Camden Park - Thunderbolt Express

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 8:04 PM
Just a little bit of first hand news... As of this morning, the Thunderbolt Express is over 75% dismantled. The demolition began about one week ago and has continued since. The single crane and platform lift were in the parking lot the morning after the park closed for the season (Halloween Spooktacular) and demolition began the following Monday morning. The local news agencies here in Huntington are reporting that the demolition is to make way for Camden Park's new steel coaster that is to make its debut for the 2006 season... NOT! Anyways, at least they're finally getting rid of one of their eyesores... I'll keep you updated as I learn more...
Wednesday, November 10, 2004 8:31 PM
That coaster was definitely an eyesore, especially since it sits right there in front of the parking lot rusting and is the first thing most visitors notice. I still would have liked to have ridden it though. I enjoyed the Sidewinder at Elitch Gardens (monster floater air on the first drop in the very back). Alas, there are only a few left operating now.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004 8:38 PM
Your right, the coaster was definitely an eyesore. It was fun to take pictures of from the Skyride though. I enjoyed Camden Park, and think it was for the best for them to take Thunderbolt Express out.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004 9:54 PM
Too bad it is in too bad of a condition to be restored, I would have liked to ride it...
Wednesday, November 10, 2004 10:15 PM
There was a website with a bunch of recent pictures of it's state of decomposition prior to being torn down. Sadly it would have likely cost more to restore than to build a new one!

When I rode it in 1994, over half of the seats were roped off. That was not a reassuring feeling. Also...we borded and they checked our restraints (over a 10 minute period) 8, count'em...EIGHT times! Not reassuring!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 11:23 PM
Woo hoo! This is GREAT news!

Now, certainly, under normal circumstances, I would never express such delight at hearing of the destruction of a roller coaster, even a mediocre one. But in this case, it is truly a good thing that the Thunderbolt Express is coming down. The ride has not operated in years, and was in terrible shape. It never really 'fit' with Camden Park, it has been an eyesore for years, not to mention the twinge of fear any reasonable person would have walking beside that structure and seeing that half of the support columns no longer reach the ground.

The continued presence of the Thunderbolt Express at Camden Park was a symbol. It was a piece of junk that screamed out, "We are on such shaky ground that we can't afford to pull this piece of garbage out of the park." It was a wretched symbol of Camden Park's very real problems a few years ago, and it made the park's recent rennaisance that much less obvious.

Good riddance, Thunderbolt Express. Congratulations, Camden Park.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 11:28 PM

Some peeps at PKI this past weekend were asking me about the condition of the Tbolt. I haven't been to the park this year but the last time I saw the Tbolt it was literally falling sad.

However, I am glad to see that Camden is finally tearing it down. It has been an eyesore for WAY too long. I rode it when in it's heydey as the Screamin Demon at PKI, and a few times when it first came to Camden Park. The LAST time I rode it was around 1998 or so. It was in pretty bad shape then.

Those old shuttle loops are AMAZING. I was reminded of this after riding the one at the Fun Spot a couple of months ago.......SWEET!

Maybe Camden is making room for King Cobra. ;-) Hey......stranger things have happened!

As IF! lol.


*** Edited 11/11/2004 4:37:36 AM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

Wednesday, November 10, 2004 11:47 PM
While I support the move (it's WELL past the point of no return), it's hard to see it go. It was my first looper, and I'll never forget that first ride on it back in '82. :)

For some time, there was speculation about the park selling or auctioning the train. Does anyone know what is going on with that? I contacted the park about it awhile back, but no reply (as expected). There's no reason that these cars should be junked when I know of 5 people who would jump at the chance to own one.

Thursday, November 11, 2004 1:01 AM
Brad, last I heard was that ACE was trying to get them to donate a car. Don't know how long ago it was or the response they got. Anyone know what came about with that?
Thursday, November 11, 2004 9:27 AM
I know as much as you guys do, but it would be nice to have one of those cars for the future museum, or at least auction one off. There was *talk* of the loop going to the museum, but that is just some loose rumors that I heard years ago. I don't think anybody knows what's going on. lol.

Maybe we will see pieces of the track at the next No Coaster Con? The next time I am by there I will see what's going on. I am curious.


Thursday, November 11, 2004 10:57 AM
I'm happy its going as well. If they're not going to run it, there's no need to keep it there.

