Steel Phantom - KennywoodKennywood Offered a Unique Hyper Coaster in Steel Phantom
Phantom’s Revenge was originally known as Steel Phantom. It was Kennywood’s entry in the Coaster Arms Race of the 1990’s. Theme parks around the world were trying to one-up each other in boasting the tallest roller coaster in the world. Coaster designer Arrow had a large part to play in the Race. In most cases they were brought in to build coasters with a tall first hill that broke the current world record. Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point, Desperado at Buffalo Bill’s Resort, and Pepsi Max Big One at Pleasure Beach were some of the major players.

Steel Phantom was One of a Kind
Unlike those hyper coasters, Steel Phantom was not technically taller than 200 feet, but it did take riders down a breathtaking 225′ drop down a ravine and through Thunderbolt’s support structure. After the intense drop, Steel Phantom unleashed 4 loops including a boomerang (2), vertical loop, and a corkscrew. Unfortunately, I was never able to experience Steel Phantom before it was transformed into Phantom’s Revenge. As Phantom’s Revenge it was given a traditional hypercoaster make-over and the four inversions were replaced with airtime bunny hills. I really like terrain coasters and looping steel coasters. I think I would’ve loved Steel Phantom.

Check out this onride coaster video of Steel Phantom. It’s from a news story in 1991.

Note – This video was filmed by professionals with permission from the park. For safety reasons, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster.

What’s Your Take?
Do you have any memories of Steel Phantom? Do you like Steel Phantom better or do you prefer Phantom’s Revenge? Leave a comment below.Image & video courtesy of CoasterImage.

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

15 Responses

  1. Judy P in Pgh

    Yep, you would've loved it, but too many people complained about getting beaten up. When Kennywood announced that it was being changed, there was a letter-writing campaign to keep it as is, but not to be. The thing I like about both Pahtoms is that it's the second hill, not the first, that has the longest drop. That's the one that goes down into the ravine, amidst the smell of POTATO PATCH FRIES! The bunny hills are wicked and there is a cool uphill tunnel under the T-Bolt, but I think I liked the original Phantom better.

  2. The Coaster Critic

    I'm not surprised it was rough as Steel Phantom. Arrow is known for their heabanging looping coasters. As long as it wasn't excessively rough I still would've enjoyed those loops. They looked cool. I'm sure Kennywood had to consider those complaints and they probably realized that those bunny hills and the lapbar restraints would be less obusive.

  3. Kurt Engelhardt

    The original Steel Phantom was a nice ride…until you hit the last loop, which was a single corkscrew over the final brake run into the station. The transition into this corkscrew was neck-snapping, and left many riders, including myself, with a headache! Even after dozens of rides on the Steel Phantom (including a few when it was new before they added the trim brakes going into the first loop), I never got accustomed to that last inversion. I think the shoulder restraints, which didn't fit me very well due to my upper body height, exacerbated the situation. I'm of the opinion that the Phantom's Revenge is a significant improvement. It feels faster and doesn't give me headaches!

    • Judy P in Pgh

      Ninja at 6 Flags Over GA is the closest I've come to the beatings I used to willingly take on Steel Phantom. Maybe it's just that I'm getting older …

  4. Jason in Cbus

    I once rode Steel Phantom 4 times in about 2-3 hours. I felt really dazed after all that. It was a rough looper but nothing like Ninja at SFSTL! That one beat the crap out of me. Steel Phantom was a rush of adrenaline while Phantom's Revenge is just plain fun. Word was that KW was going to tear the entire ride down, but due to the complaints, they instead decided to redesign the coaster. I wonder what they would have put there.

  5. Joel

    I still have yet to find a coaster that compared to the Steel Phantom when considering all aspects of the ride. The Phantom's Revenge is a wuss ride compared to the Steel Phantom. That first plunge into the ravine was awesome! You stand on line reading the billboard telling you that it's the highest drop in a coaster and you look at it and say, that's not so bad. Then you get to the front of the line and you see where it goes. Some coasters have the speed, but not the inversions, and others vice-versa. None combine them like the Steel Phantom did.

  6. Eric J. Westendorf

    Joel is right! The original Steel Phantom was the baddest coaster I've ever ridden. The combination of speed and inversions was and is unmatched! It was a fast, nasty adrenaline rush. The best ride was in the front row at night. Heading down into that ravine in the dark, you swore you were flying off the rails and headed down to the river below!!

    And all you had to do was hold the back of your head against the padding and the final loop/neck snap was a moot point; of course I'm 6'5" 275lbs so I had the strength to hold my head and neck in place.

    The Phantom's Revenge is fast and fun, but doesn't hold a candle. It's like getting into a 6-cylinder Mustang after driving a Shelby Mustang!

  7. Ryan

    I wasnt too impressed by steelphantom. It was an average arrow with a lot of rough points. The revenge is much better because its smoother, more airtime, and you have 2 drops into thunderbolt.

  8. Erika

    I think the Steel Phantom was better because of the loops but without the headache. The Phantom’s Revenge is a little boring without the loops

  9. Steve

    I remember riding the Steel Phantom the very first month it was open and they had a meter at the end of the ride to tell you how fast it went. The ride I was on was clocked at 94 MPH. That’s before they closed for a couple weeks to to figure out why it was going so fast. They must have changed something as it didn’t go that fast the next year (mid 80’s) but still, it wasn’t the speed so much as the one inversion (can’t remember which one), which even at the slower speeds, still rung your bell. It was always best to save the Phantom for the last ride because of this.

  10. Ryan

    My cousin and I went on this 24 times in one day. For the next two days, I felt like my entire center of gravity was shifting, spinning, and inverting. It was glorious.

  11. Matthew

    I remember the Steel Phantom flags throughout lost Kennywood! I am eleven, so I was around five, I guess…

  12. Kim

    I rode the Steel Phantom in 1994. I remember the hill going into the ravine felt like it was going at a 90 degree angle. I’ve never felt that on a coaster before or since then. The memory is still fresh. The hill shocked me because I didn’t realize just how steep it was. I have to admit, though, that it was a painful ride. I only rode it once because I remember my upper back hurt really bad, not my neck, after getting off the train. It also gave me a headache. I think it’s good they changed it, but feel bad for the purists who wanted it to stay unchanged. I feel glad I got the chance to ride it.

  13. Terril

    My Husband built the Steel Phantom. Yes we liked the Loops. Too bad they took the Loops out.

  14. James P.

    I rode it about 6 times in 1999. Sad they changed it. I don’t think Kennywood would get my business in the future.


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