Why Roller Coaster Track is Filled with Sand

Why Roller Coaster Track is Filled with Sand

For the past century, theme parks all over
the world have been battling one another to construct taller, faster, and more exhilarating
thrill machines in order to outshine the competition and attract the largest crowds. Driving this battle forward are the engineers
and roller coaster designers who have developed innovative ways to build these towering structures
so that they are both safe and reliable. Over the years, each roller coaster design
company has established their own signature design style with recognizable characteristics
that set their coasters apart from the rest. A few examples include the I-beam design of
Rocky Mountain Construction, or RMC, which consists of a continuous steel I-section with
integrated rails; The truss design of Intamin, which consists
of small steel tubes that are welded together to form a 3-dimensional truss;
And the box beam design of Bolliger and Mabillard, or B&M, which consists of a continuous steel
box section that supports two rails using fin plates. Although the various design styles are quite
unique, they all accomplish the same task of supporting high-speed roller coaster trains
as they hurtle through the air. If you have ever been to a major theme park,
you may have noticed that in addition to having a unique visual appearance, each track design
also produces a distinct sound as the trains speed over them. The sound produced by a given roller coaster
is directly related to the design of the track, and of all the various track styles, the box
beam design produces one of the loudest and most recognizable sounds. The box beam track design developed by B&M
has a continuous steel spine that is formed by a hollow rectangular cross-section. Steel fin plates are welded to the top of
the spine at regular intervals, and these fin plates support the two rails which are
made from circular steel tubes. When trains travel along the rails at high
speeds, vibrations are induced in the track which propagate throughout the entire cross-section. These vibrations generate sound that we can
hear, and the large hollow box beams actually amplify the sound due to their size and geometry. Although the roar of a B&M roller coaster
is iconic and downright intimidating, the noise can be a problem in certain situations,
particularly when theme parks are located adjacent to residential areas. A prime example of this is Canada’s Wonderland,
which is a theme park located in Ontario, Canada. The park first opened in the early 1980’s,
and at that time it was surrounded only by farm land. However, that farm land was gradually overtaken
by urban sprawl as the nearby city expanded, and a large residential area was eventually
constructed adjacent to the park. Now perhaps you shouldn’t move into a house
located across the street from a theme park if you don’t like the sound of roller coasters,
but a lot people may have overlooked this issue at the time. In 2006, Canada’s Wonderland was purchased
by the Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, which invested millions of dollars into the park
to build numerous world-class thrill rides. The biggest of them all came 2012, when Canada’s
Wonderland introduced Leviathan; The tallest roller coaster that B&M had ever built to
date, standing at 93 m tall and reaching speeds of nearly 150 km/hr. The giga coaster was constructed right at
the front of the park, and it extended out into the parking lot just a few hundred meters
away from the neighboring residential area. And was this coaster ever loud. Every time a train dived down the first drop,
the sound could clearly be heard by the residents across the street, and this obviously led
to numerous noise complaints. The park hired an acoustical consultant to
perform an assessment of the sound produced by the ride, and it was determined that something
had to be done to quiet down the Leviathan. In the end, it was decided that the best way
to reduce the noise produced by the roller coaster would be to fill the track with sand. Since the first drop was the primary culprit
of the noise problem, attention was focused only on this part of the ride. It was not possible to fill the rails with
sand because this would require the rails to be cut open and welded closed, which would
be detrimental to the smoothness of the ride, however they could cut open and fill the box
beams. Once engineers determined that the structure
and its foundations could support the additional weight, the park moved forward with their
plan. First, a hole was cut into each box beam section
of the first drop by workers on a large boom lift. Sand was then blown into each section using
an aggregate blower, which used compressed air to deliver the sand to the required height
through a long tube. Since each section of track is sealed at both
ends where the individual pieces are bolted together, sand had to be blown into each track
section individually rather than filling the entire box beam at once. After the entire drop was filled, the holes
in the box beams were welded shut and the work was complete. This method of noise reduction was successful,
and the noise produced by the roller coaster was greatly reduced. The sand inside the track works by damping
the vibration of the steel which reduces the amplitude of the resulting sound waves. As the steel walls of the box beam vibrate
against the sand, the walls push against the sand and move the individual particles, which
transfers energy away from the steel. This loss of energy translates to a reduction
in the amplitude of the vibrations, and the volume of the sound is therefore reduced. The same technique has been used for a number
of other roller coasters as well, including Gatekeeper at Cedar Point in Ohio, and Yukon
Striker at Canada’s Wonderland. However, for these two coasters, it was known
in advance that noise could be a potential problem, and so the rails were filled with
sand during track fabrication before the roller coasters were erected. It’s likely that the engineers decided to
fill the rails and not the box beams in these two cases because a smaller volume of sand
is required, and it would have been very difficult to transport and install the track pieces
if they were completely filled with sand due to the huge increase in weight. Even though less sand is used, filling the
rails alone is still an effective method for reducing the level of sound produced by a
roller coaster. Filling roller coaster track with sand has
been shown to be a good solution to the noisy roller coaster problem, and it can be used
for both new roller coasters as well as existing roller coasters. It is a clever yet simple technique, and perhaps
we will see it implemented more frequently in the future. Hey everyone, thank you for watching this
video, I really hope you enjoyed it. Don’t forget to subscribe if you would like
to see more videos from this channel, and please consider supporting me on Patreon using
the link in the description so I can continue to improve my content and grow the channel. I also invite you to leave suggestions in
the comments below for topics that you want to see in future videos. Again, thanks for watching, and I’ll see
you in the next one.

