# Coaster Car Weights?

I’ll admit my research skills are pretty rusty, but I’ve been trying to find weights on an empty coaster train, specifically for Space Mountain, with no luck. Any chance someone has that info or where to look? Thanks.

I have no idea, but this is a good question. Bumping this thread…
Space Mountain trains are weighed before being released and their weight determines the interval at which they are released. The goal, as I understand it, to have as many trains on the track at once as can be safely accommodated. How fast they travel on the track is determined by the train’s weight.

I have absolutely no idea, but super curious what you’re wanting it for!

1 Like

This is controlled by blocking sections of a coaster, not weight, etc. Basically, in the event that something catastrophic happens, such as a coaster train unexpected stopping, any other coaster cars on the track must be able to be stopped at some point prior to that train to prevent a collision. There are what is called “block brakes” to allow for this. The more block brake sections there are, the more trains that can run on the track at the same time, but only one train per block. However, due to the way block brakes are, they require a straight section in the design of the layout…PLUS, they have to allow for the ability for, once a train is released (if it had been stopped) it can pick up enough momentum to continue through the remainder of the track layout.

5 Likes

I’m a physics teacher that is trying to get some “real world” data. Figure I can use it to generate some interest as I try to get high school Juniors and seniors to actually watch the video lessons I’m making. I can always make up a mass, but personally I’d like to know the actual values I’m calculating are actually in the ballpark of reality.

4 Likes

I’m glad you answered because I wouldn’t have been nearly as detailed!

My countless hours playing Roller Coaster Tycoon has finally paid off!

I couldn’t find the weight, but I came across some articles that my Geek side found interesting:

Here is an great YouTube video about Space Mountain’s control system:

And a direct link to the “lights on” video:

I recognized that what @ryan1 described was rooted in railroad block signalling which I researched a while back for a traffic control problem so I pulled this out of my archive:

Here are some interesting articles on the history of Space Mountain:

My search turned up that Bill Watkins (Go Buckeyes) was the principal mechanical engineer and found some great insight in several articles about him:

http://progresscityusa.com/2010/07/11/making-magic-how-computers-influenced-roller-coaster-design/

There is a lot of differing opinions if the train gets weighed and if it has boosters. I’m not convinced that either is true but I did find this patent for dual racing coasters where the weights are measured to ensure that the race is close: