Soaring on Comet for 76 years
HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — If you go to Hersheypark, the one coaster that always has a large line of guests and never disappoints is the Comet roller coaster, located in The Hollow section of the park.
The ride has been thrilling guests since May of 1946 and is known for producing several moments of weightlessness and creating memories for the entire family.
Heading up Comet’s 96-foot lift hill. Photo by JD Foltz
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Comet was built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC). PTC has created very historic coasters between the 1920s and 1960s, some of which are still in operation today. The coaster was built with 248,919 board feet of lumber and was designed by then PTC president Herbert P. Schmeck.
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What makes Comet special to the park is that it was the last coaster added to the park by Hershey founder, Milton S. Hershey.
In 1946, Comet was considered the largest coaster in the United States. It was painted green when it first debuted. This was a personal request from Milton Hershey himself. Hershey liked having rides blend in with the surrounding scenery of the park.
Skryush looming over Comet’s Turnaround. Photo from JD Foltz
The ride was eventually painted white decades after the coaster was built and was given a brand new re-paint of its signature white color in 2021.
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This coaster is considered a modified out and back layout, which literally means the coaster goes out and comes back to complete its circuit. What makes it modified is that it goes out and back twice. Comet runs with two trains, named after famous comets: Haley’s Comet and Mork’s Comet.
The ride begins right after being dispatched from the station and starts to climb its 96-foot lift hill. The coaster then goes down its drop at a 47-degree angle, right over Spring Creek. After the first drop, it completes a 180-degree turn, giving a nice view of its neighbor sooperdooperLooper. It continues on many bunny hills and tight turnarounds until flying back into the station.
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The ride uses up-stop brakes to slow down the ride. Back when the ride first opened, many PTC coasters were stopped by hand, using a lever to lift the brakes up to slow down the train. The ride hits a top speed of 50 miles per hour, traveling along 3,360 feet of track, and has a duration of 1 minute and 45 seconds, which makes it one of the longer rides at the park.
This ride has remained a Hersheypark classic for guests young and old. Recently, back in 2021, the coaster celebrated its 75th anniversary and received a designation as a Roller Coaster Landmark by the American Coaster Enthusiasts organization.
To take a virtual ride on Comet, click here!
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