US 3631805 A
A roller coaster with a figure-8-shaped track section has a hoisting section on one side of a loop enveloping the figure 8, followed by a descending section extending over the entire opposite side of that loop from the highest to the lowest track level passing around the end of the loop at a tilt angle 80 DEG , thereupon continuing upwardly beneath the hoisting section to the other end of the loop; there follow two intersecting, undulating S-curves, defining the figure-8 portion of the track, and finally a convoluted home stretch. The track is formed by parallel tubular rails interconnected in their axial plane by transverse and diagonal struts elevated above the bed of a supporting trestle by pedestals providing clearance for brake member which are suspended from the outer ends of the wheel axles of the carriages externally of the rails and pass around the latter to their undersides.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States atent  Inventor Anton Schwarzkopf Munsterhausen/Schwaben, Germany  Appl. No. 805,221
 Filed Mar. 7, 1969  Patented Jan. 4,1972
 Assignee Firma Anton Schwarzkopf Stahlund Fahrzeug-bau Munsterhausen (Schwaben), Germany  Priority July 30, 1968 Germany  AMUSEMENT DEVICE 14 Claims, 8 Drawing Figs.
Primary ExaminerArthur L. La Point Assistant ExaminerRichard A. Bertsch Attrney1(arl R. Ross ABSTRACT: A roller coaster with a figure-S-shaped track section has a hoisting section on one side of a loop enveloping the figure 8, followed by a descending section extending over the entire opposite side of that loop from the highest to the  US. Cl 104/63, lowest track level passing around the end of the loop at a tilt 188/197 angle 80, thereupon continuing upwardly beneath the hoist- [51 Int. C1 A63g 21/04 i g section to the other end of the loop; there follow two inter-  Field of Search 104/53-65, e ting, undulating S-curves, defining the figure-8 portion of 183/197 the track, and finally a convoluted home stretch. The track is 5 formed by parallel tubular rails interconnected in their axial I 6] References cued plane by transverse and diagonal struts elevated above the bed UNITED STATES PATENTS of a supporting trestle by pedestals providing clearance for 846,208 3/ 1907 Jackman 104/63 brake member which are suspended from the outer ends of the 846,209 3/1907 .lackman l. 104/63 wheel axles of the carriages externally of the rails and pass 1,395,657 1 1/ 1921 Schmidt 104/63 around the latter to their undersides.
a 2 i I 1 l i i 1 PATENTED JAN 41972 SHEET 1 OF 4 mamsum 41912 sjssljaos SHEET 3 BF 4 Fla 5 4 6 INVENTOR.
SHEET 4 0F 4 EINVEN TOR.
AMUSEMENT Davies The invention relates to an amusement device of the figureeight railway variety commonly known in the United Kingdom as the Big Dipper and referred to in the United States as a roller coaster provided with steel frames carrying a track structure on which the vehicles are transported by means of a motor traction drive to the uppermost position and then returned by their own swing or momentum to their initial position across several downhill and uphill sections.
The rail tracks of known figure-eight railways are of substantially similar design. A vehicle-hoisting section is provided along one longitudinal side of the figure-8 railway. In addition, the figure-eight railway has two so-called eyes, this term being used for the circularly curved sections at both ends of the figure-eight railway, a plan view thus showing a rail track having the plan of a horizontal figure eight. From the uppermost position of one of the eyes the carriages travel downhill across to the other eye. A valley is disposed between the two eyes, each eye having thus at least one uphill section on one side and at least one downhill section on the other side. The downhill sections intersect diagonally in several planes.
In order to obtain higher speeds and thus to intensify the excitement to be experienced, it has become the practice to replace the original wooden frames by frames consisting of steel sections of a comparatively lighter weight, so that figureeight railways of greater heights may be obtained. It is known to use the track elements for reinforcing the supports.
