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Ride Profile: Colossus

By on June 30, 2013

Colossus Roller Coaster

Ride Type: Roller Coaster
Manufacturer: International Amusement Devices
Model/Style: Wooden Double Out and Back
Year Built: 1978

After literally turning the roller coaster world on its head in 1976 with The Great American Revolution, the world’s very first looping modern roller coaster, Magic Mountain really went big in 1978 with Colossus. Dubbed “The Greatest Roller Coaster in the World,” Colossus is a massive double out and back wooden racing coaster, the likes of which had never been seen before. When it finally opened to the public on 29 June 1978, it was the tallest, longest, and fastest roller coaster in the world!

As soon as Revolution was complete, Magic Mountain knew they wanted their next roller coaster to make an even bigger statement. They travelled the world looking at the best coasters out there and quickly realized that many of them had been built by International Amusement Devices, Inc., or IADI, out of Sandusky, Ohio. Building amusement rides since 1919 as National Amusement Device Company, IADI had already built 45 roller coasters before starting on Colossus, which ended up being the biggest project the company ever did. They worked very closely with Magic Mountain’s own team of designers and engineers to plan the ride, and they hired Bernards Bros., out of the San Fernando Valley, as the general contractor to build it.

Although dwarfed by many of today’s roller coasters, including the 235′ tall Goliath and 415′ tall Superman: Escape from Krypton, Colossus still sits prominently in the front of the park and is admired both by people in the parking lot and on the passing freeway:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Colossus is so massive that it sits on a whopping 10 acres of land! It was built on part of the parking lot, between the park and the freeway, so that everyone driving by would see it and want to come ride it. This is the station being built with the coaster behind it:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Robin Hall

Due to the size and expense of this roller coaster, Magic Mountain really wanted to ensure that it would stand the test of time. Wood was chosen over steel because of its “durable flexibility.” After spending several months visiting major logging forests all over the world, they chose the strength of Douglas Fir from Oregon and Northern California for the main structure. Long Leaf Yellow Pine from Louisiana was selected for its “elasticity,” which was needed for the track work. Every piece of lumber was kiln dried for a low moisture content, impregnated with an insect killer, and sealed with a special primer that was created specifically for this project. Additionally, every single cut and drilled bolt hole was coated with a weatherproofing insecticide, for extra protection.

This is the main lift hill while it was under construction:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Robin Hall

There is 2,100 cubic yards of concrete, contained within 1,258 footers, supporting this roller coaster. The structure is made from 1,209,687 board feet of lumber, held together with 228,922 bolts and 22,300 nails. That’s more than twice the amount of lumber that went into building the second largest coaster of the day. It takes 12,000 gallons of paint to make it pretty. When done, it had taken a total of 150,000 man hours to build.

This next photo shows the second turn around being completed. What looks like rows of lumber on the ground is actually the base for where the storage track would go, as well as both tracks returning to the station, which is the block structure in the lower-left:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Robin Hall

When Colossus was done, it definitely commanded attention. As seen in this next photo, it absolutely dwarfed everything in the park. Even the Showcase Theater, which holds thousands of people, is but a third of Colossus’ size, if that:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Chuck Wlodarczyk

Colossus is 1,608′ long, which was 33′ longer than the largest ocean liner at the time. The top of the lift hill is 125′ tall, with a first drop of 115′. It’s second drop is 105′, which made it the first coaster in the world that had multiple drops over 100′ tall. There were originally 14 hills that made you weightless 11 times. Both tracks combined were 9,203′ long, with each track averaging just over 4,600′ long. The ride had a top speed of 60 MPH and a maximum G-force of 3.23. Total ride time from start to finish is 3:30 minutes. The total cost to build Colossus was $6,000,000, which was triple the cost of Revolution.

