The World’s Oldest Operating Coasters by Each Letter of the Alphabet

It was Dame Judi Dench who once said, “Remember how easy it was to learn your ABC’s? Thank the Phoenicians, they invented them.” Spaceship Earth references aside, inspired by a social media post that asked to name five coasters that begin with the letter A, we wanted to examine all of the world’s operating roller coasters (sorry, no alpine coasters on this list) and determine some of the “-est” coasters that begin with each letter of the alphabet.

This first list will span the globe over nearly a century’s worth of time, as we highlight the oldest operating coaster that starts with each respective letter of the alphabet.

A is for Auto Bergbahn

Park: Weiner Prater, in Vienna, Austria
Year Opened: 1948

This kiddie coaster is owned and operated by Josef Popp.

B is for Big Dipper

Park: Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, UK
Year Opened: 1923

Big Dipper was designed by John A. Miller and is the oldest coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (but not the only coaster from the park on this list.)

C is for Cyclone

Photo: Fortune

Park: Luna Park in Brooklyn, New York
Year Opened: 1927

The Coney Island Cyclone was named a National Historical Landmark on June 26, 1991, and had a 5 year period in the 1970s where it did not operate.

D is for Dragon Coaster

Photo courtesy of Playland

Park: Playland Park in Rye, New York
Year Opened: 1929

Dragon has a tunnel that resembles the body of a dragon, and the opening of the tunnel resembles a dragon’s mouth. The dragon has eyes that light up, and it blows steam from its nostrils.

E is for Egg-Spress

Park: Pleasurewood Hills in Suffolk, UK
Year Opened: 1986

One of the “youngest” coasters on this list, Egg-Spress is Large Tivoli model from Zierer.

F is for Fire in the Hole

Park: Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri
Year Opened: 1972

A similar attraction to Fire in the Hole, Blazing Fury, opened at Dollywood six years later.

G is for Giant Dipper

Park: Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, CA
Year Opened: 1924

The second-oldest “G” coaster is also named Giant Dipper, and opened at San Diego’s Belmont Park in 1925

H is for Hochschaubahn

Park: Weiner Prater, in Vienna, Austria
Year Opened: 1950

Google Translate doesn’t provide an English translation for this coaster’s name, but “Hochschau” means “Look Up” and “Bahn” means train.

I is for Ice Mountain Bobsled

Park: Enchanted Forest in Turner, Oregon
Year Opened: 1983

Ice Mountain Bobsled is one of just four roller coasters that operate in the state of Oregon.

J is for Jack Rabbit (Twice!)

Parks: Seabreeze in Rochester, New York & Kennywood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Year Opened: 1920

The pair of Jack Rabbits are listed back-to-back on RCDB’s oldest coaster list, and both are celebrating 100-year anniversaries this year.

K is for Kiddy Coaster

Park: Playland Park in Rye, New York
Year Opened: 1928

Call this a rare credit for many enthusiasts, as adults are not allowed to ride the Kiddy Coaster!

L is for Leap The Dips

Park: Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania
Year Opened: 1902

After periods of not operating, Leap the Dips is operating once again during the 2020 season.

M is for Montaña Suiza

Park:Parque de Attracciones Monte Igueldo in San Sebastian, Spain
Year Opened: 1928

A slide friction coaster, Montaña Suiza features a brake-man who rides in between the coaster’s two trains.

N is for Nickelodeon Streak

Park: Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, UK
Year Opened: 1933

This is a bit of a technicality, as the coaster was simply known as “Roller Coaster” until 2010. The next “N” coaster on the list is Nyckelpigan at Grona Lund in Sweden, which opened in 1976.

O is for Outlaw

Park: Adventureland in Altoona, IA
Year Opened: 1993

For such a popular letter, you had to go quite far to find the oldest operating “O” coaster, all the way to 1993.

P is for Python

Park: Efteling in North Brabant, Netherlands
Year Opened: 1981

Python is near identical layout to Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds, despite Carowinds’ being manufactured by Arrow and Python by Vekoma.

Q is for Quantum

Park: Mundo Aventura in Bogota, Colombia
Year Opened: 1998

Quantum used to be known as Montaña Rusa, and was renamed to Quantum in approximately 2017 when the Pinfari Zyklon added VR headsets.

R is for Rutschebanen

Park: Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen Denmark
Year Opened: 1914

A slide friction roller coaster, the coaster’s name translates to “Slide boards” in English.

S is for Scenic Railway

Park: Luna Park in Melbourne, Australia
Year Opened: 1906

Scenic Railway also features a brake man.

T is for Thunderhawk

Park: Dorney Park in Allentown, Pennsylvania
Year Opened: 1924

Thunderhawk was known as “Coaster” until 1988. Thunderbolt (1924) at Kennywood is the next “T” coaster, but also had a previous name (Pippin) until 1967. Six Flags New England’s Thunderbolt opened in 1941, but was originally known as Cyclone (1939), meaning the “true” oldest T coaster is Tyrolean Tubtwist at Joyland Childrens Fun Park in England.

U is for Ultimate

Park: Lightwater Valley in North Yorkshire, UK
Year Opened: 1991

Ultimate is the oldest “U” coaster by just two days. After it opened on July 17, 1991, Ultra Twister at Japan’s Brazilian Park Washuzan Highland opened on July 19.

V is for Vuoristorata

Park: Linnanmäki in Helsinki, Finland
Year Opened: 1951

While Vuoristorata looks to be a beautiful Finnish word, it just means “Roller Coaster” in English.

W is for Wildcat

Photo: Lake Compounce

Park: Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut
Year Opened: 1927

Wildcat replaced a coaster by the name of Green Dragon.

X is for X-Treme Coaster

The opening date for X-Treme Coaster is unknown, but RCDB lists it approximately around 1997. It is a custom Vekoma junior coaster.

Park: X-Site in the Philippines
Year Opened: Approximately 1997

Y is for Yankee Cannonball

Park: Canobie Lake Park in Salem, New Hampshire
Year Opened: 1936

Yankee Cannonball used to be known as “Greyhound” until the 1970s.

Z is for Zyclone

Park: EsselWorld in India
Year Opened: 1989

Zyclone is the second oldest operating (of 20) Pinfari Zyklons still in existence.

Now you know your coaster ABC’s, next time another list there will be.