Texas Giant: Reinvented
For nearly 20 years, the Texas Giant stood at Six Flags over Texas as one of the most imposing wooden roller coasters anywhere. But as is the case with most large-scale wooden coasters, time was not kind to the Giant. The brutal Texas heat would warp and distort the track and supports, requiring constant maintenance. Ridership began to lack due to the jolting rides. Six Flags over Texas needed to do something to revive the Giant's legendry.
In 2009, Six Flags over Texas announced it was shutting down the Texas Giant while it underwent an unprecedented $10 million makeover. Scheduled to open again in 2011, the park's 50th anniverseary, the Giant would transform like no other roller coaster had before. More than just a simple rehabilitation, even a name change to the New Texas Giant was more than appropriate.
The New Texas Giant
The transformations were many. The ride's wooden rails with flat steel tracks was replaced with a revolutionary new box steel track system from Rocky Mountain Construction Group (dubbed Iron Horse). The system allows for a smoother ride with less ongoing maintenance. Cadillac-themed trains from German ride designer Gerstlauer (manufacturer of Pandemonium) replaced the dated Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) trains.
It'd be one thing to simply replace the track and trains, but Texas is rarely known for doing things small. Perhaps the most drastic changes made to the Texas Giant involved its layout. The lift hill was raised 10 feet and the drop steepened to a 79° angle. Turns were overbanked up to 112°. Tunnels with mist and custom-lighting effects were added. The New Giant even added pops of extreme airtime where none had previously existed.
Guide to SFoT had the most expansive coverage of the ride's makeover, so take a look below to see how Six Flags over Texas turned an aging wooden beast into a brand-new, top-10 coaster experience.
Wooden or Steel?
Interestingly enough, the new steel track system and new trains with polymer wheels mean that the new Giant is technically a steel coaster (or a steel "hybrid" coaster — one with a steel track and a wooden structure). Since the ride's opening, Six Flags over Texas has somewhat dubiously claimed that the Giant has the steepest drop on any wooden coaster. Regardless of its classification though, the New Texas Giant has consistently proven itself to be one of the world's best roller coasters.
Texas Giant Construction Photos
April 27, 2011 Update
April 21, 2011 Update
One day before Six Flags over Texas plans to unleash the New Texas Giant on the public, the park held their media day for the ride which was covered by every local news station. See below for links to respective TV stations' coverage, as well as a POV video from Theme Park Review. Spoiler alert: the POV video below includes footage that may spoil certain aspects of the ride. View at your own discretion!
- FOX Affiliate Coverage (video)
- NBC Affiliate Coverage (video)
- CBS Affiliate Coverage (photos)
- ABC Affiliate Coverage (photos)
April 19, 2011 Update
The New Texas Giant opens Friday and Six Flags over Texas has begun airing the commercial they filmed back in March. View the video below. Expect a final batch of photos showing the New Giant in action late this weekend.
April 5, 2011 Update
With 17 days until the new Texas Giant's scheduled opening, footage from the commercial shoot back in March has leaked onto the internet. While the original video was quickly password-protected, someone had already captured the footage and re-posted it. Muting your computer prior to playing the video is recommended.
March 10, 2011 Update
Although finishing touches are still being put on the ride, Six Flags over Texas had a Texas Giant commercial shoot Thursday, March 10, 2011 along with an open casting-call on Facebook for extras. The lucky volunteers chosen had the honor of being the first members of the public to ride the new Texas Giant. Joseph Edwards, a member of our Forums, was among the lucky few and sent us some exclusive photos and videos from the commercial shoot.
Reviews from several riders indicate the ride to be an overwhelming success. As a reminder, the new Texas Giant is scheduled to open April 22.
And don't forget to check out the official Six Flags over Texas Facebook page for an on-ride video of the new Texas Giant.
March 8, 2011 Update
Six Flags over Texas has announced that the new Texas Giant will open to the public on April 22, 2011. We'll have a countdown timer on the main page counting down to this big event, along with regular updates as they happen.
March 5, 2011 Update
The opening day of Six Flags over Texas' 50th anniversary season granted the public's latest look at the new Texas Giant's progress, including a new sign, catwalks, and tunnels. Signs stated the Giant would be opening "late spring," with an official ride opening date coming from the park March 8.