This is what the entrance to the ride looks like today, mostly unchanged since day one:

Colossus Roller Coaster

One thing that has changed over the years is the landscaping. Much of the ride is virtually impossible to see from within the park from all of the mature tress and bushes:

Colossus Roller Coaster

As a racing roller coaster, there are two mirrored sides. One train exits the station to the right and loops around to the lift hill while the other loops around to the left. There is a little viewing area on both sides of the station where people can watch their friends ride the coaster. The mature landscaping prevents you from seeing much today, except a partial view of the train being dispatched, but it’s still a nice area to sit and wait. This is the viewing area on the left side of the station:

Colossus Roller Coaster

The Flash Pass entrance is located on the right side of the station. Even if they’re only running the left side, you would still enter here and it leads you to the back of the station, close to the main ride operator. The path to the right of this entrance is the exit path for the right side and the path for the right side viewing area is to the right of this:

Colossus Roller Coaster

As you enter the station, you either turn left or right, depending on which side they are running, and/or which side you’d like to ride. This is the left side entrance:

Colossus Roller Coaster

At the end of the entrance path is a few switchbacks before you end up at the air gates:

Colossus Roller Coaster

There is a handicap entrance that bypasses the switchbacks for those guests who need it:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Both sides are almost identical. This is the right side load/unload area:

Colossus Roller Coaster

The main ride operator control panels are located on small risers at the very back of the station. Since the back of the station is elevated, there is a stairwell underneath the right side ride op area that leads down to the maintenance area:

Colossus Roller Coaster

The left side ride op control panel is mirrored right behind it, but without the stairs:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Directly across the track from the primary ride operator is another ride op station. A third ride op is placed at the very front of the train, which you can see in the photo of the handcap entrance above:

Colossus Roller Coaster

This is one of the current trains as it enters the station:

Colossus Roller Coaster

In December 1978, just six months after the ride opened, there was a tragic accident in which a young woman was ejected from the train while on the track and fell to her death. The ride was immediately closed for an investigation, but there were no safety issues found with the coaster and the park was cleared of any wrong doing. Despite not being at fault, the park still installed seat belts on the ride before re-opening it to the public.

Just a few months later, in late May 1979, Colossus closed again for a major overhaul. Six Flags bought the park and took ownership on 4 June 1979, renaming it Six Flags Magic Mountain. They were severely concerned about how much downtime Colossus was experiencing and wanted to fix it. The coaster had been open less than a year, but it had been down for maintenance almost 50% of all operating hours during that period. Six Flags was serious about making the necessary changes so that it would conform to their standard of less than 5% maintenance downtime, committing $2,000,000 during phase 1 of a $6,000,000 capital improvement project just to fix Colossus.

The first thing they did was hire roller coaster design firm Dan Rosser and Associates to figure out what was wrong and how they could redesign it. They also hired Bill Cobb and Associates to handle the structural engineering. Both firms had been heavily involved in all the existing wooden coasters at the other Six Flags parks. Lastly, they brought in Frontier Construction Corporation to do the actual work, the same company that built the Texas Cyclone at Astroworld and Rolling Thunder at Six Flags Great Adventure.

In order to help smooth the ride and eliminate some of the extreme negative G-forces that were causing rider discomfort, 10 of the 14 hills were either raised or lowered by up to 20′, including a very extreme speed hill just after the second drop. 200,000 board feet of lumber ended up being replaced, including every inch of the 9,203′ of track. Variable-speed motors were added to the lift hill allowing for faster climbs, yet still slowing at the top for a better first drop. All new air-actuated sled-type brakes were also added for smoother stopping, especially in the station. After all of the changes were made, over 200 hours of testing was performed using 12 different types of tests, checking things like G-forces, speed, and braking. Colossus reopened to the public on 22 December 1979.

The original trains consisted of five six-passenger cars, allowing for 30 riders per dispatch. These trains were heavy, rough, and hard on the track. As part of the 1979 redesign, they were replaced by lighter trains manufactured by Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC). These new PTC trains had four six-passenger cars, for a total of 24 riders per dispatch. These were not only easier on the track, but the top speed was now increased to 62 MPH. The new trains also had individual lap bars for each rider, eliminating the need for seat belts.