It is an object of the invention to increase substantially the excitement experienced in amusement devices of this kind by substantially increasing the speed and the accelerations and to dispense with rail tracks of conventional construction without, however, changing the floor space of the figure-eight railway to any substantial extent. It is, however, essential to increase the length of the rail track in relation to the same floor space.
In accordance with the invention, this problem is solved in that the first downhill section, extending from the highest point at one end of the amusement device predominantly along one longitudinal side thereof to the other end close to the ground, passes into a curved section having a tilt of about 80.
The downhill section thus extends from one eye to the base of the other eye, so that a considerably increased length and a faster journey is available for the period of the downhill section at the end of which a particularly intense excitement results from the fact that, owing to the high speed of the carriages resulting from their tremendous centrifugal force, the carriages have to be guided along a steep wall, in which the curve is tilted at an angle of about 80. As it travels through this curve, the vehicle is hardly braked at all, and thus has the necessary momentum to enable it to travel a very steep and high uphill distance back to the opposite eye of the amusement device. In accordance with the invention, an uphill section rising steeply underneath the carriage-hoisting section may follow the curved section disposed close to the ground.
Conventional intersecting sections may be provided. In accordance with the invention, furthermore, the curved section close to the ground or a second, steeply dropping section is followed by a rising spirally curved section passing through at least 540.
By contrast with conventional routings, the specific routing provided in the amusement device according to the invention and the accelerations obtainable thereby enable a vehicle in full swing to climb almost two turns of a spiral path. This affords the advantage that, instead of being disposed between the eyes, the downhill sections are now disposed in the zone of one of the eyes. The period of downhill traveling is thus prolonged without reducing the speed, it being thus also possible to utilize the momentum for the rising spiral journey.
In accordance with the invention, furthermore, the curvatures in the eye of the figure-eight railway corresponding to the valley have different radii, so that a plurality of rail sections may be provided side by side in slightly different horizontal planes without the sections obstructing each other.
In accordance with the invention, finally, the boarding station is provided at one end of the figure-eight railway with resultant considerable saving of space for laying the rail sectrons.
In order to obtain very high speeds, the track has to be so constructed as to enable these requirements to be met. In one known Figure-eight railway, the metal tubes are welded directly to parallel U-sections having transversely outwardly projecting sides, the transverse and diagonal struts being welded in position between the outer surfaces of the webs of the supporting U'sections. A supporting roller, by which the carriage is secured against being lifted, engages inwardly between the sides of the supporting U-sections.
When such framelike track elements are securely interconnected and when the track elements are used for reciprocal staying of the trestles, the frame structure may be supported by struts or stays extending inwardly to the center of the curved track without bracing wires or the like being required for cornering. The centrifugal force effective on one side of the curved section is transmitted by the track structure to the opposite side of the curve whence it is deflected to the ground by the radial struts as a compressive force.
In roller coasters of this kind, the known track structure still does not quite satisfy the tremendous demands, since it is difficult to bend the metal tube and the underlying supporting section in such a way that they overlap exactly and adjustments are unnecessary when they are subsequently welded together. In addition, the production of such track elements involves substantial cost of labor.
It is thus an additional object of the invention to improve the track structure for amusement devices of the figure-eight railway variety, and particularly to reduce the cost of labor involved, without reducing the stability and load-carrying capacity of the track elements.
Surprisingly, it has been possible to solve this problem by dispensing with staying elements, provided one dimension of the metal tubes is resistant to bending in the vertical direction, the transverse and diagonal struts being welded directly to the inner sides of the tube surfaces.
In track structures of this kind, furthennore, one particular advantage may be afforded in that the butt-joints of the rails are provided with crossbars mounted with the aid of intermediate spacing elements on the supporting trusses of the trestles of the amusement device, so that the metal tubes extend at right angles and in spaced relation to the intermediate elements and to the supporting trusses.
