I recently visited Six Flags St. Louis and rode River King Mine Train. The ride (for those of you that haven't been there) was half of a set of (semi-)racing mine trains.
When I first visited the park in the early eighties in my early teens, the side that is now open used to be closed the majority of the time, while the other side (which has since been relocated to another park and called Big Bad John-and was the far better ride) used to be the default running part of the ride.
In 1983-84 (I forget) the side that is now currently open was re-imagained as a stand up coaster with new trains called Rail Blazer. The ride did not run well (guests per hour) and had a tragic accident where a rider was (apparently) thrown from her restraints, fell a couple stories and died from head trauma, all within the first 8 weeks of it's debut.
The ride was shut down immediately, and only opened again (with the former mine train set-up) because the other side of the ride was relocated/sold to make room for Ninja.
My question/challenge is this- even though it had a brief run at the park, why can't I find ANY pictures of Rail Blazer anywhere? (Other than the picture from that year's brochure-which I actually have that park-brochure for myself in a shoebox somewhere).
I've seen old You-Tube footage of the accident report, and I've see one or two pictures of riderless trains from that era- but surely someone, somewhere has photos or possibly even videos of this ride in action.
I know the ride had a troubled and brief history, but for the curiousity aspect and/or nostalgia- does anyone have any more real info/pics about the ride when it still existed?
Slight correction, JamesMC - Railblazer did in fact reopen after the tragedy, but it only remained Railblazer for the debut year, which was 1984.
On my one visit that year, I rode it several times. Due to the accident, operation was down to a single train, and each standing position saw a lockable waist belt that could only be opened by a special key. There was approximately 10 (no joke) ride ops on the platform, and I saw multiple ops taking notes on a clipboard. Due to the slow loading, and probably due to the unpleasant ride experience, the park made the wise decision to change it back to the Mine Train. The "Big Bad John" side remained in operation through 1987 and was SBNO through the next season. The park placed the one-season-only Condor within a portion of the coaster, and during the season that side saw the drop after the second lift cut off in half.
Ride experience on Railblazer? Think of what it would be like to stand in a fiberglass shower stall, and to have someone shake said shower stall back and forth violently, and then try it with a toilet seat over your head. Yeah, not so pleasant.
We were supposed to go the year it was in operation, and after hearing about the accident we (my family-I was only 15 or so) changed our plans and we went to either Cedar Point or King's Island instead.
I am still surprised that there aren't more pictures of Rail Blazer in operation. If anyone's got some or knows where to find 'em, please post the links. Or, if you had a chance to ride, please post your review.
These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment, Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.
photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by
a professional ride photographer.
For yours and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at
parks without proper permission.
You need a sense of humor to view our site,
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER! There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13." Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.