Blue Streak

Conneaut Lake Park

A classic out-and-back woodie, built by renowned rollercoaster designer Edward Vettel and designated both an ACE Coaster Classic and ACE Rollercoaster Landmark.

Theme ParkConneaut Lake Park
TypeWooden Rollercoaster
ManufacturerEdward Vettel
Height78 ft
Length2900 ft
Max Speed78 mph
Duration2½ minutes
Blue Streak's station

Blue Streak's station

Conneaut Lake Park's Scenic Railway was built in 1909, but by the end of the 1937 season was becoming dated and its gentle drops were no longer giving the thrills that visitors were after. It was demolished to make way for the new and much more exciting Blue Streak rollercoaster, which opened in July 1938. It is likely that parts of the original Scenic Railway were reused during construction.

Blue Streak was designed and built by Edward Vettel of Pittsburgh and featured the latest technology which allowed for sensationally steep drops. The layout follows an out-and-back style, almost 3000 feet in length and nearly 80 feet at its highest point.

The rollercoaster uses a rare shallow-track design, named because the wooden track bed is split into an upper and lower section sandwiching its cross supports. Normally, wooden rollercoaster track is formed of a thicker layer of wood sitting on top of the cross supports.

Turnaround section

Turnaround section

The ride begins with a long winding tunnel to take the train from the ride station to the lift hill. The first drop is intensely steep, and leads on to two large hills, before the train climbs again ready to turn right and traverse the sweeping turnaround section. The return leg features four more hills, followed by a covered turnaround which takes the train back to the station and into the manually operated brakes at the unload platform.

Unfortunately, these days Blue Streak is quite rough. It's still quite an enjoyable ride, but expect a few bruises if you're not careful!

In 1962, a marathon rollercoaster riding session was attempted on Blue Streak. The charity event involved DJs Brian Emory and Dick Lepley taking 283 circuits on Blue Streak over a period of 14 hours and 15 minutes. This broke the previous world record by 22 circuits and raised $904.05.

Vettel (left) and NAD (right) trains in the station

Vettel (left) and NAD (right) trains in the station

Also in the 1960s, Blue Streak's original Vettel trains were replaced by two new National Amusement Device Company Century Flyer trains. The Century Flyer trains featured working headlights powered by a battery in the front car of the train. Sadly, one of these trains was later destroyed in a fire.

In 2002, one of the Vettel trains was restored after having only been used to "wear in" the track after winter closures for the previous 30 or so years, and in 2004, it was returned to regular service. Being lighter than the NAD Century Flyer train, it was hoped this decision would also reduce maintenance costs.

Blue Streak was due to be closed in 1992, and the park ran an advertising campaign encouraging the public to come and take their last ride on the classic coaster. Luckily, a change in ownership of the park reversed the decision. However, with the park's ongoing financial problems, Blue Streak did not operate for two periods in the 1990s and early 2000s.

It reopened in 2010 and has been running since then, using the remaining NAD Century Flyer train due to the cost of adding modern restraints to the original Vettel train, which can still be seen parked alongside in the ride station.

ACE Coaster Landmark

The American Coaster Enthusiasts group designated Blue Streak an ACE Coaster Landmark in 2010, in recognition of its historical significance. Today, it is one of only two remaining examples of Edward Vettel's rollercoaster designs. It was also one of the first coasters to be given ACE Coaster Classic status. A sign outside the ride describes the achievement.

Blue Streak's ACE Coaster Landmark designation

Blue Streak's ACE Coaster Landmark designation

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