This feature of my invention involves substantial risks, since the metal tubes forming the tracks are not supported at right angles to the plane of the track. The fact that the diameter of the metal tubes has to be so dimensioned as to exceed that of the known figure-eight railways, since they have to be self-supporting between the trestles, has to be accepted. However, in the manufacture of the track elements according to the invention, the substantial amount of working hours required in the known construction for the exact bending of the tubes and of the supporting U-sections and for welding them together is now saved.
The risk incurred in accordance with the invention consists in the forces acting upon the metal tubes at right angles to the plane of the track having to be absorbed by the welded joints by which the metal tubes and the crossmembers are held together. Practice has shown, however, that adequate strengths at these locations are obtained while at the same time there is the particular advantage that the load applied to the track structures according to the invention may be absorbed particularly effectively as a result of the centrifugal forces of the carriage, since, in accordance with the invention, the transverse and diagonal struts are disposed in the plane passing through the axes of the metal tubes. The dimensions of the struts may thus be reduced and, in addition, the disadvantages resulting from the weight of the track elements may be avoided despite the increased dimensions of the metal tubes.
The particular advantage afforded by the track structure according to the invention resides, however, in the fact that the carriages siding on the track structure according to the invention run particularly smoothly and that, with the aid of this track structure, it has now become possible to accelerate the carriages considerably as compared with those of the known figure-eight railways. It could not be foreseen that these effects could be obtained.
It has been found to be advantageous to design the crossmember of the track structure according to the invention as U-sections which are open in the direction of travel and in the opposite direction, respectively. Particular advantages may be afforded by providing an upright web extending at right angles to the plane of the track and welded to the intermediate elements or to the supporting trusses between the crossmembers of two adjacent track elements, the upright web engaging bolted connections passing through the two crossmembers.
The fixed connections between the track elements and the trestles in the vertical direction may thus be realized by simple means and screw joints may be dispensed with, for when the individual bolts are securely inserted, as for example by welding, in one of the crossmembers it is sufiicient to provide bores of suitable dimensions in the web, and/or in the other crossmember, into which the bolts may be introduced.
In one construction according to the invention, the metal tubes have an external diameter of approximately 90 mm., the struts having a diameter of approximately 40 mm. It is particularly advantageous to give the metal tubes a wall thickness increasing step by step from about 4 mm. to l2 mm. This enables the track elements provided in the slow-speed sections to be provided with thin-walled metal tubes, whereas the metal tubes in track elements subjected to substantial strain in the high-speed sections have the maximum wall thickness.
In track structures of this kind, which are particularly suitable for amusement devices in which the carriages travel at high speeds, the braking of the very fast-moving carriages and avoidance of any lifting thereof off the track structures play a particularly important part. In accordance with the invention, this problem is solved by providing the carriages with a plurality of brake rails, made for example of brass, acting upwardly upon the metal tubes instead of being provided with counterpressure rollers. The brake rails are disposed at a distance from the metal tubes when the road ahead is clear and are pressed against the metal tubes when the vehicle is lifted by a brake.
This measure affords the advantage that the brake rails occupy only a small part of the total height, so that the metal tubes merely need to be provided at a short distance from the supporting trusses. On the other hand, the brake rails have a twofold effect, namely (a) they prevent the carriages from being lifted oh the rail structure and (b) they assist in obtaining a particularly rapidly acting braking effect. This feature is particularly important in those cases where in view of existing safety regulations it is necessary to tackle the problem of braking carriages traveling at full speed in order to prevent their collision with a carriage in front or with a carriage that has come to a standstill for one reason or other. The construction according to the invention enables the carriages to be braked even automatically in that suitable electric control elements are provided at particularly dangerous positions of the amusement device, the control elements operating in case of damage, for example by lifting a brake beam past which the carriage has to travel. The lifting of the brake beam has the result that the aforementioned brake rails are simultaneously pressed against the metal tubes. Practice has shown that even carriages traveling at maximum speed may be stopped after a very short distance.
