Specific Type: Wood, out-and-back
In 1971, Angus G. Wynne opened up the third park in his Six Flags chain, Six Flags over Mid-America (now known as Six Flags St. Louis), in Eureka, Missouri. Its star attraction at the time was the dual tracked Arrow mine train, River King Mine Train. Other rides that opened with the park was The Hoo Hoo Log Flume (now just log flume), an Antique Cars attraction, and the Six Flags Railroad. The park would continue to expand, adding more flat rides over the next few years as well as adding a kiddy coaster, Rock Candy Express in 1975. All this was well and good, but it was 1976 that really put this park on the map. In the second of five collaborative efforts between designers Don Rosser, John C. Allen, and William Cob and Six Flags, a wooden giant was erected at the back of the park, that has been thrilling guests for over thirty years.
The partnership that began with the creation of Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags over Georgia, and would go on to bring about the Texas Cyclone, Rolling Thunder, and Judge Roy Scream, would bring all eyes to Six Flags Mid-America in 1976. When the Screamin' Eagle was unveiled to the public in April of that year, the park became home to the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster the world had yet seen. Its brilliant white latticework of would supports made it a sight to behold and the sound of joyous screams could always be heard emanating from the riders of its boldly patriotic red and blue trains as they flew over the rails. Much has changed about the park since that day, including its name. The Eagle has since been bested in both speed and stature by its cousin across the park, The Boss. But the old classic still thrills.
Future riders find the Screamin' Eagle perched atop a hill on the far side of the park from the main entrance. Once in the queue line, anticipation builds as those waiting watch train after train of riders plummet down the initial drop, soar over the base of the lift, and then disappear into the woods which the ride inhabits. Finally it is their turn to place themselves into one of the twelve, two person rows. Once seated and secured, the ride is released from the station, and proceeds down a slight ramp beneath the first airtime hill before encountering the 110 ft high lift hill. The train clacks slowly skyward, allowing riders a fantastic view of the park off to their right, as well as the first drop which they will soon be experiencing. At the top, the track dips slightly as it makes a right handed u-turn and more of the park comes into view. The sights are fleeting however as quickly find their attention arrested by the drop as gravity pulls them from their perch.
Soon they're screaming their lungs out at sixty-two miles and hour. The track angles slightly to the right and rises dramatically over the base of the lift hill, providing some floater air. Back down at ground level the track shifts left to parallel the station and final break run on the left and then rises skyward once again to a high summit. Plunging down from there into the woods at the back of the park, the ride encounters two low to the ground speed hills providing some solid out of seat time before heading up into an elevated flat turn. The rails bend eighty degrees to the left to begin the "L" portion of the out-and-back layout. Dropping down below tree-line once again, two more speed humps send riders into the lap bars. Beyond this the train rises into yet another elevated turn, this one 180 degrees to the left over by the lift hill of The Boss towering overhead. The rails dive, hop, then rise again, angling riders towards the station. Another drop, speed hill and rise feeds riders into the final break run. After a brief pause, the train returns to the station, ready to embark on its next two and a half minute voyage over its 3872 ft of track.
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