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Iron Rattler

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Iron Rattler
Iron Rattler logo.png
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Park sectionCrackaxle Canyon
Coordinates29°35′55″N 98°36′47″W / 29.5986°N 98.6131°W / 29.5986; -98.6131
Opening dateMay 25, 2013 (2013-05-25)
CostUS$10 million [1]
General statistics
ManufacturerRocky Mountain Construction
DesignerAlan Schilke
Track layoutTerrain
Lift/launch systemChain lift hill
Height179 ft (55 m)
Drop171 ft (52 m)
Length3,266 ft (995 m)
Speed70 mph (110 km/h)
Max vertical angle81°
Capacity850 riders per hour
Height restriction48 in (122 cm)
Trains2 Gerstlauer trains with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 24 riders per train.
Iron Rattler at RCDB
Pictures of Iron Rattler at RCDB

Iron Rattler is a steel roller coaster located at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas. The ride opened in 2013, replacing The Rattler, a wooden roller coaster, by putting a new steel track on top of The Rattler's wooden support structure. The distance between the lowest and highest points of the first drop was increased from 124 to 171 feet (38 to 52 m) and the drop was made steeper by changing the angle to 81 degrees. The resulting modifications increased the speed of the trains from 65 to 70 miles per hour (105 to 113 km/h). It is the first hybrid wood and steel roller coaster to feature an inversion, in which riders are turned upside-down and then back upright. The inversion is a zero-g-roll, which is when the train goes through a combination of a loop and a roll.[2]

The Iron Rattler was designed by Alan Schilke and built by Rocky Mountain Construction.[3] The wooden Rattler had been constructed by Roller Coaster Corporation of America. When it opened in 1992, it was the tallest and fastest wooden coaster in the world, with a height of 179 feet (55 m), a first drop of 166 feet (51 m) and a top speed of 73 mph (117 km/h).


Six Flags Fiesta Texas announced in August 2012, that they would be revamping their wooden coaster, The Rattler, into a steel track coaster, to be called Iron Rattler. The renovation would be performed by Rocky Mountain Construction and would feature the I-Box steel track on some of the original wooden coaster supports, Rattler-themed trains supplied by Gerstlauer, and a barrel roll. The new ride would open for the 2013 season.[2][4]

The Rattler had been constructed by Roller Coaster Corporation of America. When the coaster debuted on March 14, 1992, it was the tallest and fastest wooden coaster in the world, with a height of 179 feet (55 m), a first drop of 166 feet (51 m) and a top speed of 73 mph (117 km/h), outdoing its then rival, Mean Streak at Ohio's Cedar Point. Designer John Pierce stated that the original plans kept changing as park co-developers Gaylord Entertainment Company insisted on having the tallest wooden coaster in the world.[5] It held this title until 1994, when its first drop was shortened from 166 to 124 feet (51 to 38 m), resulting in a reduction of its top speed from 73 to 65 miles per hour (117 to 105 km/h).[6]

The Rattler in 2006

In late 2009, Six Flags Over Texas closed their Texas Giant wooden roller coaster for a $10 million renovation which took more than a year to complete.[7] Idaho-firm Rocky Mountain Construction replaced the wooden track with a new steel I-Box track, retaining a wooden support structure. The refurbishment was ultimately a success with "resoundingly positive reviews from riders". The park's parent company, Six Flags, immediately began looking for other rides in its chain which would benefit from a similar overhaul.[8]

At the IAAPA 2011 Trade Show, Alan Schilke of Rocky Mountain Construction revealed their company had two projects that they would be working on for 2013 openings – one of which was an I-Box conversion of a wooden roller coaster.[9] It was later revealed by the Spokane Journal of Business that The Rattler would be completely refurbished in 2013 with new track and trains in a manner similar to that used by the company on the New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas in 2011.[10] Although Six Flags had not publicly confirmed their plans, the park announced that The Rattler would close on August 5, 2012.[6][11] At the end of the operating day on August 5, 2012, park personnel and select enthusiasts took the final ride, after which, The Rattler, as a wood coaster, ceased operation.[12]

The National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives announced on April 16, 2013, they would be auctioning off the first ride of Iron Rattler on the evening of May 17, 2013, and proceeds going towards the museum.[13] Also a soft-opening was held to the media on May 15, 2013. The grand opening of the Iron Rattler was May 25, 2013.[14][15]

After the deadly incident on the New Texas Giant on July 19, 2013,[16][17][18] and because the two rides share several similarities, Six Flags Fiesta Texas had ceased running Iron Rattler pending investigation findings from its sister park.[19][20] In under a month, Iron Rattler reopened on August 14 with seat belts as another added restraint to the two trains.[21][22]


