Q&A: The Swamp Fox All Wooden Roller Coaster

What makes a ride on the Swamp Fox so exciting?

The Swamp Fox is a wooden roller coaster that runs over a 2,400-foot figure-eight track. The “double out and back” design takes riders to heights of 75 feet at speeds up to 50 mph and features dramatic drops of up to 65 feet. It is number 10 on About.com’s list of “The 10 most Underrated Coasters In North America.”

Why is a ride on a wooden roller coaster unique?

The history, visual beauty and architectural design of wooden roller coasters add to their mystique. But what really sets wooden roller coasters apart is that they deliver a very different ride experience from steel roller coasters. Wooden coasters seem to have personalities all their own. From their rumbling, shuddering sounds to their thrilling vibrations, wooden coasters heighten the rider’s sense of danger. A wooden coaster’s train seems to fight to stay on the track. Functioning as a shock absorber, the coaster structure is designed to sway with the force of the moving train. The wooden roller coaster experience can be different throughout the day as the temperature or the weather changes. Rain brings out the rich smell of the wood, and expansions and contractions in the wood can translate into more movement. Some people even claim that wooden coasters run better at night when the grease on the track and the wheel bearings loosen up. In one experiment performed on the Swamp Fox, operators found that the train ran its track anywhere from eight to 10 seconds faster at 9 p.m. than it did around 2 p.m. in the afternoon.

How many wooden roller coasters are in operation in the United States?

According to the Roller Coaster Database (www.rcdb.com) there are only 115 operating wooden roller coasters in all of the United States.

How many wooden roller coasters are in operation in North and South Carolina?

According to the Roller Coaster Database (www.rcdb.com) there are only four operating wooden roller coasters in all of the Carolinas and only one (Swamp Fox) in South Carolina.

How did the Swamp Fox get its name?

It is named for American Revolutionary War leader, Francis Marion, a member of the South Carolina militia (1780-1781), who is generally recognized as one of the fathers of modern guerilla warfare. He was called “Swamp Fox” because he avoided capture by the British through his knowledge of South Carolina’s swamps which he used to hide his men between skirmishes with the enemy.