STRATA COASTERS

Top Thrill Dragster Cedar Point
Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Ohio, USA.

 

In 2003, Cedar Point and Intamin AG were at it again with another phrase to coin: “Strata Coaster”. This is a full circuit coaster that reaches a height over 400 feet (122m). That’s a long way up. To reach this kind of height it’s impractical to use a traditional lift hill, so Strata coasters use a Hydraulic Launch system to power the train up to great heights.

The Original

ACCELERATOR COASTER

Top Thrill Dragster Cedar Point i
Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Ohio, USA.

The impact of Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point in Ohio, USA, cannot be understated. Such a monstrous and colossal feat of coaster engineering had never been seen before. Around 100 feet (30.5m) higher than coaster enthusiasts had ever gone before, this ride blew everyone away.

Top Thrill Dragster set records for height and speed when it open in 2003 and was the second Intamin coaster to feature a hydraulic launch following Xcelerator at Knott’s Berry Farm in California, USA. Originally the trains also featured engines, spoilers and huge drag racing rear tires. All those were eventually removed to add an additional row of seats.

Kingda Ka Six Flags Great Adventure
Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, USA.

Intamin followed Top Thrill Dragster with the taller, faster Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, USA, just two years later. At 456 feet (139m) tall, with a top speed of 128 mph (206 km/h), this World Record holder stands 36 feet (11m) taller and is 8 mph (13 km/h) faster than its predecessor.

See also: Hydraulic Launch Coasters

 

Variations

REVERSE FREEFALL COASTER

Superman Escape From Krypton Six Flags Magic Mountain
Superman Escape From Krypton at Six Flags Magic Mountain in California, USA.

Not classified as a Strata Coaster, the Intamin Freefall Coaster launches up a tall, vertical track and then plummets back down on the reverse journey. While the tower and track on these coasters certainly reach over 400 feet (122m), it’s not considered a Strata Coaster because it isn’t a full circuit coaster.

See also: Hydraulic Launch Coasters