The equipment underneath a roller coaster car is normally hidden, but this view shows many of the devices used to make a modern coaster move as well as methods of bringing it to a halt. Griffon uses a variety of systems for braking, and this hardware reflects the different methods. In the upper left of the picture, there is a metal fin that juts out sideways from the car. When this metal piece moves rapidly between two permanent magnets, it smoothly slows the train. Griffon's sets of magnetic brakes are located before the pinch brakes on the mid-course brake run and on the final brake run before the station. Magnetic brakes are beneficial because they are fail-safe, do not require power to operate, offer smooth deceleration, and don't require replacement of brake pads. Unfortunately, the braking force provided by magnetic brakes varies based on the vehicle's speed, so as the train slows, the braking force is lowered. Magnetic brakes can never bring a train to a complete stop, so pinch brakes, also called friction brakes, are required to stop and hold the train. The vertically mounted metal plates, which have several bolt holes drilled in them, are used by the pinch brakes. Facing the opposite direction, similar plates are mounted on the other side of the car. Pneumatic pressure opens the pinch brakes, and springs return them to the closed position. The pinch brakes have pads that rub against these metal plates. Sitting under these metal plates, there are two rows of rough material that provide a gripping surface for the electrically-driven car tires that move the trains in and out of the station. In the lower left corner, you can see two tires that move the train in and out of this maintenance area.
Suspended below the train is one large grey hook that is used to attach the car to the lift hill's chain. The other four grey objects mounted below this car are the anti-rollback devices that prevent the train from falling backward down the lift hill.
©2018 by Joel A. Rogers.