Runaway Mine Train
Specific Type: Steel, Sit Down
Six Flags over Texas was the first Six Flags park in the world when it opened on the fifth of August in 1961. And as the first Six Flags park its overall theme focused heavily on the six flags which have each flown over Texas at one point in time. Those flags came from the countries of Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy, and finally the US. So it proves to be no coincidence that these very countries were the subjects of six areas themed after them, and they received company in 1963 with the addition of a seventh area, Boomtown.
Boomtown was soon the home of several attractions and scenery which recreated a Texas oil drilling town. Several years later, Six Flags over Texas wanted to create a unique attraction unlike anything else which had been done before. They wanted to give Boomtown a reason to live up to its name and clever theme, and contacted Arrow Development, a young company at the time, to accomplish the task. The concept was simple... the ride would transport guests through a gold mine in a runaway cart, and would make certain that guests experienced every aspect of it possible.
Arrow immediately went to work at designing the revolutionary coaster, and featured a team made up of Ronald Toomer, Karl Bacon and Ed Morgan. The final design featured three lift hills which would lead guests through multiple turns and drops, culminating with the world's first underwater coaster tunnel which would send the train underneath the park's Cadoo Lake. The Runaway Mine Train finally made its debut in August of 1966 as the second coaster to operate at the park, after the short lived Cucaracha several seasons earlier.
The public jumped over the novelty of a tubular steel coaster which had been crafted so well. After all, Arrow had experience with the concept. Seven years earlier, they had designed the classic masterpiece that was the Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland, which was the first tubular steel coaster ever to be built in the industry. Arrow thus used this technology and applied it toRunaway Mine Train, helping to make it one of the most influential coasters ever to be created by Arrow. Due to this influential quality, the park has taken to labeling the ride as the first tubular steel coaster. And although that may not be true, it certainly was the first of many mine train coasters to be designed by Arrow in the decades to follow. Not long after Runaway Mine Train'sdebut, the industry was so astounded by it that soon many parks wanted a mine train of their own. Less than a year later, Six Flags over Georgia unveiled theirs, Dahlonega Mine Tain, in June of 1967. And Cedar Point opened their version, Cedar Creek Mine Ride, two years afterward. Many more mine trains followed, in many varieties and in many themes, yet they all owe their existence to this one special ride.
And it is that special ride that guests are about to experience when they first enter the authentic mine carts which will soon take them through a rigorous mining adventure. After they have pulled down their restraint, the train slowly makes its way out of the station with a small curving dip to the left which leads the train though the transfer area. After traveling over a small pond, a right hand turn leads to the first lift hill. At the crest, while traveling through a small building, riders briefly see right before them Mr. Freeze and Batman: the Ride before turning to the left and beginning their adventure. Careening down a right hand curve and turning to the left soon after, the train shortly encounters the park's train before ending up parallel to Mr. Freeze one more. A swooping upwards curve to the left soon leads into a helix which in turn leads the train up a small hill. Another left curve leads into the first tunnel as riders turn to the right in darkness. After exiting the tunnel through a final turn to the left, riders soon find themselves on the second lift hill. The sound of a whistle and a second encounter with the train concludes the lift, and after curving to the right, riders make their way past a tent and railway scene before a long downwards straightaway and a slight turn to the right that leads riders through another small building. An upwards curve to the right once more leads to the final lift hill. The train is led through ACE saloon past a western saloon scene, and comes face to face with the bartender himself before meeting the end of the track. A steep drop plunges riders through the final tunnel under Cadoo Lake. After exiting the underwater finale, the ride is concluded as the train hits the brake run and is slowly led back into the station. Riders exit having just ensued one of the most historic coasters ever unveiled. And although many advancements in coasters have been made since 1966, Runaway Mine Train still proves after more than four decades that the classics are just as good. After all, the coaster brought along the domino effect that led to more mine trains, and was one of the first tubular track coasters to rock the industry. How many rides can say that?
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