Top Thrill Dragster

From Academic Kids

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Top Thrill Dragster

Top Thrill Dragster in Cedar Point was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world from 2003 to 2005. It is 420 feet (128 m) tall (about one third the height of the Empire State building) and goes up to 120 miles per hour (193 km/h). In fact, the Top Thrill Dragster is only 22 feet shorter than ‘Akaka Falls in Hawaii. Before Top Thrill Dragster was completed, Steel Dragon 2000 at Nagashima Spa Land in Japan was the world's tallest (at 318 ft.) which just beat Millennium Force at Cedar Point, the first coaster to break the 300 ft. barrier. (Note that Superman: The Escape in Six Flags Magic Mountain, built in 1997, is 415 ft. tall but the train does not reach that height and many people do not consider it a proper roller coaster). The world's fastest coaster before the finish of the Top Thrill Dragster was Dodonpa in Japan (107 miles per hour). Top Thrill Dragster is easily visible from anywhere in Cedar Point, and is also visible for miles and miles outside the park. Riders at the top of the Top Thrill Dragster can see Canada in the distance on a clear day.

However, Top Thrill Dragster lost its "tallest" and "fastest" distinctions in the spring of 2005 when Kingda Ka was topped off at Six Flags Great Adventure. Kingda Ka is 456 feet (139 m) high with a top speed of 128 mph (206 km/h).

Top Thrill Dragster was built by Intamin of Switzerland, one of the leading manufacturers of amusement rides. It is launched along a horizontal section of track by hydraulics where it reaches 120 mph within 4 seconds. It then ascends a vertical tower of 420 ft, performing a quarter twist as it rises, then rolls slowly over an apex where it drops vertically down the other side this time with a three-quarter twist. Magnetic brakes then bring the train to a swift but comfortable stop.

Various factors such as wind speed can prevent the train from reaching the top of the tower after the launch. The train can sometimes stall and roll backwards down the tower whereupon magnetic brakes that have moved into position as soon as the launch is over catch the train before it re-enters the station backwards and collides with other trains that are waiting. These "rollbacks" are something that many Cedar Point fans look forward to, and hope to be in at some point.

Top Thrill Dragster never runs in the rain, even if it is only a drizzle. However, if it's raining and then stops raining, 6 trains are required to complete the track without falling backwards in order for it to be opened to the public again. Also, no loose articles of any kind can be brought on the ride.

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