Trains are slowed and brought to a halt at the top of this drop for a few seconds. The front row is lowered just a few feet and leans way forward during this pause. I used to think that brakes were used to stop the train before the drop, but I was wrong. A short length of chain stops the trains!
There are two sets of brakes situated several train-lengths before this drop. This train was being held by the first set of brakes. Three sets of electrically-driven tires are mounted in this track and can be used to move trains toward the drop if needed. A motorized chain runs from the last tire to a few feet down the huge drop. The electric motor that moves the chain, and can apply a force to stop the chain, is housed between the track and the catwalk hanging below the track. Roller coasters that utilize a chain lift have a "Chain Dog" that connects the train to the chain. On most coasters, the design of the "dogs" and chains allows the trains to disengage if the train is traveling faster than the links of the chain. This happens at the top of most lift hills as gravity takes over and pulls the train downward. Griffon's design doesn't allow the train to move faster than the chain, so stopping the chain also stops the train. This is the mechanism that holds the cars at the top of this drop.
©2018 by Joel A. Rogers.