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Slowest and fastest coaster braking systems?

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. After a coaster has come to a stop or before the ride begins, most people are probably thinking about the elements of the coaster itself. But there is one crucial technical element that gets riders into and out of the station; the braking system itself. These vary from ride to ride, with some being fast and others slow, so I’d be intrigued to know; as mundane of a discussion topic as it might sound, what are some of the fastest and slowest braking systems you’ve ever seen on a ride? I’ll get the ball rolling with some of my personal choices.

For fastest, an easy one comes to mind for me, and that’s Thirteen at Alton Towers. This coaster was said to have achieved 1,440 riders per hour in its opening year, and I’m not surprised given how quickly this braking system moves! The switch tracks are done absolutely seamlessly, the train is thrown out of the station at decent speed, and the return to the station... well, that’s arguably so fast it’s almost a bonus element in itself! Me and my sister always used to call that thrust back into the station “mini Rita”, and @nadroJ once even suggested in one of her Alton Towers vlogs that that thrust at the end is “more forceful than Icon”! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a Thirteen POV:

In terms of slowest, I’m having a slightly harder time picking. I’d probably go with any traditional wooden coaster, particularly older ones such as BPB’s; they often seem to spend a long time parking up when re-entering the station. Actually, scratch that; I do have a candidate for slow. Grand National at Blackpool Pleasure Beach seems to be particularly slow at moving trains in and out of the station, for some reason.

But what are some of the fastest and slowest braking systems you’ve ever encountered?
 
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CrashCoaster

Well-Known Member
I mean how can I not mention this for fastest brake run:-


Most Vekomas are pretty fast when it comes to dispatching and parking, especially the high capacity Disney rides.

I agree with Grand National as a contender for being slow in this regard. The time it takes for the trains to park in the station because of the stupid KumbaK system takes the piss. Also this is pretty slow:-

 
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Heth

Member
Can I put in an honorable mention for potentially one of the most aggravating brake runs ever on Oblivion at Alton Towers. It manages to be both slow and far too fast on the brakes; getting you to the station very slowly whilst also jerking repeatedly as it stops and starts.
 

Hixee

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Can I put in an honorable mention for potentially one of the most aggravating brake runs ever on Oblivion at Alton Towers. It manages to be both slow and far too fast on the brakes; getting you to the station very slowly whilst also jerking repeatedly as it stops and starts.
I remember finding this clip years ago when making the "brake runs" Table of Elements video. Valravn's brake run is also hilariously jolty - just look at the people's legs!

 

Ries

Member
I mean how can I not mention this for fastest brake run:-


Most Vekomas are pretty fast when it comes to dispatching and parking, especially the high capacity Disney rides.


I have a similar example. In this video it is even slow for its kind. Specially before the re-track and the second train is still in the station.
(it should start at 2:05 min).
 

Pokemaniac

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For slowest, I guess Top Thrill Dragster counts? Granted, it decelerates from a very high speed, but it also takes 240 meters of brake track to do so.
 

oriolat2

Active Member
I must agree with EuroSat's brakes being the most aggressive before they were retrofitted with magnetic fins.

In general it seems that B&M tend to get trains in and out of braking sections quite slowly applying brakes multiple times thus controlling the speed at which the train is moving and to allow time for the train ahead to clear the block/station without actually stopping train motion.

I don't think it depends so much on the ride's hardware but the controls programming, which ultimately tells brakes how to apply their fins.
 

Benenen

Member
In terms of a train taking ages to park in the station Vampire at Chessington is the most unbearable to watch. It rolls in pretty fast, comes to a complete stop 1m short, rolls forwards a tiny bit and stops then finally shuffles forward the last few inches all accompanied by loud ugly hisses.

Going the other way Premier Sky Rocket II's park magnificently. They enter the station at great speed, stop dead on and the restraints open immediately. No shuffling or faffing.
 

nadroJ

Well-Known Member
Two immediately spring to mind. Firstly Thunder Dolphin. I remember whizzing through the Tokyo skyline and thinking, 'the station is literally there, how are we going to stop?' then SLAM. Stopped.

Secondly the infamous BROMS!! on Lisbergbanan. Hurtling full speed into brakes so harsh they need warning signs to the point of comedy.
 

Hyde

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I remember finding this clip years ago when making the "brake runs" Table of Elements video. Valravn's brake run is also hilariously jolty - just look at the people's legs!

*shudders* This is definitely a very "stop and go" brake run, trying to control speed at a relatively steep brake-run angle - super annoying. :p

Agree with @Pokemaniac on slowest - really any of the large Accelerators could qualify as technically the slowest, if from a consideration of taking a long distance to reduce from a very high speed. And broadly speaking, many magnetic brake runs aire on the side of slow, due in part to magnetic fields not being as efficient as good old-fashioned friction brakes for stopping power. Magnetic brakes, rather, are used to take the initial brunt of stoppage power, with friction brakes/drive wheels catching the train for the final stop, both for improved stopping reliability (turns out physics of magnets is kinda hard to break) and reduced wear-and-tear on friction brakes.

giphy.gif


Right, fastest? Might I humbly submit the OG Vekoma Flying Dutchmens (Nighthawk, Firehawk, Batwing). See Exhibit A below. Gratefully you enter the brake run prone so the forces are experienced as some weird lateral airtime positive-g nonsense; but it's a jarring stop, after a pretty jarring ride. 😅

 

Will

Well-Known Member
The Wild Cat/Wild Mouse/Zyklon things you get at seaside parks spring to mind.

They don't go at any great speed, but seem to stop dead with very little warning.

Rattlesnake at Chessington also has upsetting brakes, if memory serves me.
 
In terms of sudden brakes I think of Shockwave at Drayton Manor. On the other note B&M Giga coasters do have trains that go quickly though their first break run, mostly to aid faster dispatches. ElToroRyan did a great video explaining why on the subject.
 

oriolat2

Active Member
On another note, this may be the most satisfying dispatch/park of any coaster ever:-

Fun fact: during some seasons back in the mid 00s the air pressure from the brakes was off and despite the multiple pinches from the brakes the train kept overshooting, so they ended up not loading the front car. Over time, the park reprogrammed the controls to allow full trains again, as it was ultimately hindering ride capacity.

But yeah, love old-school Arrow sounds!
 

CrashCoaster

Well-Known Member
On another note, I kind of think Wicker Man has a really slow station park, possibly made worse by the changes made as the train used to overshoot the station. At least it has multi-move so the train behind can begin to advance into the station while the train ahead is just leaving the station.
 
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