Wooden coaster safety questions...

I have looked at the pics of The Steel Vengeance coaster. With all that speed, weight, and inertia, how can the track be safely held in place only by steel parts bolted to 4 by 4s? I know "engineering" and all but really, does that seem safe?

XS NightClub's avatar

It’s not.

One less person in line 🤫

Missed a full season at CP for the first time since 2007, maybe Sandusky will be back on my travel list next year.... Depends what CP has up their sleeve for 2023.

Wait till you see how much the entire structure
moves when your up close. The entire first drop dips inward toward the lift hill as the train drops. The turnaround between the first 2 inversions under the lift hill moves what seems like a country mile and I’m sure it would move even more if not for the cable tethers. It’s all designed to give in order to take the forces presented.


It uses boards much larger than 4x4 to support compression loads. Plus the general truss structure of a wooden coaster spreads forces out over an area instead of down individual columns.

If you think the structure flexing looks dangerous, you should watch a video of an airliner "flapping" it's wings in turbulence. ;)

Maverick since '99

jimmyburke's avatar

I think it would be interesting if some engineering aficianado or someone with video skills would be able to measure the distance of the sway. Perhaps with one of those engineering scope thingamajigs. Or just with some good slo-mo video. I've always noticed the "give" even when it was Mean Streak. Ever notice the water rippling when Rougaroo does some of its' maneuvers?

XS NightClub's avatar

Watch dragster sway from underneath by the Dino smoking section.

Missed a full season at CP for the first time since 2007, maybe Sandusky will be back on my travel list next year.... Depends what CP has up their sleeve for 2023.

You think “The Steel Vengeance coaster” sways a lot?

Check this out


Skyhawk06's avatar

Maybe they could measure swaying with tracking and motion capture?

As for the swaying bit, if coasters didn't sway the tracks would break under the stress of the passing train.


Steel Vengeance rides: 209

I'd rather be sailing

Marina operations attendant 2021-2023

I don't know if this is common, but the Fox Theatre in Detroit has a ruler mounted to the mezzanine so they can monitor flexing.

Zoomed in on the center section of the mezzanine it's a little more obvious.

It would be pretty cool if a park would set up something like that, even if it was just for a day for science purposes. I would totally write it down or something.

I had family members that were master carpenters, they built wooden railroad trestles. They were both quoted as saying "if it doesn't bend, it will break". Until recently, examples of their work (built before WWI) were still standing and in use.

MichaelB's avatar

Maybe I'll draw up a free body diagram and throw together some hypothetical numbers for static loading showing distribution of forces over a few members versus many members. Forces get distributed well with multi members, and I'd be willing to be a lot of the members on a wooden coaster are in fact zero force members.

You can find video of various wood coasters being pulled down. I recently saw one of Ozark Wildcat. It is surprising how much they had to bend the structure before it broke.

Say NO to Maverick!

jimmyburke's avatar

^ Bend but don"t break. Sounds like the Cleveland Browns defense over the years. Oh wait, I forgot, They always break!

Haven ridden both Mean Streak & Steel Vengeance, I would much rather have Steel Vengeance than Mean Streak.

Jake Padden
13-Tiques/Wave Swinger
12-Camp Snoopy; Tiques/Wave Swinger
11-CP & LE Railroad Platform; Cedar Creek Mine Ride; Tiques/Wave Swinger

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