Specific Type: Wood-Sit-Down
Designated as an ACE landmark in August of 2008, Thunderbolt at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts, is a classic wooden roller coaster people have been enjoying since 1941. Not only is the Joseph B. Drambour (Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, Inc.) built Thunderbolt the oldest roller coaster in operation at Six Flags New England, it is the oldest throughout the entire Six Flags parks chain. In 1940, the plans for the coaster were purchased from New York World's Fair, and then a year later, the coaster opened up under the name Cyclone. It was not named Cyclone for long as it took the Thunderbolt name it has today a year after being built.
This classic coaster sits near the back of the Six Flags park adjacent to the helices of the purple monster Bizarro. As guests enter the park, all they have to do is walk straight, passing a variety of shops, and then they will run right into the queue entrance of Thunderbolt. This figure-8 style double out and back coaster reaches a height of 70 feet. The wooden track takes riders around 2600 feet of track over a variety of turns, airtime hills, and more over a minute's time period, while reaching a top speed of 40 miles an hour. The trains that run Thunderbolt's course seat 2 riders per row, 3 rows per car, and has 4 total cars, allowing 24 riders to experience the classic wooden coaster each circuit. The ride is able to accommodate 2 trains as one train is running the course while the other is unloading/loading in the station. Those who dare ride will become some of the fortunate few to add one of the most sought after historical coasters to their track record. In fact, one of the primary reasons the coaster is still in operation today is because it has been, and still is, a very popular attraction among ACE members as well as other coaster historians around the world.
Riders board the trains and then exit the station to the south and make an immediate 180 degree turn into the 70 foot lift hill. Going up the lift, riders can see parts of the Connecticut River through the trees on their right hand side as well as a good portion of the park on the left hand side, including the park's other wooden roller coaster, Cyclone. Once atop the lift, riders are taken around another 180 degree turn before plunging downward and leftward at the bottom of the main hill, while diving under part of the coaster's structure. Then they are taken back up again into another turn around section. Riders are now directly over the station as they come around this next turn-around. A few nice airtime hills follow this including a double dip, just enough to give riders a nice lift out of their seats. Making the next U-turn, more airtime hills follow as the trains make their way diagonally across the layout of the coaster as well as over the bottom of the main drop experienced about 20 seconds before. After a station fly by, the final portion of Thunderbolt awaits, which consists of a complete lap around the rest of the coaster's structure at low heights. Northward after another turn around, riders are taken over a few mini dips between a bunch of trees on the right side and the structure of the coaster on the left side. After this, the riders enter the final U-turn of the course and one last dip is experienced before they are rushed back into the station. Thunderbolt is a must for anyone wanting to experience an old classic, airtime filled wooden roller coaster.
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