On May 10, 1991, the world’s fastest and steepest roller coaster opened in at Kennywood. The Steel Phantom made its stomach-dropping debut that spring before quickly shutting down to install a trim brake as the Phantom was going too fast, boosting its reputation as the ultimate thrill-inducing ride in the world.
Climbing the initial 160-foot hill, riders look out at the rolling landscape of western Pennsylvania, a scene of beauty that mingles with the dread of the drop to come. A mixture of anxiety, anticipation, and excitement forms in the stomach as the train approaches the apex of the ascent. The train enters its first drop sending riders into a straightaway before climbing another hill and falling again, this time hitting its top speed of 80 mph as it flies through the Thunderbolt’s wooden supports in a death-defying drop of 225 feet.
The Steel Phantom shut down for good at the end of the 2000 season before being heavily modified and reopened as the Phantom’s Revenge. The new coaster made many improvements including a more comfortable ride without sacrificing any of the thrills of the OG Phantom. The Phantom’s Revenge slightly increased the maximum drop height and top speed, securing Kennywood’s legacy as a coaster destination worthy of terrifying praise.