(WHTM) — Wooden roller coasters throughout Pennsylvania create plenty of thrills; some of them are nearly 100 years old and many of them are considered historical landmarks.
But what about the steel coasters of Pennsylvania? Steel coasters came to prominence with the introduction of the tubular steel coaster model. This model first debuted in 1959 with the installation of the Matterhorn Bobsleds in Disneyland located in California
Here are the five oldest operating steel coasters in the Keystone State.
5. Steel Phantom/ Phantom’s Revenge- Kennywood
This coaster originally opened in 1991 as Steel Phantom. At its opening, it was the tallest and fastest coaster in the world, and the first coaster over 200 feet to feature inversions.
The coaster opened to mixed reviews. Some guests enjoyed how intense the ride was, but some criticized it for its rough ride and hard over-the-shoulder restraints which would cause headbanging due to the more intense portions of the ride
During the 2000-2001 off-season, the ride was modified. The four inversions the coaster had were removed, and the track was lengthed by 200 feet. It reopened as Phantom’s Revenge for the 2001 season and remains one of the tallest and fastest coasters in the world to this day.
4. Sidewinder/Jolly Rancher Remix- Hersheypark
This Boomerang-style roller coaster is manufactured by Vekoma. It first opened at Hersheypark in 1991 and was originally called Sidewinder. It was the first coaster installed at the park since sooperdooperLooper in 1977.
The ride features one train that gets pulled up a spike backward, goes through three inversions, and then climbs a second spike. Once pulled up the second spike, the train is released and goes through the same inversions in reverse.
The boomerang model has been replicated throughout the world. For the 2022 season, the ride received a make-over and was renamed Jolly Rancher Remix. The ride features a new soundtrack, a new lighting package, a bright colored paint job, and a ‘flavor tunnel.’
3. sooperdooperLooper- Hersheypark
This coaster was famous as it was the very first looping coaster on the East Coast of the United States.
The coaster opened on May 8, 1977, and was built by Schwarzkopf. It was the third modern roller coaster to open with a vertical loop, behind Corkscrew at Cedar Point and Revolution at Six Flags Magic Mountain. As is with other early Schwarzkopf roller coasters, the vertical loop uses a triangular lattice of steel tubes.
The ride features only one inversion and traverses the course with gentle hills and drops. It also features a long tunnel and a helix finale.
2. Trailblazer- Hersheypark
Another Hersheypark classic, this mine train-style roller coaster opened at the park in May of 1974.
The ride was built by Arrow Development, who was the manufacturer of the Matterhorn Bobsleds mentioned above. The ride coaster the park an estimated $975,000. The ride was one of the last mine trains to open by Arrow Development.
The ride features a helix finale and reaches speeds up to 35 miles per hour. This coaster was built at a time when all the steel that makes up the track was bent and crafted by hand, which can make the ride a little bumpy. At the same time, it gives this coaster a unique feel when riding.
1. Little Dipper- Conneaut Lake Park
This kiddie coaster happens to be the oldest steel coaster in Pennsylvania. The Roller Coaster Database has this coaster listed as operating, but the park is temporarily closed as of the writing of this story.
The ride was built by the Allan Herchell Company and has been operating at the park since 1950. This company also was the manufacturer of many carousels as well as the now-defunct Little Laser kiddie coaster at Dorney Park.
This ride is oval in its layout and features a single train with three cars. Riders go up a lift hill and enjoy a quick layout with small dips and turns.