Hydraulic launch

A hydraulic launch on Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm

A hydraulic launch is a type of launch that propels the train to high speeds. It consists of several hydraulic fluid chambers, compartments separated by a piston and several launch cables attached to an engine. The engine is a large wheel that pulls the launch cable.


The first installation with a hydraulic launch was Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm, built by Intamin and opened in 2002. Subsequently, Vekoma introduced their motorbike roller coaster, which was powered by a hydraulic pump.

The tallest and fastest roller coasters (Kingda Ka and Formula Rossa, respectively) both use a hydraulic system. Top speeds of hydraulically launched roller coasters range from 45 mph to 150 mph.

Hydraulically launched roller coasters have suffered from extended downtime due to maintenance issues with the launch system. As a result, the technology has fallen out of fashion, with Intamin and other roller coaster manufacturers favoring LSM-powered roller coasters instead.

Roller coaster descriptions