The Thunderbolt is a wooden roller coaster located at Kennywood Park in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. It was built by John A. Miller in 1924. The ride's name was the Pippin until 1967, when it was changed to Thunderbolt beginning with the 1968 season, coinciding with an expansion of the track headed up by Andy Vettel. The all-wood coaster follows the surrounding terrain with a track length of 2,887 feet (880 m). Its maximum height is 70 feet (21 m), but because of the track layout and the natural ravines on which the ride is set, the maximum drop is 95 feet (29 m). Reaching a maximum speed of 55 mph (88.5 km/h), the ride takes 108 seconds to complete its circuit. An interesting feature of the Thunderbolt is that after departing from the station, the train does not immediately go up the lift hill as on most other coasters. Instead, it immediately goes into the first drop and the lift hill is in the middle of the ride after the second drop. Most of the ride was left intact except for the double dip, station, and station turn-around to the first hill which were removed in 1968 for the addition of the new front helix hills necessary for the transformation of The Pippin into the new Thunderbolt roller coaster. The four drops down a ravine were incorporated in the Andy Vettel-designed Thunderbolt coaster. The Thunderbolt was rated the #1 roller coaster by the New York Times in 1974, and it still is the most popular ride at Kennywood. The Thunderbolt still uses the 1958 Pippin trains manufactured by the National Amusement Device Company, known as "Century Flyers."
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