Kennywood's Thunderbolt reaches the century mark

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

In the late 1960s, Kennywood leaders aimed to mix things up and at one point considered knocking down either the Jack Rabbit or the Pippin, given the coasters’ similarities, to build a new thriller. Instead, then-maintenance supervisor Andy Vettel Sr. led the transformation of the Pippin into the Thunderbolt.

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Semantics really but 20-25 years ago hard to imagine any one counting this as the same coaster as the Pippin. Not sure if I buy the 100 years celebration.

As I understood it the first and last drops were kept from the original and reworked from there. Never really found a picture of the layout of the old Pippin. Believe remember hearing that there was a double dip on the Pippin.

Back in 1924 that last drop had to be incredible for the time and near the record for the time.

Pippin’s station was around where the drop after the lift is now. It rolled along the ground tracing the current path somewhat (behind where potato patch is) and turned to the first drop. The second drop into the ravine lead to a lift as it does now. There was a u-turn at the top and the double dip went to ground level then back into the ravine, not unlike what Jack Rabbit did. (Does) The last drop is like the current one and it hopped onto the brake then turned into the station. It was a simple layout and very similar to JR, so it’s easy to see why they decided to go with something different. And we’re all the better for it.

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