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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Roller Coasters > History > Timeline Roller Coaster History Title

TIMELINE

Through the years is an outline of significant events and milestones in Roller Coaster History.

Rule

1400's

The first Russian Mountains, the earliest form of a roller coaster, begin to appear in Russia.

1600's

The first rides are built and operate in France.

1817

The first rides designed with wheels are built and operate in Paris

1840

The world's first "looping" roller coaster is designed and built in Britain. The coaster is exported to Frascati Gardens, Paris. The 13-foot diameter loop is at the base of a 43-foot drop.

1873

The Mauch Chunk Railway in Pennsylvania becomes the first ride to form a complete circuit.

1884

The first Switchback Railway named "The Switchback" opens at Coney Island, New York. The public for the first time pays to ride a car down a wooden track.

The first switchback railway with a complete circuit, built specifically for an amusement park, opens at Coney Island.

1885

The first switchback railway utilizing a chain lift opens in San Francisco.

1887

Atlantic City, New Jersey opens its first scenic railway.

The first ride with a Figure-8 layout opens at Haverhill, MA.

1891

Europe's first "Switchback Railway" opens at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, England.

The first ride with a vertical loop is built and opens. Due to excessive positive G-Forces that snapped riders' necks, the ride soon closes.

1902

Leap-The-Dips, a side-friction roller coaster opens at Lakemont Park, Altoona, Pennsylvania. Today, Leap-The-Dips is the oldest operating roller coaster.

1907

Drop-The-Dips roller coaster opens and is the first to use a lapbar style restraint.

1919

Clementon Park's Jack Rabbit roller coaster opens in New Jersey. It was the oldest roller coaster operating in its original location until it lost this distinction when it closed in 2002.

1923

Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the United Kingdom opens.

1924

The Pippin, now the Thunderbolt opens at Kennywood Park, in Pennsylvania.

1925

The famous Cyclone roller coaster at Revere Beach in Massachusetts opens. It closes soon after due to lack of ridership.

1927

Harry Traver's Lightening roller coaster at Revere beach opens, but closes only a few years later due to repeat accidents and lack of ridership.

The world famous Cyclone roller coaster at Coney Island, in Brooklyn, NY opens. It is still in operation today.

The Racer at Kennywood opens. It is the first roller coaster with a mobius track.

1935

Grand National opens in Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the second roller coaster in the world with a mobius track.

1947

The Rocket opens at Playland Park in San Antonio, TX. It's significant since it is now the Phoenix at Knoebels in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. The Rocket was relocated to Knoebels in 1985.

1948

Crystal Beach Comet opens. In 1994 the Comet was relocated to The Great Escape in Lake George, NY where it operates today.

1953

The first major roller coaster opens in Japan. It was designed and constructed by TOGO.

1955

Walt Disney opens his first theme park, Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

1959

The world's first tubular track steel roller coaster, the Matterhorn Bobsleds opens at Disneyland.

1964

John Allen's Mister Twister opens at Elitch Gardens in Denver, CO.

Serpent of Fire at La Feria Chapultepec Magico in Mexico City becomes the first roller coaster to stand 100-feet tall. It remained the tallest ride in the world for over a decade. It was also the third and last coaster built with a mobius track.

1968

Anton Schwarzkopf opens his first "Jet Star" roller coaster at Prater Park in Vienna, Austria.

1972

The Racer designed by John Allen opens at Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1975

The world's first modern looping roller coaster opens at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. The Corkscrew designed by Arrow Dynamics featured two inversions. It was removed in 1989 and relocated to Silverwood Park in Athol, Idaho in 1990 where it continues to operate today.

1976

Revolution at Magic Mountain in Valencia, California opens. Anton Schwarzkopf and Intamin designed the Revolution with the first vertical loop.

1977

Anton Schwarzkopf introduces the first weight drop "Shuttle Loop" coaster at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA. King Kobra was removed in 1986. Since then it has operated at Jolly Roger Amusement Park, Alton Towers and now Hopi Hari in San Paolo, Brazil.

