Specific Type: Steel, Shuttle Loop
The name Anton Schwarzkopf is legendary within the amusement park industry. From his masterful innovation of the modern day looping roller coaster to the sheer intensity and beauty of these more circular vertical loops, Schwarzkopf and his classic creations are almost unanimously praised throughout the industry. One of his many classic designs made its way to Walibi Belgium in the year of 1982. This ride opened as Sirocco, a Shuttle Loop roller coaster featuring a flywheel launch that catapulted riders forwards and backwards on a short yet intense experience. The original flywheel system utilized by the attraction utilized a 6-tonne flywheel that initiated a drive system attached to a cable that ultimately drove the train forward.
In 1999, in an effort to reduce noise, the ride’s vertical loop was enclosed. 1999 also marked a name changed, with the ride becoming known as Turbine. Towards the end of the 2008 season, Turbine closed and remained standing but not operating for some time with little word on whether or not it would reopen. In 2011, the park finally announced the fate of Turbine, stating that the ride was slated to reopen. Despite the initial announcement of returning in 2012, the ride did not reopen until 2013 due to construction work at the park. The classic coaster eventually reopened on July 13, 2013 after a nearly five-year hiatus, now completely enclosed to reduce noise, as well as under the new name of Psyké Underground. The renovation was completed by Gerstlauer, who created a new linear induction motor (LIM) launch system for the ride, as well as brand new trains. As a part of the renovation, the ride was completely themed, including a brand new pre-show.
Before boarding the train, riders are greeted into the world of Shimmeria. They are greeted by Vita Drakovitz, who is accompanied by her water spiders, and are invited to a grand tour, but instead are sent to an old metro station where a machine is set up, ultimately leading to the boarding of the train. As the ride prepares to launch, a screen shows Vita yelling at her two spiders to “start the system.” The spiders jump on a large button and the train begins to creep forward into the dark tunnel. A quick countdown ensues and before they know it, riders are catapulted 53 mph into almost total darkness. Suddenly, riders encounter a strikingly intense vertical loop, thrusting riders into their seats at the high speeds before climbing a spike at a 70-degree angle. Suddenly, the train begins to fly down the spike backwards and riders experience the disorienting intensity of the vertical loop in reverse. The train continues to fly through the launch track backwards in almost total darkness, with only some small lighting effects used, before flying through the station and back up another spike. The train now comes down the second spike forwards and hits the brake run. While the ride only lasts approximately 35 seconds, not many roller coasters can match the sheer intensity of the Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop, and many riders will recognize this as soon as they leave, disoriented and wanting another taste of the action.
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