Details of the invention are diagrammatically illustrated by way of example in the accompanying drawing in which:
FIG. I shows a diagrammatic plan view of an amusement device of a roller coaster of the figureeight railway variety;
FIG. 2 is a corresponding side elevation of the figure-eight railway;
FIG. 3 is a plan view of a track element according to the invention;
FIG. 4 shows a cross section through the track element of FIG. 3 and a diagram of a carriage;
FIG. 5 is a plan view of a butt-joint between two track elemerits;
FIG. 6 is a front elevation of a track element in the zone of the butt-joint;
FIG. 7 is a cross section through the crossmembers of the track elements, and
FIG. 8 is a front elevation of a modified construction of the track element illustrated in FIG. 4.
In the construction illustrated by way of example in FIGS. 1 and 2, the subject matter of the invention has two figure-eight eyes 26 and 27 of the usual substantially circular shape. However, by contrast with the present state of the art, one eye 26 of the figure-eight is used for receiving the uphill sections whereas the other eye 27 of the figure-eight railway is used for receiving the downhill sections, so that in the amusement device according to the invention it is unnecessary for the valley between the eyes 26 and 27 to be provided with a base for the rail tracks.
In the construction according to the invention, the track elements 1 are mounted on trestles 28, the track elements preferably bracing the trestles 28 relatively to each other.
Distributing heads 30 anchored to the ground are provided in the center of the two eyes 26, 27. Radial staying members or braces 29, extend from the trestles 28 to the distributing heads 30, the tensile and compressive forces of opposed bracing members 29 canceling each other out.
In the construction shown by way of example, a boarding station 31 is situated at one end of the figure-eight railway. A hoisting section or ramp 32 of conventional construction extends from the station 31 to the highest point of the eye 26 of the figure-eight railway. A long stretch 33, forming half a loop enveloping the eyes 26 and 27 of the track, extends steeply downhill from the peak of the eye 26 to a lower point close to the base of the other eye 27 of the figure-eight, so that the total length of that loop may be utilized for downhill traveling. Accordingly, the carriages travel at a very high speed in a semicircular zone 34 on the level of station 31, at the end of the steeply descending section 33, so that in this zone a tilting angle of about has to be provided in order to ensure safe guidance of the fast-moving carriages.
In the curved section 34 having a tilt of 80, the momentum is so substantial as to be suflicient to return the carriages along the uphill slope 35 on the other side of the loop to a relatively high level in the zone of the eye 26 of the figure-eight track section. The ascending section 35 may advantageously rise underneath the hoisting section 32. In the construction illustrated by way of example, upper and lower intersecting S- curves 36 and 37 may be provided with omission of the spiral intermediate curved sections generally used in known figureeight railways. The intersecting downhill sections 36 and 37 are the sole sections in the illustrated construction that have a valley between the eyes 26 and 27 of the figure-eight railway. The undulating S-curves 36, 37, which as shown in FIG. 1 are substantially symmetrical, lead into a convoluted section beginning in the eye 26 of the figure-eight track and passing through the lower section 38 of the downhill stretch to terminate in a double spiral 39 of decreasing radius which by contrast with conventional routings extends upwardly instead of downwardly. The momentum is so substantial as to enable the carriages to travel along the rising spiral through at least 540 of curved track. In this case also, the curved sections have to be provided with corresponding tilt angles in order to ensure smooth traveling of the carriages.
The carriages then return to the zone of the eye 27 of the figure-eight on the transition section 40, a single-tum spiral 41 leading to an outlet 42 (terminal run) at the end of which the station 31 is located.
It will be readily appreciated that excitement in several respects is experienced in that, first of all, the travelling through the sharply tilted curved section 34 and along the very steep downhill section 33 affords a hitherto unknown experience. There is, moreover, a surprise in store when after the usual crossing across the lower part of the curved sections, the carriage travels suddenly along a rising double spiral. The intensified excitement thus experienced is thus combined with a deviation from the conventional routings so that a surprising result is obtained.
