What is a Shuttle Roller Coaster?
A shuttle roller coaster is any roller coaster which does not make a complete circuit, but instead reverses and travels the track backwards. Some of the first shuttle coasters were the King Kobra at Kings Dominion (1977 – 1986) and Black Widow at Riverside Park (1977 – 1999). Early shuttle coasters featured a solo vertical loop. Because of their size and relatively low cost, shuttle coasters are often relocated from one amusement park to another amusement park. Steel Venom’s recent move from Geauga Lake to Dorney Park and Pleasurewood Hill’s relocated Wipeout are some recent examples of shuttle coasters on the move.
Shuttle coasters are a dime a dozen these days. Vekoma’s Boomerang model is one of the most popular types of shuttle coasters. It consists of a boomerang loop, (which includes two back-to-back inversions) and then a vertical loop. Riders experience the 3 loops forwards and then backwards. According to RCDB, there are about 40 Vekoma Boomerangs currently in operation around the world.
More recently inverted shuttle coasters, where trains travel below the track, have come onto the scene. Six Flags America’s Two Face: The Flip Side is an inverted shuttle coasters were riders face each other during the three loops. The last development in shuttle coasters incorporates the LIM launch technology that blasts trains from 0 to 70 in a matter of seconds. Intamin calls these U-shaped coasters Impulse coasters. The aforementioned Steel Venom, Cedar Point’s Wicked Twister, and Six Flags Great America’s Vertical Velocity are examples of the latest and greatest shuttle coasters.
Got a suggestion for Coasterology 101? Leave a comment below.