Hey everyone. I visit Six Flags St. Louis frequently, and I enjoy the mine train there. I know that it formerly had a second track, now at Magic Springs in Arkansas.
Does anyone have any photographs of the ride from when both tracks were operating? Aerial photographs would be especially good. Also, does anyone know what modifications were made to the Rail Blazer side of the track? I had read that some modifications were made to the track layout, but I've not been able to find out what they were.
Finally, anyone have any memories of the ride from back in the day?
I was born in '72, so I don't remember the track that's still here very much as a child. I remember that side being closed and Six Flags' running the side that eventually got sold for most of my childhood, and one of the things I remember most was the roughness of the first part.
The train took a small drop out of the station into a left-handed 180degree turn. The section through the storage/transfer area led to a 45?ish degree turn to the right onto the first lift. After another small drop the train took another 180degree turn to the left. The next small drop was always painful. Then another 180+degree turn, this time to the right. Then another painful short drop. A nearly straight, shallow downward-angled section led to the painful 270ish+? degree upward spiral to the right ending the first part of the ride. Most of this part of the ride was away from the public areas of the park in a slightly wooded area.
After that, the rest of the ride was quite enjoyable. The second lift ended with a small drop and a 180 degree turn to the right high above the USA section of the park and the Space Scrambler (where Ninja is now.) After a straight flat section of probably 50 ft or so, the curving 180 degree dive to the right was always fun because it was around the Space Scrambler ride. I believe there was a bunny hop similar to the existing track's second section. Then the rising 180degree turn to the left into the small third lift was where the two tracks met up again. The drop off the third lift led to the two tracks veering slightly away from each other and back, thus the removed track went to the left a little and then back to the right. The two tracks came back parallel to each other for the final big drop, then turned away again into each station, so the removed track turned to the left after the last drop.
I also remembering how cool it was to exit the ride and walk down the stairs and underneath that section of track after the first 180degree turn that led to the storage/transfer building because of the hill where the ride was located. On the remaining side you walk OVER that section of track when exiting the ride.
After the Railblazer death led the park to close that ride, Six Flags ran the existing track as the River King Mine Train starting in '85. I don't remember if they ever ran both sides between '85 and '88. Now the storage/transfer building and the station building from the removed side are used as a haunted house for Fright Fest. I for one am glad the two tracks of RKMT were different, because the remaining one is a LOT more comfortable and fun than the one removed was. And as far as I know the track layout is the same as it has always been, they just removed the building where the storage/transfer area is when they ran the stand up trains and never bothered to rebuild it, they just cover the trains overnight now
Here's a 1971 aerial view showing both River King Mine Trains. You can tinker with the "zoom" or "compare tools" and have some real fun with this photo.
That's an excellent photo, Swampfoxer. Thanks for the find! It looks like the track layout of the side that was removed was modified significantly to fit into the space at Dollywood, from the spiraling drop after the second lift until the final drop. I never knew that modification took place.
It seems that for Dollywood, the spiral drop after the second lift was extended from 180- to 270-degrees, and the approach to the third lift subsequently lay around 90 degrees to the "right" of where it ran at Six Flags. Then, in order to join back up with the original layout at the approach to the final drop, the run from lift 3 to the drop had to pass underneath the turnaround immediately after lift 2, whereas at Six Flags, it approached the lift more directly with the same zig-zag as the track still at Six Flags.
ANd StlCP, that is a good memory you've got there. I was born in '86, so I never got to experience the mine train's two tracks, just the one that exists now.
I only found 3 or 4 pictures of the original ride at SFOMA on sixflagsstlouis.net in the historic photos. There are a few pics of Thunder Express and Big Bad John on rcdb.com. I'm not sure if the ride was modified further for Magic Springs or not, but you can find POV videos of Big Bad John on youtube or enthusiast sites where people post video. You can definitely see where Big Bad John is different from my description of the original RKMT experience after the 2nd lift to the final drop into the tunnel.
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