really, whilst also being frustrating.

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4. The park wants to encourage guests to buy their skip the line passes. I have only seen this at Six Flags (more at Discovery Kingdom than Magic Mountain) where they were running one train on everything or running two trains with a minimum three minute dispatch interval. I find this to be a very bad tactic as it means the park may not be very crowded but you will still wait a half hour (at least) for any major ride.

 

I highly doubt that is the intent behind low capacity/bad ride operators.

 

It doesn't even make sense. They couldn't possibly sell enough Flashpasses to offset the amount of people they would be pissing off. Not even Six Flags is that dumb.

 

This may not occur very often, but I am relatively convinced that Six Flags did it at one point. When I visited Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in 2008, every ride in the park except Medusa (and Tony Hawk, obviously) was only running one train. At that time, the park had signs in the lines stating the approximate wait time and saying if you didn't want to wait, you could buy the Flash Pass. I timed it on Roar, V2, and Kong, and on all three of those the time on the sign matched up with the actual wait time. They were all running one train, and Roar and Kong had the second train sitting on the transfer track. It looked like it could have been used, although there may have been a mechanical problem with the train I couldn't see.

 

The worst part was when I rode Medusa. The ride was running two trains and was dispatching them so slow it was almost as if the ride was running one. The second train would stop on the brakes outside of the station before the ride operators had even opened the loading gates to allow guests onto the ride. However, whenever Flash Pass people arrived and were loaded onto the train (I think they waited for about five to ten of them to show up then loaded them into two or three rows), the operators would have it dispatched before the other train even reached the brake run. This was the case both times I rode it that day and made the wait over a half hour even though it was just from the point where you picked your row (maybe six or seven trains). I noticed that operators on other rides would attempt to dispatch the train as quickly as possible when Flash Pass people were riding as well, but would take their time when it was just people from the regular line.

 

That day was a weekday, and for some reason there was almost no line for any of the non-coaster rides, but all the coasters were at least a half-hour wait (except Cobra). The only ride where the employees seemed to have their act together was Tony Hawk's Big Spin, but due to the ride's capacity and newness it still had quite a bit of a wait. Now, it may be just me but I'm pretty sure that the park was intentionally creating long lines just to sell their Flashpasses, and even if they weren't there is no reason ride operators should be so inconsistent (or have four minute dispatches in the first place).

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Thorpe Park occasionally likes to do this and it's just bizarre really e.g. Colossus had a 45 minute queue on 1 train and the reply when I asked a host why only 1 train was working was... "Because we don't need to run the other one" now in my opinion, if there is a queue, all that can possibly done to make this as short as possible should be done. It does annoy me when your waiting and that wait could very easily be shorter.

 

I asked a friend who used to work on Colossus about this and she said that in cold conditions Colossus can only run 1 train as waiting on the brake run can damage the wheels. As for Stealth, after the abosolute mess it was in at the start of the season it is running 2 trains nearly all the time now.

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I've seen what someone previously mentioned before. The second weekend that Six Flags St. Louis was opened last year they had two trains on the Batman but would only load one. The best thing i could come up with was that there were NO lines, so it would be a lot more work on the ops to open, close the restrains just so 1 person could be on the train, or that the second train was still testing from the winter months.

 

Also, i know that there is some kind of defect on the Boss, that makes it so that the train cannot complete a full course without Valleying unless there are weights in the trains. So some days the line will seem so long, and it will confuse people on why they will only load one train and just send the other one(s) empty. (Once the line wraps around the station they usually start unloading the weights on the second train and putting people on, and once it gets past another point the unload the 3rd train) I've seen them unload the weights, it takes them at least 20 MIN. Poor ride ops.....