Iron Rattler uses overbanked turns and steel track

Iron Rattler is located in the Western-themed Crackaxle Canyon area of Fiesta Texas, sitting next to the Road Runner Express and The Gully Washer. It is Rocky Mountain Construction's second installation of I-Box track,[4] and the first to feature a barrel roll inversion.[23] Iron Rattler operates with two Rattler-themed trains manufactured by Gerstlauer. Each train is made up of six cars which seat riders in two rows of two.[24] Riders are restrained through the use of a lap bar and a seat belt.[21][24]

The table below compares the original Rattler, with the updated Iron Rattler ride. The original ride by the Roller Coaster Corporation of America was approximately 1,800 feet (550 m) longer due to a 900° helix atop the quarry walls. The refurbished ride by Rocky Mountain Construction features a steeper and longer first drop, thus achieving a faster speed.[25][26]

Statistic The Rattler[26][27] Iron Rattler[25]
Years 1992–1994 1994–2012 2013–present
Manufacturer Roller Coaster Corporation of America Rocky Mountain Construction
Designer John Pierce Alan Schilke
Track Wood Steel
Height 179 ft or 55 m
Drop 166 ft or 51 m 124 ft or 38 m 171 ft or 52 m
Length 5,080 ft or 1,550 m N/A 3,266 ft or 995 m
Speed 63–73 mph or 101–117 km/h 65 mph or 105 km/h 70 mph or 110 km/h
Inversions 0 1
Max vertical angle 61.4° 81°
Trains Morgan PTC Gerstlauer

Ride experience[edit]

The ride begins by exiting out of the station and turning around under Road Runner Express. It ascends a 179-foot-tall (55 m) chain lift hill, before dropping 171 feet (52 m) at an angle of 81°. The track then ascends to the top of the quarry wall where it enters a 110° over-banked turn. A 95° over-banked turn leads to the left, back off the quarry wall. The ride then rises into the zero-g roll which sits atop the quarry wall. A camelback hill is followed by two more over-banked turns measuring 98° and 93°, respectively. The ride then drops back off the quarry wall and enters a tunnel near its base. The tunnel features fog and lighting effects. After exiting the tunnel, the train enters brake run and returns to the station.[4][25][28][29]


One of the themed trains departing the station

Iron Rattler has generally been well received. Keith Miller of Funworld Magazine described the ride as "wonderfully smooth" highlighting the slow cresting of the lift hill as an "enjoyable element". He concludes by stating "there's not one restful moment on this ride".[8] Arthur Levine of gave the ride 4.5 out of 5 stars. Levine applauded Six Flags for replacing a bad wooden roller coaster with "a wonderful, remarkably smooth, thoroughly fun and enjoyable ride". He also gives kudos to Rocky Mountain Construction who manufactured the I-Box track and redesigned the ride.[30] Brenda Solis of KLQB described the ride as "the most intense, craziest roller coaster ever". She also compared the renovated ride to the original ride, stating "the old Rattler wasn't as scary or intense or fast as the new one".[31]

Before Iron Rattler's debut year, Rattler was only ranked once in the Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards for the 2011 Top 50 Wooden Coasters ranked at 47 in the world, since the creation of the award in 1998.[32] After the renovation in 2013, Iron Rattler was ranked highly by the voters. The ride was ranked the second-best new ride of 2013 with 19% of the vote.[33][34] It also ranked at position 11 for the world's best steel roller coasters its debut year.[35]

Golden Ticket Awards: Top steel Roller Coasters
Year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Ranking 11[35] 12[36] 19[37] 21[38] 4[39] 7[40]