100 thoughts on “Why Roller Coaster Track is Filled with Sand

  1. I had so much fun putting this whole video together, even though the animated graphics took me FOREVER to make. What did you think of the cinematic style intro!?

  2. So, will aviation companies now fill their aircrafts with sand because there are too much complaints from people that moved to an airport area? People have become so fucking stupid…

  3. Executive: We're still getting noise complaints. It seems the scream of the patrons are too loud. Any ideas?
    Engineering team: Fill their mouths with sand?

  4. Doesn't seem right that urban dwellers can complain about the noise of something that was there before they got there.. you decided to move near a theme park so deal with the noise.

  5. If you decided to move to a house near a theme park you have no room to whine about the noise like sure it’d be annoying but up you should’ve moved elsewhere if you knew it’s annoy you.

  6. My mom heard this from the back this is how it when

    Are you watching one of the videos again

    I trued it up

    Well I can’t understand that smart foundation stuff

  7. Is this guy stupid? The sand is there just in case the ride brakes. If the ride brakes the sand will spew out and add a cushion for the people who fall of the ride. Do some research idiot.

  8. Here's my thought the developers of the housing sprawl was an idiot to build houses so close to a theme park, that's been the problem in recent years where this developers keep building houses closer to places like amusement parks, power plants, airports, landfills, waste water plants and so forth then we get the dumb people knowing that they're so close to one of this places and still go ahead and buy the house then they want the business that was there way before them to quiet down or move, like really? People should research the area before they buy and companies should keep operations as normal cause those homeowners won't pay their bills

  9. This really agitated me. You don’t go to cinemas and then they reduce the volume because you decided to have a nap in the theater…

  10. Not complaining, but I feel like a 3 second video saying "sand makes it quiet" would satisfy my want to know why sand is put in rollercoasters. <3

  11. Imagine putting together a video about sound, where the entire video has sound, but not including the sound you're making the video about

    2/10 very disappointed

  12. if you're going to complain about sound dont live next to theme parks, airports, race tracks, and ranges

  13. 🇧🇪🏁🇺🇳🇦🇷🇦🇼🇧🇷🇧🇮🇻🇬🇧🇾🏳️🏳️‍🌈🇧🇼🇧🇹🇮🇴🇭🇷🇨🇼🇰🇲🇭🇷🇰🇲🇨🇺🇰🇲🇨🇿🇬🇶🇪🇬🇪🇷🇫🇮🇫🇴🇫🇮🇪🇷🇪🇺🇬🇶🇩🇯🇨🇮🇨🇺🇨🇱🇨🇩🇨🇴🇨🇳🇨🇽🇹🇩🇰🇾🇨🇦🇮🇴🇮🇴🇧🇷🇧🇦🇧🇲🇧🇧🇧🇧🇧🇾

  14. Isn't that the residents problem now knowing not only that it had a theme park next door that was there before the residential district but then still chose to buy there?

