Kennywood wrecks the Phantom!

I went to Kennywood's opening day yesterday, and I am pleased to report that Kennywood is pretty much the same Kennywood we all know and love. Bayern Kurve is looking good, and has a really nice retro-style LED light package, and with extensive retracking, the Thunderbolt is running better than it has run in years. Plus, there is lots of paint all over the park.

Unfortunately another ride that got an extensive retracking this season was Phantom's Revenge. The original Arrow track extending from the top of the lift hill to the top of the second hill has been replaced. I think the roll on the first drop has been reduced slightly, but that's no big deal. I'm not sure about the transitions across the bottom of the dip but again, that's OK.

The problem is at the top of the second hill. The way it worked for Arrow was that the train climbed to the top of the hill, rolled to the right, yawed around the curve, and unrolled through the pitch to go down the second drop. Just after the hill peak was where the Chance-Morgan track started. Now, the configuration up there is just bizarre. The train climbs the second hill, yaws around the curve, and THEN rolls to the right, pitches over to start down the drop, then unrolls to the left. The whole maneuver is ridiculously violent, and it acts like they tried to add a trick-track element to the top of the second hill. It rides like a terrible mistake, and I hope that as a result they opt to replace the hill top again next season, because they clearly didn't do it right this time around. Worst of all, it screws up the airtime kick at the top of the second drop.

It's not at all what I, or I am guessing, anyone else, expected from the track replacement. I certainly hope Kennywood isn't happy with it either because all the coaster nuts I was with during the day seemed to agree that it wasn't right. I just wonder what the heck went wrong with it!

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Jeff's avatar

Perhaps it's supposed to act as a reminder of how terrible Steel Phantom was.

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Not good to hear Dave. Did you by any chances happen to leave a comment at guest relations? I'm betting the only way it will be changed, is if enough people complain about it and even then, it probably won't matter.

HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

So let me get this straight, you're going to get pushed against the left side of the car at the top of the hill as it navigates the curve because its not banked? Then get pushed into the right side as it unrolls going downhill because that part was banked?

I'll have to ride it myself to understand, I don't remember much of any lateral force under the old configuration and that moment was perfect leading up to the drop. I hope it gets fixed, but who would be responsible for it?


Bummer. That crest, and the drop that follows, are probably one of my top ten 'moments' on a coaster anywhere.

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I didn't leave a GR comment, but I'll be sending a letter. There are lots of things for me to comment to them about, most of them actually quite positive. Including, by the way, the fact that the Phantom started running with two trains 30 minutes after the park opened and continued running two trains until the end of the day.

Rob, there is very little speed at the top of the second hill, so there is no real lateral force to speak of up there, except for the bizarre double-roll maneuver.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

Okay, that's what I thought, I was trying to figure out if there were lateral forces or not. It's been 2 years since I last rode but I plan on going back out this summer. I'm reading elsewhere on other forums about the same issue, so you are obviously not alone.


ApolloAndy's avatar

I never got much out of that drop in the first place (since it's pretty much straight and doesn't pitch in and out), but I'll reserve judgement until I can ride it.

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

Good to hear that they were running 2 trains on it earlier than usual. That's one thing that has always irked me a little bit. It's your main attraction, run 2 trains from the get go not 2 hours after the park opens.

Here are some photos of the re-tracking, including one of the portion in question:

eightdotthree's avatar

Bizarre, any pictures?

Carrie M.'s avatar

That's so weird. They reported as recently as April 7th that nothing about the track replacement was going to change the coaster.

Overall, the coaster is exactly the same as it was at the end of the2008 operating season. This spring, the coaster will be back up andrunning like it normally does.

That's a shame, because that really is (was) a fantastic part of the coaster. But it's kind of funny. With Steel Phantom it was at the bottom of that drop that you wished you were dead. Now maybe it will be at the top of it. ;)

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins." --- Benjamin Franklin

It isn't THAT bad, it's just *wrong*.

Honestly, I don't think it was an intentional change.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

eightdotthree's avatar

I always wished that transition was cleaner and had more of a pop at the top. No one else has ridden it yet?

That's really a shame. If anything, I had wished they would make the airtime at the top of that hill even more severe. It was a good moment that had the potential to become a great moment.

Did Chance-Morgan design the new sections of track? Perhaps they assumed it was wrong to begin with because it was designed by Arrow, and they ended up fixing something that wasn't really broken?

eightdotthree's avatar

From the photo it looked like it was banked more to the right at the top of the hill, but looking at an old photo of Steel Phantom ( it appears it's the same. Perhaps it's just faster?

HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

After looking at the photo I can see what Dave's talking about. It looks like the top of the hill is banked about the same. What changed is when the track banks in relation to the top of the hill. I'd link both the photos in one post but I can't do it due to one of the sources.


Interesting to hear a rider's perspective. It does look a bit different. I'll be there in July for the annual trip; if there's still speculation, I'll post up my experiences.

When you give, you begin to live... - Dave Matthews

I rode it last Saturday. It's certainly a far harsher transition into and out of the banking than there used to be. At first I did think they must have tried to put a bit of trick track in when they re-did it in the off season. It seems to be a lot more noticeable in certain seats- some seats you can barely feel it, some it's very violent. It definitely doesn't "wreck" the ride, and in my opinion doesn't take a whole lot away from it, but I do think that it's a change that shouldn't have been made.

the change is aperent the banking actually looks uncomfortable. the funny thing is the photo coment say 90% less arrow acwardness they should have said newly added Morgan akwardness.

Edited cause I said Vekoma

Last edited by zeus,

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