Below is a short video, taken from the train, showing the ride's completed layout.
February 1, 2011 Update
The official Six Flags over Texas Facebook page has posted a video showing clips of Texas Giant's full-train test runs. Additional testing is unlikely for the next few days due to a significant snow and ice storm hitting the DFW metroplex.
Meanwhile in other Six Flags over Texas news, a list of other changes in store for the park's 50th anniversary season has been posted in the forums.
January 22, 2011 Update
Testing for the new Texas Giant has begun, as of January 20, 2011. The official Six Flags over Texas Facebook page has a video posted showing a shortened two-car train running part of the course. A full train testing was later spotted on the park's construction webcam. Also, a news chopper recently got some great aerial shots of the completed ride, as shown below. The park has revealed that while the ride is still planning on a Spring opening, the new Texas Giant will not be ready for the park's March 5th opening.
December 12, 2010 Update
As reported, the trackwork is complete and workers are now working on feeding the chain up the lift hill. Cranes were spotted in various areas around the track, reportedly replacing various worn-out supports. Testing is rumored to begin either later this month or in January, when the park is closed to the public. As it stands, the ride is looking at a very good chance of being open when the park opens for its 50th season in March, assuming no major problems are uncovered during testing.
December 8, 2010 Update
Six Flags over Texas' Facebook page has announced that the Giant's final piece of track has been installed and has multiple pictures showing the completed track. As is the tradition, a Christmas tree was installed on the ride's tallest point, at the apex of the lift hill. Testing is expected to begin soon.
The park has also revealed the stats of the three overbanked turns. The first, second, and third overbanked turns reach angles of 103°, 105°, and 112° respectively.
October 30, 2010 Update
Texas Giant's first overbanked turn is now complete, along with various new sections of the finale and turn into the midcourse added since our last update. Plans for what will replace the double helix encompassing the lift hill of the original Giant are now evident, with a tight, highly-banked, ground-hugging turn swooping under the helix and into the finale. Aerial shots were not available due to the tower being closed due to high winds.
As a side note, this will likely be our last update until the end of November due to this being the park's last weekend of operation before the park reopens for Holiday in the Park November 26.
October 17, 2010 Update
The next-to-last bunny hop has been completed, with track in various other places creeping toward completion. More ledgers have been placed in the old helix area that suggest the track will make a diving turn toward the finale instead of the old double-helix that the original Giant featured.
October 6, 2010 Update
Six Flags over Texas unveiled the unique design for the Texas Giant's new trains on their official Facebook page. They're themed to a 1961 Cadillac with steer horns attached to the front -- fitting since the park opened in 1961.
October 2, 2010 Update
Track for the final bunny hill before the brake run has been placed. Track has also started to rise up the first overbanked turn, in addition to ledgers for the lift helix (or something similar) taking form. Brakes and drive tires for the brake run have also been installed.
September 11, 2010 Update
The ledgers for the breathtaking overbanked turn have been installed, along with supports for other track banked at or beyond vertical. The midcourse brake has also been installed. Construction was slightly delayed mid-week due to intense rains that flooded the construction site as a result of tropical storm Hermine sweeping across Texas.
August 15, 2010 Update
No more apparent progress has been made on the initial turnaround, however part of the drop after the second turnaround has been completed. Yet another significant change has emerged: this time a relatively small bunny hill after the large second turnaround drop that's sure to provide some intense negative Gs.
July 28, 2010 Update
Work on the double-up/turnaround feature has slowed down a bit as the track with the banking transition was installed. Below the banking transition, track for the finale has also been installed, as well as the new transfer track. It also appears that workers have been welding the completed track pieces together, indicating the numerous bolts between track sections (seen here) are temporary and will be removed.
July 20, 2010 Update
The valley on the first drop has been completed and work continues up the double-up/turnaround feature.
July 15, 2010 Update
Quick update showing the "double-up" feature that appears to take place after the first drop. The original Giant pulled up and went directly into a turn after the drop, while it appears the new Giant will feature a considerably different profile before turning.
July 13, 2010 Update
The lift hill and impressively steep first drop have been completed, as well as some work on the unique climb out of the first drop.
June 15, 2010 Update
June 6, 2010 Update
Special thanks to Byron Burkett for providing these construction photos.
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