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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Kennywood Construction Update, April 16th, 2019

We have lots of track action since our last update, just over a week ago. The Banana Roll turnaround has been completed, and the turnaround on the other furthest extent of the footprint, near the carousel, has also been completed. Prior to last week, construction had seemed to slow as it looked like they were evaluating the Banana Roll. Now it looks like their attention is back to the first drop. Pretty much every piece of track leading off of the lift hill has been removed. 
Photo from this week, showing the completed Banana Roll, and the removed track after the lift hill, which looks to be at least 2-4 pieces.
Compared to last week, with the track after the lift hill still intact. 
 The furthest reaches of the course are now in place. Now they just need to dot the I's and cross the T's on the rest of the layout.
 The Banana Roll looks really neat, like a hybrid of a Cobra Roll inversion, and a reverse Hammerhead Turn.  

 Seeing the track removal from last week to this week on the first drop makes me think of that thudding sound you would hear when playing Roller Coaster Tycoon.
 I am curious to see what the interactions will be like between Racer and The Steel Curtain. Note how the multiyear lifthill reconstruction project on Racer has moved well into the first drop area.

Now we conclude what has easily been our sunniest construction update. We can't wait to see the continued progress!

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Steel Curtain Construction Update: April 7, 2019

Another week of progress has gone by. It seems that things are moving a little more slowly this week, or at least the progress was not as visible this week. There was a crew hard at work on one of the lifts, seeming to be looking at roughly the same spot that they were looking at at this point last week. The main difference between these pictures and pretty much all of my prior shots is that there was a hint of sunlight, making for slightly more dramatic shots and better overall lighting. I am getting antsy at this point and cannot wait to see the coaster fully come together. 
 The crane was just lifting the workers up, with their concentration being set upon the Banana Roll Element. This is the exact same spot that they were looking at last week. 
Back to an 18MM View

Next we headed down to the other side of the river in Braddock, at the Braddock Lock and Dam Boat Launch. Here is the new view of the skyline. This view was always impressive, but now it is even more so with the imposing Steel Curtain. We also caught a glimpse of them doing some test runs on Thunderbolt. Just as the birds are chirping with the start of spring, the sounds of Kennywood are beginning to come alive as well. This specific location is great for hearing the sounds of the park. You can hear most of the coasters from this location, from the clicking of Thunderbolt up the lift hill, to the sounds of screaming riders on Phantom, to the whistle from Noah's Ark, and the horn from the Bayern Kurve, everything echoes down to this spot. When coupled with the sounds from the adjacent Edgar Thomson Steel Works, this is pretty neat spot. Hearing a Thunderbolt train on this visit was really great.
 Another week is in the books and Steel Curtain is looking absolutely amazing.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Kennywood Construction Update: Steel Curtain Coming Together

With two more weeks of construction completed since our last check-in, we are really seeing the coaster come together. While the coaster was designed by S&S/Sansei, the track was fabricated by Intermountain Lift, the same Utah based company that fabricates the track for Premier, the designer of the park's Sky Rocket launch coaster. The large, compact, and swooping turnaround is starting to look a bit like Premier's Sky Rocket II launch coasters. 
Notice the inversion under the first drop that is looking like a hat over Sky Rocket's tallest point. Between Sky Rocket and Steel Curtain, I believe that Kennywood has the most Intermountain Lift Track of any amusement park.
 The value of hard work being demonstrated by these steelworkers.
 The turnaround getting constructed, with a little glimpse of the epic cutback turnaround on Sky Rocket.

 Steel Curtain making an inverted track hat over Sky Rocket's top hat.

This ride looks like it will be tremendous. Lots of construction remains until they will be able to begin testing.
Here you can see the world's tallest inversion starting to come together, with the track beginning to make the twist for the inversion, which will be 195 feet tall when it is completed. 

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Kennywood Construction Update: Steel Curtain Topped Off

Steel Curtain has been topped off at 220 feet in the sky and it has completely redefined the Kennywood skyline. By structure, it is the tallest coaster in the park and the state, though Phantom's Revenge still owns the record for the tallest drop at 228 feet. The views from the east as you approach the park are especially impressive. Now you can see the coaster from pretty much anywhere in Duquesne and across the Mon Valley.
 Just a few months until opening! I can't wait to see them get the track work done and start testing this thing.
I don't have any idea of how this coaster will ride, and I cannot wait to find out. This thing is so radically different from anything else that I have seen. Considering the designer is Joe Draves, this thing will almost certainly be eccentric and wild, considering he has also designed Lightning Run at Kentucky Kingdom, one of the wildest coasters ever built. 
 Lens switch time!
 The lift hill looks pretty awesome.

 So we headed across the Mon Valley the next day to the Westinghouse Bridge, the giant concrete arch bridge that you can see from the lift hill on Phantom. It is about 1.5 miles, as the crow flies, between the Westinghouse Bridge and Steel Curtain. 
The 180 foot Skycoaster to the right, shows a great point of reference on how huge this coaster is. 

Summer can't come soon enough! 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Foggy Kennywood Construction Update: Steel Curtain Rises, February 2019

When we last checked in on construction on Kennywood's new Steel Curtain Roller Coaster, they were in the midst of assembling the giant crane to begin construction on the taller parts of the coaster. Our last visit was in the middle of a snowstorm. Since Punxsutawney Phil proclaimed the start of spring, this visit was in the middle of a foggy day.
Now we see the coaster really coming together. The coaster's supports are now approaching 200 feet in height. Additionally, notice the track work happening in the valley following the first turnaround on Racer. This sort of meticulous care is why Kennywood's wooden roller coasters ride as well as any in the business.  
What is likely to be one of the most exciting sections of the coaster for spectators is coming together.  The ride's crossing over the midway between Aero 360 and Racer, features an airtime hill on the first crossover, and then a zero-g roll, which is advertised as a "Top Gun Stall" by the park, in order to communicate and keep up with foreign relations. Both elements look absolutely gorgeous and should be extremely exciting for both riders and spectators alike. It is reminiscent of the bridges featured on Waldameer's Ravine Flyer II and Cedar Point's Gatekeeper. It will prove to be a huge hit.
 There is so much track action! It was mesmerizing looking at it and thinking about how the whole coaster will come together. The coaster has looked dramatically different on each of our visits.
 This coaster is huge!
 The bridge is beautiful. I wonder what kind of lighting package the coaster will have. I cannot wait to see what it will look like reflected upon the lake.
Are you ready for summer yet?