Apparently "Cyclone" is a popular name for a roller coaster
, because there have been many with that title over the years. Some have been historic
wooden rides, while others are more modern steel coasters.
Wooden - Operating
Perhaps the most famous roller coaster of all time is the Coney Island Cyclone, although it is not the oldest standing, most impressive, or even the only one to have had a campaign to save it from demolition. After seeing the success of 1925's Thunderbolt and 1926's Tornado, Jack and Irving Rosenthal bought land at the intersection of Surf Avenue and West 10th Street. A ride called the Great Coaster was already on the site, but the Rosenthals had it torn down. With a $100,000 investment, they hired Vernon Keenan to design a new coaster. A man named Harry C. Baker supervised the construction, which was done by area companies including National Bridge Company (which supplied the steel) and Cross, Austin, & Ireland (which supplied the lumber); the final cost of the Cyclone has been reported as both $146,000 and $175,000. When the Cyclone opened on 26 June 1927, a single ride cost twenty-five cents (thirty-five on Sundays). In 1935, the Rosenthals took over management of Palisades Park and the Cyclone was put under the watchful eye of Christopher Feucht, a Coney Island veteran who had built a ride called Drop the Dips, and then did some minor retracking work on the Cyclone. The ride continued to be extremely popular, and one of its many stories is from 1948, when a coal miner with aphonia visited Coney Island. According to legend, he had not spoken in years but screamed while going down the Cyclone's first drop and said "I feel sick" as his train returned to the station - then prompty fainted after realizing he had just spoken. By the 1960s, attendance at Coney Island had dropped off. In 1965 (or 1971, reports disagree), the Cyclone was bought by the city of New York for one million dollars. Lack of riders hurt profits, and the ride was condemned; in 1972 it was nearly destroyed because a nearby aquarium wanted to expand. A "Save the Cyclone" campaign ensued, and the coaster was leased to the Astroland park for $57,000 per year. (Today, the ride is owned by Astroland, but the land it stands on - 75 feet along Surf Avenue and 500 feet along West 10th Street - is still owned by the Parks Department.) Astroland's owners had the ride refurbished, and it reopened on 3 July 1975. In the 1980s, events like the Mermaid Parade and Sideshows by the Seashore brought visitors back to Coney Island and the Cyclone. On 13 June 1991, the ride was named a NYC Historic Landmark, and the next month - on the 64th anniversary of its opening - the Cyclone became a National Historic Landmark. Its 70th birthday was celebrated in 1997 with a tightrope walk by Tino Wallenda between the ride's two highest points; that year a single ride cost four dollars. The track today is 2,650 feet long (including six fan turns and nine drops) and 85 feet at its highest point; the first drop is nearly 60 degrees. Each of the three trains is made up of three eight-person cars, but only two trains can run simultaneously. The ride's top speed is 60mph and it takes about one minute and fifty seconds. The Coney Island Cyclone, of course, meets the requirements to be listed as an ACE Coaster Classic.
Several other wooden coasters were modeled after the Coney Island Cyclone and took its exact name (others have different names). One, at Williams Grove Park in Mechanicsburg, PA, was designed by Oscar Bitler and first opened in 1933. Its cars were from a ride at Palisades Park, and at one point it was standing but not operating before reopening in June 1997 after $500,000 in repairs. The other Cyclone modeled after the original opened at Lakeside near Denver in May 1940. Designed by Edward Vettel, it is slightly longer and taller than the New York version (at 2,800 feet in length and 90 feet high) and can handle about 1,100 riders per hour. Both the Pennsylvania and Colorado Cyclones are also listed as ACE Coaster Classics.
Another historic wooden Cyclone is located in Southport, England at Pleasureland. Designed by Charles Paige of the Pennsylvania Roller Coaster Company, it is made of pitch pine wood from Nicaragua and opened in March 1937. The track is 2,500 feet long and 60 feet high; the two 48-rider trains generally reach speeds around 40mph and the ride takes one minute and forty-five seconds. The Pleasureland Cyclone used to be an ACE Coaster Classic, but changes to its design removed that distinction.
