In this latest article looking at the world's most extraordinary thrill rides, I bring to you the ultimate the scream machines: the fastest roller coasters in the world. These definitive speed monsters range from traditional lift hills to ultra modern launches, but they all have one thing in common: serious velocity.
How many of these high-speed beasts have you experienced?
=10. Goliath (Six Flags Magic Mountain)
Six Flags Magic Mountain's big new coaster for the new millenium was Goliath, a hypercoaster manufactured by Switzerland's Giovanola. Featuring a 255-foot first drop and hitting a top speed of 85 miles per hour, it was briefly the tallest and fastest coaster in the world before Millenium Force at Cedar Point opened a few month later.
After plunging down the first drop, the train races through an underground tunnel, before entering a series of banked turns and further drops.
=10. Titan (Six Flags Over Texas)
Very similar in design to Goliath, Titan is an enormous hypercoaster manufactured by Swiss firm Giovanola. Featuring a 255-foot first drop and hitting a top speed of 85 miles per hour, it also boasts two 540-degree helices in its lengthy circuit.
=10. Phantom's Revenge (Kennywood)
Full marks to Kennywood, a family-owned park punching above its weight in this list. Formerly known as Steel Phantom, the ride opened back in 1991. In those days, it was the fastest roller coaster in the world, and also had the longest drop.
However, Steel Phantom quickly picked up a reputation as a very painful ride, and Kennywood decided to remove it in 2000. After a flurry of complaints, the park instead opted to renovate the ride, with all four inversions being removed, allowing guests to enjoy the speed without the head-banging.
9. Intimidator 305 – King’s Dominion
As with many of the top coasters on this list, great height equals great speed, and therefore Intimidator 305 also appears in the top 10 tallest coasters. The Virginia park’s centrepiece attraction, Intimidator 305 stretches 305 feet into the sky and hits a top speed of 90mph following the 85 degree drop. The ride is an Intamin giga-coaster, constructed in 2010, and as with a few other Intamin rides has had serious problems. It proved to be so intense that many guests complained of headaches and even blackouts, resulting in the park throwing in trim brakes everywhere, cutting the speed to 80mph (which of course means that it wouldn’t be on this list). However, the result was an awful ride, devoid of airtime, and so the trims were removed and instead Intamin re-profiled the first turn, reducing the positive G-forces.
8. Leviathan - Canada's Wonderland
The enormous, appropriately-named Leviathan changed the landscape of Canada's Wonderland when it opened in 2012, with the coaster rising over guests' heads as they enter the park. Incredibly, it is the 16th roller coaster at the park, placing it third in the "most coasters at a theme park" charts behind Six Flags Magic Mountain and sister park Cedar Point.
Leviathan is the first coaster manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard to exceed a height of 300 metres, and is an amazing 5,486 feet long. It earns its place in this list with a top speed of 92 miles per hour, making it the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada.
7. Millennium Force – Cedar Point
Intimidator’s ever-so-slightly bigger sister, Millennium Force is the original Intamin giga-coaster, constructed in 2000 (hence the name). This monstrosity has appeared on not only the tallest, but also the longest list. After the ride’s first hill, it doesn’t go above 200 feet again, and as a result maintains its 93mph for most of the ride. Despite such an incredible speed the coaster is actually, ironically, not massively forceful. Nonetheless it still provides an unbelievable rush, and is very much at the forefront of one of the world’s finest parks.
6. Steel Dragon 2000 – Nagashima Spa Land
The fastest roller coaster in the world with a lift hill, and the third fastest overall in Asia, Steel Dragon hits a maximum speed of 95mph. It takes three 200 feet-plus hills and a record breaking length of track to burn off all of this energy, culminating in one of the most insane airtime finales around. Unfortunately due to its massive cost of $52 million it’s unlikely we’ll ever see one of these Morgan giga-coasters again.