PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Like all machines, roller coasters have a service life. Some coasters can last for five years or 100 years. Many factors determine the service life of a roller coaster, including the availability of parts, and wear and tear on the track or the trains.
Pennsylvania only has a few coasters that were closed forever. Here are five coasters you cannot ride anymore in the Commonwealth.
Hercules – Dorney Park, Allentown, Pa.
This wooden coaster opened in 1989 and set a world record for having the longest drop on a wooden coaster at 151 feet. The lift hill was only 95 feet tall, but the first drop used the terrain to its advantage. After the drop, the coaster traversed a wide right-hand turn across a body of water.
After the first few weekends of its debut, the park lowered the drop by three feet, due to the train stopping on the anti-rollbacks on the triple-up after the turn. Starting in the early 1990s, the coaster gained a reputation for being rough, especially on the turn after the first drop. The coaster continued to gain a bad reputation and was humorously nicknamed “hurt your knees.”
The coaster closed at the end of the 2003 season, and was replaced with Hydra: The Revenge in 2005. The replacement coaster was named Hydra from the Greek mythology story where Hercules battled the Hydra
Stinger – Dorney Park, Allentown, Pa.
This coaster only lasted at the park for five years, from 2012 to 2017. The ride was a steel-inverted shuttle coaster, where the train goes forward and backward as it traverses the course.
The ride started as “Invertigo” and opened at a California amusement park in 1998. The ride was repainted and moved to Allentown between 2011 and 2012. This coaster was placed on a plot of land of another defunct coaster called Laser, a double-looping coaster that closed in 2008.
On Dec. 5, 2017, Dorney Park announced that Stinger would not reopen for the 2018 season, and the ride was scrapped. The trains are being used on another model of the ride at an amusement park in Ohio. The park is looking to build a new coaster on the plot of land in 2024.
High-Speed Thrill Coaster – Knoebels, Elysburg
The oldest coaster on this list, this coaster originally opened in 1955. It was a coaster built by the Overland Amusement Company and was the last one of its kind in existence.
The ride was considered a junior coaster, which means it was aimed at children and their parents to ride. The ride was only 200 feet long and featured an 18-foot drop. The park shut down the ride in 2008 because the ride was “worn out.”
The ride was replaced with another kiddie coaster named Kozmo’s Kurves and reuses the station from the High-Speed Thrill Coaster and is a ride that is catered to the whole family.
Roller Soaker – Hersheypark, Hershey
This unique ride was a coaster and a water ride wrapped into one. Designed and manufactured by Setpoint, his ride opened in May 2002 and featured trains that held 16 gallons of water each, four gallons for the four-rider cars. The water could be dropped from riders onto park guests below.
The ride also featured waterfalls curtains, geysers, and 16 different water guns where guests can spray water as the riders pass by. The ride only reached a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour.
The ride closed at the end of 2012 when a portion of the ride site was replaced with a splash pad for children. The station building was left vacant until 2018 when Hersheypark added the Breakers Edge Water Coaster, which utilizes the Roller Soaker station.
Wildcat – Hersheypark, Hershey
This wooden coaster was the first coaster to be built by Pennsylvania-based company Great Coasters International. The ride was to replicate the old-fashioned wooden coasters of the 1930s and 1940s. The ride opened in 1996 to critical acclaim and was the centerpiece of the Midway America section of the park.
The ride ran trains manufactured by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and replaced by trains manufactured by Great Coasters International in 2007.
As the ride aged, the coaster became rough and needed to be retracked on many occasions. The rider barely had any long lines in the last years of its operation.
In July 2022, the ride was shut down and in November 2022 its replacement, Wildcat’s Revenge, was announced, which would be a steel and wooden hybrid coaster reusing the coaster’s station and portions of its support structure. Wildcat’s Revenge is slated to open in the summer of this year.