The PTC trains would remain in service for the next nine years. In 1984, the park turned the train around on one side to run backwards during their annual Fright Fest event. It was so popular that they kept the train backwards after Fright Fest, giving riders the option of riding either forward or backwards. In 1988, the PTC trains were replaced by sleek fiberglass “California”-style trains from Morgan Manufacturing. These trains have six four-passenger cars, still allowing 24 riders per dispatch. Unfortunately, because there was no headrest, the new Morgan trains could not be operated backwards and riders no longer had a choice. Here’s the lead car of a current train:

Colossus Roller Coaster

In 1998 Colossus borrowed two of the Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) trains from the other wood coaster in the park, Psyclone, to run backwards during Fright Fest. When Psyclone was closed down in 2006, all the B&M trains became a permanent asset of Colossus. Here is one of the B&M trains installed backwards on Colossus for Fright Fest:

Colossus Roller Coaster

There are no lockers or cubby holes for guests to use on Colossus, but they do let you just drop your stuff on the ground on the other side of the train when you board:

Colossus Roller Coaster

This is the view from the front of the “left” side train. Since the front of the train faces the entrance, you actually loop to the right as you exit the station for the lift hill:

Colossus Roller Coaster

This is the train on the “right” side being dispatched, as seen from the right side viewing area. It loops to the left and passes underneath the exit path for that side:

Colossus Roller Coaster

With all of the mature landscaping, and other new coasters that have sprung up since, it’s virtually impossible to see Colossus running from anywhere inside the park. This is the best shot I could get of a train on the 125′ tall lift hill. Even though it’s a racing coaster, it hasn’t raced in quite some time, which explains all the rust on the right track. I honestly can’t even remember how long it’s been since I’ve seen a train run on that side:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Here’s an old Six Flags photo of a PTC train cresting the top of the lift hill:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Six Flags

As seem from the parking lot today, here’s a train on the first drop:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Back in the “good old days” they would actually race trains. Both sides would be loaded and dispatched at the same time. It would usually be a pretty even race starting at the first drop, as seen here, but differences in weight would produce different winners:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Six Flags

This next photo, which I believe came from a postcard, is the only picture I could find of the very original trains, loaded with 30 passengers each:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Unknown

In this next publicity photo from Magic Mountain, people are having the time of their lives as the train climbs the second hill after the first drop. Check out how barron the area is all around the coaster. It’s definitely not like that anymore:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Six Flags

After the first drop, the train climbs back up to the first turn around and prepares for the second drop, which is 105′ tall. Compare Colossus’ second drop, seen here, to Goliath’s second drop behind it. There’s roughly a 100′ difference between the two:

Colossus Roller Coaster

The train goes through a double-up element as it climbs the third hill:

Colossus Roller Coaster

There’s no denying that Colossus is big! This is the second turn around on the third hill:

Colossus Roller Coaster

This is the third drop after the second turn around on the massive structure seen above:

Colossus Roller Coaster

There are a couple of places where the track actually dips slightly below grade:

Colossus Roller Coaster

After the third drop, there used to be a double dip element where riders would get a pop of airtime. However, that was smoothed over in 1991 so that a new brake block could be added. With the new block, Six Flags could now run three trains per side, or six total at a time. This gave Colossus an incredible ride capacity of 2,600 riders per hour! If you look at the side of the coaster from the parking lot, you can see where the dip used to be with the new flat block section over the top of it:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Here’s an old Six Flags PR photo I found from before the double dip was neutered. You should also note that one of the trains is really pulling away from the other:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Six Flags

After the third drop, the track goes up and into the structure for its final turn around:

Colossus Roller Coaster

There are a few more small hills before the train hits the final brake run and makes its way back into the station. However, there is no way to get photos of those from the ground and cameras are not allowed on the ride.

Colossus is so iconic and huge that it’s been used in countless movies, tv shows, commercials, and promotions. Its most famous role was arguably as the Screemy Meemy roller coaster at the fictional theme park Wally World in National Lampoon’s Vacation. Even to this day, you’ll still see it make appearances when you least expect it. Here is a photo of the trains wrapped to promote the 2012 movie The Three Stooges. To further promote the movie, they even temporarily renamed the ride to Curly’s Colossus:

Colossus Roller Coaster

The transfer track for the maintenance area is just before the train reaches the station:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Accessible from either side, the transfer track feeds three sections of storage track, each capable of holding two full trains each, or six trains total. I think it’s been a really long time since the park has had that many trains for this ride:

Colossus Roller Coaster

The side of the white structure facing the freeway is lined with several four-headed light fixtures, each with a different color filter. When working properly, they light up the structure at night in alternating colors, making a very dramatic display for passers by:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Here’s another old postcard that has some nice photos of Colossus in its prime:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Unknown

