Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dorney Park Highlights Improvements to Thunderhawk Wooden Coaster in 2016

The focus of the changes that will be apparent to visitors to Dorney Park in 2016 will the park's classic Thunderhawk wooden roller coaster, which is being totally refreshed this winter.

The ride, which originally opened in 1923, will be operating for its 94th season this year, and will look better than ever when it does.

© Dorney Park
Thunderhawk will be receiving a pair of new trains from the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, known as PTC, that feature more modern upgrades with a classic look.  The trains will replace the older PTC running stock that have been on the coaster for many years.

The concept art for the trains can be seen above, showing off a nice open-air front car with the ride's logo attached to it.  The trains will feature two main colors (blown up in size on the left), a deep shade of red that is accented with orange near the top of the car.  The concept photo above notes that the colors will be inverted on the second train to differentiate it.  The trains will feature individual lap bars and at least if we go off this art there will be no seat dividers or headrests.

The trains are big news, but Thunderhawk will also have a different look this year as it will be fully repainted "sharp white" and feature all new white running lights that outline the structure's curves.  The white paint, along with the new trains, will have the ride looking like it's only 4, not 94 years old!

Dorney Park notes that Thunderhawk is the 8th oldest wooden roller coaster operating in the United States, and the 10th oldest on the planet.

© PTC / Michael Fehnel
Since we're talking so much about Thunderhawk, I also thought it made sense to feature this photo of the ride when it was simply known as The Coaster, taken shortly after it opened.  The photo was given to Dorney Park's General Manager, Michael Fehnel, by PTC and he was nice enough to share it.

The Coaster's track had not yet been modified into the more twisted layout it has today, as you can see the not-yet-fully-painted ride is still an out-and-back design.  Wonderful look at the 'old' version of the coaster that is hard to find!


Jeffpiatt said...

All that's left to restore is the lost tunnel and the bumper cars.