A steel roller coaster is a roller coaster that has a track made of steel. These roller coasters have earned immense popularity in the past 50 years throughout the world. Incorporating tubular steel track and polyurethane-coated wheels, steel roller coasters have the ability provide a taller, smoother, and faster ride with inversions, unlike traditional wooden roller coasters.
The first steel coasters were built in the late 19th century, however they were far outnumbered by wooden coasters. Early steel coasters were typically more specialised, such as the Aerial Glide and Bisby's Spiral Spaceship, both of which opened in the 1900s and are the first known suspended roller coasters. Other early steel coasters include steeplechase and looping coasters.
In the second half of the 1940s Bradley & Kaye introduced the Little Dipper design, which was later sold to the Allan Herschell Company.
Arrow Dynamics first introduced the steel roller coaster to feature tubular track to the thrill industry with their creations of Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park in 1959.
- The oldest operating steel roller coaster in the world is Montaña Suiza at Parque de Atracciones Monte Igueldo at San Sebastián (Spain). It has been operating since 1928.
- The oldest operating steel roller coaster in North America is the Little Dipper at Memphis Kiddie Park in Brooklyn, Ohio and has been operating since 16 May 1952.
Notable steel roller coasters
- 1900s - Aerial Coaster and Aerial Glide - first known suspended roller coasters.
- 1928 - Montaña Suiza at Parque de Atracciones Monte Igueldo - oldest steel roller coaster in operation.
- 1959 - Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland Park - first steel roller coaster with tubular rails.
- 1977 - King Kobra at Kings Dominion - first weight drop launch roller coaster.
- 1982 - Dangai at Odakyu Gotemba Family Land - first roller coaster to receive stand-up trains.
- 1983 - Moonsault Scramble at Fuji-Q Highland - first roller coaster to top 200 feet.
- 1985 - Ultra Twister at Tokyo Dome City - first pipeline roller coaster.
- 1989 - Magnum XL-200 - first full-circuit roller coaster to top 200 feet and first hyper roller coaster.
- 1992 - Batman The Ride at Six Flags Great America - first inverted roller coaster.
- 1995 - Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain at Disneyland Paris - first full-circuit launched roller coaster.
- 1997 - Skytrak at Granada Studios - first flying roller coaster.
- 1997 - Superman: Escape From Krypton - first roller coaster to top 400 feet.
- 2000 - Millennium Force - first full-curciut roller coaster to top 300 feet and first giga roller coaster.
- 2002 - X at Six Flags Magic Mountain - first 4th dimension roller coaster.
- 2002 - Xcelerator at Knott's Berry Farm - first hydraulic launch.
- 2003 - Top Thrill Dragster - first full-circuit roller coaster to top 400 feet and first strata roller coaster.
- 2007 - Furius Baco at PortAventura Park - first winged roller coaster.
- 2010 - Formula Rossa at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi - fastest roller coaster.
- 2015 - Fury 325 at Carowinds - tallest non-launched roller coaster.
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