Specific Type: Zamperla Steel Coaster
Luna Park, located on the Atlantic shore of Brooklyn, New York, is a park famous for its iconic Coney Island Cyclone. The Cycloneopened in 1927 on the former site of America’s first roller coaster, the Switchback Railway, and has remained on many enthusiasts’ coaster wish lists and still thrills riders to this day. In 2010, two new coasters opened at Luna Park: the Circus Coaster, a small, Zamperla family coaster, and the Tickler, a Zamperla spinning coaster. These coasters were new additions a part of the Coney Island Revitalization Plan, which was designed to expand and preserve the historic amusement park.
In 2013, Luna Park announced that they were going to build a new roller coaster that would use the name of another classic Coney Island ride, the Thunderbolt. The old Thunderbolt was built a few years before the Cyclone in 1925 and was in many ways similar to the Cyclone but was ultimately torn down in 1982. The new Thunderbolt will be in no way similar to the old, as it will be a steel coaster that features a 120 foot tall vertical lift, three inversions, and a top speed of 65 MPH. The Zamperla designed trains feature three rows or three riders in a single car.
Originally, a unique elevator lift was to be incorporated in that a train would move forward onto the elevator track, and move up to the top of the lift while another piece of track that had carried the previous train up would come down. The tower would then spiral so that each piece of track would be lined up correctly. Luna Park decided against that and redesigned the ride to use a tried and true vertical lift hill instead.
A ride on the new Thunderbolt starts with a left turn out of the station into a 125 foot vertical lift. At the top, riders halt for a second to take a look at the twists and turns ahead of them and are dropped into oblivion and up into a widely shaped vertical loop. Riders then flip upside down in a large corkscrew and turn quickly to the left in a Stengal dive-like element. After a slight turn to the right, riders fly upside down and then flip upright again in an immelmann inversion. Two airtime hills complete the ride.
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