I'm just glad Camden is holding on. I can't wait to go next year, as I've not been in far too long. I too wish that King Cobra would make its way, Tina, but not looking to see that happen, at least until I buy the park in 2008...;)

Edit: Nice to see another West Virginian on the boards, right Tina? :) *** Edited 11/11/2004 3:58:31 PM UTC by TeknoScorpion***

Thursday, November 11, 2004 11:25 AM
It would be neat if I could go by and take a look at the demolition. Unfortunately, college means no car. Of all the times I went to Camden Park when I was younger, I only got to ride it one time, in 1999 I believe. Maybe this is a sign of a nice turnaround at Camden.
Thursday, November 11, 2004 12:44 PM
Honestly, as long as KC's been *idling*, you'd probably have better luck getting the old Anton shuttle looper from NorCal...

Chances are better IMO that Camden IS looking to put something in there, or else why clear TE now? It's not cheap to remove it, so they're probably looking to spend on SOMETHING to go in that location...

My park? Well, other than the obvious (waterpark additions, LOL), the next most *profitable* avenue as of the past 5 years would seem to be installing a "Sally-brand" interactive. Not having been there (not until Clint and Tina take me next year...), can the park use one of those?

Sure it's nice to have *another* West Virginian around, hopefully Chuck is nicer than the two we already have...;)

You'ns know I'm kidding...:)

Thursday, November 11, 2004 1:22 PM
Well, they do have that superb haunted house already, so if it is a Sally Themed interactive, it would probably be something more along the lines of Pistolero's as in not scary:).

So then you are coming up to the Hillbilly state next year, Bill? Thats fine, I'm sure Me and Tina can show you a good time in Huntington/Charleston area. I'm planning to go atleast a couple times, probably once in April. I need the 2 credits from my home state...

Thursday, November 11, 2004 1:29 PM
The price of scrap must be up. And Tekno, please we're Mountaineers. The hillbillys live on the other side of the river.
Thursday, November 11, 2004 1:54 PM
The elder owner passed away within the past year, so perhaps we'll see some significant (well, for Camden anyway) changes in the future. From what I always understood, he was pretty set in his ways and did not like change. That's hearsay though.

I doubt Camden has the capital to install a million dollar attraction like a Sally ride. They are more in line to invest in carnival-type rides. I believe their installs of late (Sky-diver etc) have all been used and portable.

IMO... the park would benefit greatly from a wild mouse. It would not be too costly (cheaper, used versions exist out there) or a galaxy type coaster.

As far as the "Haunted House" or as I like to call it... "Hawnted House," I cannot believe someone would call it "superb." That thing is an accident waiting to happen. Call me insensitive, but I don't get a big thrill when a lone blue light bulb buzzes at me.


Thursday, November 11, 2004 6:00 PM

The Haunted House is so cheesey you just HAVE to laugh at it......which makes it fun. ;-)

It's more fun to *make fun* of it as you are riding than to actually take it seriously. :-D

As far as a mouse, I would LOVE that (preferably a spinny mousey but that would be REALLY dreaming).

So far the park has been adding what they can.....the Swans, the Kite Flyer, and the Skydiver, which is my favorite torture ride there. :-)


You will LOVE the park. It's so you. Clint and I will be happy to show you around. Er, I will be happy to show you and Clint around.


*** Edited 11/11/2004 11:01:50 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

Thursday, November 11, 2004 6:02 PM
Bill - You will LOVE the park. It's so you.

So Camden sucks, eh? ;)

Thursday, November 11, 2004 6:14 PM
LOL! Well, I was referring to Bill's lust for kiddy coasters.......


Thursday, November 11, 2004 6:25 PM
When I was a teen, I spoke to the parks owner about TE when they were building it. I find it funny now that when he told me that they bought the ride for One Million Dollars, I thought it was a lot of money. I would now say that the ride wasn't worth even that cheap of a price, because they didn't get much use out of it. Even if nothing replaced it, I like the idea of it's removal.

I grew up in Huntington (Barbersville), but it's been WAY too long since I have been to Camden Park. I remember everything about the park vividly except the layout of "Haunted House". I do remember that the stunts inside were not very elaborate, but the actual ride device was interesting.

Camden is the place I had my first date, first Two coasters, first time being able to go somewhere without adult supervision, first time I got sick on a ride, and the only time I ever saw a nun ride a roundup. Good memories.


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