T3 (roller coaster)

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T3
Previously known as T2 (1995–2009)
Kentucky Kingdom
Coordinates 38°11′39″N 85°44′49″W / 38.194136°N 85.747009°W / 38.194136; -85.747009Coordinates: 38°11′39″N 85°44′49″W / 38.194136°N 85.747009°W / 38.194136; -85.747009
Status Operating
Opening date 1995 (1995)
General statistics
Type Steel – Inverted
Manufacturer Vekoma
Model SLC (662m Prototype)
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 101.7 ft (31.0 m)
Length 2,171.9 ft (662.0 m)
Speed 49.7 mph (80.0 km/h)
Inversions 5
Duration 1:36
Capacity 900 riders per hour
Height restriction 52 in (132 cm)
Trains 2 trains with 7 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a total of 14 riders per train.
T3 at RCDB
Pictures of T3 at RCDB

T3 (pronounced "T-three" or "Terror to the third power") is an inverted roller coaster at Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville, Kentucky. Previously named T2, the Suspended Looping Coaster model manufactured by Vekoma opened in 1995. The amusement park closed in 2010 due to financial difficulties, but later reopened under new ownership in 2014. The roller coaster was refurbished and renamed T3, which reopened to the public on July 3, 2015.

History[edit]

The concept to add inversions to the inverted roller coaster was first developed by Jim Wintrode, general manager of Six Flags Great America, in the 1990s.[1][2] Wintrode worked with Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard – from Swiss roller coaster manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard – along with engineer Robert Mampe to develop Batman: The Ride which opened at Six Flags Great America in 1992.[1][3] Dutch amusement ride manufacturer Vekoma developed a similar concept shortly after, and the model became known as the Suspended Looping Coaster (SLC). Their first installation was El Condor at Six Flags Holland which debuted in 1994.[4]

In 1995, nine parks around the world announced plans to add Vekoma SLCs, including Kentucky Kingdom.[5][6] The installation at Kentucky Kingdom was identical to the original prototype at Walibi Holland, but it featured a different color scheme – red track with purple trains.[6][7][8] Announced as T2, the roller coaster officially opened to the public in 1995.[6]

T3's station remained red following the transition to the black color scheme.

At the end of 1997, the rights to operate Kentucky Kingdom were sold to Premier Parks for $64 million.[9] Following the acquisition, Batman and DC Comics themes were added to Kentucky Kingdom.[9][10][11] As a result, T2 was painted black for the 1999 season. This was due to a plan by Six Flags to retheme part of the park as Gotham City, and rebrand T2 as Batman: The Ride and its next door roller coaster, Chang, as Riddler's Revenge. However, these plans never came to fruition, while T2 retained its new coat of black paint.[12]

Amid a corporate bankruptcy on February 4, 2010, Six Flags announced the park would cease operations immediately due to the rejection of an amended lease by the Kentucky State Fair Board.[13] Under the efforts of former Kentucky Kingdom operator Ed Hart and several investors, the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company was formed to redevelop the park and reopen it.[14][15][16] The Koch Family, owners of Holiday World & Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana, also expressed interest in redeveloping the park.[17][18] On February 23, 2012, the Kentucky Fair Board approved a lease agreement which would see the park reopen as Bluegrass Boardwalk. The plans called for the removal of T2 along with the Twisted Twins, due to age and safety concerns.[19][20] However, plans soon unraveled, and the Koch family eventually withdrew from the investment.[21]

On June 27, 2013, Ed Hart's investment group negotiated an agreement to spend $36 million to reopen the park under its former name Kentucky Kingdom in 2014. Plans involved a major refurbishment of T2 with a timeline to reopen the ride in 2015.[22] Later it was revealed that its name would be changed to T3.[23][24] The refurbished ride reopened on July 3, 2015, and featured renovated trains and track to provide a more comfortable experience for riders.[25]

Characteristics[edit]

The 2,171.9-foot-long (662.0 m) T3 stands 101.7 feet (31.0 m) tall. With a top speed of 49.7 miles per hour (80.0 km/h), the ride features five inversions including a roll over, sidewinder and a double in-line twist.[6] The ride is a clone of the first Vekoma SLC (El Condor at Walibi Holland).[4][6]

T3 originally featured three trains. Each of these trains would seat 20 riders in ten rows of two. Despite this, the ride only ever operated with two trains at any one time, with the third train stored in the maintenance bay. This gave the ride a theoretical hourly capacity of 900 riders per hour. All of the trains were later shorted from ten rows down to seven rows, reducing each trains capacity to 14 riders. The third train was later removed from the ride with its ultimate fate unknown.[6]

