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Ride Breakdowns

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A Ride Breakdown occurs with most rides in RollerCoaster Tycoon, RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 and RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. Breakdowns have a number of causes and a number of effects depending on the ride type and other factors. Breakdowns generally increase in frequency as the ride ages and as the reliability of the ride decreases. Adjusting the inspection time for Mechanics can help delay this. Certain rides never break down, thus, never require inspection. A complete list of rides that never break down can be found here.

Types of Breakdowns

Safety Cut-out / Emergency Stop

This is the most common breakdown and affects most rides. The details of the breakdown are not explained, but it has a number of effects. If the ride consists of trains or cars that are powered by the track, such as a Monorail or Car Ride, those vehicles will stop moving. If the ride is a roller coaster that consists of a lift hill, trains being pulled up the lift will stop once a breakdown occurs. In all cases, trains waiting to exit the station will not be allowed to depart until the breakdown is addressed, even if they have exceeded their maximum wait time. This breakdown can result in a crash if a roller coaster has a part where a train is moving really fast, but then goes up a chain lift hill. It could get stuck on the hill while another train collides into it. The term "Safety Cut-out" is used in RollerCoaster Tycoon and RollerCoaster Tycoon 2, while the term "Emergency Stop" is used in RollerCoaster Tycoon 3.

Restraints / Doors Stuck Open / Closed

This breakdown occurs when the safety restraints on a ride either are stuck open after a train has loaded and is preparing to leave the station or if the restraints are stuck closed as a train arrives in the station. The only difference between the two is that when the restraints are stuck open, guests who have already been around the circuit of the ride on another roller coaster can exit. However, they are stuck until the ride is fixed if the restraints are stuck closed. For monorails, the breakdowns are "Doors Stuck Open" and "Doors Stuck Closed," respectively.

Station Brakes Failure / Brakes Failure

This type of breakdown only occurs in RollerCoaster Tycoon and RollerCoaster Tycoon 2.

This is often a severe breakdown, where the brakes on a ride, specifically the regular brakes on the track, as well as the brakes in the ride's station(s), fail to function. This breakdown can often result in a ride crash if a train enters a station at too high a speed and collides with another train waiting at the station, which is stuck there due to the brakes failing.

This type of breakdown can be negated by having only a single vehicle for the ride or by reducing the speed of the ride's vehicles before they enter the station, such as through a long hill or ascending helix. Rides that have a single vehicle will not crash as a result of the breakdown, as the vehicle will pass through the station without stopping. However, rides whose vehicles are not attached to the track, such as the bobsleigh, may still crash if a sharp, unbanked corner is placed right after the station as the vehicle would pass through the station without incident, but fly off the unbanked turn. Rides with two or more vehicles will not crash as a result of this breakdown if the vehicles collide at a combined speed of less than 30 mph/48 km/h.

When this breakdown occurs on Powered Launch rides, such as the Steel Roller Coaster's Shuttle Loop, the roller coaster will enter and pass through the station backwards, but the last car of the roller coaster will stop just before completely leaving the backend of the station before the roller coaster is launched forwards and out of the station again, as though a new ride was starting. This will repeat itself until the breakdown is fixed.

Mechanics fix this breakdown by hitting the brakes at the back end of the station five times with a hammer. The brakes will resume functioning immediately after the fifth hit.

In RCT2, this breakdown is known as "Brakes Failure".  Reverse-incline launched coasters, as well as most powered launch coasters, are now affected by this breakdown in a similar manner to single-train rides, as the station brakes no longer stop trains moving backwards. Block brakes are unaffected by this breakdown. In all other respects, it is the same as its RCT1 iteration.

Although this breakdown primarily affects roller coasters, there are three water rides that may experience brakes failures: the Log Flume, the River Rapids, and the River Ride. In the case of the aforementioned water rides, however, the vehicles are typically not travelling at a sufficent speed to cause damage, and so will instead just flow through the station and repeat the course or stop upon colliding with another vehicle stopped at the station.

Vehicle Malfunction

This breakdown involves a problem with a ride vehicle. It has no specific effects, except on go-karts where a random vehicle will not be moving and other karts in the same lane will get trapped behind it.

Mechanics fix this in RollerCoaster Tycoon 1 and 2 on roller coasters by adjusting a wrench on the first car of a train. They then scratch their head in frustration, kick the car, and once it moves, will jump for joy. This is worthwhile to watch for a laugh or two. They do this with breakdowns consisting of restraints being stuck open or closed as well.

Control Failure

This breakdown affects the Merry-Go-Round, Double Deck Carousel, causing it to spin rapidly and the music to speed up. The ride may begin to shake after it has broken down for a long period, but other than that, the control failure is pretty harmless and will only cause the guests to think, "I want to get off of [merry-go-round name]." However, it can (and does) affect many more rides in RCT3 since almost every ride has a visible control panel.

Other Information

  • In RCT3, when a ride breaks down, it will explicitly tell the cause to a ride's breakdown, whereas in RCT1 and RCT2, it will just say that the ride broke down.
  • During a breakdown of a flat ride in RCT3, it will usually emit a large puff of black smoke and will alter the queue line edges with what looks like police cross tape. 
  • In all games, the ride sign will say "Broken Down" or "Closed" when the ride breaks down. In RCT3, the signs will sometimes become blank, although this may be just a bug. 
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