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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Roller Coasters > Where to Coast™ > Kennywood > Thunderbolt



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The origin of the Thunderbolt roller coaster was the Pippin, a John A. Miller designed ride, that opened on the same site in 1924. Forty-four years later Andy Vettel was hired by Kennywood to rebuild the Pippin and Thunderbolt was born on March 27, 1968.

Dubbed the King of the Coasters by the New York Times in 1967, Thunderbolt remains near the top of everyone's "top coasters" list. It's unique features include an amazing plunge immediately upon leaving the station and its biggest drop actually comes at the end of the ride. If you visit Kennywood at night, then you'll notice the Thunderbolt's three classic NAD coaster trains all have working headlamps on the lead cars.

Roller Coaster Stats

Year Track Type Designer
1924 Wood Double Out and Back Andy Vettel
  • Height
  • Drop
  • Length
  • Top Speed
    miles per hour
  • Ride Time
    1 minute, 48 seconds
    minutes : seconds
  • Number Of Trains
    3 - 24 passenger
  • Train Designer
    National Amusement Devices

Thunderbolt Facts & History

1924 – Started as the Pippin roller coaster designed by John A. Miller.

1968 - Rebuilt and expanded by Andy Vettel and renamed Thunderbolt.

ACE Classic Coaster

Maximum two train operation and no single riders are permitted.

Train has four cars with three rows each, seating two abreast per row.

Height requirement: Riders must be at least 52 inches tall

Where to Coast

Visit Kennywood to ride this roller coaster.

Find Where to Coast with Ultimate Rollercoaster® Database