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CoasterSpeak: J to Z

A glossary of roller coaster terminology


J through Z


Junior Coaster (See Family)


LIM (Linear Induction Motor)
A launched coaster that uses repelling magnetic forces to shoot riders out of the station (and possibly, at several other points along the coaster's course).

Launched Coaster (Also known as Catapult)
The use of linear induction motors, linear synchronous motors, powered pneumatic tires, compressed air, hydraulics, or anything else ride designers can come up with to launch coaster trains from a standing start. An alternative to a traditional chain lift system.

Lift Hill
Generally, the initial ascent up a coaster.

An element that sends riders up vertically, turns them over and deposits them right side up.

LSM (Linear Synchronous Motor)
A launched coaster that uses repelling magnetic forces to shoot riders out of the station (and possibly, at several other points along the coaster's course).


Out and Back
As the name implies, a coaster that travels out to a point, turns around and returns to the station. As opposed to a Twister Coaster.


Racing or Racer Coaster (See Dueling)

Runaway Mine Train
Coasters, generally Family-level, that are designed to look like mine cars. Patterned after Disney's famous Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.


Scenic Railway
An early name for roller coasters. The included "scenic" dioramas along the route.

Shuttle Coasters
Any coaster that proceeds forward, stops, then heads backwards through the same course in reverse. As opposed to a traditional full circuit coaster.

Side Friction Coaster
An old style of coaster that does not have guide wheels but uses wheels on the sides of the train. An example is the oldest operating coaster in the US, Leap the Dips at Lakemont Park in Altoona, PA.

Spinning Coaster
A variation on the Wild Mouse, spinning coasters feature single cars that can spin on an axis as they navigate the track. Depending on the weight and distribution of the riders in each car, the spinning is different each ride. Primeval Whirl at Disney's Animal Kingdom is an example of a spinning coaster.

Standup Coaster
Riders stand, instead of sit, on adjustable, bicycle-type seats.

Staple or Stapling
A negative term used to describe the action of a ride operator ratcheting down a lap bar or other restraint or tightly cinching a seat belt, thereby making a rider uncomfortable. By restricting movement, overly "stapling" riders also reduces the sensation of airtime.

Strata Coaster
Cedar Point coined this term to describe its over-400 foot Top Thrill Dragster coaster.

Suspended Coasters
The train hangs beneath the tracks and freely pivots. (As opposed to rigid, floorless Inverted Coasters.)


Terrain Coaster
Instead of building a mass of lumber or steel on flat ground, this coaster uses the natural topography of a hilly site. The track typically hugs the ground and follows the site's terrain.

Trim Brake
The bane of coaster lovers. A brake that slows a train mid-course or at other points along the route.

Any element that reverses a train's direction. Typically found at the halfway point of an Out and Back Coaster.

A coaster that turns and twists into itself. As opposed to an out-and-back coaster. Also known as a cyclone coaster.


The unfortunate event that occurs when a train stops in the middle of a ride because it loses momentum and gets caught between elements.


Wild Mouse
A coaster that sends riders in individual cars rather than a train. Often makes sharp turns. Was once quite popular, now making a comeback.

Wing (or Winged) Coaster
Instead of riding above the track, the seats on the extra-wide wing coaster trains are to the left and right sides of the track (sort of like the wings of a bird). Riders have nothing above or beneath them (and riders on the outside seats have nothing to one side of them) as they tackle the coaster's acrobatic maneuvers.

Endearing term for a wood coaster.


Zero-G Roll (See Heartline Roll)

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