Crystal Beach Cyclone

Coaster Statistics

Location: Crystal Beach Amusement Park, Crystal Beach, Ontario, Canada
Duration: 1926-1946
Height: 96 feet
Ride Time (From the peak of the first hill to the station): 40 seconds
Maximum Degree of Banking: 75 degrees
Features: 600 degree double helix
Designer: Harry Traver

Note: Sections of the Crystal Beach Cyclone track are currently on the Comet roller coaster at the Great Escape in New York state.

A view of the twisted track of the Crystal Beach Cyclone from the top of the hill.
The Crystal Beach Cyclone was the most popular ride, carrying 5 million passengers during it's lifetime, unfortunately, the ride's future was not as great.

In 1926, a man named Harry Traver (1877 - 1961) designed and built what is considered by most Seekers to be the Mother of All Rollercoasters, The Crystal Beach Cyclone.

The first drop, often referred to as the "best first drop ever", was a twisting plunge at high speeds.

Towering over Lake Erie, in Ontario, Canada, The Cyclone was the first of Traver's three nearly identical masterpieces, including The Revere Beach Lightening (Massachusetts) and the Palisades Park Cyclone (New Jersey). For twenty years, this brutal creation carried over five million passengers through its demonically steep drops, impossibly tight curves and wickedly warped trackage.

Despite the hype  accorded to many rides, this coaster actually earned it, having a nurse on duty in the loading station (although reviving fainting riders made up the bulk of the work). Happily, the ride was responsible for only one fatality during its operation.

The ticket booth for the roller coaster, with the Cyclone behind.

Because of the incredible forces the hurtling trains generated, the structure of the Cyclone suffered bolt-shearing stress, creating a maintenance problem that finally ended the ride's life.

From the top of the lift-hill to the station brakes, the Crystal Beach Cyclone didn't contain a bit of straight track.

And for this reason and society's disturbing movement towards "safe" entertainments, we will probably never see a coaster like this again, a sad, sad fact.

Harry Traver (1877-1961) is often considered to be the greatest and most demented roller coaster designer that ever lived.

But what a ride it must have been. After what has been called the "best first drop, ever," a horrifically steep, twisting plunge, the train rocketed back to the opposite end of the structure for a 600 degree double helix, an angry knot of neck-snapping turns. Yet another steep drop led into the ride's final element, a figure-eight so intense the track was banked about 75 degrees.

The Comet at Six Flags Great Escape in Lake George, New York was constructed with some of the track pieces of the original Crystal Beach Cyclone.

By today's standards it was relatively small, only 96 feet high, with a ride time of about 40 seconds from the peak of the lift hill to the station return. But within its entire course, there was not a single foot of straight track. The unrelenting pace and sadistically cruel transitions must have made for a ride so severe that 40 seconds was probably plenty. The accompanying photos really tell the story,and if they don't make your heart go pitter-patter, stick with the merry-go-round.

The Most Terrifying Roller Coaster Ever!

Traver was involved in the creation of quite a few other coasters, and his engineering company also developed and/or manufactured other rides like the Circle Swing, the Tumble Bug and the Caterpillar, some of which are still operating today. But his infamy will be forever linked to this one spectacular ride.

"We can build 'em higher, longer and faster, but there will never be another Crystal Beach Cyclone."
                                                                           -Robert Coker of

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