Featured Photo #12 – Arrow’s Looping Masterpiece Is Still a Thing of Beauty

Featured Photos

Loch Ness Monster - Interlocking Loops
Over thirty years since it was built, the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens has to be one of the most beloved Arrow creations on the planet. Its signature interlocking loops next to the Rhine River have been a landmark of Busch Gardens Williamsburg for many years. As a kid I remember seeing commercials that featured the two trains lit up with lights, running at night, and looping simultaneously. It was like nothing I (and likely many had never seen). Unfortunately, they don’t usually run the ride this way. I asked the park why and I can’t remember their answer. If anyone knows, feel free to chime in below.

The steel masterpiece has held up well over the years thanks to Busch’s maintenance (which I detailed here in my post on the park’s coaster tour).  I’m sure Nessie still surprises new riders who have no idea where they’re headed as it’s pretty tough to see the ride’s entire layout thanks to the abundance of trees.

Here’s a video that shows the trains looping together:

Read my full Loch Ness Monster review.

What’s Your Take?
What’s your take on this photo and Loch Ness Monster? Would you say it’s Arrow’s best coaster, or at least best looper? Leave a comment below.

Photos, content, and the most insightful, entertaining, or amusing reader comments from my Photo of the Week posts will be included my new book. Read more about my book project. All images are the property of TheCoasterCritic.com

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

13 Comments

  1. SFGE once had an Arrow with inter-locking loops. I think it was called "Lightning Loops".

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  2. I wouldn't call it the BEST Arrow looper but it's close. I still love SFMM's Viper a little more, but this is a true gem.

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  3. The best arrow coasters are Magnum and X2. Best arrow looper? Maybe. I will find out when I ride Loch Ness Monster this June! Certainly looks like the best looper from Arrow.

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  4. If only the ride itself would be as beautiful as the pictures of it. Can't wait for that.

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  5. Oh yes, YES!!! (says like mad scientist) The monster STILL LIVES!!!!!

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  6. I remember riding Nessie when it was less than a month old. There was no internet or anything similar, so we were clueless as to what to expext. It was our the first time at BG and the first thing we rode. We only caught a brief glimpse of it through all of the trees before we boarded. My first experience with horse collars, too, so I couldn't squirm around enough to see what was in store. That right turn, in the front seat , left us hanging for a second before the intitial plunge. At that point, that was the tallest coaster I'd been on. And only my second looper (Sooper Dooper Looper was my first.) Incredible, breathtaking first ride. That began my love and appreciation for steel coasters.

    Nessie was and still is great eye candy. That trip I shot almost 2 rolls of film just on that beauty alone and I still take a few shots whenever I visit. Lightning Loops at SFGA were only shuttle loops and barely worth the climb up all those stairs. Nessie was and is not only photogenic, but one of the best Arrow loopers ever. The Loch Ness Monster, Dragon Mountain in Niagra Falls, Canada and The Tennessee Tornado at Dollywood are the only ones left that I deem still rideable.

    The rest…? OUCH! I loved the Scream Machine at SFGA… in it's earliet years! And the one up near Chicago could have sold souvenir crash helmets. Hooray for Intamin and B&M for taking us to the next levels.

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  7. To answer your question about why they don't have the trains run the run loops at the same time, it is supposedly now impossible. When I did the Coasters at Night tour last year, I asked why the trains did not simultaneously interlock. Apparently, when Griffon was built in 2007, B&M created a new safety design on the pre-lift track. It weighed the train and measured its speed as it approached the lift and automatically adjusted the speed at the bottom section of the lift hill to match the speed of the train exactly for the smoothest transition possible. That's B&M for you, always making every little thing smooth as glass. Anyway, Alpengeist and Apollo's Chariot go right into the lift immediately from the station, and Loch Ness Monster was the only ride that had any track before the lift hill. Busch Gardens made the decision to incorporate the new technology on Loch Ness to help create a smoother transition. Now, it is unfortunately impossible to time this unique running of the trains as they did before. Before Griffon was built, only experienced ride ops tried to time the loops.

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    • Thanks Franco. Now that you've explained that, I remember hearing it on the tour. I just couldn't jot everything I heard down and that was one of the things that was foggy for me.

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    • I think that having a smooth ride is much more perferable than Interlocking trains, no matter how cool the interlocking trains look.

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    • Almost. It is impossible now (save for stopping and restarting the ride manually), but not because of the weight/speed mechanism. The track is now divided into 'blocks' of which only one train can enter at a time. because of the spacing of the trains so a lockdown does not occur (when one train stops before entering the next block because it is already oppcupied), it is impossible for 2 trains to cross on the loops.

      But if I remember correctly, if there are only two trains running, and you stop each train on the two lift hills and restart the lifts at the right interval, it can work.

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  8. Wow pretty cool I want to ride it!

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  9. whoa! how do you ride that without losing body parts? looks terrifying and a Must-Ride!

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  10. Yes indeed

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