As seen today, surrounded by several more modern steel roller coasters, Colossus is not quite as imposing as it once was. If you look closely, you’ll even see that the support for Goliath’s second hill is actually inside the Colossus structure:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Microsoft (Bing Maps)

From a direct aerial view, Colossus looks quite basic. If you look at the station in the middle on the left, you’ll see the two tracks exit and loop around to the lift hill:

Colossus Roller Coaster

Photo © Microsoft (Bing Maps)

Here’s a great video from different news teams on Colossus’ media day in 1978:

59 Comments

  1. Jon

    06/30/2013 at 5:56 pm

    I’ve always wondered, did the trains used to have some sort of logo or artwork that the park removed? It looks odd for the front of the trains to just have a big white circle on them.

    • The Coaster Guy

      06/30/2013 at 6:01 pm

      I assume you’re referring to the front of the current red train. That’s a good question. I never really thought about it, but it does look like something used to go there, or was supposed to go there.

      • Eric

        06/30/2014 at 12:03 am

        The original trains had a “Thunder” or “Lightning” theme, depending on which side you rode. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of the original trains.

        Also, of note, the PTC trains had a single bar for both riders. It was what they call a “buzz bar,” meaning that it was released electronically to be raised or lowered.

        I said this somewhere else, but I have ridden Colossus in four different kinds of rolling stock (the original IAD trains, the PTCs, the Morgans, and the B&M trains from Psyclone). I have also ridden both tracks forward and backwards—they ran the right side track backwards back in the mid-’80s.

        It’s ironic that they flattened the double-down to add an extra block to run more trains, but rarely did so because Magic Mountain began adding so many bigger and better coasters that Colossus began to lose favor with park guests. I have even referred to Colossus as a giant kiddie coaster. Don’t get me wrong—it’s still a fun ride, just not as “mean” as it used to be.

        We’ll see what they do with it in the next year or so.

        • Scott C.

          07/01/2014 at 12:50 pm

          I guess Lightning Racer at Hershey Park got the idea from SFMM. Until Gold Striker, that was my favorite wood coaster. They do race them, and it was pretty much a walk on when I was there last year. And they announce the winner when you get back (Thunder or Lightning). Lots of re-rides on that with the kid. Fun Times.

  2. JJJ

    06/30/2013 at 6:19 pm

    You say they havent raced in quite sometime, I thought they did that during fright fest?

    And I wish more coasters were built with the possibility of running backwards, like this one and superman.

    • The Coaster Guy

      06/30/2013 at 6:26 pm

      Having both sides open at the same time and racing are quite different. I honestly don’t think they’ve raced two trains in a very long time. I’m almost positive they’ve never raced a forward facing and backwards train against each other, although that would be pretty cool.

      • Eric

        06/30/2013 at 7:29 pm

        During Fright Fest I’ve had a couple of races with a forward and backward facing train. I’ve also experienced that back in the ’80s when the PTC trains were facing backwards on one side. Of note, back in the ’80s, they ran the right side track (nearest to Goliath) backwards, and now they run the left side track (nearest to Scream!) backwards.

        So, now I’ve ridden Colossus in several different ways:

        1. Each track forward and backwards.
        2. Four different types of rolling stock (IAD, PTC, Morgan, and B&M).
        3. Racing with both trains facing forward.
        4. Racing with one train facing forward and one facing backwards.

  3. Sammy

    06/30/2013 at 6:30 pm

    GREAT little history read. thanks for that.

    • The Coaster Guy

      06/30/2013 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks, Sammy. I knew it was going to be a long one, so that’s why I’ve been dragging my heels on doing it.

  4. Eric

    06/30/2013 at 6:30 pm

    The PTC trains that replaced the original IAD ones had a single bar across two riders. It was the then-standard PTC “buzz bar.” It only had two positions: up or down. If a rider was small, there was quite a bit of extra space for some nice pops of airtime, despite having had the original hills reprofiled. The original trains did have individual lap bars for each rider, and they were very similar to the ones on Revolution. Once lowered, riders had to attach a cable to the side of the car to help hold it down.

