Project 412 Revealed: 9 Inversion S&S Coaster Coming to Kennywood in 2019

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Kennywood’s ‘Project 412’ teasing game has come to a conclusion with the unveiling of their new for 2019 attraction — a massive and record-breaking coaster from S&S Worldwide. The coaster, dubbed ‘The Steel Curtain’ in homage to the nearby Pittsburgh Steelers football team, will break the United States record for inversions with 9.

The Campaign

The park’s social media teaser campaign consisted of a digital scratch-off card and a word search. About every week the park would “scratch off” and reveal numbers that represented statistics from the ride. These numbers, released on their own with no context, could have had many meanings — thus fueling the speculation and hype even more. On July 4th, the park released a word search which had the categories and context for the previously revealed “scratch-off” statistics hidden within… along with some red herrings as well such as “wood,” “suspended,” and “launches.” (Still hoping for a next-generation Arrow suspended coaster with a launch but made out of wood. Alan Schilke, make it happen)

The Announcement

In a multi-stage announcement, the park first revealed the meanings behind the numbers.

197 – tallest inversion

3 – records broken (tallest inversion in the world, most inversions in US, tallest coaster in PA)

24 – riders per train

220 – maximum height

120 – seconds of ride time

75 – miles per hour for the top speed

9 – inversions

50 – degrees for the lift angle

4,000 – feet of track

(all pictures from Kennywoods official website)

Then, Kennywood announced that the manufacturer of the new coaster would be S&S Worldwide. S&S are the makers of many ‘Space Shot’ style tower rides seen at amusement parks, but also make unique roller coasters. Pete Bartow, a representative from the company, admitted this will be the largest coaster project they have ever undertaken. For now, the height requirement is at 48 inches, although they said that is subject to change before the ride’s opening.

Next, the park’s announcement took a surprise turn, as they announced a partnership with the nearby Pittsburgh Steelers football team. The new coaster and area it resides in will be themed to the legendary 1970s Steelers teams, renowned for their stingy, iron-like defense. Kennywood was so inspired that the new coaster’s name is the same as the moniker given to those Steelers teams: “The Steel Curtain.”

After that we got what we really wanted — a Point of View for the new coaster. And man, does it look impressive. For comparison ‘The Steel Curtain’ looks S&S’s version of a Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster (think a bigger version of HangTime at Knott’s or Monster at Adventureland), with all kinds of crazy inversions and contortions of track all covered in complex support structures. Though at the back of the park, it will without a doubt impact the skyline at Kennywood.

The coaster will not just be a solo addition however. ‘The Steel Curtain’ is going to be the anchor attraction for the brand new themed area, “Steelers Country.” Kennywood really seems to be going all out on the theming side, as you can see in the pictures below. (Is this the first time a football team has been used as theming IP?)

(all pictures from Kennywood’s official website)

Reaction

Wow. Although being one of the first new for 2019 coasters to be announced, I expect The Steel Curtain will remain as one of the biggest and best. It looks to be filled with all kinds of wonky inversions, airtime, and cool elements. One that I took note of is what S&S called “a double truss structure” with “an airtime hill on the top and a zero-g stall on the bottom.” There will certainly be plenty of photo opportunities with this massive new coaster that will — quite literally — tower over Kennywood. Just the structure of the coaster will be a sight to behold. The question is, will the massive structure take away from some of the charm of the classic amusement park, or complement it?

What do you guys think? Is Kennywood now a must-visit park for next year? How will the bold black and yellow color scheme and giant steel structure looming over the lagoon affect the traditional feel of Kennywood? How do you feel about a football theme? Are you boycotting this because you’re a Bengals or Ravens fan?

For me, this addition makes Kennywood a must-visit next year. It’s a massive record-breaker (world, domestic, and state records all broken!) and I’m curious to see how Kennywood themes the surrounding area and blends this modern attraction into a historic park.

Hi! I'm Jon (without the h). I have many interests, but chief among them is a love of roller coasters and theme parks. I love rides and parks that deliver cool, unique, and meaningful experiences. And getting to write about them is fun as well!

6 Comments

  1. I will visit and ride it. But I think the biggest thing that will effect re-rides is the Seat Harness. As long as it doesn’t “Box” my ears and head around, I’ll be fine. Kennywood’s old Steel Phantom had that issue and I didn’t enjoy riding it due to that particular feature. It got enough complaints that eventually Kennywood reworked the ride to what is now “The Phantom’s Revenge”. Now I am getting a bit older and when I was 18 yeah I’d be able to handle that. But in my late 40’s, it can give me a headache at times when your head bounces back and forth between the padded restraints.

    Reply
    • That’s a good point. I assume they will have shoulder restraints given the sheer number of inversions… (though there’s a small chance it could be the same lap bar they’ve used on some recent overseas coasters or El Loco models). Question is will it be something like on the Free Spin models at Six Flags parks, or something completely new.

      Whatever it is, hopefully it gives your head a bit of breathing space to prevent head banging. And hopefully S&S builds a smooth ride, too.

      Reply
  2. Excellent post, Jon. I hadn’t read anything on Screamscape and was absolutely dying to see what Kennywood had up their sleeve. What a stunning, and unexpected to development!

    Suffice it to say, I wasn’t anticipating something this massive (I thought for sure an RMC, like Goliath @ SFGAm). I don’t see how ANYTHING could top this as the biggest & best new coaster for 2019. Just incredible.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Eric. It was amazing that Kennywood managed to keep the cat in the bag all the way up to the announcement! No leaks or anything… that may be unprecedented for a coaster addition of this magnitude.

      As far as being the best new for 2019.. I think you’re right. Maybe the CW dive coaster could top it, but we’ve seen dive coasters before. We’ve never seen anything like Steel Curtain before.

      Reply
  3. Great post, Jon. I’ve never been to Kennywood and was toying with the idea of going this year but with Steel Curtain coming I will definitely wait until next year.

    Reply
    • Good choice. Hopefully they will have the coaster and themed area all done by late spring… but given Thomas Town has had delays it wouldn’t surprise me if it didn’t open until June. Hopefully I’m wrong!

      Reply

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