Types of Roller Coaster Structures
What's a Hybrid Roller Coaster
So what is a hybrid style roller coaster and how do they differ from what is typically called a steel or wooden roller coaster. A hybrid is a type of coaster that utilizes either a steel support structure with a wooden type track system. Or a wooden support structure with a steel type track system. Example of a steel track, it has a steel running tube used as the rail with a steel structure holding them together. There are lots of different designs from B&M track to Intiman track and various other types of track. I also consider RMC Rocky Mountain Construction IBeam track as a steel track system. The track is a solid steel piece of track held together by steel connectors. It just looks different than traditional round tube track but its purpose is still the same IBEAM track just happens to be square shaped.
Wooden Roller Coasters
Onto the wooden roller coaster track system. The wooden track is a set of track stacks usually 6 to 8 layers of wood. The wooden track is also considered a floating track system as in the track itself is not really bolted down to the structure its only nailed down to the ledger boards (the cross pieces). The track can move and float as the train runs its coarse. This is what gives wooden coasters there loose ride as the coaster breaks in and the wood settles into place. The wooden track system has a set of steel plates that the wheels run on, due to the fact the wood is not strong enough for the wheels to run on. The steel is about one quarter inch thick and formed to the shape of the wooden track stack. It is just screwed into the wooden track stack and has play and give as the wood moves. There is also steel used in sections where up stop wheels and side wheels are used to keep the coaster aligned properly.
RMC Roller Coasters
So what is a hybrid style roller coaster and how do they differ from what is typically called a steel or wooden roller coaster. A hybrid is a type of coaster that utilizes either a steel support structure with a wooden type track system. Or a wooden support structure with a steel type track system. Example of a steel track, it has a steel running tube used as the rail with a steel structure holding them together. There are lots of different designs from B&M track to Intiman track and various other types of track. I also consider RMC Rocky Mountain Construction IBeam track as a steel track system. The track is a solid steel piece of track held together by steel connectors. It just looks different than traditional round tube track but its purpose is still the same IBEAM track just happens to be square shaped.
Types of Steel Structures
Now moving on to the different types of structures that support the roller coaster track systems. First the steel support structures. There are 2 main types columns and lattice. There are also wooden coasters that may look like wooden type structures that you would normally think of as a wooden coaster but are actually steel structures. The structures are made of steel but have some wood at the top witch is where the track layers go. They typically are a grey steel color but some are getting powder coated white.
Types of Wooden Structures
Wooden structures all look about the same. While some are made from rail road ties most are constructed of either yellow pine or other various wooden materials. They all have the general look as to what is referred to as a wooden roller coaster. They typically are a type of lattice work with cross beams and ribbon boards.
Classify the Roller Coaster
So for me a Hybrid comes down to what the type of track system is made of. If its a steel type variety then I consider those a steel track roller coaster. If they are a solid wooden floating track then I call them a wooden roller coaster. For me I call all RMC track coasters steel track coasters due to the way that the steel parts of the track are connected and attached to the structure. For structures its simple, metal supports of any variety are a steel supported roller coaster. Wood of any variety is a wooden supported roller coaster. So any combination of steel supports and steel track is considered a steel roller coaster. Steel supports and wooden track or wooden supports and steel track is considered a hybrid roller coaster. Wooden supports and a wooden track system I consider a wooden roller coaster.