Two electrifying European coasters
Toutatis at Parc Astérix and Voltron at Europa Park
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Multi-launch coasters are all the rage with new rides opening and under development across the globe. Fans will be able to experience two such magnetically launched attractions in Europe, with Toutatis set to open at Parc Astérix in France in about a week and Voltron coming to Germany’s Europa Park in 2024. Both of the coasters look positively wild.
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Compared to traditional coasters, which use a chain lift hill and gravity to send trains rollicking through their layouts, multi-launch coasters incorporate electro-magnetic propulsion, using linear synchronous motors (or LSM) to blast their trains into action. As the name implies, multi-launch coasters feature more than one launch over the course of their rides. Toutatis and Voltron will also be multi-pass coasters, meaning that they will repurpose their LSM-embedded track sections as trains pass forwards and backwards over the same launch motors.
The tallest and fastest coaster in France, Toutatis will navigate a 167-foot top hat tower and hit a top speed of almost 67 mph. After an initial launch out of the station, it will deliver the first of two zero-G stalls, which will invert the train and leaves passengers hanging upside down for a few agonizing moments as they race forward.
Toutatis will then encounter a multi-pass launch that will first accelerate the train partly up the top hat tower, causing it to roll backwards into the second launch that will send it shooting up a spike. The train will peter out, then roll forward for the third pass over the launch that will goose it to full speed with enough momentum to go up and over the top hat hat tower. From there, Toutatis will scare the bejesus out of its riders with its second zero-G stall and finish with a barrel roll before returning to the station.
If the coaster sounds and looks a bit familiar, that’s because it’s similar to Pantheon, the glorious coaster that debuted last year at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Both of the rides are from Intamin, the European attraction manufacturer.
Toutatis is a Celtic god, which is in keeping with the new Gallic Festival area that Parc Asterix will be opening along with the coaster. The land will also include a spinning ride and a children’s play area. The coaster includes lots of scenic elements such as ancient looking rockwork in the loading station and alongside trenches through which the train passes.
Voltron will also evoke a bygone era, in this case the late 19th century when Nikolas Tesla was busy experimenting with the generation and distribution of electrical power. The coaster will circle around an ornate structure designed to look like a wireless transmission station known as a Tesla Tower. It will be located in the Croatia section of Europa Park, which is the birthplace of the famous inventor. This year, the park is introducing a 360-degree film, “Nikola Tesla’s Beautiful Croatia,” in the land.
Passengers will also experience a backwards launch up a spike and a launch up and over a top hat aboard Voltron, but they will first come to a full stop at about the midway point of the ride. The train will then turn 180 degrees on a turntable to align with the second section of track that will complete their journey. Like Toutatis, it appears that Europa Park will be lavishly themeing the attraction and including plenty of decorative rockwork and other design elements.
The German park pays homage to a number of European countries, including Greece, Ireland, Italy, and Iceland. It is owned and operated by the Mack family, which also runs Mack rides. The manufacturer supplies coasters and other rides to parks around the world and uses Europa Park as a showcase for its attractions.
Do you get a jolt out of launched coasters? What are your favorites? What’s your take on Toutatis and Voltron?
Certainly! I know there are purists that want the layout to remain the same, but I’m hoping they extend the layout to something akin to Xcelerator, for added value to the ride experience. Either way, I’m excited for its reopening!
Both of these coasters look amazing, if only they weren’t so far out of reach for a land locked enthusiast on the USA side of the pond! My top 3 launchers are: Top Thrill Dragster, Mr. Freeze whichever blast, and Powder Keg.