WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) — Kennywood is making it clear that there is no safety problem with the Phantom’s Revenge.
The roller coaster is Kennywood’s calling card and most popular ride, but four times this summer the Phantom’s cars have stopped on the lift hill just after leaving the station. Stopped, not stuck.
“Getting stuck is something that has never happened on the Phantom’s Revenge,” Jeff Filicko, Kennywood’s spokesman, says.
“Stuck” would indicate a malfunction of the ride. The stoppages of the Phantom have all been because the safety features on the ride are functioning properly, talking to the ride’s operating computer.
“All the computer systems for roller coasters are like overprotective parents,” said Filicko. “So, if they see anything that’s remotely out of the parameters they are comfortable with, they are going to stop that train.”
A stoppage earlier this week was done manually by the staff just after the train left the station.
“When a guest chose to take off the seat belt when the train was making its way out of the station, making its way to the lift hill,” Filicko said.
The stoppages have all been less than six minutes with the exception of June 30 when riders were walked a short distance down the lift hill.
“We made the conscious effort to take them out of the train out of convenience,” said Filicko. “We knew the situation in the station would take about a half an hour to fix, and we didn’t want them sitting there in the sun.”
Filicko says a hand full of stoppages each summer is not unusual. They just don’t draw attention, but with the death of a woman on a coaster in Texas last month, coasters are in the spotlight across the country, so he’s not surprised the stoppages are getting more attention than normal.