Utilising a similar mechanism to a regular Chain Lift Hill, rather than transporting the roller coaster train to an elevated point or peak in the track via a banked incline, a Vertical Chain Lift Hill goes straight up.
A Thrilling Experience
When traversing a Vertical Chain Lift Hill all riders can see ahead of them is the sky as the roller coaster train climbs at a 90-degree angle. Vertical Chain Lift Hills are a lot more thrilling than a regular Chain Lift Hill.
Found on roller coasters manufactured by Gerstlauer, Vertical Chain Lift Hills are a great modification to the historic Chain Lift Hill providing riders with an additional thrilling element.
Like a regular Chain Lift Hill, upon reaching the peak, the train is then propelled by gravity coasting through the circuit using its own momentum.
How Vertical Chain Lift Hills Work
Vertical Chain lift hills work in a similar manner to a regular Chain Lift Hill, utilising a long, continuous chain which travels through a steel trough in the centre of the track. The chain is normally powered by one or more motors which are positioned underneath the lift hill. Mounted onto the underside of the roller coaster train is a heavy piece of metal called a chain dog. The chain dog is engaged by the chain and the roller coaster train is pulled up the lift hill. At the crest of the lift hill, the chain wraps around a gear wheel where it begins its return to the bottom of the lift (running underneath the track). The roller coaster train is continually pulled along until gravity takes over and it accelerates downhill. The spring-loaded chain and anti-rollback dogs will disengage themselves as this occurs.
Anti-Rollback Safety Device
The familiar Click-Clack sound that a roller coaster makes as the train ascends the lift hill is the Anti-Rollback Safety Device.
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 familiar sound and 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.
A compact solution
In addition to providing riders with additional thrills, Vertical Chain Lift Hills are also ideal when space is at a premium, thanks to the limited amount of space that they require.
Rides featuring a Vertical Chain Lift Hill
A number of Roller coasters in the UK feature Vertical Chain Lift Hills, the most well know being The Smiler at Alton Towers which features a Vertical Chain Lift Hill at the midway point of the ride. Other roller coaster rides that feature a Vertical Chain Lift Hill include Saw – The Ride at Thorpe Park, Speed:No Limits at Oakwood and Rage at Adventure Island.
In 2022 Roller Coaster manufacturer Intamin released a new vertical lift using the Market’s Strongest LSM Launch, accelerating the roller coaster train and its riders up the lift hill. Click Here to learn more about Vertical Launch.