Scenic Fun on the Scenic Railway

One of the smallest amusement parks, an enthusiast might encounter during his travels is the Luna Park Melbourne in St.Kilda. The historic theme park is sitting on a triangular spot of land with no space to expand anywhere. The amusement park heavily influenced by Luna Park on Coney Island in New York opened its gates in 1912. Its star attraction is the Scenic Railway, which runs along the outskirts of the park and gives it a beautiful aesthetics. Within the courtyard of the wooden coaster, all other attractions are placed.

When you enter the park through its beautiful yet creepy entrance portal, you directly encounter one of the park’s mayor attractions. The Luna Park Carousel was built in 1913 by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters and features 68 horses and chariots. Each horse is unique and has a name.

Right next to it you can find a HUSS Enterprise, a Meisho built boat swing, as well as the Spider by the Eyerly Aircraft Company. This old-style flat ride has one of the creepiest decorations to be found on the eccentric designed by artist and children’s book author, Leigh Hobbs.

Past the park’s Ferris-Wheel, we quickly encounter a Power Surge by Zamperla. Although these rides are quite common on fair grounds in Australia and in the US, I’ve never encounter one of these attractions in person. I was surprised by its smooth and thrilling ride experience.

During our visit to Luna Park Melbourne, the park had hold two scare mazes. Extreme Phobia was located on the top level of the old Dodgems building, which nowadays is home to the Luna Palace room and Haunted Fairytales was located on the top floor of the Stardust room. Both haunted houses were upcharge and a rather expensive experience. My friend Aris went through Extreme Phobia yet did not found it particularly scary nor worth the money.

An attraction I would have wished to be at least a little bit scary was the traditional Ghost Train by the Pretzel Amusement Ride Company from 1934. The short ride in the small trains featured for the most part just dark corridors with static paintings, some black light effects and just a handful of animatronics. Given that the ride featured the longest line in the park, I was not at all impressed.

The novelty of this year was the small spinning coaster Speedy Beetle by SBF Visa, which just replaced the aging Silly Serpent family coaster. Surprisingly, it was the first spinning coaster of this type, I have come along. The small Figure-8 coaster can be found nearly everywhere around the globe and provides an excellent spinning ride for smaller guests.

The second big thrill ride of Luna Park Melbourne is the Kamikaze Pharaoh’s Curse by Fabbri. Unlike other Kamikaze rides by the company this one is much closer to the Original Sky Flyer by Vekoma and Mondial featuring just a comfy lap bar for the thrilling inverting ride. As good as this ride is, it looks like being in a terrible condition.

Something you cannot say about the Scenic Railway, which seems to be overall well kept. During my visit, it was the oldest operational roller coaster as Leap-the-Dips at Lakemont Park in Pennsylvania was currently in restoration. However, the ride is famous to be the oldest continuously operating roller coaster.

The ride on the Scenic Railway begins with a small S-Bend into the cable lift. After climbing the (for a coaster of that age surprisingly straight) lift, we pass a curve above the iconic entrance of Luna Park Melbourne. A large drop follows. After another scenic curve at lofty heights, we now descend close to the ground level and enter a camelback covered by a tunnel. With best views onto Port Phillip Bay, we take another turn. Shortly thereafter, the second round in the triangular layout of the ride starts. First, we take a large drop behind the station building of the Scenic Railway, before we take another S-Bend in order to continue our journey in the courtyard of the ride. Now we take a series of airtime hills and a tunnel while following the layout of the previously experienced track. While doing so, the train loses a lot of momentum and nearly crawls towards the station in the last curve.

The Scenic Railway is a historically significant roller coaster. Unfortunately, it is also the weakest scenic railway, I had the chance to try so far. It seems that the brakemen are using the brakes a bit too much and that the ride therefore becomes so gentle. Nevertheless, I am quite sure if you have a well experienced brakeman, you can have a blast of a time on the Scenic Railway.  It is a nice coaster with a fun layout and therefore worth to keep it running as long as possible. Just don’t miss it when you are visiting Melbourne.

Luna Park Melbourne is not a park I recommend visiting other for their iconic Scenic Railway. The park is expensive and there is a lack of attractions. Overall, it seems that the Luna Park Melbourne had its best years far behind. Everything is just a bit worn off and for a park of its size that does not give the best image you could have.


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