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Coaster Engineering

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Having worked for Disney I can shed a bit of light on the 'ride controls' question. They generally have a similar control panel layout for all of their attractions. For coaster/train type rides the main buttons that are used are: Mode select (maint or normal): maintenance mode allows the operator to override the usual safety requirements for when guests are not present. Emergency stop: stops the entire ride and associated effects Station stop: stops the train within the station. Station stop reset/recover: obvious. Advance: sends train. Advance enable: generally used by a second operator at the rear of the train. Must be held down (like a shift button) to enable the primary operator to send train. Pretty much a safety feature. Station gates switch (open/auto/close): obvious one. Restrain release: generally set to 'auto'. Stop gates: obvious. Lamp test: generally used when you're really bored. Nothing particularly exciting really, just what you'd expect from a ride control panel!

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A while ago, photos of the old bush beat \ bestie panels were posted here. They are currently hosted on the wonderland history site as well. Different coasters have different controls, but as a general rule, you've got: open\close gates open\close restraints (sometimes multi stage where more than one restraint system is in use) With Beast, the button was a pulse control - it had to be held down for the guest to raise the lapbar - if the operator released it before the guest lifted it - it remained locked down. Once the button is released, the lapbar is locked in it's position (either open or closed). brake control (releases train from brakes\unload - enters station) park\brake control (brakes train in station, manual control to bring train in slowly to correct position). This button is held down (brakes open) to allow the train to exit the station under gravity. Obviously this is your standard, gravity coaster. Kicker wheels, block brakes, dropped floors (like lethal) would have separate controls. Many coaster panels also have a manual control switch or button to control every single controllable aspect of the coaster when placed in 'manual' mode. In 'auto mode' the restraints, station brakes, brake run brakes, and station gates are the controls open to the operator, with other systems like brakes, lift hill, kickers etc are all run by the PLCs. In short - every coaster is different - more modern (more automated) coasters would have a "dispatch" button, and the computer will advance all stacked trains forward as each block cleared.

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