Two-Face: The Flip Side, a Vekoma shuttle coaster

A shuttle roller coaster is a type of roller coaster that does not complete a full circuit, but rather travels backwards at some point during the course, or simply ends at a different place.


The first shuttle roller coasters were in fact the first roller coasters ever built. Inspired by the so-called "Russian Mountains", these wheeled cars built on tracks found popularity in Paris in the early 19th Century.[1]

In 1884, the Switchback Railway opened at Coney Island. It consisted of a car that traveled on two tracks between two towers and was the first roller coaster designed as an amusement ride in America.

With the development of the lift chain however, the shuttle roller coaster became redundant, with full-circuit coasters allowing bigger and better layouts, without the need for the car to be pushed back up the track.

First launched shuttle coasters

Main article: Launched Loop and Shuttle Loop (Model)
Golden Loop Vertical Loop Spike

Golden Loop, a Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop

The first two launched shuttle roller coasters were built by competitors Arrow Dynamics and Schwarzkopf in 1977. Arrow built three that year: Black Widow at Six Flags New England (now defunct), Screamin' Demon at Kings Island (also defunct) and Zoomerang at Circus World (relocated to Fun Spot). Arrow's model used an electric motor to launch the train, while Schwarzkopf used a wheight-drop mechanism. The first shuttle coasters built by them was King Kobra at Kings Dominion (now located at Hopi Hari in Brazil), White Lightnin' at Carowinds (now located at Gold Reef City in South Africa) and Tidal Wave at California's Great America (now located at Bluegrass Boardwalk in Kentucky).

Schwarzkopf later switched to a flywheel launch mechanism. The first two coasters based on this design were released in 1978: Montezooma's Revenge at Knott's Berry Farm and Greezed Lightnin' at Six Flags AstroWorld. The first Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop in Europe was Turbine at Walibi Belgium.

Vekoma Boomerang

Boomerang La Ronde

Boomerang at La Ronde

In 1984 Vekoma debuted its Boomerang shuttle roller coaster, which uses a chain lift behind the station to launch the train. In addition to the original Boomerang, Vekoma also designed the Invertigo or Inverted Boomerang, and the Giant Inverted Boomerang. As of 2007, 46 Boomerangs have been built, and three similar models; Invertigo, Giant Inverted Boomerang and the Junior Boomerang.

LIM-launched roller coasters

In 1996 Premier Rides debuted the first roller coasters ever to use linear induction motors (LIM)s to launch the train, and in 1997, opened Batman & Robin: The Chiller at Six Flags Great Adventure, a pair of dueling launched shuttle roller coasters.

Superman Escape from Krypton01

Superman: Escape from Krypton, an Intamin AG launched roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain

In 1997, Intamin AG introduced it's Reverse Freefall Coaster. In this model, the train is accelerated out of the station along a long, level track using linear synchronous motors (LSM), rises straight up a vertical tower, then free-falls back down to return to the station. The two operating reverse freefall coasters are Tower of Terror II at Dreamworld and Superman: Escape from Krypton at Six Flags Magic Mountain, both of which first broke the 300 foot and 400 foot barriers.

In 1998, Intamin AG introduced its first impulse coaster, Linear Gale at Tokyo Dome City in Japan, which featured inverted trains traversing two vertical towers. In 2000, Intamin introduced Superman Ultimate Escape with a spiral tower and one vertical tower. Intamin AG introduced Wicked Twister in 2002, a variation with two spiral towers. With each pass through the station the train accelerates faster and travels further up the towers.

Wooden shuttle roller coasters

At IAAPA 2012, Great Coasters International showed off their new wooden shuttle roller coaster concept. If this is built at a park, it will be the first modern wooden shuttle roller coaster. The first one opened in 2015 at ZDT’s Amusement Park.

Notable shuttle roller coasters

For a list of all the shuttle roller coasters on this wiki, click here

Roller Coaster Under Construction
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Roller Coaster Types
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Train Configurations 4th DimensionBobsledDive CoasterFloorlessFlyingInvertedMine TrainMotorbikePipelineSide FrictionSpinningStand-UpSuspendedVirginia ReelWing Coaster
Track Layouts DuelingFigure 8LaunchedMöbius LoopOut & BackRacingShuttleStrata CoasterWild Mouse
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