How Do LSM Roller Coaster Launches Work?


How Do LSM Roller Coaster Launches Work?

LSM (or Linear Synchronous Motor) launches are a modern way of propelling trains at speed and have ultimately modernised the launched roller coaster as we know it.

This more cost effective, quieter form of launch has ultimately replaced the former Hydraulic launch as the manufacturer’s default choice when it comes to creating faster, smoother launches as a whole.

LSM launches utilise electro magnetic propulsion to propel ride trains at speed and contain no moving parts (unlike hydraulic launches which utilise a cable and catch car to launch the train from standstill to speed).

Instead, LSM’s use two pairs (sometimes one) of rectangular magnetic fins to produce North to North magnetic push.

They do this as the train’s magnetic fins repel the LSM fins on the track creating forwards motion, rapidly accelerating the train to it’s desired speed.

Once the train has passed the ride operator can then turn the power off to deactivate the fins making them far more energy efficient too.

As such, operators can turn LSM fins on and off with the simple touch of a button or flick of a switch.

Ride manufacturers such as Vekoma however have still been known to use the catch car system with LSM launches on rides such as Xpress: Platform 13 at Walibi Holland & Rock N Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

They supposedly did this to reduce the weight of the train and discharge the requirement for a permanent fin to be attached to the bottom of the train.

LSM launches are also now favoured over LIM (Linear Induction Motor) launches too due to their increased effectiveness and overall reliability.

Most modern launched roller coasters now use LSM launch technology and as such Cedar Point‘s upcoming Top Thrill 2 will also utilise this exact type of launch.

The first roller coasters to use LSM launch technology over Hydraulic launch technology were Superman: Escape from Krypton at Six Flags Magic Mountain & Tower of Terror II at Dreamworld in 1997.

LSMs can also be used to reduce the speed of the train too and as such are utilised with LSM brakes which quietly reduce the ride train toa standstill after the ride and propel it at a safe speed into the station.

Have you had the pleasure of experiencing an LSM launched roller coaster? If so, how do you find the feel of riding one compares to riding that of a hydraulically launched coaster?

We’d love to hear all of your thoughts and experiences in the comments below

*P.s. Check out our below on ride POV of Fury at Bobbejaanland in Belgium to see LSM Launches in action!