  15. When I saw the title, I guessed that the sand would be something to do with weight and stability. Sound never occured to me. Thank you for sharing, this was very interesting to learn.

  16. Wait, so idiots move across the street from an Amusement Park and then complain that it's too noisy? WTF did they expect?

  17. Curiosity, if sand is added to the roller coasters and used as a sound dampener, wouldn't it over time wear down the metal from the inside? As the vibrations from the coaster going by move any lose sand, it could make small vibrations and as we all know, sand is an abrasive, cause holes in the roller coaster.

  18. Beginning: Can't put sand in rails of already existing roller coaster because it would mess with the smoothness.

    End: You can put sand in the rails of both new and existing roller coasters.

    Which one is it?



  19. I feel the words “safe” and “reliable”, when talking about a rollercoaster, go very hand in hand.

  20. This must have taken a while to make, but dude… how can you seriously make a video entirely about roller coaster sounds and not have a SINGLE audio sample of the sound you're discussing?? Besides that, how can you make an entire video about sounds that are too loud, and then throw super loud music in the intro and outro?

  21. when cedar fair bought knotts berry farm they put snoopy in all of their parks. i think they should have left camp snoopy at knotts and make some other cartoon for each park

  22. Your title should read "Why rollercoasters tracks are filled with sand". Or it could be something more interesting, like an interrogative sentence, rather than a statement. Overall, great video, receives more complaints than it really should. But yes, the intro did start off a bit loud as well. Keep up the good effort.

  23. nobody in existence:


  24. เพื่อเสียงดังของรางเวลารถวิ่ง ผมเข้าใจถูกไหม

  25. My friends: You cant make a meme without rollercoasters in it.

    Me: Makes a meme without rollercoasters in it.

    My friends: 1:55

  26. People shouldn't complain about noise from an amusement park. I'm using Canada's Wonderland in my case. Canada's Wonderland was there first, so they should get the upper hand. All them people can move! Lol

  27. The people who live near by are stupid to complain because they should have known that theme parks are loud before moving in.

  28. It would be nice if there was roller-coasters that could use electromagnetic technology that would take lots of those sound problems go away where the coaster doesn't touch the track but follows it allowing the track and cars to have different movements.
    P.S. Please make a Disney Ride Channel where you talk about the different secrets of the different Disney rides and attractions and how they work? How does the Small World, Soaring Over California etc Work? Please put a separate channel up with this. I believe that you will have so many people look at so many different videos.

  29. you can talk on your phone right next to "Talon" at Dorney Park and not even notice your standing next to a coaster

  30. I thought it was near to standard procedure, in the meanwhile ? Anyway, in Europe, as 99% of amusement parks are VERY close to residential areas, here. However, the constant screaming of the riders is even a louder noise then the roar of the tracks. It will take dozens of lawsuits still to come…

  31. The Incredible hulk had all track pieces removed and replaced with sand-filled track when it went under renovations in 2015.

  32. Don't worry about the residents in those homes. They were purchased for a little over 200k after they were built and are now worth over a million!!

  33. Your videos are wonderfully informative. Have you considered helping your non-metric viewers out by displaying the conversion values on the screen momentarily? Thanks!

  34. Great job! As others have mentioned, it would’ve been nice to hear an audio sample of each type of coaster. The graphics were nicely done and easy to understand. You have a great voice, too, for narrating.

  35. So to get this straight, people moved in next to a theme park and complained that it was too noisy. How blind do you need to be to not see a massive theme park in front of the land where the house would be. Something similar to this also happened to Laguna Seca (a racetrack in USA) and the government actually put in noise restrictions which were worse than those for the cars on the road. So now all the people coming to track their car out there have to put massive external mufflers to go under the noise limit. Those people living next to the track still complain apparently.

  36. I wonder if they did that to the patriot at worlds of fun. It's never been loud and it's been around for awhile now

  37. people who complained about the loud noises were the ones who were stupid enough to buy a house next to a theme park

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