The track element shown in FIG. 3 has two parallel tubes 2 interconnected by cross-struts 4 and diagonal struts 5 provided in constant spaced relation to form a frame. In straight track elements, the diagonal struts 5 need only be provided in a few places or may be entirely dispensed with, but they are a necessity in the curved sections. At the end of the track elements, crossmembers 6 are welded in position which, assisted by the diagrammatically indicated connecting blocks 11, securely interconnect adjacent track elements 1 and, on the other hand, secure the track elements I firmly in position on the trestles shown in FIG. 4.
An important feature of the track elements 1 according to the invention consists in the cross-struts 4, the diagonal struts 5 and the crossmembers 6 being welded to the inner sides 7 of the metal tubes 2. The individual parts of the lattice are thus disposed in the plane passing through the axes of the metal tubes 2.
As illustrated in FIG. 4, it is then necessary for the track elements 1 to be disposed at a distance above the supporting truss 9 forming the bed of the trestles 10, since the carriages 21 traveling on the track elements 1 have to be provided with safety devices by which the carriages 21 are prevented from being lifted. In the construction illustrated in FIG. 4, the track is mounted on truss 9 through the intermediary of a pedestal 8 of limited height providing space for brake rails 25 secured to the carriages 21 to prevent the carriages from being lifted. For this reason, an inner bearing bracket 23 and an outer bearing bracket 24, interconnected with constant separation by wheel axles 50, are provided in the zone of the carriage wheels 22. The outer bearing bracket 24 is bent down to a level below the metal tube 2 and carries a single brake rail 25. A clearance between the brake rail 25 and the metal tube 2 exists during nonnal traveling. However, the chassis of carriage 2 is lifted as soon as it has passed over a liftable brake element (not shown) with the result that the brake rails are pressed firmly against the metal tubes 2 and slow down the carriages 21.
FIGS. 5 and 6 show a particularly simple device for joining two track elements 1. As illustrated in FIG. 3, the individual brake elements are provided alternately with assembling pins 3 engaging in the respectively opposite metal tube 2. Connecting blocks 11 provided with aligned slots 12 open at the top are welded in position between the metal tubes 2 and the crossmembers 6. The hub 14 of a locking screw 13 is pivotally mounted in one of the connecting blocks 11. A conical recess 16 is provided in the far end of the slot 12 of the other connecting block 11. A conical lug 17 of a nut engaging the screw 13 is recessed in the conical recess 16.
Upon erection of the frame structure, the track elements 1 are hinged in known manner, not shown in the drawing, to the trestles 10. The trestles and the track elements I hinged thereto are swung upwards whereupon it is merely necessary to swing the locking screws 13 into their clamping position to tighten the nuts 15 until they seat in the conical recess 16, thus bringing about a stabilized positioning of the trestles and the track elements.
FIGS. 7 and 8 show the manner in which the track elements 1 are joined to the trestles in order to prevent a lifting of the track elements. The pedestal or intermediate element 8 is mounted on the supporting truss 9 of the uprights 10 shown in FIG. 4, an upright web 18 (FIG. 7) being securely connected to the intermediate elements 8 (FIG. 7). In this construction, the crossmembers 6 are in the form of outwardly open U- profiles positioned back to back. A guide pin 19 is secured in position, for example by welding, in the solid vertical wall of one of the U-profiles. The corresponding wall of the other U- section 6 and the web 18 are provided with aligned, matching bores in which the guide pin 19 engages. The simple pin connection 19 shown in FIGS. 7 and 8 is sufficient to prevent the track elements from being lifted ofi the trestles 9, 10 since the track elements are securely interconnected by the blocks 11.
FIG. 8 illustrates that the forces acting vertically upon the metal tubes 2 are absorbed by internal crossmembers 6 with connecting blocks 11 instead of being absorbed, for example, by supporting elements mounted vertically below them as in conventional systems. Surprisingly, it has been found that track elements of this construction are particularly robust and nevertheless afford a saving of costs, while the relatively large metal tubes 2 afford the additional advantage of a particularly smooth running of the carriages on the track elements in spite of traveling at maximum speed.
