|Type||Steel - Launched - Shuttle|
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Lightnin' Loops was built in 1977 and opened in 1978 at Six Flags Great Adventure. Six Flags had acquired the park in 1977 and Lightnin' Loops was planned by the prior ownership as far back as 1976. It was the second looping roller coaster on the east coast, although several full circuit looping coasters were in operation as far back as 1975. The coaster was located on the west side of the park that is currently occupied by Movietown, Batman The Ride, and Nitro.
Lightnin' Loops was the first roller coaster to feature interlocking loops, a feature that would eventually be repeated on Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and the Orient Express at Worlds of Fun. However Lightnin' Loops was the world's only interlocking dual shuttle shuttle loop coaster. Lightnin' Loops featured a launch system that propelled the train downward into the loop, and to another launch station at the same height as the loading station. Then the train was launched backwards returning to the loading station.
This coaster continued to be the star attraction at the park throughout the 1980s, although other coasters such as Rolling Thunder (built in 1979), Sarajevo Bobsled (built in 1984), and Ultra Twister (built in 1986) also were major coasters. The popularity of Lightnin' Loops faded in 1989 when the bobsleds were replaced with a multiple looping full circuit then-state of the art roller coaster called the Great American Scream Machine (also built by Arrow Dynamics), which featured seven inversions, three of which were loops. Also unpopular was the 56 feet high stair-climb to reach the Loops loading station.
By 1990, the area that Lightnin' Loops was occupying lacked theme and became a dull area of the park. Nearby, however Adventure Rivers would be added in 1991. A new stunt show arena was built next to Lightnin' Loops, and the area was transformed in "Action Town". In May 1992, management announced that Lightnin' Loops would close at the end of July, be dismantled in August, one of the loops would be sold to Funtime Parks, the other loop would move to the site formerly occupied by Ultra Twister, and construction of Batman the Ride would begin on the site of the space occupied by Lightnin' Loops. Batman the Ride lead to the conversion of the area into Movietown.
At the end of 1992, however, it was decided that the both tracks of Lightnin' Loops would be sold to Funtime Parks. Lightnin' Loops was then sent to two different parks then owned by Funtime. The one track was sent to Frontier City near Oklahoma City. It was rebuilt and reopened in 1993 and now known as the Diamond Back. It still operates there today.
The other track was sent to Adventure World in Largo, Maryland (near Washington, D.C.). It was rebuilt and reopened in 1993 and known as the Python. Funtime Parks coincidentally sold to Premier Parks in 1995. In 1998, Premier would buy Six Flags, bringing these two tracks formerly known as Lightning Loops back into the Six Flags family.
Adventure World was renamed Six Flags America in 1999. At that point the Python was disassembled and put in storage to make room for more modern roller coasters and attractions. It remained in storage until 2005, when it was scrapped.
Frontier City was sold along with several other smaller Six Flags parks to PARC Management. Diamond Back still operates as the only Lightnin' Loops track still in operation. Diamond Back was the Lightnin' Loops shuttle with the lower loop, while Python was the shuttle in the upper loop.
Wednesday, June 17, 1987 - A 19-year-old girl was killed after falling from the Lightnin' Loops shuttle loop roller coaster ride at Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in Jackson Township, New Jersey. An investigation by the State Labor Department concluded that the ride itself was operating properly, but that the ride operator started the ride without having made sure that all of the passengers were secured by the safety harnesses. The Department's Office of Safety Compliance further concluded that the accident would not have occurred had proper procedures been followed.
The park was found to be in violation of the Carnival/Amusement Ride Safety Act and was subsequently charged with the maximum state fines of $1,000. The ride was reopened on Saturday, October 10, 1987, with the permission of the Labor Department, but was eventually dismantled and no longer operates at Great Adventure. [Source: http://www.rideaccidents.com/coasters.html]
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