  1. ^ ""These 17 roller coasters have been named the best rides of 2017"". Berlin, Germany: Business Insider. September 17, 2017. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Morton, Neal (August 30, 2012). "Steel up for Iron Rattler". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  3. ^ Seifert, Jeffrey (2013). "2013 North American Park Preview". Amusement Today. 17 (2): 6–7.
  4. ^ a b c Thompson, Mike (2012). "Rattler to get the kinks ironed out". ACE News. Zanesville, Ohio: American Coaster Enthusiasts. 25 (1): 6.
  5. ^ Baldwin, Tim (2000). "Defanged — A Rattler Perspective". RollerCoaster! Magazine. Mission, Kansas: American Coaster Enthusiasts. 21 (2): 21–25. ISSN 0896-7261.
  6. ^ a b Pack, William (July 9, 2012). "Fiesta Texas' famed Rattler is going silent". MySanAntonio. Retrieved July 11, 2012.
  7. ^ Moiser, Jeff (March 16, 2009). "Six Flags Over Texas to close Texas Giant for renovations in 2010". Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on June 24, 2009. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Miller, Keith (2013). "New Rides & Attractions 2013 - Wooden Coasters". Funworld Magazine. IAAPA. Retrieved August 18, 2013.
  9. ^ Schilke, Alan (November 16, 2011). "IAAPA 2011". Theme Park Review (Interview). Interviewed by Robb Alvey. Orlando, Florida.
  10. ^ McLean, Mike (January 19, 2012). "North Idaho roller coaster maker expands to accommodate innovations". Spokane Journal of Business. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  11. ^ Six Flags Fiesta Texas (July 9, 2012). "Last Chance to Ride The Rattler as it Slithers Away". Press Release. Six Flags. Retrieved July 9, 2012.
  12. ^ Rutherford, Scott (2012). "Parks removing icons to gear up for 2013 new rides". Amusement Today. 16 (6.1): 10.
  13. ^ National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives (April 16, 2013). "The NRCMA is holding an auction to..." Facebook. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  14. ^ Morton, Neal (May 15, 2013). "Enthusiasts get a shaky first ride on Iron Rattler". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  15. ^ "171-foot free fall! Natalie Tejeda's hilarious scream down Iron Rattler". May 15, 2013. Retrieved May 15, 2013.
  16. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (July 19, 2013). "Breaking: Woman dies on Six Flags' Texas Giant roller coaster". Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  17. ^ Kretz, Chelsea; Collins, Calvert (July 19, 2013). "Six Flags: Woman died while riding Texas Giant". KDFW FOX 4. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  18. ^ James, Michael; Shaw, Alexis (July 20, 2013). "Witnesses on Six Flags Over Texas Roller Coaster Death: 'That Could Have Been Me'". ABC News. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  19. ^ "Iron Rattler remains closed as Six Flags investigates woman's death". KENS. July 22, 2013. Archived from the original on July 22, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  20. ^ "Fiesta Texas temporarily closes Iron Rattler". News4 San Antonio. July 22, 2013. Archived from the original on July 26, 2013. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  21. ^ a b "Six Flags adds seat belts to Iron Rattler after deadly fall in Arlington". August 15, 2013. Archived from the original on August 15, 2013. Retrieved August 15, 2013.
  22. ^ Ibanez, David (August 14, 2013). "Iron Rattler reopens at Fiesta Texas in San Antonio". Archived from the original on March 8, 2014. Retrieved August 14, 2013.
  23. ^ Morton, Neal (August 30, 2012). "Steel up for Iron Rattler". MySanAntonio. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
  24. ^ a b "Snakes on a train". Park World Magazine: 38. July 2013.
  25. ^ a b c Marden, Duane. "Iron Rattler  (Six Flags Fiesta Texas)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Rattler". Roller Coaster DataBase. Archived from the original on December 9, 2009. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  27. ^ "World's tallest wooden coaster 'Rattler' strikes at Fiesta Texas in March" (Press release). Fiesta Texas.
  28. ^ Alvey, Robb (May 15, 2013). "Iron Rattler REAL POV Six Flags Fiesta Texas Roller Coaster Rider Cam Off-Ride". Theme Park Review. YouTube. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  29. ^ "Six Flags Fiesta Texas debuts Iron Rattler". Park World Magazine: 16. June 2013.
  30. ^ Levine, Arthur (May 2013). "Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas Roller Coaster Review". The New York Times Company. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  31. ^ Morton, Neal (May 15, 2013). "Enthusiasts get a shaky first ride on Iron Rattler". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved August 22, 2013.
  32. ^ "2011 Top 50 Wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 15 (6.2): 46–47. September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  33. ^ Baldwin, Tim (September 2013). "Silver Dollar City, Dollywood win Best New Rides" (PDF). Amusement Today. 17 (6.2): 24. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  34. ^ "Park and ride winners" (PDF). Amusement Today. 17 (6.2): 4. September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2013.
  35. ^ a b "2013 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 17 (6.2): 34–35. September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  36. ^ "2014 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 18 (6.2): 46–47. September 2014. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  37. ^ "2015 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 19 (6.2): 49–50. September 2015. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  38. ^ "2016 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 20 (6.2): 50. September 2016. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  39. ^ "2017 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 21 (6.2): 46. September 2017. Retrieved September 14, 2015.
  40. ^ "2018 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 22 (6.2): 45. September 2018. Retrieved September 14, 2015.

External links[edit]

Official website