(That side profile of Thompson makes him look a bit like Spencer Tracy, don't ya think?)
Thank you, Derek, for educating us about the amusement park industry one article at a time!
Hard to visualize, considering Kingda Ka is 456 feet high. Or am I missing something or reading it wrong?
That's a misleading statement. To begin it didn't have a drop based on today's definition of what a roller coaster drop is, so it's a not a good term to use to describe it.
More accurately the track had a long, straight descent down Mount Pisgah with a total elevation change of 664-feet from the top to the bottom.
However, to put it in better perspective it took the cars 30 minutes to descend the 664 vertical feet (a rate of 22.1 feet per minute) and with the steam powered engine it took 50 minutes to ascend the same section. Today, kiddie coasters are more exciting!
Originally, it took 4 hours to ascend with mules pulling the cars uphill. I can't find any sources that support the 2,300-foot long length for that particular section with that vertical drop, but it may be correct.
In reality there was nothing thrilling by today's standards and it certainly wouldn't look as impressive as some of the rides today like Kingda Ka.
I live in Melbourne and I've never been to Luna Park (the only amusement park in our city). I went to Disneyland when I was 5, and since then have turned my nose up at Luna Park which is simply a small amusement park, very old school in its design with no real modern attractions.
Knowing the history of it now a bit better, and that our Scenic Railway is the oldest continuously running roller coaster in the world, I realise what a treasure we have and will have to take steps to rectify my non-attendance. I will also need to make sure that my own children do not make my mistake.
Thanks for writing this, it has opened up my eyes.
Thanks for the kind words everyone. It's great to move forward into new things, but equally great to appreciate the old ones. There's a lot of beauty in the old things.
I just think it's important to use the correct terms, so people clearly understand what you're describing.