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They couldn't possibly sell enough Flashpasses to offset the amount of people they would be pissing off. Not even Six Flags is that dumb.

plus, doesn't lo-q make the bulk of the money? I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of Six Flags' revenue for flash passes was fixed and independent of sales

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They couldn't possibly sell enough Flashpasses to offset the amount of people they would be pissing off. Not even Six Flags is that dumb.

plus, doesn't lo-q make the bulk of the money? I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of Six Flags' revenue for flash passes was fixed and independent of sales

Yes, this is the case. rcdude's post is just a conspiracy theory that can't be further than the truth. Six Flags would not get ANY benefit at all by running one train in order to sell more Flash Passes. Lo-Q *could* benefit off this, but not enough for both parties to come together and purposely do this.

 

The idea that this would be the case is so far fetched and ridiculous that it makes my head hurt!

 

--Robb

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. Now, it may be just me but I'm pretty sure that the park was intentionally creating long lines just to sell their Flashpasses, and even if they weren't there is no reason ride operators should be so inconsistent (or have four minute dispatches in the first place).

 

It's just you.

 

Poor operations is what it is. You're reading WAY too far into things.

Edited by Jew
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I have also found that some parks (most notably Knott's out of places I've visited) will run two trains but only load one. I am not entirely sure why they do this, but I assmue it is so that they can use both if the line gets long without having to shut the ride down to add an additional train. I really don't see why they don't load both trains in this case but I'm sure there is a reason for it.

 

That's really wierd but it makes since. It's like closing off parts of a coaster queue until they are needed! It's probably costly though!

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I have also found that some parks (most notably Knott's out of places I've visited) will run two trains but only load one. I am not entirely sure why they do this, but I assmue it is so that they can use both if the line gets long without having to shut the ride down to add an additional train. I really don't see why they don't load both trains in this case but I'm sure there is a reason for it.

 

That's really wierd but it makes since. It's like closing off parts of a coaster queue until they are needed! It's probably costly though!

Parks will do this if they have attendance projects that are supposed to be fairly high that day, enough to warrant a two-train operation, but don't have enough people in the queue to currently load two trains.

 

This is normally done on a ride where there is a "minimum rider requirement" needed to cycle the train because the park fears the train might valley. And yes, as you watch the train make it around many times completely empty, I know you ask yourself "If it's *possible* it can make it around without any riders, why can't they load people?" Usually the answer is the park is "being better safe than sorry" in that the off-chance the train did valley, they'd MUCH rather valley an empty train than one with riders who would freak out, they'd have to evac, and then would probably wind up on the news with someone having taken bad footage on their phone of people freaking out ride after the ride vallied.

 

I don't agree with this practice either, but just trying to give you the parks perspective.

 

The other reason I've seen happen, more often than you would imagine, is that someone vomits on a coaster, they will hose it down, and then cycle it empty about 10 times to "air it out." Seriously, this actually does happen! So then you walk in the station and are all "Why are they are running one train empty, one train full when the station is busy???" but it turns out this is actually the case.

 

--Robb

Edited by robbalvey
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The other reason I've seen happen, more often than you would imagine, is that someone vomits on a coaster, they will hose it down, and then cycle it empty about 10 times to "air it out." Seriously, this actually does happen! So then you walk in the station and are all "Why are they are running one train empty, one train full when the station is busy???" but it turns out this is actually the case.

 

--Robb

 

I've seen this happen on Apollo's Chariot and Carowinds' Intimidator. Not a happy process for riders or ride-ops.

Edited by robbalvey
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^^Okay, that makes a lot of sense. I didn't think about a minimum rider requirement because I've rarely had to wait for enough riders (except on Psyclone (formerly) at SFMM). I've also had the vomit thing happen and while it is annoying it is better than riding in a wet/messy train.

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Add me to the conspiracy theorist list, 'cause if we're not there yet, it's the future.

 

Imagine a situation like the one at Universal Orlando, where one of the perks of staying at an onsite hotel is skipping the regular lines. Now, what happens when that perk becomes pointless because the rides have no lines? Do you think those guests who "paid extra" for that benefit just shrug it off, or do they instead complain bitterly and demand money back?

 

As for Six Flags, I'm fairly certain that any theory that involves them being too smart to piss off their customers can be safely dismissed.

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