Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Blast From The Past - Viper At Six Flags Great Adventure

In 1994 Six Flags Great Adventure decided to add new coaster in the spot which was once occupied by their Togo Ultra Twister. Ultra Twister operated from 1986 to 1989, when it was shipped west to Astroworld as part of the Six Flags ride rotation.

Construction began in the fall of 1994 and after several delays, the Togo mega heartline coaster dubbed Viper, finally opened in June of 1995. Standing 89 feet tall and reaching a top speed of 48 miles an hour, the coaster had two inversions; a dive loop after the first drop, and then a heartline roll.

Viper was the world's first roller coaster with a 360-degree heartline roll. Its appearance was unique with Steel rings coiling around the track, encircling most of the track for themeing and providing structural support in the heartline roll.

Viper's three trains resembled a snake, and were colored light green and orange. There were four cars per train, riders were seated two across and each train seated 16 passengers. Initially, lines were long, but soon the rides popularity began to fade, due to the rough restraints and many mechanical problems.

Viper was SBNO (standing but not operating) most of the 1998 season. Financially troubled Togo went out of business which made getting parts almost impossible. Viper sat idle from 1999 to 2001 and was even removed from the park maps and guides during the 2001 season. Six Flags Great Adventure had planned to remove Viper that year, but was unable to find an attraction that would fit the land occupied by Viper.

Viper reopened in 2002 after the train and the train’s restraints were modified. Unfortunately, the modifications were not improvements. The ride was still rough and unreliable. For the 2004 season Viper opened as a one train operation.

The 2004 season would be Viper's last; Six Flags Great Adventure had grown tired of the ride's massive amounts of down time, its high maintenance costs and the fact that Viper's popularity was zilch due to its extremely painful ride. Viper was demolished in June of 2005 along with a few other rides, to make room for the park's huge 2006 project.

Viper was as interesting to ride as it was to watch the train snake the rides course. Unfortuantely, for me, while it was a very unique ride, it was not reridable. The rides replacement has been a huge success, does that station look familiar?