Source: Zamperla

Source: Zamperla

Coney Island’s newest amusement tycoons, Central Amusement International (a.k.a. Zamperla USA), broke ground on the Thunderbolt yesterday, the first roller coaster in more than a century at the People’s Playground to throw riders through a literal loop.

The three-car coaster will hold 27 people as it zooms along 2,233 feet of track at 55 miles per hour. It’ll reach its peak height at 115 feet before plummeting nearly straight to the ground and into a 100-foot vertical loop, then an 80-foot zero-g roll followed by a heartline dive and corkscrew. The whole shebang lasts two-minutes.

The new ride, which borrows the name of the original Thunderbolt coaster that was built in 1920, decommissioned in 1982, and torn down in 2000, will cost $10 million, the single largest private investment in Coney Island in decades.

According to the press release for the groundbreaking:

Creation of the coaster helps realize the goals outlined in the Coney Island Revitalization Plan, adopted by the City Council in 2009. The plan is anticipated to generate billions of dollars in economic activity and create tens of thousands of jobs over the next decades by preserving and expanding the historic amusement area, investing in district-wide infrastructure, and building new housing, commercial and community space.

No word on when they’ll get to the district-wide infrastructure and housing stuff, but the roller coaster will be open in May.

Here’s a video mockup of what a ride on it will be like:

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Video: Take A Virtual Ride On The New Thunderbolt

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