VERIFY: Is the Lightning Rod at Dollywood closed more often than open?

Viewers wanted to know, Is Dollywood's Lightning Rod rollercoaster closed more often than it's open? Reporter Madison Wade looked into the question.

PIGEON FORGE - It's billed as the world's fastest wooden roller coaster. But some Dollywood visitors wonder if the Lightning Rod is down more than it is up.

The thrill ride was closed Thursday for maintenance but officials at the park assure there are no problems with it. 

"The ride is operating at a much more consistent level than it did at this time last year," said Pete Owens, director of public relations for the park. 

Owens admitted they have heard complaints and questions regarding the Lightning Rod, installed last year. 

Similar comments appeared on Facebook after the Travel Channel shared this video and posed the question, "Could you handle the world's fastest wooden roller coaster?"

People replied with a different question, "Does it still count as the fastest when it is constantly sitting still?"

Owens said the ride had its problems in 2016.

"I can tell you definitively that Lightning Rod is operating much more consistently this year than it did at this same time last year," he said. 

According to Owens, so far in 2017, the ride has been closed 6 out of 47 days.

The number of closures during 2016 was not available Thursday. 

Owens recalls the ride was closed for nearly two weeks last year after the manufacturer, Rocky Mountain Construction, ordered a mechanical recall.

A quick look at the Better Business Bureau website reveals the manufacturer has an 'A+' rating and zero complaints.

Other closures could have been because of weather, resetting a sensor or adding another train.

"This ride has prototype trains and they are the first of their kind," Owens added. 

According to the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the Lightning Rod is safe and operable.

A March inspection report done by a third party inspector states it plainly on the park's permit to operate.

"The ride is safe. It's certified to ride. It is a great ride experience. We just want the operation to be more consistent, and we continue to work on that, and I think it's going to be a great ride for Dollywood for years to come," Owens said. 

So, while it has had problems in the past,  it is not true that the ride is down more often than not.
 

Help VERIFY

Help our journalists VERIFY the news. Do you know someone else we should interview for this story? Did we miss anything in our reporting? Is there another story you'd like us to VERIFY? Click here.

 
 

© 2017 WBIR.COM


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment