Long before the Six Flags roller coaster makeover era (with its fire effects and on-board audio), amusement parks have needed an inexpensive way to give their stale rides a fresh, new spin. I’m not sure when it started, but someone decided it would be a good idea to simply turn the trains around to provide a new experience.
It’s been going on for years. Just a few months ago, Six Flags St. Louis & Six Flags Over Texas turned their Mr. Freeze roller coaster trains around to add a new wrinkle to those rides. Also, in 2011, Six Flags Magic Mountain transformed Superman The Escape into Superman Escape from Krypton by turning its cars too.
My first encounter with a backwards facing ride was on Kings Dominion’s Rebel Yell. The wooden racing roller coaster was almost twenty years old when the park made one of the tracks run backwards trains, while the other kept the trains facing forward. It was effective in providing a different experience. You got an interesting view (of that sorry coaster Hypersonic XLC) going up the lift hill backwards and you couldn’t see exactly when you were going to reach the top. It’s been years, and once Cedar Fair took over the park the trains were turned forward again, but I remember experiencing some very solid first drop airtime in the last car of the backwards facing trains.
Backwards inversions are actually pretty common thanks to the shuttle loopers out there. After you’ve traversed their loopy courses forwards, you experience vertical loops and quite often boomerangs (two inversions) backwards. I like backwards loops as they always feel a little odd and unnatural.
I give backwards coaster riding a thumbs up. What’s your take? Do you like riding coasters backwards? Chime in below and vote in this poll. Image 2 courtesy of Coaster Image.