Home > Pennsylvania > Kennywood > Pippen/Thunderbolt

Website: Kennywood Homepage
Ride Type: Wooden Coaster
Ride Status: Running
Average Rating: 4.2540
TPC Overall Rank: #99 out of 2933 rides.
Reviews: 71
Last Review: 12/11/2011 6:36:00 PM
In User Top 10: 56 times.
User Tracker Count: 203 times.


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4 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up metssuck on 5/20/2007 8:06:00 PM
Decent roller coaster. I cut it some slack since its ancient just like most of the coasters at kennywood. I like the close encounter with the phantom.

3 Rating
+3 Rating Rate Down Rate Up tauren_man on 5/19/2007 4:07:00 PM
My first review of this ride was way too harsh, so when I went to Kennywood last Friday, I rode this one with an open mind. Sure enough, I was pleasantly surprised at some of mildly exciting drops. Then, I was unpleasantly surprised by being thrown against the side of the car, a problem that most definitely (despite popular belief) could have been fixed through banking that particular section. All in all, though, this rides roughness is nothing when compared to Wildcat and Steel Phantom, so its a must-ride at a historic park. Unfortunately, I could only raise its rating by one.

T-Bolt may lack in the speed and adrenaline that Phantoms Revenge and Jack Rabbit provide, but it is still a wooden rollercoaster from the past loaded with personality. Dont miss out on this one.

4 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up Got_it on 11/5/2006 9:23:00 PM
The ThunderBolt is my second favorite coaster in the park, right under the Racer. It has a great layout and good air time. It looks nice with the NAD trains, when generally like to see PTC trains. Does anyone know if they do run 3 trains at a time? When I went they had two running I think.

4 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up Animan1 on 9/5/2006 4:19:00 PM
One cant help but like the Thunderbolt. It has so many unique elements - the drop right out of the station, the great turns, all of them to the right, around the entrance area, and the 2nd set of drops in the ravine make this a classic and an easily recommended coaster. The classic trains and seats are also very cool and provide great airtime. Theres a lot to like and not much to dislike...the only thing that really keeps it from being a 10 is that..."something." You cant really describe it, but you know what it is when you experience it, and it separates the 9s from the 10s in my experience. I think its that irresistable urge to ride again, basically chalked up to fun. But by no means let the fact that I didnt give the T-Bolt a 10 discourage you - this is a great coaster, and one that is a must-ride when visiting Kennywood.

3 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up sowinski on 7/8/2006 3:20:00 PM
There seem to be 2 types of Thunderbolt riders, those who love this ride and those who just dont quite get it. I consider myself in the latter group. I like the hills and the way it uses the landscape, but overall it is good but not great.

4 Rating
+4 Rating Rate Down Rate Up Timberman on 5/16/2006 1:13:00 PM

Thunderbolt is among the best roller coasters of its kind, but its a kind that some may find difficult to understand. Unlike most of the wooden classics, Thunderbolt does not have an iconic profile that fits easily onto a patch or t-shirt. Many of its best features, in fact, are largely hidden from view. I believe this is intentional, and it is part of the genius of the ride. You can never relax or even adequately brace yourself on this coaster, because you never know whats coming next.

The train drops immediately out of the station, and the chain lift is preceded by an airtime-producing UPHILL section a third of the way through the ride. This is followed by a midcourse helix, if you can even call it that. The shallow banking on this section empahtically answers the questions of why you cant ride alone and why the smaller rider must board the car first. At the same time youre experiencing the heavy laterals of the double-spiral, the train is also climbing and plunging over harrowing speed hills. Then, after the final turnaround and with the station in sight, comes one of the greatest finales on any wooden coaster: the longest drop of the course, augmented by the speed youve picked up throughout the rest of the ride, followed by a headchopping ascent into the final break run. Those accustomed to traditional roller coasters are likely to appreciate Thunderbolts genre-bending layout the most, since weve been conditioned, by repetition, to a sort of ride-element protocol. You can bet that Andy Vettel does not eat his salad with the right fork, and thrill seekers are better off as a result.

