​Dollywood Lightning Rod Roller Coaster Suspended Following Grand Opening - UPDATE

Dollywood Lightning Rod Roller Coaster Suspended Following Grand Opening
Author: John LesterBy:
Staff Reporter
Jun. 21, 2016

Dollywood’s “Lightning Rod” is hailed as the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster, but it was brought to an abrupt stop last weekend following its grand opening.

As it turns out, the Pigeon Forge amusement park posted a notice on their website Sunday stating that the new Lightning Rod rollercoaster would be shut down temporarily due to a nation-wide mechanical recall.

According to a Dollywood spokesman, the manufacturer of the roller coaster, Rocky Mountain Construction, recalled a mechanical part and ordered all amusement parks that carry their rides to shut them down until further notice.

“We aren’t sure how long Lightning Rod will be closed for, but as soon as we receive the part we will expedite the process of replacing it to get up and running as soon as possible,” said Peter Owens, Dollywood Director of Media/Public Relations.

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The mechanical recall does not affect any of the other seven roller-coasters or any other attractions located in the park.

Several people saw photos of smoke next to the rollercoaster on social media, but Pete Owens, the director of public relations at Dollywood, said the photo seen at the Lightning Rod is not a fire. Owens said he’s seen the pictured shared on Facebook.

Owens said a motor overheated. No one was on the ride at the time.

The ride was shut down due to recalled parts, but the motor issue was unrelated to that recall.

Lightning Rod is a $22 million investment for Dollywood and has been marketed as the world’s fastest wooden roller-coaster, propelling guests at top speeds of more than 70 miles an hour and has been labeled as one of the most anticipated thrill rides of 2016.

“Lightning Rod” opened to the public last Monday, June 13 after a nearly three-week test rehearsal starting in May. Park officials said they hope to have the ride up and running again soon.

Park officials tell NewsOXY that the Lightning Rod will re-open on Friday.

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