    Airtime on the original was INSANE. Because of the design of the lap bars, larger people were at risk of being thrown out, as Carol Flores was in December 1978. From the reports at the time, it was claimed that her 5′-2″ height equaled her waist measurement, and that was one factor that contributed to her death. Flores was tossed out somewhere along the second drop from what I remember.

    How sad that the block brake was added to the parking lot side. At the time, I can understand why they would want to increase capacity, but Colossus lost a lot of its popularity over the years, and they ran three trains per track less often. Luckily, I had the pleasure of riding Colossus backwards in 1984-85 in the PTC trains, complete with the double-down. That was a lot of fun, and it was done throughout the year, not just during Fright Fest.

    If the rumored Rocky Mountain makeover of Colossus does in fact happen, modern technology could allow them to restore the original profile of Colossus—airtime and all—in a safe way. Believe me, that would satisfy a lot of people who never had a chance to ride the original. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that Colossus will gain an inversion or two and be completely different than it is now.

    • JJJ

      06/30/2013 at 8:39 pm

      I think adding inversions would be a bad idea. Lots of people who are scared to go upside down get to enjoy collosus as it is.

      • Rosie

        02/24/2014 at 11:09 am

        same

    • The Coaster Guy

      06/30/2013 at 9:29 pm

      I found a lot of information on the accident while researching this ride, but I didn’t want to delve too much into the details as I didn’t feel they were that pertinent to the ride profile, other than to explain why the ride was closed and seat belts were added.

    • Roger

      07/03/2013 at 9:48 pm

      It’s a great ride, it would be great to see her back to her former glory!

  5. steve austin

    06/30/2013 at 8:19 pm

    Kurt, any chance you have a 1977 park brochure/map? The reason I ask is I remember having a couple of them at the time…because it featured a picture of the new worlds larges rollercoaster coming next year (’78) and it was a photo of the model of Colossus. I’ve of course lost mine over the years and was hoping you might have that in your collection. Thanks, Steve Austin. BTW…outstanding ride profile as always. KUDOS!!

    • The Coaster Guy

      06/30/2013 at 9:37 pm

      I do not yet have a full 1977 park map and guide in my collection. All I have is a screen shot of the 1977 map itself that was sent to me. There is a giant dotted line oval “Future Home Of” label where Colossus was planned to go.

      I’m glad you liked the profile. That one took me a very long time to research and get all my facts straight. There’s a lot of history there!

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  8. Andrew

    06/30/2013 at 9:37 pm

    Last year, I heard a rumor of a ride which would be called “Full Throttle”, to replace Log Jammer, which would also hold the world record for the biggest loop in the world. I laughed at the idea because it seemed impossible. They just released Lex Luthor, and three coasters the year before! Two weeks later, to my suprise, Full Throttle was announced, and held the world record for the biggest loop in the world.

    Also, a month before the announcement of Lex Luthor, I heard of a drop tower to be attached to the Superman tower.

    I’m convinced that Collossus will recieve the Iron Horse (or Rocky Mountain I’m not sure what it’s called but I assume you know what I mean) treatment. I wouldnt be surprised if it happens.

    What are your thoughts on this idea? Do you think it’s true? Would this be a good idea for Six Flags to do?

    • The Coaster Guy

      06/30/2013 at 9:55 pm

      I’m pretty confident that the rumors of an Iron Horse treatment to Colossus are probably true, but in 2015.

      • James

        07/01/2013 at 1:16 am

        If it closes at the end of 2013, it will be rebuilt throughout the 2014 season and then opened in the Spring of 2015….
        I think Screamscape called that a while ago….

  9. Geo

    06/30/2013 at 11:19 pm

    Wow, I thought I knew a lot about Colossus, I guess I didn’t.. thanks for the info! Great pictures too.

  10. James

    07/01/2013 at 12:09 am

    Fantastic review Kurt!

    It is a very detailed and informative. It must have have taken you a LONG time to compile this.

    While I would love to see the ride given an overhaul, I would much prefer them to keep it wooden and increase the drops and banking, also add new trains like Outlaw Run.

    I have ridden New Texas Giant and Iron Rattler and while they are good coasters in their own right, the smoothness of each coaster makes them feel a little too controlled, thus removing part of the intensity of a traditional wood coaster.
    If a solution could be found where they made the ride bigger and more intense, but upheld it as a traditional wooden coaster, then that would get my vote.

