Huge coaster, one thin rail
When passengers finally board one of Rocky Mountain Construction’s new “raptor track” coasters next spring, they’ll climb into single-seat cars, open air on either side as they whip around turns and loops at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. Instead of riding atop a pair of tracks, riders of thrill sleds like RailBlazer or Wonder Woman Golden Lasso will sit astride a 15-inchwide steel rail, making it feel almost as if they’re riding on the track itself: no janky rocking back and forth— just smooth, precise speed. Amusement-park engineers get a sweet experience too because the single-rail design uses less steel; it’s less expensive, needs fewer supports, and can fit into a fraction of the precious real estate that a coaster of a similar length and height (1,800 feet long and 113 feet tall) would typically need. Downside? The line to cop a ride. Only eight people will fit into the first trains, but the designers plan to build a moving loading system that keeps the ride (and queues) flowing smoothly.