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heaviest coaster trains/weight of a "classic" 3-row PTC car


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Two questions. First, I'm wondering roughly/vaguely how much a classic 3 row (and maybe a 2 row) PTC wooden coaster car, right out of the 40's, wood sides/padded benches/buzz bars/no plastic or fiberglass would weigh. My other question is what the heaviest coaster trains today are in comparison, particularly for wooden coasters. (I'm pretty sure modern cars for woodies are lighter.) Apparently the "classic" 6 car long 3-row PTC  wood coaster trains were pretty heavy, which unsurprisingly resulted in not many of them lasting, I'm under the impression the old-school cars were heavier than most modern steel coaster cars (aside from flying/other unusual types)

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  • Everett changed the title to heaviest coaster trains/weight of a "classic" 3-row PTC car
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Heavy yes and long too!  Those cars are box cars with no articulated wheels so the turns on the coasters they were used had to be  quite gentle and mostly flat otherwise they would not track very well.  I read somewhere that the track gauge on the turns had to be a bit wider to allow those cars to track better.

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The CP Blue Streak original trains (when I worked on it 92-93 before all the "gear" on them now) was said to be "6 tons empty" by the maintenance guys.  That seems about right ... on the 2 bench buzz bars on Hoosier Hurricane at Indiana Beach, the fact plate on the train says 1,900 lbs per car, all this seems about right. 

Throw on ratchet bars and their heavy associated under-train-gear, a few 40lb steel core headrests (seat dividers are only like 5 lbs) and you have a train that is too heavy to run on the standard wood coaster track that was used into the 90s, and it's structure.  Rumor was those changes added 200lbs to each car.  Putting in those heavy steel brake fin brackets didn't help... most woodies had smooth skid brakes.  Surely, skid brakes aren't great in the rain, but new mag brakes are so much nicer than the metal clamp/fin brakes.  (NOTE: Waldameer did the smartest thing ever by adding mag brakes - in a curved station no less - to a classic woodie.  It's a super smooth and reliable stop, and the trains can stack in the station one right behind the other, so smart.  It would be nice to see more conversions like this.)

The 90s brought an onslaught of those PTC changes (the parks as for it; PTC gives them what they ask for), and so many great wooden coasters dropped off the community radar.  They got bumpy and rough; they ALL had to have extra "mini-bents" built between standard bents on all the pull-out and steep slopes.  Add to that the awkwardness of those ratchet bars againts the legs, no fun.  I believe some states (Maryland) have a rule against head rests on wooden coasters as they cause more injuries.

I'll never forget how those wood coasters sailed over speed bumps with the trains as they were meant to run; effortlessly flying airborne over the hills and down the drops.  Now, it's all a fight with lots of slamming and grinding.  These rides ran virtually perfectly for years and decades in some cases.  It was a case of liability... due to people doing stupid things, getting hurt and the park getting sued; it was big at the corporate parks, naturally.  Ironically, I think there have been more injuries with ratchet bars.

I've gotten away from myself a bit, but had to run with it.  Damn those rides were good.  So many awesome woodies in top 20s didn't mean anything anymore.

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Something I don't quite understand is why they dropped the flanged wheel cars!?  Most of them tracked very well and were very smooth.  Many coastersstill have them and are great:  PNE Playland Coaster, Playland's Dragon Coaster, both Giant Dippers in California.

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On 9/2/2022 at 9:46 PM, Everett said:

My other question is what the heaviest coaster trains today are in comparison, particularly for wooden coasters. (I'm pretty sure modern cars for woodies are lighter.) 

While I can't help with the weight of wooden coaster trains, I know that Millennium Force's trains are reported to weight 19 tons where as Top Thrill Dragsters trains are reported to weight 15 tons. Weren't the old X trains like 25 tons each??

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