The Mauch Chunk Switchback Gravity Railroad (Present-Day Jim Thorpe, PA)
The Switchback Gravity Railroad, built in 1827, was the second railroad built in the United States. The nine-mile track that ran from Summit Hill to Mauch Chunk only took approximately four months to build.
The large, 4' gauge car, filled with precious anthracite coal, descended by the force of gravity up to 50 mph downhill. The hard coal by canal boat and standard coal cars found its way to markets in New York City, NJ, Philadelphia, and was used to fuel the nation's growing industries.
By 1870 the steam-powered railroads made the Switchback obsolete. However It became popular in transporting tourists seeking an adventure, and visitors flocked from miles around to ride this early version of a roller coaster, taking in the views of the scenic beautiful mountain valley often referred to as "the Switzerland of America" birthplace of the American Industrial revolution.