1978

Irn-Bru Revolution an Arrow Dynamics "Shuttle Loop" coaster opens at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England. It was the first roller coaster in Europe with an inversion.

Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio opens the Corkscrew, the first roller coaster in the world to have three inversions.

Anton Schwarzkopf's Looping Star, a transportable roller coaster with an inversion opens in Europe and is operated by Oscar Bruch.

1979

The world's longest roller coaster The Beast (7,400 feet) opens at Kings Island in Cincinnati, Ohio. Today, The Beast is still the world's longest wooden roller coaster.

1980

The first roller coaster to have four inversions Carolina Cyclone, opens in March at Carowinds in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Orient Express at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City opens and is the first roller coaster in the world to feature a boomerang dual-inversion element. Orient Express closed on October 26, 2003.

1981

The legendary Bat roller coaster opens at Kings Island in Cincinnati, OH. It was the first suspended roller coaster designed by Arrow Dynamics. Major design problems forced its closure only three years later.

1982

Viper at Darien Lake in Darien Center, NY opens. It is the world's first roller coaster to feature five inversions.

The first of Vekoma's many Boomerang roller coasters opens at Reino Aventura park in Mexico City. This shuttle coaster features three inversions, but was the first roller coaster to send riders upside down six times. The train passes through the three inversions going both forwards and backwards during a cycle.

1982

The world's first stand-up roller coaster opens in Japan.

1984

Arrow Dynamics failed stand-up coaster opens at Six Flags Mid-America in St. Louis.

1985

Phoenix opens at Knoebels in Elysburg, PA. It was relocated from Playland Park in San Antonio, TX.

1987

Vortex at Kings Island opens. Designed by Arrow Dynamics it was the first roller coaster to feature six inversions.

1988

Shockwave at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, IL opens. Designed by Arrow Dynamics it was the first roller coaster to feature seven inversions.

1989

Magnum XL-200 opens at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. It is the first roller coaster to stand more than 200-feet tall. Magnum XL-200 was designed by Arrow Dynamics.

Goudurix at Parc Asterix in Plailly, France opens. It is the first roller coaster in Europe to feature seven inversions.

1991

The Ultimate, the world's longest roller coaster (7,450 feet) opens at Lightwater Valley in England. The Beast at Kings Island previously held this record.

Steel Phantom opens at Kennywood Park. Designed by Arrow Dynamics, Steel Phantom had the world's tallest drop at 225-feet. It was also the world's fastest at 78 mph.

1992

Batman The Ride, the world's first "Inverted" roller coaster opens at Six Flags Great America. Batman The Ride was a product of Swiss designers Bolliger and Mabillard ( ).

1994

Raptor opens at Cedar Point. Raptor is the tallest B&M Inverted roller coaster and the first to feature six inversions.

Comet opens at The Great Escape in Lake George, NY.

Nemesis, Europe's first B&M Inverted roller coaster opens at Alton Towers in England.

Vekoma introduces their first "Suspended Looping" roller coaster at Walibi Flevo in Holland.

Shockwave, Europe's first "Stand-Up" roller coaster opens at Drayton Manor Park in England.

Desperado at Buffalo Bill's Hotel and Casino in Primm, Nevada opens. Designed by Arrow Dynamics it is the world's tallest roller coaster standing 209-feet. It ties Steel Phantom at Kennywood for the largest drop (225-feet) and fastest speed (78 mph).

Pepsi Max Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach opens taking the honor of being the tallest roller coaster in the world standing 235-feet.

Eltch Gardens relocates to downtown Denver, Colorado leaving John Allen's famous Mister Twister coaster behind.

1995

Dragon Kahn opens at Port Aventura in Spain and is the first roller coaster in the world with eight inversions.

1996

Fujiyama at Fujiku Highlands in Japan opens as the world's tallest (259-feet) coaster and features the world's largest drop (235-feet).

Megafobia, Europe's first wooden coaster designed by Custom Coasters opens at Oakwood Leisure Park in Wales, England.

High Roller built atop the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas opens. Some consider it to be the world's highest build at 1,149 feet above the ground.

Montu at Busch Gardens Tampa in Florida opens. It becomes the world's tallest Inverted roller coaster and the first to have seven inversions.

