Last Update: November 17, 2011
In 1991, West Mifflin, Pennsylvania's Kennywood Park
did something completely unexpected. Kennywood introduced then what was the world's fastest, longest-dropping coaster in existence and the Steel Phantom
soon became a signature ride. For a park that had focused on classic wooden coasters for the most part, there had been few signs of what was to come. Before long, the Phantom had become a success with its unique record-breaking 225-foot second
drop plunging right through the park's most well-known wooden coaster, the Thunderbolt
, and into a natural ravine bordering the Monongahela River with four high-speed inversions finishing off the ride.
But in the year 2000, the coaster world was saddened when Kennywood made the announcement that the park
intended to do away with the Steel Phantom
, replacing the aged ride with a newer steel coaster. Do to the outcry of coaster enthusiasts, however, Kennywood decided to retain the coaster for the most part, contracting Morgan Manufacturing to rework and lengthen the famous second drop, removing the loops in favor of more traditional hypercoaster banked curves and rabbit hops and extending the overall length by 200 feet from the Steel Phantom's 3,000-foot track circuit. And on May 19, 2001, the new and much improved Phantom's Revenge opened and proved that Phantoms never die.
Before the change, however, the ride had four inversions, which consisted of a vertical loop, a batwing, and a corkscrew. These were removed due to excessive head banging with the hated restraints, especially on the batwing and corkscrew. When the ride reopened as Phantom’s Revenge, the over the shoulder harnesses were replaced with lap bar restraints, found on all of Morgan Manufacturing’s hypercoasters.
Revamping an old ride into a newer one is nothing new at Kennywood, as they revamped the old Pippin’
coaster into the newer Thunderbolt
coaster. It was very similar to the changes made to the Phantom
. The ride retained the best parts, but instead of removing the old elements, the park added on to the existing layout to provide a longer and much more enjoyable ride.
Entering into the queuing line through the Phantom himself, guests make their way to the shiny purple and green cars, pulling down lap bars from a custom center-car arrangement. The train pulls out of the station and around a first right-hand bend to the lift. A chain-lift carries riders up to a summit one-hundred and sixty feet above the ground, and then the green track leads downwards. A curving dive gets the ride up to speed, riders speeding along a strightaway
at 60 miles per hour. The coaster heads up a second hill topping out and rounding a slight curve then the Phantom proves what it's all about, plunging down over 23 stories and whizzing underneath the Thunderbolt
at 85 miles per hour. But it doesn't let up there, with the train next negotiating a Fan Curve around, up, back down and parelelling the Thunderbolt
. The Phantom slices back through T-Bolt's wooden structure once more, climbing out of the ravine and up the hillside underneath the white wooden framework then banking around a curve circling over Kennywood's Tumble Bug ride. The train heads back under the second drop and then ascends the first rabbit hop, riders flying up and off their seats. With a drop crossing under the station, the coaster leads over a second hill and double-dip back down. Banking around a 180-degree curve, the train hops up once more and enters the brakes.