- Lightning Rod
Lightning Rod is a steel roller coaster located at Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC), the ride is themed to hot rod cars from the 1950s and opened to the public on June 13, 2016. Initially marketed as the first launched wooden roller coaster of its kind (soon to lose its launch status), Lightning Rod was later modified for the 2021 season, with over half of its wooden Topper Track getting replaced with RMC's steel I-Box track. Prior to the conversion, Lightning Rod was considered the fastest wooden coaster in the world reaching a maximum speed of 73 mph (117 km/h). On September 12, 2023, Dollywood announced that the last day Lightning Rod will be a launched wooden (now hybrid) coaster will be on October 30, 2023, after which the launch will be replaced with a high speed lift hill, which the ride will use upon reopening in Spring 2024.
Dollywood originally planned for the ride to open at the beginning of the 2016 season, but it was delayed due to a problem with the magnetic launch system. Lightning Rod operated in limited capacity for much of its inaugural season and has been plagued with issues over the years that led to frequent closures.