One of the few ramaining brakeman operated wooden rollercoasters in the world...

Theme ParkLinnanmäki
TypeWooden Rollercoaster
AudienceOlder Families and Thrillseekeers
Opened13 July 1951
Height75 ft
Length3150 ft
Max Speed37 mph
Duration2 minutes
The brakeman guides the train over a drop

The brakeman guides the train over a drop

Vuoristorata (Finnish for "rollercoaster", or more literally "mountain range track") is a classic wooden coaster, and the elderly statesman of a ride overlooking the rest of the park at Linnanmäki.

The ride was designed by Danish rollercoaster designer Valdemar Lebech as a slightly larger version of his Rutschebanen coaster at Dyrehavsbakken in Denmark. Vuoristorata was constructed over the winter of 1950 and, when it opened in July 1951, was supposed to be a temporary addition to Linnanmäki. It had been brought to the amusement park as an extra attraction for the Summer Olympic Games which were held in Helsinki in 1952. However, such was the popularity of the rollercoaster, that it became a permanent addition that has remained in place ever since.

Vuoristorata was the last side friction wooden rollercoaster to be built, where the trains only have running wheels plus additional side friction wheels to help prevent them derailing. Modern rollercoasters have a third set of "upstop" wheels which effectively permanently clamp the trains to the track, making it impossible for them to jump the rails.

To prevent derailments, Vuoristorata employs a brakeman whose job, as the name suggests, is to ride at the rear of the train and apply a manual brake to ensure a safe speed throughout the journey. It is one of very few examples of brakeman operated coasters left in the world - other examples include the Scenic Railway at Dreamland and Roller Coaster at Great Yarmouth. Since the brakemen literally hold the safety of riders in their hands, they are carefully chosen from amongst the park's ride operators and undergo two weeks of intensive training by the existing experienced brakemen before they are allowed to assume their role.

The track follows a figure of eight style layout, with the train turning around at either end before diving down drops which cross over the other half of the track. Vuoristorata features a number of airtime hills which have riders flying out of their seats, plus a finale tunnel that adds to the excitement.

Undoubtedly, Vuoristorata is a classic rollercoaster, and still provides fun and thrills today. While the rest of Linnanmäki has grown up around it, it is clear that Vuoristorata is still very much the star of the show.

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