Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Coney Island Opening a New Thunderbolt in 2014

© New York Post
The original Thunderbolt, a classic John Miller designed wooden coaster, stood in Coney Island from 1925 until 2000 (operating until 1982), and along with the Cyclone was one of the staples of the beach side area.  It was eventually torn down after standing idle for many years, but now the force behind Luna Park and Scream Zone have announced plans for an all new version of the Thunderbolt.

The new coaster, steel instead of wood, appears to be Zamperla's first foray into building a compact coaster similar to the Gerstlauer Euro Fighter models.  The new Thunderbolt will stand 125 feet tall, have 2,000+ feet of track, and hit a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour.  The ride's layout will include several inversions and utilize three cars each carrying up to nine passengers at a time.

Map © Google
The ride will be built on a very narrow piece of land, around where the red line is above, close to the Brooklyn Cyclones stadium and partially next to where go-karts and a Skycoaster were opened last Summer.  The rest of the open space near where the Thunderbolt will go is not owned by the city, forcing the ride to have a very narrow but long layout.

You can also see the new Steeplechase Plaza with the resurrected B&B Carousel under construction on the map above.  With that development now open, and the coaster coming next year there will be much less undeveloped space along the stretch of the boardwalk.  I'm looking forward to seeing how the first custom-designed ride in the 'new' era of Coney Island turns out!


CAI Parks has released a new video showing off Thunderbolt Reborn - which gives us new details on the coaster.

The movie shows that there is one big change from the concept art shown at the start of this story - Thunderbolt Reborn will use an elevator lift instead of a vertical one.  That's definitely new technology for Zamperla, but I suppose it does help save some space.  Here we see the ride's station area, and right after dispatch the car moves forward onto the elevator section.

The video shows the car being lifted up and it appears as though the tower itself rotates 180 degrees in order to get the car headed in the correct direction.  There is another lift segment on the other side of the tower, moving downward as the car goes up, to get ready for the next dispatch.  Similar to what we've seen on Intamin lifts for the plunge rides.

Here's a shot of the car moving into place at the top of the tower.  The car has three rows of seats, each row has three seats for a total of nine passengers.  Hopefully they plan ahead and maybe make a single rider line to help fill that third seat.

The ride's layout starts with a 125 foot plunge downward, and up into a large vertical loop.  After that is what looks like a modified corkscrew, stretched out so that it slightly resembles a heartline roll.  A heavily banked wave turn is after that, and then trains quickly enter a reverse dive loop, for lack of better words.  Two long camel hills lead the trains back to the final brakes.

Here's the video!


Emily Imes said...

I am so stupid excited I can't hold still.

Mostly because of the history surrounding Coney Island, the Thunderbolt name, and that spot on Kensington. After I became a coaster junkie in 2005, I set out to find the most famous coaster in the world, naturally turning up the Cyclone - and a bunch of articles about the Coney of yesteryear.

I'm not in any position to say the old TB should have been saved considering its condition, but I was sad that a coaster had been torn down so suddenly, without warning, after people has been trying to save it. (This is not an isolated incident - I cried buckets when Geauga closed.) When I went to the neighborhood in 2011 for the first time, the rides weren't even open, but I didn't care; I just went to that spot on Kensington and remembered.

I'm a Manhattanite now, so the Island is just a trip on the D train away. And I always get excited by the way new Coney brings back old Coney (such as this, and in Luna Park's name). Putting a new coaster in that spot will finally give that lot life after losing what once stood there, but naming it after its old tenant brings back history in an entirely new way. Good job Zamperla, and I for one can't wait for 2014.