Traveller track typically consists of a track channel that is either fixed into the roof studs, mounted to a pipe that has been hung from the roof studs, or suspended by chain directly from the studs. The channel may be constructed of aluminium or galvanized steel. Depending on the track model, channel is typically shaped like a box or an I-beam.
I-Beam Style Channel
Small steel parts called “carriers,” which have small nylon, polyethylene or neoprene wheels (some with ball-bearings) slot into the channel. For each length of channel, there is usually one larger master carrier and then a number of smaller single carriers. The curtain is then attached to the carriers (or, as in the case of the pictures below, to a piece of trim chain that is attached to the carrier). For ease in attaching the stage curtains to the carriers, often a top finish of Webbing, grommets & S-Hooks is specified for traveller curtains.
Master Carrier for Box-Style Channel. The chain hanging from the bottom is an option called “trim chain.” In most cases, however, carriers are furnished without trim chain and the curtains are attached directly to the triangle-shaped bit at the bottom of the carrier.
Single Carrier for Box-Style Channel
Track is installed as either one-way draw or bi-parting. For a one-way draw, there is a single continuous length of channel, with a single master carrier at one end. When the curtain is open, the entire curtain stacks at one side of the stage. For bi-parting, there are two lengths of channel that cross at the center (typically with a foot or two of overlap), each with a curtain attached. There are two master carriers, one for each length of track (inserted at the onstage edge of the track). When the curtains are open, the two curtains are stacked on either side of the stage.
Curtain track may be walk-along or rope-operated. In the case of walk-along, the curtain is manually “walked” open or closed, with a person grasping the edge of the curtain (or an attached drapery baton) to “walk” the drape open or closed. In the case of rope-operated, the operator stands at one side of the stage and pulls a cord to open and close the curtain(s). In the case of a rope-operated bi-parting configuration, the same rope opens both curtains. Motors are sometimes used to in conjunction with rope-operated traveller track, so that the operator can open and close the curtain(s) with the flip of a switch, rather than by manually pulling the cord.
In most cases, traveller track is straight; however, some aluminum box-shaped track can be curved, either at the factory or on-site. There are certain limits to the degree of radius that traveller track can be curved; if the curve is too extreme, the track will not function properly.
This is just a basic introduction to traveller track. There are many different factors that determine which track is appropriate for a specific project, including the weight of the curtain, the stage width, and much more. The best place to start if you are considering purchasing traveller track is to review the track selector guide.