American Coaster Enthusiasts recognizes Thunderbolt at Six Flags New England as an ACE Roller Coaster Landmark, a designation reserved for rides of historic significance.
Erected when the property was known as Riverside Park, the new ride was based on the Cyclone coaster that operated at the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair. Originally designed by Vernon Keenan for Harry C. Baker, the plans were purchased after the fair. The new mid-sized coaster was built by Joseph E. Drambour, and opened for the 1941 season keeping the name Cyclone, although the name was changed to Thunderbolt the following year.
As one of the last examples of the figure-eight style coasters of its era, Thunderbolt has continued to deliver excitement for riders of all ages. Rising to a height of 70 feet, its 2,600 feet of track features a delightful double dip within its compact layout. Even though it is surrounded by larger and faster attractions today, it has given generations of families the opportunity to share in its nostalgic charm, as Thunderbolt stands as the oldest roller coaster in the Six Flags chain of parks.
Its survival is proof that historical rides can co-exist with new technology, as Thunderbolt remains the centerpiece of Six Flags New England’s fine collection of wooden and steel roller coasters.
Presented by American Coaster Enthusiasts
August 2, 2008