Say goodbye to a beloved roller coaster at Kings Dominion. The park has decided to remove Volcano: The Blast Coaster.

Kings Dominion announced the decision in a blog post on their website on Friday, Feb. 8:

"After thorough evaluation, the decision has been made to remove Volcano: The Blast Coaster. This wasn’t an easy decision for us, because we know that people love this one-of-a-kind coaster; however, over time it became nearly impossible to keep the ride up to our high standards of reliability and guest satisfaction, and for these reasons we had to make the tough call," Maggie Sellers, a spokesperson for Kings Dominion wrote in the post.



"We apologize to anyone who is inconvenienced by the removal, but hope they will understand that it was done to enhance the overall guest experience here at Kings Dominion," she continued.

No updates have been provided on the schedule for the removal or plans for what will go in the space.

Volcano, a suspended roller coaster that turned riders upside down and looped  them around an imitation volcano, debuted at the park in 1998.

The coaster was created by Intamin AG, Switzerland and located in the Safari Village part of the park. It featured 4 inversions, had a 2,757-foot track, and reached speeds of 72 miles per hour.

In 2006, when a Volcano roller coaster car rolled backward, 15 riders had to be rescued and one rider was hospitalized. Afterwards the ride was shut-down for a few weeks until it could be properly inspected.

Here's an article from the Richmond Times-Dispatch archives describing the  ride's debut in 1998:

Kings Dominion Coaster Spews Volcanic Action

August 4, 1998

Nearly 400 years after a Russian showman built a wooden sled, covered it with ice and charged it down a hill, coasting along undulating surfaces remains popular.

And now, Paramount's Kings Dominion has unleashed a roller coaster called Volcano, The Blast Coaster, on which riders travel at 70 mph in seats suspended from looping tracks. With its debut yesterday, Volcano became the fastest inverted (hanging from tracks) coaster in the world, surpassing the Alpengeist (at 67 mph) at Busch Gardens.

The coaster loops around a volcano that erupts with fire at the beginning of every ride.

From the base of what was once Smurf Mountain, the ride slowly treks out of the station and into the mountain. The ride then shocks its passengers by suddenly blasting off into a dark cavern. The coaster briefly emerges from the mountain, slinging riders outward before re-entering the volcano.

The coaster rockets straight up through the dark mountain, then erupts through its peak. However, just as lava cools, so does the rest of the ride. The remainder of Volcano is tamer, as it corkscrews around the sides of the mountain until it reaches bottom.

Planners wanted to incorporate the new ride into the existing landscape, which featured a volcano that once housed The Lost World. Built in 1979, the area had a kiddie train, water flume and shaft ride. But with those attractions gone, the park looked to a design team in Charlotte, N.C., for new possibilities. They decided on a coaster that would have four heart-stopping inversions and would travel up the volcano's shaft during its two-minute ride.

Substituting linear induction motors for chains and cranks, the coaster, which has half a mile of track, travels smoothly upward, said David Ferguson, a creative director of Paramount Parks Design and Entertainment in Charlotte and one of the designers. And it's one of only four or five roller coasters in the world using the motors, he said.

Steven Thompson of the Mid-Atlantic Coaster Club said Volcano was "certainly the most unique steel coaster" he had ever been on. He first rode a coaster at a Maryland theme park when he was 11, but the speed terrified him. He didn't ride again until he was 30, when he grudgingly agreed to go on Busch Gardens' Loch Ness. He got hooked. Now the 50-year-old certified public accountant goes on one or two trips a year with the 350-member club to ride coasters in America and abroad.

By yesterday afternoon, he had ridden Volcano seven times and was ready for more of that "big adrenaline rush."

"It's a fast, smooth pacing ... from the moment you're sling-shotted out of the loading platform, " said Paul Ruben, an editor at Park World, a magazine for the amusement park industry. "I think everyone likes to test the edge, " he said.

ccurran@timesdispatch.com

(804) 649-6151

Twitter: @collcurran

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