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Kennywood Roller Coasters (The Racer)

Updated on January 28, 2013

This is a six part series which will focus on exactly what the title says, “Kennywood Coasters”. The articles will go from the oldest to the newest roller coasters at the park. For those unfamiliar with Kennywood, here is a very short background.

Kennywood Park is located in West Mifflin, Pa, which is a suburb of Pittsburgh Pa. Founded in 1989; Kennywood sits on 107 acres and holds seven roller coasters, three water rides, and thirty four flat rides. (This includes a kiddieland section)

****Also note that there is technically seven roller coasters at Kennywood park but the seventh is Lil Phantom, which is a very small kiddie ride. This coaster will not be included in this series but will be featured in another Kennywood series.****

This is also what the station looked like in 1927
This is also what the station looked like in 1927

Racer (1927)

Kennywood has three wooden roller coasters in its park. Out of the three wooden coasters, the Racer is definitely the tamest but is still a fun ride, not only because you’re racing against the other train but because of the science of the ride.

Before we get into what makes this coaster one of a kind let’s take a look at its stats.

Cost: $75,000
Type: Wooden
Manufacturer: Charlie Mach
Designer: John A Miller
Model: Racing
Track Layout: Moebius Loop
Lift: Chain

Height: 76ft
Drop: 50ft
Length: 2,250 ft
Max Speed: 40 mph
Duration: 1:32

See the green train entering the station. When it left only moment earlier it was on the other side.
See the green train entering the station. When it left only moment earlier it was on the other side.

The Racer that stands in Kennywood today is the second racer that the park has had. The first Racer was built where Kiddieland now stands. When built in 1910 the first Racer ran on two separate tracks and because it didn’t have an upstop wheel attached, the coaster only had very small dips and ran on side friction to slow down.

Kennywood enjoyed having that first Racer at their park so much that they contacted John Miller to design a brand new Racer. Since Mr. Miller had invented several safety features for his rides it made it possible for the new racer to be much bigger, much faster, and more thrilling.

This coaster was the most expensive out of the three that John Miller built because he was not able to use the terrain perfectly as he did with the Jack Rabbit, and the Pippin, which is now named the Thunderbolt.

What makes this coaster one of a kind, kind of, is its track layout. The track is classified as being a moebius layout. This means even though it appears to be two tracks in reality it’s only one very long continuous track. When you ride the coaster, if you sit in the train on the left hand side when the ride is over you’ll come back to the station on the right hand side. The track does with without ever crossing itself, which can lead some customers confused on how it can be done.

Since it’s inception in 1927 the coaster has changed a little bit. In 1949 the last drop was removed from the coaster to make a cleaner entrance into the station. In 1946 the loading station’s facade was redesigned, as well as in 1960. The last change to the coaster happened in 1990 restoring the original façade of the station to look as it did on opening day in 1927.

Kennywood’s Racer is only one of three in the world. The other two are located in Blackpool, UK and Mexico City, MX. Hershey Park does have a racing coaster but unlike the three listed it run on two separate tracks.

Video from: kennywoodjoe


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