Superman Ride of Steel
Six Flags New England
By David Fraser
Whenever you hear the opening theme that serenades the most priced superhero, the word that comes to mind is "epic." So how exactly does one define this word? Perhaps it is surpassing the usual or ordinary in scope and size... or maybe it is defined as being "heroic" and "impressive." But for some the word "epic" is about to be redefined, not in words, but from an experience on a ride of steel.
Queue house entrance for the Superman Ride of Steel megacoaster at Six Flags New England.
Over the past four years, Six Flags New England in Agawam Massachusetts, formerly known to long-time visitors as Riverside Park, has made an impressive investment of more than $100 million in capital to turn this amusement park into an amusement destination. Topping the list of major improvements is Superman: Ride of Steel, a hypercoaster of massive proportions and delivering an experience that will instantly stun the human body.
Type of Coaster:
Height: 208 feet
Max drop: 221 feet
Descent angle: 70°
Top speed: 77 mph
Length: 5,400 feet
Two Underground Tunnels
Number of Trains:
2 - 36 Passenger
2 minutes, 30 seconds
May 5, 2000
Six Flags New England
Manufactured by Intamin AG of Switzerland, Superman Ride of Steel shares its namesake with another hypercoaster of similar technical proportions at Six Flags Darien Lake and Six Flags America, but this is certainly NO clone. The latest version is a steel coaster enthusiasts dream machine.
Over the past ten years there has been a progression of wonderful steel giants built, each toping over 200 feet tall. But this is the year in which new expectations will be set -- expectations that other coasters will be judged on -- but better yet new records that will raise the stake for other coasters to beat. Superman Ride of Steel raises those expectations and shatters the records laying claim to the titles of tallest, fastest and longest steel coaster in New England.
Climbing aboard the sleek, 36-passenger trains is a special experience that fills riders with anxious anticipation, as if the open feeling of the trains is not thrilling enough. Superman features yet another incredible New England lift hill, rising alongside the Connecticut River. This breath taking experience only heightens the level of excitement, as the train climbs 208-feet. Enjoy the view...on a clear day you can see of an eternity...but only for a short moment.
Look...up in the sky...it's a bird, it's a plane...no it's... a 221-foot, 70-degree drop into a mist filled, pitch-black tunnel! The awesome, negative G-producing plunge into a 13-foot deep tunnel sends the trains speeding to 77 mph and takes riders on the edge of euphoric fear.
Superman Ride of Steel may not have been dubbed a "flying" coaster, but after one ride and you'll be left believing that it should have been. Out of the subterranean tunnel as the train flies up and over the second hill, you feel as though you've earned your cape. The airtime is immense! Swooping from the second hill the train is sent through a tight, 120-degree banked turn around, and into two successive camelback hills that begin to make you feel as though you could fly like Superman!
With hardly a moment to recompose, the train resumes flight through the twister portion of the layout. A swift pass over the loading station leads into two 360-degree banked helices, delivering powerful, positive G-forces on the riders. Threading itself inside the DC Superheroes Adventure area, Superman leaves riders screaming for more as the train pulls skyward from the second helix and then veers down into a second mist filled tunnel.
Out of the tunnel the train navigates two bunny hills with plenty of air, before rounding the final tightly banked turn into the smooth magnetic braking system. Exiting the train is the hard part, as most would just prefer to stay in the euphoric environment and take just one more ride. So was it worth it?
A great roller coaster offers an experience that much like a story has a strong beginning, middle and end. Superman Ride of Steel is almost perfect from the beginning to the end. It is likely to become a top 10 favorite among steel roller coaster fans. Its massive drops, intense airtime and an awesome twisted second half, make it one "epic" ride.
Out of all the popular amusement destinations this summer, shoot for Six Flags New England to ride Superman Ride of Steel. It certainly should be on every thrill seekers to-ride list. Capes of course are optional!
Article and photos by David Fraser. Copyright © 2000 Ultimate Rollercoaster.
Superman Ride Of Steel artwork courtesy of Six Flags New England. All rights reserved.