Top Thrill Dragster 2022 Status

The brake fins were not motor powered, were they? I am certain they were pneumatic cylinders.

I always thought they were hydraulic

djDaemon's avatar

They are pneumatic or hydraulic, according to RideMan:

...Intamin reversed the brake arrangement used on coasters such as Millennium Force, and returned to the configuration used on their drop towers. Permanent magnets are mounted on the bottom of the coaster train, and copper reaction fins are mounted on the track. The fins on the launch track are attached to actuating cylinders (either hydraulic or pneumatic; it isn't clear at this moment which) so that when the launch pusher reaches the end of the launch track, the brake fins are popped up into position. If the train fails to clear the tower, then, it will roll backward down the hill, and the brake fins on the launch track will bring the train to a stop.

However, I am not sure if this description is totally accurate. I recall that the brake fins are held in the braking position by springs, and during launch are actuated out of brake position by the cylinders, to create a failsafe condition so that in the event of loss of pneumatic/hydraulic power the brakes will revert to the braking position to stop the train in the event of a rollback. Of course I could be way off on this, but that's my recollection.


You are correct. The fins would have to be in the "up" position in their fail safe state as this would ensure that they would be in the correct position to stop a train. Typically this would be accomplished by a spring return cylinder. To lower the fins air is applied to the cylinder to overcome the spring force that is pushing the fins up. To raise the fins the air is taken away and the spring pushes the fin up.

Plague on Wheels's avatar

No way dude, then how come there is always so much moisture dripping from beneath the brake fins? I always got dripped on when walking under the track at the ride entrance, just past the sample seat and height measuring stick.

I've noticed that too.... but the moisture always seemed to be coming off the launch cable. I just assumed it was part of a system to cool the cable/pulleys.

I had always figured that moisture was residual hydraulic fluid from the brake fins. Part of the reason I always assumed they were hydraulic

The dripping was from water used to cool the launch trough/ catch car. I believe that was added midway through the first season. In those days, it was accomplished by zip tying garden hoses to the track until a more permanent solution was implemented.

djDaemon's avatar

Are people honestly suggesting the park allowed hydraulic fluid to leak for the better part of two decades, and to allow said fluid to drip onto guests?

Wow... I mean, even if the park weren't concerned about the EPA and/or a lawsuit from a guest, they would certainly be incentivized to fix the leak so they wouldn't spend a fortune constantly replacing the fluid.


Where was any of that ever dripping on to guests? Water or whatever it was always isolated underneath the fenced in area below the launch track

Plague on Wheels's avatar

Definitely was dripped on before. In the ride entrance area. Not sure what it was, but it was some kind of juice for sure. Most likely water to cool the cable like was mentioned above. There was always a puff/cloud of moisture at the end of each launch just as the train passed by. I assumed it was some kind of oil. LSM won't require juices to keep it running! Just the electronic kind of "juice".

Jeff's avatar

The catch car ran in a channel lined with what looked like a nylon substance, and it was slowed at the end I believe with its own magnetic braking. That caused a whole lot of heat, so water.

Jeff - Advocate of Great Great Tunnels™ - Co-Publisher - PointBuzz - CoasterBuzz - Blog - Music

All this talk about erections and juices and dripping…

PyroKinesis09's avatar

Yeah, that wasn't oil that dripped on you.

Plague on Wheels's avatar

CP should auction off the TTD juice, just like they auctioned off the WT track segments.

Caleb S's avatar

The break fin motion was definitely controlled by pneumatic air cylinders. Now Intamin or CP could have installed a lubricator to the air supply which is the “L” in what’s referred to as an FRL. If that was installed in the air supply system, then there could have been a chance you would see an oil substance around the cylinders. However that oil substance would be a lubricator and not hydraulic fluid. All that being said, the drips and cloud of vapor was probably all from a water system cooling the cable. I always noticed this more significantly at the end of the launch when the cables path changed direction around pulleys down towards the hydraulic launch system building.

Last edited by Caleb S,
Dvo's avatar

^Break /= Brake. I also share Brandon's reaction regarding the idea of the moisture coming from TTD being Hydraulic oil. However, knowing the clientele that frequented TTD in its heyday, there's something to be said about somehow integrating a scented body spray into the cable cooling mechanism and letting TTD naturally deodorize the enthusiasts. The ultimate Axe bomb.

Last edited by Dvo,

380 MF laps
Smoking Area Drone Pilot

Plague on Wheels's avatar

I think in the case of TDD you actually do mean break :)

Caleb S's avatar

Well that's embarrassing especially that break / brake has been brought up many times on this thread already, my bad on that. Spelling and grammar has always been my Achilles heel.

I can't believe we never updated that TTD article; remember it was written while the ride was under heavy construction. It's quite obvious that the actuators for the brake fins ar--I mean--were pneumatic cylinders. I'm looking for a good photo, but I think instead of being spring loaded I think they are double-ended, where air pushes the cylinder in both directions, and with the valves closed the rod stays where it is set. I could easily be mistaken about that, but I don't have a good photo showing whether there are air hoses connected to both ends of the cylinder or not.

There was no hydraulic equipment outside the motor house, other than the lap bar cylinders on the train.

As noted, the water was just that. The launch sled has no wheels on it, and instead slides on a lubricated plastic surface in the guide channel. Running water was used to provide additional lubrication and cooling for the sled during the launch. I wonder if being constantly wet had any impact on the service life of the drive ropes.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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