Lift hill

Lift hill
Goliath (2002), in Walibi Holland of the Netherlands, has a 150 foot (45.7 meter) lift hill.

A lift hill, or chain hill, is often the initial upward-sloping section of track on a typical roller coaster that initially transports the roller coaster train to an elevated point or peak in the roller coaster ride. Upon reaching the peak, the train is then disengaged and propelled from the lift hill by gravity and allowed to coast throughout the rest of the roller coaster ride's circuit.

Lift hills usually propel the train to the top of the ride via one of two methods: a chain lift involving a long, continuous chain which trains hook on to and are carried to the top; or a drive tire system in which multiple motorized tires push the train upwards. A typical chain lift consists of a heavy piece of metal called a chain dog, which is mounted onto the underside of one of the cars which make up the train. This is in place to line up with the chain on the lift hill.

The chain rotates at a constant speed and is normally powered by one or more motors, which are positioned under the lift hill. The chain sits in a steel trough on the lift hill containing electrical magnets, these keep the rotating chain on the lift hill and prevent uplift. When the cars reach the lift hill, the electrical magnets attract the metal chain dogs and causing them to hook into the holes in the chain. The anti-rollback device then drops into each notch on the lift hill as the cars rise to the highest point.

Upon reaching the top, the anti-rollback device stops moving and the track levels out flat. The chain dogs are normally loaded with metal springs so that they can return to their original position on the base of the train when the magnets can no longer reach them and they un-hook from the chain. If loss of power or technical difficulties occur, the chain dogs rise out of the chain if the magnets are powered by the same circuit and the anti-rollback dog will be put to use by preventing the cars from rolling back down.


Cable lift

The cable lift is a type of lift mechanism that was used on many scenic railway-style coasters, which were built in the early part of the 20th century. Several still exist today and still use the mechanism. This type of lift has returned for Kings Dominion's Intimidator 305, Cedar Point's Millennium Force, Holiday Park's Expedition GeForce, and La Qua's Thunder Dolphin, and is used on the wooden roller coaster El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure.

The cable lift utilizes a cable loop in place of the traditional chain, which is attached to a short section of chain that engages the train's chain hook. Because a cable is much lighter than a chain, cable lifts are much faster than chain lifts and can be used on much steeper hills - even vertical.

A cable also requires far less maintenance than a chain. Another advantage to park guests is that a cable lift is very quiet, partly because the main drive winch is located directly beneath the top of the lift, a location which will normally be relatively far from guest-accessible areas. However, one minor disadvantage of a cable lift system is that it must return to the bottom of the lift hill after lifting each train, which does not apply to a continuously moving chain lift.

Tilt lift/thrill lift section

There are two types of tilt coaster: A standard coaster with a vertical drop at the start (trains enter the vertical drop via an unusual tilt section; after leaving the chain lift, instead of going down a first drop, the rider is held on a horizontal section of track, which then tilts forwards, to become a vertical section, which leads into the drop, then into the rest of the coaster layout); and a thrill lift designed similar to the elevator lift but instead of it bringing the riders up into the horizontal position, it brings them to a vertical and then lets gravity do the rest. There is one operating Tilt Coaster in the world, Gravity Max! at Discovery World in Taiwan.

Elevator lift

The elevator lift is a new technology used to make the ascension of the roller coaster faster and more comfortable due to the fact all riders are doing is moving vertically up. It is used mostly in indoor rollercoasters like Scooby-Doo Spooky Coaster. As of 2008 only seventeen coasters have an elevator lift.[citation needed]

Ferris wheel lift

The Ferris wheel lift is a brand new technology that utilizes the favorite Ferris wheel ride and incorporates it into a roller coaster. Created by Premier Rides, it exists on the former Maximum RPM (now named 'Round About')! at the former Hard Rock Park (now Freestyle Music Park) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.[citation needed] It uses a Ferris Wheel like motion to lift the cars to the top, as on a Ferris Wheel. The cars are then released onto the track.

Anti-rollback device

Diagram depicting the anti-rollback safety feature.

The familiar "click-clack" sound that occurs as roller coaster trains ascend the lift hill is not caused by the chain itself. The cause for this noise is actually a safety device used on lift hills -- the anti-rollback device. The anti-rollback device is a standard safety feature, typically consisting of a continuous, saw-toothed, section of metal, forming a linear ratchet.

Roller coaster trains are fitted with anti-rollback "dogs" which are essentially heavy-duty pieces of metal which fall and rest in each groove of the anti-rollback device on the track as the trains ascend the lift-hill. This makes the "clicking" sound and essentially allows the train to go upwards only, effectively preventing the train from rolling back down the hill should it ever encounter a power failure or broken chain.

This feature was derived from the similar feature originally used on the Mauch Chunk Switchback Railway in Pennsylvania, starting in 1846. The two uphill planes that cars were drawn up under the power of a stationary steam engine had two slightly different early forms of this anti-rollback device. The entire concept of the modern roller coaster was also initially inspired by this railroad.

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