Parts 6, 8 and 9 of any profile, and particularly of a strongly rounded configuration, may be used.
l. A roller coaster comprising a track in the general shape of an elongate loop, a can'iage riding said track in a closed path, and a boarding station at one end of said loop; said track including a ramp provided with hoist means and rising from said boarding station along one side of said loop to a point of maximum elevation near the opposite end thereof and, beyond said point, a gravity-controlled path with a descending section extending along the other side of said loop from said point of maximum elevation to substantially the level of said boarding station, a sharply tilted section passing around said one end substantially at said level, an ascending section rising along said one side to said opposite end beneath said ramp to a point of lesser elevation, a pair of generally symmetrical S- curves starting at the latter point and together defining a figure-eight track section enveloped by said loop, and a home stretch terminating at said station.
2. A roller coaster as defined in claim 1 wherein the angle of tilt of said sharply tilted section is substantially 3. A roller coaster as defined in claim I wherein said S- curves undulate with a dip between the eyes of said figureeight track section.
4. A roller coaster as defined in claim l wherein said home stretch includes a convoluted section extending along said other side of said loop and continuing in a decreasing spiral with an upward slope through an arc of substantially 540 at said one end thereof.
5. A roller coaster as defined in claim 4 wherein said home stretch further includes a terminal section passing around said opposite end.
6. A roller coaster comprising a track and a carriage riding said track; said carriage including a chassis with transversely spaced wheels and with an axle interconnecting said wheels; said track including a trestle structure fonning a supporting bed, a pair of parallel rails engaged by said wheels and constituted by tubes with a common axial plane, generally transverse connecting members lying substantially in said common axial plane between said rails, and pedestal means supporting said connecting members above said bed with lateral clearance underneath said rails, said carriage being further provided with brake means depending from said chassis externally of said rails and terminating therebelow in said clearance for contact with the underside of said rails upon a lifting of said chassis ofi said track.
7. A roller coaster as defined in claim 6 wherein said brake means includes a pair of brackets mounted on the ends of said axle.
8. A roller coaster as defined in claim 6 wherein said connecting members include transverse struts and diagonal struts with extremities welded to said tubes.
9. A roller coaster as defined in claim 6 wherein said connecting members include paired U-profiles positioned back to back.
10. A roller coaster as defined in claim 9 wherein said pedestal means includes an upstanding web between said U- profiles, the latter being provided with fastener means traversing said web for anchoring said track to said pedestal means.
11. A roller coaster comprising a carriage with transversely spaced wheels and a track with a pair of parallel rails engaged by said wheels; said rails including longitudinally interfitting sections provided at adjoining ends with connecting blocks having aligned slots, one of two connecting blocks at the junction of a pair of said sections being further provided with a locking screw pivotally mounted thereon and lodged in said aligned slots, said screw having a nut bearing endwise upon the other of said two blocks and being swingable out of the slot of the latter block upon removal of said nut; said track further including connecting extending generally transversely between said sections, a supporting structure for said rails and fastener means securing said connecting members to said structure.
12. A roller coaster as defined in claim 11 wherein the slot of said latter block terminates in a frustoconical recess, said nut having a mating frustoconical portion received in said recess.
13. A roller coaster as defined in claim 11 wherein said connecting members include a pair of transverse struts spanning the connecting blocks of pairs of adjoining sections of said rails, said structure including an upstanding web between said struts, said fastener means being rigid with one of said struts and traversing aligned bores in said web and in the other of said struts.
14. A roller coaster as defined in claim 13 wherein said struts are U-profiles with solid walls adjacent said web and with outwardly open sides facing in opposite directions, said fastener means comprising a pin welded to one of said walls and passing completely through said web and the other of said walls.