What is a Shuttle Roller Coaster?

A shuttle roller coaster is any roller coaster which does not make a complete circuit, but insteadHead Spin Roller Coaster - Geauga Lake 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.
Sidewinder Roller Coaster - Hersheypark
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 ontoTwo Face Roller Coaster Six Flags America 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.

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About The Author

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

3 Responses

  1. Judy P in Pgh

    Ah, fond memories of the Laser Loop at Kennywood back in the mid 70's. Harry Henninger, Jr., park VP, visited this thing daily like it was his offspring or something. I was working there as an extra one day shortly after the ride opened. "Henny" showed up for his daily visit and was appalled that I hadn't ridden it yet. He snagged me away from my ticket-taker's post and plopped beside me in the front seat. "3, 2, 1, go!" (That was HIS voice on the recording.) We shot out of the station doing 70 mph and at the base of the hill, he yelled,"it's better with your hands up!", grabbed my hands and stuck them straight up in the air. It was my first launch coaster and I'll never forget that ride! They dismantled it to make room for the Steel Phantom and I believe it was shipped to England.

  2. The Coaster Critic

    I'm glad the post brought back some memories of the Laser Loop. I forgot to mention the different ways that those early shuttle coasters were powered. It looks like the Laser Loop is alive and well at a park in Mexico City. So if you want to relive those memories in person you'll have a long flight to Mexico ahead of you. Thanks for sharing. Sounds like it was pretty intense.


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