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Shockwave Shrapnel -- Six Flags Great America

After four years, I figured it's time to tell the full story about this junk I have.


This twisted, rusty chunk of steel was once a rail and rail tie for the ShockWave roller coaster that operated at Six Flags Great America from 1988 until 2002.


ShockWave stood 170-feet tall and reached speeds of 65mph; opening as the world's tallest and fastest looping roller coaster. It hurled riders through three vertical loops, a butterfly corkscrew (a combination of half-corkscrews and half-loops; 2 inversions in one element), and two normal corkscrews for a total of 7 inversions.


Unfortunately, the ShockWave was plagued with structural problems and became notorious for headbanging and an overall painful ride experience. These, and a rumored accident led to the ride's removal in 2002 for Superman - Ultimate Flight.


After sitting on a hill near Great America's employee parking lot for two years, the remains of Shockwave were cut up by torches and hauled to the scrapyard in October - November 2004.


After several phone calls, I traced down the scrapyard the ShockWave's remains were sent to (Cleveland Recycling in Zion, IL) and called them to ask if I could grab one of the scraps for "historical purposes". They then gave me a date for when the next truck would arrive from the park.


My mom drove me down there and we waited in the office for the truck to arrive. Once the truck arrived, the driver climbed to the bed and tossed this hunk of steel down. I brought it home and cleaned it up then threw it in my shed until I could find room for it.


It was quite funny watching the SFGAmWorld forums go apeshit after I posted the photos of the track the night it was brought home. There were some jealous people, and some that made false accusations that I stole it from the parking lot of Great America.


Unfortunately the Chicago climate took its toll on the steel and minor rust has formed, but most of the original paint has been preserved. The chunk was moved out of the shed and inside to my room in 2007 where it stands with various other bricks and pieces of places from my childhood.


I should make comment that this two-and-a-half foot long chunk of steel weighs well over 100 pounds or so, and it's a pain in the ass to move it anywhere.


As far as I know, this is the only remaining piece of the Shockwave's track that wasn't melted down at Cleveland Recycling. Small parts of the ride are still found at Six Flags Great America, many of them are Fright Fest props, or parts for the Demon. At one of the ACE Conventions a few bolts were auctioned off, and the trains are currently parts donors for Six Flags Magic Mountain and Six Flags Great Adventure's Arrow Mega-Loopers. One small section of track is rumored to have been re-fabricated to fit a corroding section of Great America's other Arrow looper, the Demon.


It is not for sale. Please do not ask. Do not bother Cleveland Recycling either, there are no more pieces of track as of early 2005.


Anyone else that has relics and/or memories of ShockWave please share in the photo comments.

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Taken on July 29, 2008