Once upon a time
a thriving coaster company was the Bolliger and Mabillard of their day.
Developing each and every ride with oodles of initiative, Arrow Dynamics
were the manufacturer first approached by many parks as they could
satisfy most parks’ specific requirements.
A lot of money was routed in the direction of a preordained
concept, the Pipeline coaster, which, due to design issues never
happened. The money invested in this project was lost forever in a whim
that was never to be. Whilst Arrow were concentrating on this disaster,
other companies over took them with new and successful concepts,
ironically often twists on coasters Arrow had championed (stand ups, inverted coasters…).
After wasting money on this and progressing nowhere, Arrows
brochure now only consisted of passé coasters that were no longer
attractive. It was with this in mind that the last coaster of any
relevance that they sold was a mine-train. Since then the former
greatest have now lowered their benchmark to creating the likes of wild
One of the last coasters they sold was El Diablo. As a new
coaster in a new park they had a great opportunity to show off what they
were capable of. As a runaway mine train, the theme is merely that: an
out of control train, unrestrained around an abandoned Mexican silver
Although it is geographically close to the Silver River
Flume, which resides in the Far West, it is far beyond the dusty streets
of the west, instead in Mexico, which makes for a long walk.
You enter past a millpond on the right, around which one of
the rides’ later helixes goes around. To your left are more turns,
this time both above and below, all supported with a wooden framework.
After the helix the track rises up and over the entrance
before diving through a smoking building. It is under here that you
enter, and the queue takes you through the centre of the rides’ final
turn, next to the brake run. The queue slaloms through some large mining
buildings before some steps take you into the station.
theming here is top-notch. Instead of a mountain (mines go underground
anyway), the first half takes place over a gorgeously blue lake, the
second ducks and dives through tunnels and caverns. The wood supports
also make for a very rustic look, again, something many mine-trains
For those of you who have ridden the Vampire, the first of
many similarities, this time in the form of the ‘chirping’ noise the
brakes make as the train arrives, and subsequently departs from the
The station is large for a runaway mine-train, and you can
pretty much choose where you sit. It’s a runaway mine-train, so it
makes little difference, so it would probably be best to head for where
the queue isn’t.
When you get in the train, it takes the form of the Big One
with the single lap-bars that annoyingly fall into you as you board, and
the bucket style fibreglass seats on which you sit. Like the big one,
leg room is one inch too small, the bars are annoying, and the seats
comfortable whilst the train is stationary.
Once the staff have run along the length of the train
checking bars, the train slowly coasts out, and once it leaves, dives
down a surprising six-foot drop into a tight turn deep down underground
with bare rock walls to your right. It is this most fun turn that will
take you up to the first lift.
The lift is of average speed and takes you about 45ft up
above the same lake shared by the earlier mentioned Silver River Log
Flume that intertwines El Diablo. Therefore, you are likely to get
over-excited Log Flume riders waving ardently at you.
At the top of the lift, the train drops slightly, slaloming
through the Silver River Flume above the lake, making a sharp turn
before hitting some brakes and starting the second lift. It isn’t
particularly smooth considering it has traversed some dead track
brightened up by a couple of turns. No effort to add padding to the seat
has been made so you are merely sitting on a fibreglass shell. It rides
pretty strangely too, very stunted with a shuffling type feel, as if the
train is too long.
The second lift takes you up to about the same height as
the first. The first can be seen to your left climbing in the opposite
direction and as your attention may briefly be diverted, you soon climb
over the top of the lift.
You dip off to the left, turning 180-degrees, straightening
out and going along a most perplexing straight of track. You then turn
180-degrees back round to the right passing a transfer track (equating
to even more dead track) before hitting the third and final lift.
And the award for the worst piece of track in living
history goes to…
This living foible apparently arose due to contractual
problems resulting in a chunk of the ride being left out. What is left
is a lift hill with a ramp of track taking you to the next lift. You can
look behind you in disbelief if you wish, and sure enough, there it is,
the most peculiar piece of track ever fashioned. A brake run is likely
to entertain you more.
The ride goes onto redeem itself somewhat following this
most entertaining cockeyed stretch of track. You dive down sharply,
swooping into a deep, dark and long tunnel. You climb out of this and
motor into the millpond helix, wrapping around a disused wooden
waterwheel over a patch of water. You climb, dive through a hole in the
wall of a building before enveloping the queue line and hitting the
enclosed brake run, turning and returning to the station.
So, what of the ride? Bearing in mind this is a family
ride, it isn’t as bad as many people say. That said, however, if it
wasn’t for the final jaunt off of the third lift, this ride would be
just diabolical. The first ten seconds bode well, but the leg between
the first and second lifts are pretty lacklustre and devoid of any
Between the second and third lift just defies explanation.
I cannot think of enough adjectives to express the most remarkable
length of track I have ever travelled on. And to have the transfer track
halfway through the ride? That is surly a first.
It all picks up after the third lift though. If the whole
ride consisted of such fluid and swooping dives and turns then we would
have a winner. The finished ride though is a bit of a sham, and from
what I have ridden so far, what I expect from Arrow.
It seems Arrow created some very unique concepts very early
on. Perhaps they lost the plot soon after this, but they have since been
making scores of middling rides that lack innovation (though they did
try), consistency and any conspicuous elements.
A good coaster for
A great ending
A nice setting with
some nice theming around the ride
▪ Patchy pacing. Parts
are good, most is bad
▪ Cheep feeling trains
don't give as smooth a ride as they should