Happy 50th Birthday, Runaway Mine Train!

Opened on Great Adventure's 4th day of operation — July 4, 1974 — 50-year-old Runaway Mine Train is the oldest of New Jersey's 53 operating roller coasters. Since opening day, it has been the "first roller coaster" for countless young thrillseekers and scaredy-cats alike.

Is Runaway Mine Train the biggest, fastest, or most thrilling coaster in the state? Absolutely not.

Is it a smooth, modern ride? No way.

But it has been New Jersey's oldest coaster since Jack Rabbit closed at Clementon Park in 2002. The next oldest roller coaster in the state is currently Sea Serpent at Morey's Piers, erected in 1984.

Runaway Mine Train, in the center of this overhead view, is surrounded by El Toro and Medusa roller coasters, the Northern Star Arena, and Log Flume ride. (Google Maps)
Runaway Mine Train, in the center of this overhead view, is surrounded by El Toro and Medusa roller coasters, the Northern Star Arena, and Log Flume ride. (Google Maps)
loading...

Located in the Frontier Adventures section of Six Flags Great Adventure, your ride aboard a runaway train begins with a 60-foot ascent toward big brother coasters El Toro and Kingda Ka. A 39-foot drop follows along a sweeping right-turning helix, reaching a top speed of 38 mph. A winding course along tree-lined paths has several small hills produces ample airtime. The coaster makes a final dramatic turn over the lake and under the Skyride back toward the station to unload.

According to RCDB.com, Runaway Mine Train ranks 47th oldest of the 845 currently operating roller coasters in the United States. It is the 19th oldest steel (non-wood) roller coaster in the country.

New Jersey has a long history of entertaining the masses via theme parks and thrill rides. In fact, the state's first-ever roller coasters were built in the 1880s and 1890s — but they are long gone now.

Runaway Mine Train is the last operating roller coaster in New Jersey by the legendary Arrow Development (Dynamics) design and engineering company. The neighboring Log Flume was also manufactured by Arrow, and also just celebrated its golden 50th anniversary.

See where Runaway Mine Train and your other favorites rank on my annual list of the top roller coasters in New Jersey:

The Top 30 Roller Coasters in New Jersey

Happy National Roller Coaster Day! The state of New Jersey is home to the 6th most roller coasters in the United States, spread across 14 thrilling theme parks.

Gallery Credit: Dan Zarrow

Dan Zarrow is Chief Meteorologist for Townsquare Media New Jersey. Check out Dan's weather blog or follow him on Facebook for your latest weather forecast updates.

POP QUIZ: Can you guess these NJ theme parks from Google Earth images?

Gallery Credit: Dan Zarrow

More From Cat Country 107.3