Wednesday, February 10, 2016

New Dorney Park Thunderhawk Train Construction Photos + Original Coaster Contract

© Dorney Park
Just recently Dorney Park announced some major changes to Thunderhawk, their wooden roller coaster that dates back to 1924, for the 2016 season.  One of the largest changes to the coaster, aside from a sparkling white coat of paint, are a pair of brand new trains fabricated by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters (PTC).

Dorney Park sent some great photos, included in this post, of those new trains being fabricated at PTC.  Above are some of the front panels, complete with hold bars already installed.

© Dorney Park
PTC is building 8 three-seat articulating cars for Thunderhawk, with each of the two trains using four cars (a total of 24 riders per train).  The new trains are featuring a classic-inspired paint scheme, alternating in color pattern to differentiate the two trains.  One will predominantly feature a deep red color and be accented by a golden yellow, the other train will swap the two.  This photo shows off both of those schemes at play in the finished side panels for the cars.

© Dorney Park
Here is a closer view of the completed side panels, giving a really nice look at the new train colors.  These will really pop against the newly painted white structure of the coaster.

© Dorney Park
In this photo at left is Jim Schneck, Dorney Park's Graphic Services Manager and PTC's President Tom Rebbie inspecting the progress of one of the train's front car panels.  The park chose to go with a somewhat open design for the front of the trains, which is a throwback to classic wood coaster trains of the past.  The front will also feature the Thunderhawk logo, as shown in the park's concept art for the trains.

© Dorney Park
Moving on from the front and side panels of the trains, the true "guts" of the cars are also quite far along.  Here is a photo of the base components of the trains laid out in PTC's shop, already painted in a jet black colors.  I'm not a expert on the mechanics of wood coaster trains, but you can see that some of the wheel assemblies have been applied to the bases.

© Dorney Park
Here is one more final close up look at one of the train bases.  It's so wonderful to see Dorney Park put such effort into keeping one of their legacy rides in great shape.  I can't wait to try these out when the park opens this Spring.

© Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters
The park also sent to us this original contract document that PTC shared with them, from when Thunderhawk (then known just as The Coaster) was going to be built.  You'll have to click for the larger image to read it, but this is a wonderful find for those who appreciate roller coaster history!

The contract is between PTC and Richard Rusk and R. L. Plarr of Dorney Park for "all the cars, machinery, plans, specifications, etc." needed for the instillation of the coaster.  The total for the ride's train, machinery and chain and the ride's plans came to a cool $9,673.  In addition, the contract covers the services of ride designer Herbert Schmeck at $17 a day plus expenses.  Such a neat document to be able to read!

Many thanks to Dorney Park and Mike Fehnel for these items, and you can keep up to date on the new trains' progress via the official PTC website.