Pony Express (roller coaster)

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Pony Express
Pony Express, Knott's Berry Farm.jpg
Knott's Berry Farm
Park section Ghost Town - Wild Water Wilderness
Coordinates 33°50′34.54″N 118°0′4.62″W / 33.8429278°N 118.0012833°W / 33.8429278; -118.0012833Coordinates: 33°50′34.54″N 118°0′4.62″W / 33.8429278°N 118.0012833°W / 33.8429278; -118.0012833
Status Operating
Opening date May 22, 2008
General statistics
Type Steel – Motorbike – Launched
Manufacturer Zamperla
Model MotoCoaster
Height 44 ft (13 m)
Length 1,300 ft (400 m)
Speed 38 mph (61 km/h)
Duration 0:36
Capacity 900 riders per hour
Acceleration 0 to 38 mph (0 to 61 km/h) in 3 seconds
Height restriction 48 in (122 cm)
Trains 2 trains with 8 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a total of 16 riders per train.
Fast Lane available
Pony Express at RCDB
Pictures of Pony Express at RCDB

Pony Express is a steel motorbike roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.[1] It is the first Zamperla-manufactured motocoaster to be placed in the United States, and is one of the most recent additions to the theme park, beginning operations on May 22, 2008. The ride is based on a new design that features uniquely shaped seating and a flywheel launch system.[2]


Pony Express was a $9 million project that was added to the Ghost Town section of the park.[3] The theme of the attraction is based on the historic Pony Express mail service.[1] The attraction is designed to give riders the experience of being part of this delivery system, zooming over hills and around turns. Its "out-and-back" course shows riders views of Boot Hill and Big Foot Rapids, two popular attractions also located in Ghost Town.[4] Knott's Berry Farm has given it a thrill rating of "high thrill" (4 out of 5) and is enjoyable for people for all ages.[5]


The ride lasts for 36 seconds and is made up of a 1,300 foot-long steel track that reaches speeds of up to 38 miles per hour and heights of up to 44 feet.[1] Each train has 8 rows, with 2 seats in each row, and the ride can accommodate up to 900 passengers per hour.[4] Each rider's seat is shaped like a horse, and the rider straddles the saddle seat to create the feeling that they are riding on a horse. An automated restraint system secures the rider in their seat, pressing against his/her lower back, allowing the upper body to move fairly freely.[6]


The Pony Express was one of the first of its kind to be built in the United States. It is based on a new design called a cycle coaster, most popularly manufactured by Zamperla, a roller coaster and attraction company centered in Vicenza, Italy. Riders straddle the seats like a motorcycle or a bicycle, hence the name cycle coaster.[2] Unlike most coasters, the ride doesn't use potential energy attained from ascending a hill via chain lift. Instead, the ride uses a flywheel and clutch system that catches a cable attached to the cars and delivers stored rotational energy, launching riders from 0 to 38 miles per hour down a straight launch track in less than 3 seconds.[1]


During the first two years of operation, the ride functioned smoothly without difficulties. However, on October 7, 2010, during the park's annual Knott's Scary Farm event, a train containing nine riders failed to clear the first hill, rolling backwards into the loading station and crashing into another train. The collision injured 10 people, nine in the car and one preparing to board the stationary train.[3] All 10 were taken to the hospital, but none were reported to have major injuries.[6] The ride reopened a few days later. Since then, no major malfunctions of the Pony Express have been reported.


  1. ^ a b c d "Pony Express." Knott's Berry Farm. Publishing Date Unknown. Accessed 6 November 2012. http://www.knotts.com/rides/Roller-Coasters-1-5-12-35/Pony-Express
  2. ^ a b "Cycle Coasters Take Off." Park World Online. Published 28 January 2009. Accessed 16 October 2012. Web. <http://www.parkworld-online.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/1159/Riding_Astride.html>
  3. ^ a b "Knott's Berry Farm Pony Express Ride Accident Injures 10." Accident and Injury News. Published 11 October 2010. Accessed 16 October 2012. Web. <http://www.californiainjuryblog.com/2010/10/knotts-berry-farm-pony-express-ride-accident-injures-10.html>
  4. ^ a b "Pony Express: Knott's Berry Farm." Ultimaterollercoaster.com. Publishing date unknown. Accessed 16 October 2012. Web. <http://www.ultimaterollercoaster.com/coasters/yellowpages/coasters/pony-express_knotts.shtml>
  5. ^ "Roller Coasters." Knott's Berry Farm. Publishing Date Unknown. Accessed 6 November 2012. http://www.knotts.com/things-to-do/roller-coasters
  6. ^ a b MacDonald, Brady. "State Investigates Cause of Knott's Berry Farm Accident." Los Angeles Times. Published October 8, 2010. Accessed 16 October 2012. Web. <http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/08/news/la-trb-knotts-pony-express-accident-20111008>

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