Ride experience[edit]

One of T3's trains going through the sidewinder element

Once the train is loaded and secured, it departs the station directly onto the 101.7-foot-tall (31.0 m) chain lift hill. Once at the top, the train goes down a steep, banked turn to the right where it enters the first inversion element, a roll over.[6][26] A roll over (also known as a Sea serpent roll) inverts riders twice by featuring an Immelmann loop quickly followed by a Dive Loop.[27] Upon exit from this element, the train goes up a hill which features some banking at the top before descending and approaching the ride's next inversion, a sidewinder.[6][26] A sidewinder is similar to an Immelmann loop however it features a half loop followed by a half corkscrew (rather than an inline twist).[28] From the exit of this sidewinder, the train goes into a sharp helix before entering the ride's final two inversions in the form of a double inline twist.[6][26] A banked curve to the right turns the train back around to face towards the station with a slight hill leading into the brake run.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Coaster Landmark Award – Batman: The Ride". American Coaster Enthusiasts. June 20, 2005. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  2. ^ O'Brien, Tim (March 24, 2003). "In my office: Jim Wintrode". Amusement Business. 115 (12). 
  3. ^ Marden, Duane. "Batman The Ride  (Six Flags Great America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved January 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "El Condor  (770)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  5. ^ Marden, Duane. "Roller Coaster Search Results  (Model Line = SLC)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Marden, Duane. "T2  (Kentucky Kingdom)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ "T2, Kentucky Kingdom 1995". YouTube. March 15, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  8. ^ Marden, Duane; Nocito, James M. "T2 – Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom (Louisville, Kentucky, USA)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Kleber, John E. (2000). The Encyclopedia of Louisville. University Press of Kentucky. p. 32. ISBN 0-8131-2100-0. 
  10. ^ O'Brien, Tim (November 2, 1998). "Premier Converts More To Six Flags". Amusement Business. 110 (44): 3, 44. 
  11. ^ Cowen, Chris. "1999". Theme Park Timelines. Retrieved January 5, 2011. 
  12. ^ Marden, Duane; Valt, Martin (June 16, 2008). "T2 – Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom (Louisville, Kentucky, USA)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Kentucky Kingdom Rejects Lease Park to Close". RCDB. February 4, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Kentucky Kingdom will not re-open until 2012". WDRB. October 28, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2010. 
  15. ^ "Kentucky Kingdom gets a new boss". Fox 41. May 28, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  16. ^ "New Owner Approved For Kentucky Kingdom". News Channel 5. Associated Press. May 28, 2010. Retrieved November 15, 2010. 
  17. ^ Gazaway, Charles (January 16, 2012). "Holiday World owners involved in Kentucky Kingdom talks". Wave 3 News. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  18. ^ Smith, Heather (February 7, 2012). "Holiday World family forms new company to explore Kentucky Kingdom options". Wave 3 News. Retrieved February 7, 2012. 
  19. ^ Brown, Joey (February 23, 2012). "Kentucky Kingdom reopening as Bluegrass Boardwalk in May 2013". Wave 3 News. Retrieved February 23, 2012. 
  20. ^ Gazaway, Charles. "Tentative opening date for Bluegrass Boardwalk". Wave3.com. Retrieved October 29, 2012. 
  21. ^ Green, Marcus (June 15, 2012). "Bluegrass Boardwalk drops plan to reopen Kentucky Kingdom". Courier Journal. Gannett Company. Retrieved June 15, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Kentucky Kingdom operators announce expansion plans for amusement park reopening in 2014". Washington Post. The Washington Post Company. Associated Press. June 28, 2013. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  23. ^ Macdonald, B., Bedraggled Kentucky Kingdom theme park gets a multimillion dollar redo, Los Angeles Times, May 16, 2014.
  24. ^ Finley, Marty (September 25, 2014). "Kentucky Kingdom to expand rides, hours in 2015". Louisville Business First. Retrieved January 11, 2015. 
  25. ^ Roldan, Roberto (July 3, 2015). "Gut-wrenching Kentucky Kingdom coaster opens". The Courier-Journal. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  26. ^ a b c d "T2 Front Row Seat on-ride POV Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom". Coaster Force. YouTube. February 9, 2010. Retrieved June 28, 2013. 
  27. ^ Marden, Duane. "Roll Over". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved December 14, 2010. 
  28. ^ Marden, Duane. "Sidewinder". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved December 14, 2010. 

External links[edit]