Outer Limits, Flight of Fear, the world's first roller coasters to use a magnetic propulsion system (LIMs) to launch the trains open at Paramount's Kings Island and Paramount's Kings Dominion.

1997

Tower of Terror opens at Dreamland in Gold Coast, Australia. It becomes the world's tallest and fastest (100 mph) roller coaster.

Superman The Escape at Six Flags Magic Mountain opens to become the world's tallest (415 feet) and ties for the world's fastest (100 mph) roller coaster.

The first Vekoma designed Inverted Boomerang coaster called an "Invertigo" opens at Liseberg Park in Sweden.

Alpengeist opens at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia. It opened as and remains the world's tallest (195 feet), fastest (67 mph) Inverted roller coaster.

Medusa the world's first Floorless roller coaster from Swiss designers Bolliger and Mabillard opens at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ.

1998

Monte Makaya opens at Terra Encantada in Rio de Janeiro and is the second roller coaster to have eight inversions.

Oblivion, the world's first vertical drop coaster from Swiss designers Bolliger and Mabillard, opens at Alton Towers in England.

1999

South America's first wooden roller coaster Montezum opens at Hopi Hari in San Paolo, Brazil.

2000

Goliath opens (Feb) at Six Flags Magic Mountain. It features the world's largest drop (255 feet) and is the tallest (235-feet) and fastest full-circuit roller coaster in North America.

Millennium Force opens (May) at Cedar Point. This Intamin "Giga-Coaster" stands 310-feet tall, and features a 300-foot drop and top speed of 92 mph. It becomes the world's tallest, fastest and largest drop for a full-circuit roller coaster.

Katun at Mirabilandia in Ravenna, Italy opens and is the first B&M Inverted roller coaster on mainland Europe.

Europe's first LIM launch roller coaster, Superman The Ride opens at Six Flags Holland.

Son of Beast opens at Paramount's Kings Island. It is the first wooden roller coaster to feature an inversion (vertical loop). It also debuts as the world's tallest (218-feet), fastest (78-mph) wooden coaster and has the world's largest drop (204-feet).

Vekoma introduces the world's first Flying coaster, Stealth at Paramount's Great America in Santa Clara, CA.

Steel Dragon 2000 opens (August) at Nagashima Spaland in Japan and breaks the world records for height (318-feet), drop (307-feet), length (8,133 feet) and speed (95 mph) for a full-circuit steel roller coaster. Unfortunately, the ride closed after a non-fatal accident in 2003.

2001

HyperSonic XLC, the world's first compressed air launched roller coaster opens at Paramount's Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA. It featured the world's fastest acceleration for a roller coaster at 0 - 80 mph in 1.8 seconds and the first over-the-top "Top Hat" element. It was also the first roller coaster designed by Utah based S&S Power.

X designed by Arrow Dynamics opens (December 24, 2001) at Six Flags Magic Mountain. It is the world's first 4th Dimension roller coaster with independently controlled flipping seats.

2002

Bolliger and Mabillard unveil their first Flying coaster, Air, at Alton Towers in England.

Colossus opens at Thorpe Park in Surrey, England. It is the first roller coaster to feature ten inversions.

Superman Ride of Steel, Europe's first "Floorless" roller coaster from Bolliger and Mabillard opens at Warner Bros. Movie World in Madrid, Spain.

Xcelerator Intamin's first "Rocket Coaster" using a hydraulic launch system opens at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA. The hydraulic launch system accelerates the trains from 0 to 82 mph in under 2 seconds.

2003

Top Thrill Dragster opens at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. The second Intamin "Rocket Coaster" debuts at the world's tallest (420-feet), fastest (120 mph) roller coaster. It also features the world's largest drop (400-feet).

Vild-Svinet opens at BonBon Land in Demark and is the first roller coaster to feature an inverted drop at a 97-degree angle.

2005

Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ opens. Designed by Intamin this "Rocket Coaster" takes the honor of being the tallest (456 feet), fastest (128 mph) roller coaster in the world. It also has the world's largest drop (418-feet).

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