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Aug 9, 2017
I saw this recently: - Vortex at Canada's Wonderland did 719 riders per hour and apparently beat The Bat at Kings Island. My beloved Arrow Suspended coasters apparently aren't line-eaters.

And it made me think about ride capacity. There was a previous thread here on the topic, but it was BGW-only, and long dead: There was also this analysis from when Tempesto was still a rumor:

An MCBR is a compromise for capacity. The stop-and-go experience of Verbolten is the price to pay to get five trains at once. I have yet to ride Montu, but I'm told Afterburn is a cut-down version of the layout. Thanks to not having an MCBR, Afterburn has superior pacing to Raptor and Banshee that I've ridden since, and therefore remains high on my list. Likewise, Joker's Jinx not using an MCBR redeems it, and if only the launch was as strong as Flight of Fear's (as well as having the unload station), it'd be flat-out better.

It is because of capacity, that some rides just have no business being at some parks. Besides Tempesto, the other ride that makes me think of this is Dare Devil Dive (SFOG). It's a good thing HangTime is an Infinity and not a Euro-Fighter. If Project Madrid is a true shuttle coaster (and not a switch track launch spike coaster), I fear for its capacity. Mr. Freeze is at SFOT and SFStL - parks that I doubt have attendance on par with BGW.
MCBRs are huge for capacity. It’s an extra block for extra trains on the course.

I know I go here often, but it was my home park for 20 years, but Hersheypark doesn’t do as many guests per day as their lines would suggest. They have more than enough rides. But their coasters have HORRIBLE capacity because there’s no MCBRs on their coasters, and on top of that they are short. So most of the coasters run 2 trains with 32 riders per train. In fact Storm Runner and Lightning Racer are the only people eater rides, and that’s because SR has the duel sided loader, and LR because of the dueling aspect.

BGW, IMO, does well because of MCBRs on almost every coaster helps with having more trains on the track at once and makes wait times on the end course brake run minimal. Imagine a park full of rides like Invadr that you sit on the end course brake run because there’s no MCBR to give the time for that train to unload and load.
MCBRs are not a tell all for good capacity.

Biggest contributors to a ride's capacity are the ride's cycle time, how many people the trains hold, and most importantly the crews operating the ride themselves.

While yes an MCBR does permit more trains to run it's more on the crews to keep the ride running at its most efficient pace, rendered moot when maximum units are not in use or if the ride is permitted to stack units repeatedly.

Hersheypark's rides do not have the best of capacity, yes. A few of them stand out from the rest of the park (and frankly beat out all of BGW's rides with their current habit of limited unit operations). Keep in mind the limited train operations estimates are the theoretical max, which is just a simple divided number from the physical max of units. In realistic operations, running 2 of 3 units actually cuts capacity closer to half due to dead time between units being in the station loading and unloading. Running 1 of 2 units at about a third of stated capacity, 1 of 3 being closer to a quarter.
  • Alpengeist: 1792 w/ 3 train ops, 1184 max theoretical w/ 2 train ops
  • Apollo's: 1728 w/ 3 train ops, 1296 max theoretical w/ 2 train ops
  • Loch Ness Monster: Estimated Max of 800 riders per hour w/ 2 train ops
  • InvadR: Max of 768 riders per hour
  • Griffon: 1380 w/ 3 train ops, 930 max theoretical w/ 2 train ops
  • Verbolten: 1920 w/ 5 train ops, 1152 max theoretical w/ 3 train ops

  • Storm Runner: 1200 max
  • Fahrenheit: 840 max
  • Lightning Racer: 1152 max per side w/ 2 train ops, 576 each side w/ 1 train ops
  • Comet: 936 max
  • Great Bear: 1280 max
  • Skyrush: 1332 max
  • Wild Mouse: 836 w/ 10 cars, 418 w/ 5 cars (what it currently runs)
  • Laff Trakk: 840 w/ 7 cars
For comparison's sake, Hersheypark does have more rides overall but also gets more regular attendance than BGW does (and has since 2007). Skyrush has hurt capacity due to how quickly the ride cycles and how inefficiently the station is designed. Great Bear is hurt by the attendants being forced to double check restraints (effectively running with only 2 attendants on the floor instead of 4).

