Please note that this article was originally published for the Great Ohio Coaster Club The Streak newsletter. Please check out the club on their website at greatohiocc.org.
Last year, Kennywood announced the closing and removal of their log flume, Log Jammer, which led to a lot of speculation about the future of that area of the park. During summer 2018, Kennywood began putting teasers and brain-games on social media for people to attempt to unveil more clues about the ride. They advertised the new attraction as being part of “Project 412”. When Kennywood released a crossword puzzle containing the stats of the ride including potential record-breaking stats, people began posting their speculation theories of what the new ride will be all over social media. It was clearly obvious to the majority of coaster enthusiasts that this new addition would definitely be a coaster. After all, why would the park tease the new project this much for a flat ride? Kennywood even introduced a contest where a small group of people who got the clues correct would be able to be the first to ride the new roller coaster. Finally in mid-July, Kennywood revealed the details of its newest attraction, Steel Curtain.
Steelers Country is a brand new area of the park where Steel Curtain will be located. It is a themed land that will celebrate the heroics and achievements of the Pittsburgh Steelers franchise. Fans will be able to enjoy multiple sections of this new area containing merchandise, games, and food. The park has teamed up with the Steelers to bring something unique to the city of Pittsburgh and to the amusement industry in general. Expect to see a whole lot of black-and-gold in the area, as the team colors will provide the color scheme for both the coaster and the new area of the park.
Steel Curtain, of course, is the main attraction of the entire area. The coaster is manufactured by S&S Worldwide. The ride will be 220 feet, making it the tallest roller coaster in Pennsylvania. It will travel at a maximum speed of 75 miles per hour. It also will have nine inversions, breaking the North American record of seven held by multiple parks. The ride will also have the tallest inversion in the world, at 197 feet. The length is 4,000 feet and the duration is 2 minutes.
Many were still talking about the ride weeks after the announcement. In the amusement industry, topics and announcements tend to fade fast. What was surprising from this announcement is that no one was expecting what was coming ahead. The name, theme, manufacturer, type of coaster, layout – all were completely kept a secret. Kennywood did a great job with not letting any information leak ahead of time and an exceptionally good job with the teasers for the ride. A large number of people still were not able to completely figure out all of the stats of the coaster. That is impressive!
The manufacturer, S&S Worldwide, was somewhat of a shock to many people, perhaps due to the troubles experienced with the opening of both Gale Force and Merlin’s Mayhem. The fact that S&S has several new coasters debuting in 2019 leads me to believe that they have learned from the troubles that plagued their earlier coasters and will put together an incredible, unique experience with Steel Curtain. From a business perspective, it is always a good thing for the amusement industry when you have multiple roller coaster designers, manufacturers, and types of coasters competing. The first drop and inversion seem amazing and the unique “banana roll” looks to be super cool, not to mention the numerous other elements. It’s also interesting to look at how some support columns are connected to multiple points during the ride.
Other than what can be seen in the concept art, nobody knows just yet about the trains and restraint system that will be used on the ride. However, we know there will be 24 passengers per train. There will be two trains with 2 across per row. More details about the ride will be released in the very near future.
This ride has already brought a lot of excitement to the amusement industry. It has a unique layout, different manufacturer than most, unique elements, and a very unique theme. Kennywood will benefit hugely from this attraction. Lots of visitors will visit the park in 2019 to ride Steel Curtain and check out the new Steelers Country area of the park. Kennywood and S&S Worldwide have surprised everyone in a good way. This is a great addition for the park, for Pittsburgh and surrounding areas and for both enthusiasts and the general public.