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Ride Types

All About Steel Roller Coasters

In the roller coaster world, there’s a few different types. For example, the very first roller coasters were wooden. Then as time progressed, coasters started to be made out of metal.

In the 1950s, coasters made with steel tracks emerged. To this day roller coasters made with this type of track are known as steel roller coasters.

The Emergence of Steel Roller Coasters

While wooden coasters are fun, they’re not made out of material that will last the tests of time. Eventually the wood will start to corrode and break down. The park will either need to do extensive maintenance to keep the coaster safe, or even start replacing parts.

However, during the roller coaster revival in the 50s, theme and amusement parks started discovering the advantages of steel.

  • steel is more flexible than wood
  • steel can be stretchable
  • steel coasters needs less supports than wood
  • steel can withstand the weight of passengers
  • steel makes for a smoother coaster experience
  • steel allows for innovation of new coaster types

With all the advantages of steel, it became the preferred material to build new roller coasters out of. To date, any coaster made with a steel track is known as a steel roller coaster.

According to the RCDB (Roller Coaster Database), as of 1 January 2024 there are 5,600 coasters world wide that are classified as steel roller coasters.

The Oldest Steel Roller Coaster

Montaña Suiza, Spain

The oldest listed steel roller coaster is Montaña Suiza (Swiss Mountain) at Parque de Atracciones Monte Igueldo in Spain. There’s actually an operator that rides in the middle of the 2 cars and applies the breaks at appropriate times!

The coaster has been in operation since 1928 and is known as the oldest operating steel roller coaster. It was designed by Erich Heidrich who also designed Roller Coaster at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach.

Notable Steel Coasters

There are several notable steel roller coasters who’ve worked to push the boundaries of height and speed.

The TMNT Shellraiser at the Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park holds the Guinness World Record for being the steepest roller coaster made from steel.

The longest roller coaster with an inverted design goes to the steel roller coaster Banshee at King’s Island.

If you wanted to know which coaster holds the record for the largest drop on a roller coaster made of steel, that record would be held by Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure. This coaster also holds the record for tallest roller coaster made from steel.

And of course a steel roller coaster holds the world record for most expensive roller coaster. That would be Expedition Everest over at the Animal Kingdom in Walt Disney World. Disney paid over $100 million dollars to create this ride and it’s also the only roller coaster in the Animal Kingdom!

The following is a list of 10 popular steel roller coasters that are currently in operation. This is not an exhaustive list and rides may be added to the list, or removed at any time. If we are missing a steel roller coaster that you believe should be on this list, please contact us.

Roller CoasterTheme or Amusement ParkPark Location
Avengers Assemble: Flight ForceWalt Disney Studios at Disneyland ParisChessy, France
BansheeKings IslandMason, Ohio, USA
Baron 1898EftelingKaatsheuvel, Netherlands
Big Thunder MountainDisneyland Park at Disneyland ParisChessy, France
Black MambaPhantasialandBrühl, Germany
Expedition EverestAnimal Kingdom at Walt Disney WorldBay Lake, Florida, USA
F.L.Y.PhantasialandBrühl, Germany
Fury 325CarrowindsCharlotte, North Carolina, USA
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike AdventureIslands of Adventure at Universal OrlandoOrlando, Florida, USA
Jurassic World VelociCoasterIslands of Adventure at Universal OrlandoOrlando, Florida, USA

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