The newest wooden Cyclone still in operation opened at Six Flags New England in June 1983. Built by William Cobb & Associates, it is 3,600 feet long and reaches a top speed of 60mph. It originally operated with Morgan trains, but in 2000 those were replaced by trains from the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. For the 2001 season, the first drop was modified, but the old track is still visible beneath the new.
Wooden - Not Operating
The historic Cyclone at Americana Park - designed by the renowned John A. Miller - is no longer operating. It first began service in 1927 at Moxahalia Amusement Park in Zanesville, Ohio, and closed there after the 1938 season. It moved to Americana Park in Middletown, Ohio, and reopened in 1939. In 1961 it was renamed Space Rocket, then in 1978 took on the name Screechin' Eagle. It finally closed in September 1999, and has been SBNO since then. The track is 2,640 feet long and 78 feet high; a ride would take one minute and thirty-five seconds.
Two wooden coasters named Cyclone are no longer around. The first, from Excelsior Amusement Park in Minnesota, was an L-shaped out and back designed by Fred W. Pearce. It cost $60,000 to build and opened in May 1925 when the park opened; the park closed in September 1973 and the Cyclone closed with it - its fate seems unknown. The Cyclone at England's Frontierland Family Theme Park doesn't even exist anymore. It originally opened in Paris in 1937, operated there for a year, and moved to England. It was rebuilt in 1938 and early 1939; during the process the layout was drastically altered into a 3,000-foot design by Harry G. Traver. It opened in April 1939, and after the 1986 season was renamed the Texas Tornado. Most of the rides at the park were sold or demolished in 1999; the Cyclone survived SBNO for a few months but was torn down in 2000.
Steel - Operating
A few operating steel coasters are also named Cyclone. One of these, at Toshimaen in Tokyo, opened in August 1965. The track is not quite 2,700 feet long and not quite 60 feet high with a 45-degree first drop. There are seven cars per train, and each train holds 28 riders; the top speed of the ride is 41mph, it takes two minutes and fifteen seconds to complete, and the maximum G-force is 2.5. Another is in Texas at Wonderland Amusement Park; this Cyclone is a wild mouse designed by the Miler Coaster Company. The steel Cyclone at Sandspit Cavendish Beach on Prince Edward Island wasn't always there and wasn't always called Cyclone - it began its life as the WildCat at Six Flags New England in 1974, then moved to Rhode Island's Rocky Point Park, where it was first given the moniker of Cyclone. When that park was closed and its rides auctioned off in 1996, the Schwarzkopf-designed coaster moved to Sandspit and was dubbed the Cyclone. There is also a steel Cyclone at Genting Theme Park in Malaysia; little is known about this one except that it is of Pinfari design, has six cars holding four riders each, and may be one of Pinfari's Zyklon models.
Steel - Not Operating
Even less is known about the ride at Barcelona's Parc de Montjuic. Another Pinfari Zyklon, it was probably named Cyclone, but even that is unconfirmed - it closed in 1999. Another closed steel Pinfari named Cyclone operated at Spanish City Amusement Park in England until 2000, when the park itself closed. There was also a Pinfari Zyklon named Cyclone at Six Flags Worlds of Adventure in Ohio - it too, closed, long ago. Similar to the Malaysian ride, this one was moved to Holiday World (in Santa Claus, IN) and renamed Firecracker. It operated there from 1981 to 1988, when it was purchased by Fantastic Shows. Ownership was later transferred to Amusements of America, and the ride was last seen in 1999 at the Ohio State Fairgrounds where it was being called the Avalanche.
One steel Cyclone isn't even open yet. Currently under construction at Dreamworld in Coomera, Australia, it is slated to open in December 2001. The ride was originally at Luna Park in Sydney, where it was called the Big Dipper. It is apparently undergoing some modifications, but will probably be 131 feet high and have two inversions, a vertical loop and a sidewinder.