This section of the roller coaster shows the two most common types of braking systems in use today. For most coasters built in the second half of the 1900s, pinch brakes were used. Rabalder's pinch brake is located in the middle of the track. It uses air pressure to squeeze the two brake pads together. A few coasters are still around that use manually operated brakes. The copper pads typically get replaced once or twice a year since they wear more quickly than the steel fins mounted on the trains.
About 15 years ago, magnetic brake systems started becoming popular on coasters. Some coasters have magnets affixed to the cars and metal fins placed by the track, but Rabalder uses fins on the cars and magnets mounted just above the track. This system doesn't require any electrical, pneumatic, or hydraulic power to operate. The magnets, which are usually made of neodymium, provide a braking force that is directly proportional to the speed of the fins through the gap between the magnets.
©2014 Joel A. Rogers.