Coney Island Welcomes New Roller Coaster: The Thunderbolt

First custom roller coaster opens at Coney Island since 1927
March 10, 2014 Updated: March 11, 2014

The first custom roller-coaster since 1927 will go up at Coney Island’s Luna Park this coming season. The Thunderbolt Roller Coaster will be a modern, steel version of the original wooden Thunderbolt that operated until the 1980s. Coney Island’s last original coaster was  the Cyclone, built in 1927.

The initiative is part of New York City Economic Development Corporation’s (NYCEDC) long-term plan to revitalize the Coney Island neighborhood.

The roller coaster will feature 3 cars, sit 27 passengers, and will be the first roller coaster in the area since 1910 to send riders upside-down in a vertical loop.

“Coney Island’s Luna Park continues to add the most exciting attractions that will surely liven up the summer and the peninsula this season, and for seasons to come,” said Council Member Mark Treyger in a release.

The Coney Island Revitalization Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in 2009, is an allocation of funds to create more housing, retail, services, and career opportunities for the residents in the area. Still in the works are 5,000 new housing units, with 900 affordable units, sewer infrastructure, and rebuilding large sections of the Boardwalk, which will result in construction jobs and other permanent work positions. Some $150 million have been invested in Coney Island since the inception of the plan.

NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball said the amusement district has been expanded thanks to the collaborative work between city agencies and Central Amusement International (CAI), which has contributed $30 million to Coney Island revitalization.

“The Thunderbolt roller coaster represents another exciting step forward in the continued revitalization of Coney Island,” Kimball said in the same release.

CAI was responsible for building today’s Luna Park at Coney Island. Over 3 million people visited Luna Park in 2013.

“The Thunderbolt’s arrival is a major addition to the amusement district that will further stimulate and excite our local economy while providing enjoyment to thousands of Coney Island visitors,” Treyger said.

The Thunderbolt will offer a two minute ride that reached speeds of 55 miles per hour, and will stand 115 feet tall with 2,233 feet of track.

The ride will begin with a 90-degree vertical drop, followed by a 100 foot vertical loop, an 80 foot zero-g roll, a 112 degree over-banked turn, a unique heartline dive, a corkscrew, and several airtime hills. The coaster will join Luna Park’s assortment of rides which include the Cyclone Roller Coaster, Boardwalk Flight, Coney Island Raceway, Air Race, Water Mania and other attractions.