Specific Type: Wooden
Philadelphia Toboggan Company. The very name is revered among the coaster faithful. Its mention evokes vivid images of airtime and delicious fun. The coasters were varied. PTC was THE coaster company of the 10s, 20s, 30s, 40s, and on into the 70s. It all started with one of the most innovative men to ever design a coaster. John A. Miller, he invented the modern coaster as we know it today. One of his top lieutenant was a man by the name of Herbert Schmeck, a name that is virtually synonymous with the Wildcat coaster. One of his top deputies who supervised the construction of so many of his coasters was an airtime genius whose name was John Allen. John Allen was the last of the great wooden designers who reigned at the head of design for the most prestigious company to ever build a coaster. It is at the end of John Allen's tenure is where we start with the true purpose of this article.
Great American Scream Machine. The name itself evokes an image of a grand white coaster. A powerful symbol of grace, beauty, and muscle. It was the second to last creation of the legendary John Allen. Great American Scream Machine was built in the same Style that John Allen has come to be known for. With few exceptions (Mr. Twister at Elitch Gardens) his designs are fairly straight-forward out-and-back designs. Great American Scream Machine has often be dubbed as the epitome of the "great white coaster." In its picturesque setting across and alongside the far side of a lake and its grand white structure with blue running boards and red railings lined with lights it is one of the most impressive coasters in the world through its shear beauty and grace. Great American Scream Machine is quite obviously beautiful, however, the question lies, how is it to ride. In a word, brilliant. The ride has been rough at times. However, with fairly consistent retracking by Six Flags management the coaster has prospered and the airtime is bountiful and delicious. It is a well-rounded coaster, beautiful in all aspects.
The Entrance to the coaster lies in Cotton States section of the park. You enter beneath a sign bearing the grand logo of the ride. A path winds down into a blue roofed, white trellised structure which holds a cattle pen queue. Upon passing this section a small ramp takes the rider down to the station where the train is boarded and exited. After the loading, the train exits the station into a roughly ninety degree turn to the right. On the left side of the turn is a piece of track that can slide in and allow the train to be rolled off into a single shed long enough to accommodate two trains, though both are typically running if at all possible. The coaster then climbs its 105 foot lift over the lake. Upon cresting the lift the coaster careens down a vertical drop of roughly 96 feet whereupon it pulls up an 85 foot hill and makes a ninety degree right turn, during which is provides a breathtaking view of the Chattahoochee River close in to the larboard and the lake and park to the starboard. The coaster then plunges back down 80 feet and up a 40 foot hill and then down a 32 foot dip and across a 20 foot hop and into the 180 degree turnaround about 45 feet above. After the turnaround comes another 45 foot elevation change over a quick 40 foot hop and then a skip across a 15 foot bump. It then enters the third 120 degree turn that takes it back across the lake and over to more bunny hops and then up a third and final hop that ends with a quick dip beneath a covered brake section where the train is promptly SLAMMED to a stop and then let to roll around a 120 degree turn to the right and into another set of wheeled brakes where the train is sometimes held to wait for another in presently occupying the station. As the coaster ends the passengers exit to the right and up a ramp that allows for some excellent unobstructed pictures of the lift and first turnaround. This path then goes over the brakes and exits onto the main path back in the Cotton States.
As a side note. The LOQ entrance is one and the same as the exit. Guests enter through the exit and show their bot to the op on that side. (He/she may come and check or may not in which case there is really no policing and as long as you have a bot with you they will assume that you were registered for the ride.) For the 25th anniversary of the ride in 1998 the trains were turned around backwards for the entire season. This was supposedly to be done with one of the trains for the 30th anniversary in 2003, but it was never implemented. Though the coaster was re-tracked for the 30th anniversary and completely repainted for the 2004 season.
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