Legendary Steel Phantom coaster redesigned
Length of track: 3,365 feet.
Biggest drop: 232 feet.
Highest point above ground: 160 feet.
Top speed: 85 mph.
Ride time: 1 minute, 45 seconds.
Capacity: 1,400 guests per hour.
Trains: Two 28-passenger cars.
Source: Kennywood Park
Gone are the old coaster's corkscrew turns - which turned riders upside down - but coming soon is a burst of incredible speed.
Phantom's Revenge, which is still under construction but slated to open before June in West Mifflin, promises to shoot people down a 232-foot slope at 85 mph - ever so smoothly - before it climbs again, then dives under the park's legendary 45- to 50-mph Thunderbolt.
'All the upside-down elements are gone. ... We wanted it to appeal to a greater audience,' park manager Pete McAneny said Thursday as dozens of heavy equipment operators, welders, carpenters and others worked on the new Phantom's massive black steel supports and Godzilla-green tracks.
Phantom's Revenge combines parts of the old Steel Phantom, built in 1991 by Arrow Dynamics, with new elements designed by D.H. Morgan Manufacturing of California.
The Morgan company's 95-mph Steel Dragon 2000 coaster at Nagashima Spaland in Mie, Japan, holds four Guinness World Records as the world's tallest, fastest, longest and longest-first-drop roller coaster.
To create Phantom's Revenge, a modified version of the old Phantom, designers sort of cut off an arm - the corkscrews turns - to generate a new tail - the longer, faster second drop, followed by a third climb and dive that ends with a series of short up-and-down undulations designed to give riders a floating sensation.
'We have the potential for the third drop to be the most exciting element of the ride,' McAneny said.
Phantom's Revenge will employ new cars with lap restraints - no shoulder harnesses - but will use the old Steel Phantom's platform for arrivals and departures.
Phantom's Revenge also will incorporate the same initial two climbs and connecting drop as riders experienced on the Steel Phantom.
Installation of Phantom's Revenge required workers to sink new 20-foot cement footers in the rocky ravine where the Thunderbolt takes its legendary dive.
'The site is what makes it so tough to build,' McAneny said.
Indeed, to accommodate the new coaster's third big drop and climb, workers removed and replaced a section of the wooden Thunderbolt.
Kennywood will be open at 1 p.m. Saturday for a preview day, but not all rides will be open. Closing time is undetermined. Closed Sunday. Kennywood is open April 21 and weekends beginning April 28. The park opens daily beginning May 11. Admission: $25.95 ride-all-day weekends; $20.95 ride-all-day weekdays. Details: (412) 461-0500.
Deborah Deasy can be reached at (412) 320-7989 or firstname.lastname@example.org .