I'd love to toss up more numbers for you guys if you're interested, I'll get a spreadsheet going so you can compare rides between parks and stuff (including annual ridership and park attendance if I have the *ACTUAL* numbers available).
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And here I thought Apollo's capacity was the best. No floor to drop, trains hold 32 riders. Didn't expect Verbolten to be the capacity winner. How many of the stops are blocking? Between the real freefall drop and the massive capacity, I have a new respect for Verbolten, if only for the engineering that went into it.
Apollo's actually holds 36 riders per train, in nine rows of four.

It's not surprising that Verbolten has the best capacity. It has a dual loading station and run 40% more trains at a time than any other coaster in the park. Notice how much the line takes a hit when only one station is running, though. As far as Verbolten's blocking goes, the station and beginning flat section out of the station that the second train waits on serves as a block, there is an MCBR in the show building that is followed by a drop that rises into the blocking for the freefall, the switch track is probably not serviceable for a block, but the hold on the bridge definitely is, and then of course comes the final brake run, giving you enough blocks to run five trains.

It is important to note, however, that the max capacity is a theoretical number that requires both ride ops and riders to be moving very efficiently. A slow crew, or even just one slow crew member, limits the capacity by hundreds, and frankly some capacity numbers given just aren't attainable in my experience. At BGW, typically neither of those variables are efficient enough to hit those maxes.
MCBRs are not a tell all for good capacity.

Biggest contributors to a ride's capacity are the ride's cycle time, how many people the trains hold, and most importantly the crews operating the ride themselves.

While yes an MCBR does permit more trains to run it's more on the crews to keep the ride running at its most efficient pace, rendered moot when maximum units are not in use or if the ride is permitted to stack units repeatedly.

Let me clarify a bit here what I was talking about:
MCBR's typically mean a longer ride (overall), so that means yes more blocks; but to me MCBR's also mean that there's less time in each block which means they can dispatch more often leading to better capacity.

Looking at some ride lengths:

Alpie - 3828 Great Bear - 2800 So since Alpie travels less than 2800 feet to it's MCBR, that means less time to clear a block to dispatch sooner (theoretically) *GB has no MCBR.

Classic loopers:
Nessie - 3240 Sooperdooperlooper - 2614 I can't recall if SDL has a MCBR, but we know Nessies second lift can be one. But again, the length of track for Nessie to hit her MCBR is shorter, meaning less time to clear a block.

Launched Coasters:
Bolt - 2835 Stormrunner - 2600 Of course the huge one here is the Drop track, so SR has no blocks, while Bolt has an obvious one. Interesting things to add here: both have 2 train load stations, Bolt has the drop section reset to slow things down, SR has the hydraulic launch reset to slow things down.

So yes while ride cycle is important, MCBR's play their part in increasing the potential capacity by shortening the minimum times of dispatch. At Hershey, it's not uncommon to sit on the end course brake run almost as long as you were on the course because of the ride time being so short.
I fully understood your post, but rides without MCBRs can still get similar capacities to rides with MCBRs provided they're designed with operations and overall efficiency in mind. An MCBR does not make for dispatch interval, its more on timing to keep all the units moving as much as possible outside of load and unload.

For a ride like Apollo's, the dispatch interval on 3 train ops would be as soon as the lift is cleared due to its length, but on a similar ride like Nitro it's when the train clears the second hill and makes its dive to the left. That's only possible when operations crews are on their A game, and I can't credit BGW's ops with that considering their bad habit of stacking on most of their rides on a moderately quiet day let alone a Saturday.

Also Sooperdooperlooper originally opened with 3 trains but they updated the operating system and bought new trains from Giovanola in 1989, downgrading to 2.

From my operations experience, building rides with capacities higher than 1500 riders per hour is only necessary when your park is consistently busy and can justify the extra cost associated with maintaining added trains and stress on the ride itself. This is why you see most manufacturers shooting for ride capacities in and around 800-1200 riders per hour these days, because parks can't easily justify adding a ride with higher capacity unless they're committing to rapid expansion (see: Carowinds and Fury 325).
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