Knoebels adding looping steel coaster to vintage ride lineup

Impulse looping steel coaster
The new Impulse looping steel coaster coming to Pennsylvania’s Knoebels in 2015 will be similar to the Wicked launch coaster at Utah’s Lagoon amusement park.

A small, family-run amusement park at a wooded Pennsylvania campground will fill a glaring gap in its renowned ride lineup with the addition of a towering looping steel coaster in 2015.

Known for its unique collection of vintage rides, Knoebels will add the 98-foot-tall Impulse steel coaster by German-based Zierer to a trio of wooden coasters revered by ride enthusiasts.

The 55-mph Impulse will begin with a vertical chain-driven lift hill followed by a vertical first drop. The 2,000-foot-long track will feature high-banked turns, two helices and four inversions, including a cobra roll, a vertical loop and an inline twist.

Similar to the Wicked launch coaster at Utah’s Lagoon amusement park, Impulse will employ individual eight-passenger trains with lap bar-only restraints and slightly elevated seats in the second row.


Impulse joins a modest but famed collection of coasters that makes the off-the-beaten-path park a pilgrimage for ride enthusiasts. During its 88-year history, Knoebels has gained a reputation for relocating, restoring and replicating throwback rides left for dead by other amusement parks.

The aptly-named Phoenix double out-and-back wooden coaster was originally built in 1947 as The Rocket at Playland in San Antonio, Texas. The American Coaster Enthusiasts landmark ride was dismantled and rebuilt at Knoebels in 1985.

In 1999, Knoebels introduced the Philadelphia Toboggan Co.-built Twister wooden coaster based on 1964 plans by renowned ride builder John Allen for Mr. Twister at Elitch Gardens in Denver.

The crowning jewel of Knoebels coaster collection is Flying Turns, a replica of a 1930s-era ride the park spent nearly a decade designing and developing. Finally opened in 2013, the one-of-a-kind passion project features a wooden chute where a trackless train glides freely like an Olympic bobsled through a twisting course.


Another John Allen creation, the Golden Nugget indoor steel coaster at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, N.J., was relocated to Knoebels and transformed into the three-story Black Diamond dark ride and roller coaster in 2011.

The new Impulse fills a gap in Knoebels ride lineup that has been without a serious looping steel coaster since 2004 when the park removed Whirlwind, another relocated ride from Playland Park in Rye, N.Y.

Billed as the most expensive attraction in the history of Knoebels, Impulse will replace a pair of children’s boat rides near the park’s 110-foot-tall Ferris wheel.

> Follow the Los Angeles Times Funland theme park blog on Twitter, Facebook and Google+

Get our weekly Escapes newsletter