Thunderbolt, as is the rule with Kennywoods coaster collection, uses the hilly terrain of Western Pennsylvania to masterful effect, and the equally-accomplished Phantoms Revenge winds in and out of its structure. If, God forbid, something should happen to Kennywood, these roller coasters could not exist anywhere else; they are part of and dependent upon the lanscape. Also existing almost nowhere else is Thunderbolts old-school ride operation. The locking gates that normally restrain waiting passengers like so many mutton-producing sheep are conspiculously absent, as are the ubiquitous lap belts. The only thing holding riders in their seats is their own common sense, the designers command of physics, and a single position lap bar. That is the proper order of the wood coaster universe, and as the sad example of Thunderbolts little brother Jack Rabbit demonstrates, it is going the way of free parking.

Thunderbolt also still runs its classic, comfortable NAD trains, although theyre beginning to look a little worn. My wife and I noticed that theyre now keeping spare parts in a rack full of little drawers in the station, and we saw a few adjustments going on between dispatches. Nevertheless, such rarities could not be in better hands. No one knows their classic wooden roller coasters like the fine folks at Kennywood and no diehard fan of the form should miss the Thunderbolt.

4 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up no cars go on 4/8/2006 2:01:00 PM
The T-Bolt is my favorite coaster. It was my 3rd coaster (not counting kiddie coasters), and I immediately loved it. The best part in my opinion is the first drop. As soon as the operaters start the ride, youre goin down into a ravine. The helix is great, (Im a big fan of helixes) and the use of Pittsburghs natural terrain is great. Pittsburgh is not the greatest place, but Kennywood doesnt even feel like Pittsburgh (more like heaven )

5 Rating
0 Rating Rate Down Rate Up cucumber on 3/1/2006 11:28:00 AM - User's Top Ride #4
Wow, after some 82 years, this ride still looks good. Maybe thats because of the makeover it recieved in 1968. The intense laterals on this require a partner to ride along with you. Amen to that, this was bumpy. Because of the terrain, the drops were unique, especially the last drop, where it wrenches our guts. Even the trains are great. Those N.A.D. trains arent often seen anymore. I love em.
Overall, its my #3 wooden coaster.

3 Rating
+1 Rating Rate Down Rate Up taylorb251 on 10/10/2005 4:00:00 PM
I do understand why the small person is on the outside. I did like how you go outside the loading dock to a drop. But I just dont see this ride being anything better than a 5.

4 Rating
+1 Rating Rate Down Rate Up hrrytraver on 8/15/2005 2:39:00 AM
i understand where some folks dont "get" the Tbolt. it has a strange feel to it. because of its lopsided shape and brief duration it might leave a discriminating rider to question its mythological status. but i, for one, did love it instantly without any initial "let down" period. it may lack the violence of some of the other roaring twenties "rib ticklers", but tbolt is plenty rambunctious and it rocks through its course dishing out great airtime and some serious lateral g forces. toss in super cool rare NAD trains, an intense drop down a cliff right out of the station, a wicked whirlpool of a helix, then tack on a couple of extra deep dips out of sight into the underbrush, and youve got a fun, FUN coaster. tbolt is also VERY well maintained. here it is, running old-school trains up and down its 80 year old ravine section, and yet its still as smooth and fast as can be. kennywood is well known as a living coaster exhibit who dish out tons of TLC to their oldies but woodies, and thunderbolt is the quirkiest, wildest and most interesting to ride of the whole bunch. lastly, i should add that the night experience on tbolt is a must. i took a recent ride on t-bolt at about ten o clock on a hot and rainy evening, back seat, of course. the factories across the river were filling the sky with yellow smoke and the p-burg hills full of crickets seemed so mellow and beatific, a compliment to our very non-mellow rattle up and down the dark ravine. we were cutting across the heat and raindrops, flying out of the seats and slamming into one another. i personally felt that everyone in the train knew that this feeling we had was rare and sublime. thunderbolt has probably delivered COUNTLESS such nights to thousands of riders.

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