Maverick on its final brake run.

A brake is a device on a roller coaster track used to slow down or stop the train. There are a number of different types of brakes that can be located anywhere on the roller coaster's circuit.

Types of Brakes

Block Brakes

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Any modern roller coaster with more than one train intended to run has block brakes. They act as virtual barriers between the trains running on the ride, preventing collisions should one train fail the course for any reason.

Brake Run

A brake run is quite simply a series of brakes one after another which work together to slow down and sometimes stop) the train. Almost every roller coaster has a brake run of some type at the end, just before the station, and longer rides often have a mid-course brake run, which also acts as a block brake.

Trim Brakes

Braking Methods

Different roller coasters use various methods of braking to slow down their trains.

On-Train Brakes

The LaMarcus Thomson "Scenic Railway" model had on-train brakes, operated by a brakeman who rode in the middle of the train. Since such coasters are all over 80 years old, they are now very rare; only eight still exist, not all of them operational. Surviving examples include the Scenic Railway at Dreamland and the Scenic Railway at Luna Park.

Fin Brakes

Magnetic Brakes

Magnetic Brakes work by having very powerful magnets under the car and on the track.

Skid Brakes

Skid Brakes
Skid Brakes are basically a long piece of material, often ceramic covered, situated in the middle of the track, parallel to the rails. When engaged, the skid rises and friction against the underside of the train causes it to slow down and eventually stop. Skid brakes were one of the first advancements in roller coaster braking and are rarely used in modern coasters with the exception of Twister at Knoebels Amusement Park in Elysburg, PA and the Matterhorn at Disneyland in California.
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