Lightning Rod Re-Opens, For Good?


Lightning Rod at Dollywood has reopened.

The RMC-built Lightning Rod has been plagued with nothing but trouble since its opening in 2016. Missing most of its debut season and closed since July of this year, problems previously seemed to be focused on the unique 1500-horsepower launch system as the main problem. These were confirmed to not be the issues when Pete Owens (Vice President of Marketing for Dollywood) previously stated in a CoasterForce interview that "the launch works great, were working through some other issues on the ride, were looking for a long term fix."

Reports of bumps along certain parts of the track have been mentioned by some riders but never confirmed by Dollywood or Rocky Mountain Construction. This could lead to us seeing some re-profiled sections of the track during the 2019 off-season for improved rider comfort.

Currently, Lightning Rod has reopened for guests to ride after receiving an update to the train, The front "zero-car" no longer has as much theming and weight to it according to pictures surfacing on twitter.

Image by @coaster_mojo shows the old zero-car (top) and new car (bottom). Much of the theming has been stripped off the car.
Lightning Rod features the fastest top speed of a wooden coaster, 73mph, and more than a dozen airtime moments through its 3/4-mile long track.
The new front car is much smaller and looks to have shed quite some weight. It also gives riders in the first row more of an unobstructed view. (Pic: Daniel Glauser)
RMC was formed in 2001 by Fred Grubb and Suanne Dedmon. RMC has designed, engineered, manufactured and installed some of the world’s most daring coasters. Additionally, the company has performed rehabilitation work on a number of wooden coasters worldwide.

In 2008, renowned coaster engineer Alan Schilke collaborated with Grubb to design RMC’s two new revolutionary track technologies, the “Topper” and “I Box” tracks. These two new track systems have established RMC as one of the world’s leading coaster engineering companies. -Dollywood

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