Carowinds Theme Park Shuts Down Vintage Thunder Road Roller Coaster
Photo via Twitter/Carowinds
The Carowinds theme park, a popular East Coast family destination situated at the border between North and South Carolina, just shuttered one of its most recognizable attractions: the world-renowned Thunder Road roller coaster.
A report from the Associated Press said the 39-year-old roller coaster was officially closed to the public on Sunday night around 10 p.m., and after the park employees who were given the exclusive opportunity to ride Thunder Road one last time Monday, it was shut down forever.
Carowinds GM Mike Fehnel told the AP the ride will be dismantled, and parts of the one-plus mile long track and the accompanying trains will be sent to Kings Dominion near Richmond, Virginia, and Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, two location that run older versions of the same roller coaster.
The amusement park said the roller coaster will be removed to help make room for major changes to the County Fair section of Carowinds. The park has hired a contractor who will salvage anything he can from the attraction, from the treated wood that held the ride up to the concrete footings.
As for what will take the roller coaster’s place in the park, Carowinds is expected to announce the plans for a new attraction next month. Local newspapers are reporting that it will not be another roller coaster, but a wet ride of some sort.
Thunder Road was originally built in 1976 for $1.6 million. In 2013, park officials refurbished the roller coaster to make for a smoother ride.
Over the 39 years of service, Carowinds estimates the attraction thrilled around 40 million passengers.
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