Specific Type: Wooden, Double Out-and-Back
Over the years, once famous amusement parks have fallen victim to new high class amusement parks and their classic wooden coaster have not been able to compete with the new steel giants of today. Eventually the wooden masterpieces surrender to the bulldozers as the land is cleared for new things. We’ve lost many examples of masterpiece from likes of Herbert Schmeck and Henry Traveler over the years, because it never seemed feasible to move one of these rides. In 1985, the Rocket at Playland Parkwas close to meeting its fate, when Knoebel’s Amusement resort moved it to Elysburg, PA with the help of Charles Dinn. This started a new trend in the industry and one coaster would live again in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Toboggan Company constructed Skyliner in 1960 at Roseland Park in New York. The ride thrilled riders for over 25 years, but then Roseland Park was forced to close its doors because of overwhelming debt. Skyliner sat dormant until Anthony Forgion, then owner ofLakemont Park, decided to bring the ride to Altoona. In 1986 crews set out dismantling Skyliner and shipping it to Pennsylvania. When the ride finally made its way to Altoona, many pieces had to be replaced due to damage caused by termites. Under the direction of Charles Dinn, Skyliner rose again from the ground and open in May of 1987. The ride is not a giant in any standards, but the story of the Skyliner is a lesson in how our timeless classic from the past can still live and thrill riders to this day.
Not many people travel to Lakemont Park, but the few that do, notice the large structure of Skyliner at the far end of the park. After making the journey to the station house, riders board the single PTC train sitting 2-abreast. Once all 18 seats are filled and the lapbars are locked, the ride is set lose. The train drifts downhill out of the station and rounds a 180-degree turn to the lift hill. The train catches the chain and I carried to the top of the 60-foot lift hill. At the top you get a good view of the baseball stadium next to the ride before making a small dip and a 90-degree turn. The train then sends riders plunging down the first drop. The train valleys almost right at the ground and roars back up the second hill. At the top, the track turns and dips downward at the same time. In the middle of that turn the track then goes upward and after 180-degrees of turning, it’s the second drop. The train quickly completes the second drop and then rounds a 90-degree turn around the side of the structure. Once the turn is completed, riders are surprised by a third hidden drop. The train plummets downward and then upward into a 180-degree non-banked turn above the station. Riders are slammed into the side of the car as the train drop and then rolls into another left-handed, non-banked, 90-degree turn. The train then drops in the final element of the ride. The train runs at ground level for awhile and then goes upward into a 180-degree turn. After the turn, the ride drops to ground level again. Next, it rises for the last time and rolls around a 90-degree turn into the brake run. The train is brought to a stop and then is allowed to roll back into the station. The lapbars are released and riders exit Skyliner.
Skyliner is proof that any coaster can still thrill guests to this day and a reminder of our rich coaster history.
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