  11. Mrod

    07/01/2013 at 4:14 am

    Personally I love this ride. It holds alot of history. And as much as I enjoy keeping history intact, I think that an iron horse treatment is going to benefit this ride. In my own fantasy I imagine a steeper/taller first drop, all turns over banked, and the break run turned into a barell roll. The inversion alone (if it were placed where the break run is) will make a huge, defining statement to guests as they arrive to the park and see it from the parking lot. Either way colossus holds a special place in my heart. I’m 22 now and remember it being my second “big” roller coaster when I went to magic mountain for the first time when I was 8, after riding revolution. On a side note, awesome profile, Kurt, I learned things I didn’t know about Colossus!

  12. JIMMY TOVAR

    07/01/2013 at 5:42 am

    What a great treat this profile is. It takes me way way back to the early 80′s when I first rode it with pops. Hat’s of to you Kurt for all the research you did and the effort that was put in, to bring us this well written profile of the mighty Colossus!

    • The Coaster Guy

      07/05/2013 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks, Jimmy. I knew it was a big task, given all the history of this ride, so that’s why I’ve been procrastinating. However, with all the rumors of its pending closure, I knew I better finally get it out there.

  13. Bob winek

    07/01/2013 at 12:59 pm

    At the park right now and full throotle still hasn’t opened yet and it’s about 1 other than that the park is dead

  14. Dane. P

    07/01/2013 at 1:15 pm

    A really sad thing that has nothing to do with colossus except that it is also a racing coaster is that in Universal Studios was that they had a roller coaster named dueling dragons, but now renamed to something having to do with Harry Potter. Is a inverted racing coaster. Both sides are perfectly functional, but now they no longer make it race. No idea why, but now the ride isn’t half as fun without it. I have no idea why they stopped but it makes me sad.

    • JJJ

      07/01/2013 at 6:17 pm

      The reason the dueling dragons no longer race is because one time someone was injured as an object from one train flew and hit the other train.

      As this is america, fun was banned after that point in time.

      • Dane. P

        07/01/2013 at 7:33 pm

        Is it wrong that’s a bit funny?

      • The Coaster Guy

        07/01/2013 at 7:34 pm

        Yah, I heard people started tossing coins from one train to the other. With the increased risk of injury, the two trains are no longer dispatched together.

        • Dane. P

          07/02/2013 at 6:42 pm

          That sucks it used to me an amazing ride because of it.

  15. John

    07/01/2013 at 2:27 pm

    Am I the only one that thinks doing an Iron Horse setup would take a way from this ride?
    But I guess they need to do something to get people to ride it again. The lines are always short now… But I remember growing up, if it was an hour wait, the line was short. :)

    • James

      07/01/2013 at 8:12 pm

      I vote for making it more extreme but keeping the tracks wood, outlaw run style

  16. Andrew

    07/01/2013 at 11:21 pm

    I have to agree with Mrod, although Collosus is a great coaster, the Iron Horse treatment would benefit it. If it were taller, it would be much more noticeable. Also a barrel roll in place of the break run would shout to people in the parking lot, “Look how awesome I am! I’m a wooden coaster yet I have a barrel roll! How often do you see that?! Come and try it out!”. However James also has a point. Wouldn’t that take away the intensity? Make it feel TOO controlled?

    I would personally love this however I think they should keep classic wooden rollercoaster feeling. I don’t know about you guys, but I think California Scream’n has that intense wooden feeling while remaining steel. I think SFMM could pull it off.

    • James

      07/02/2013 at 6:48 pm

      I know the steel tracks ‘woodies’ NTG and Iron Rattler are good coasters, but they just seem to lack something…. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly what it is…. I think it is a combination of being ‘too smooth’ and it’s quiet!
      It feels like a steel coaster, which is fine, but it’s a steel coaster that doesn’t go that fast.

      I prefer woodies that feel crazy like El Toro or even Apocalypse instead of the i-box coasters. Where you are thrown around, without the pain, and there is something about the noise of a wooden coaster, click-clacking and banging that adds to the experience .

      Just my 2 cents

  17. Andrew

    07/03/2013 at 12:53 am

    That’s one reason I like California Scream’n so much at DCA. It looks and feels wooden, but it is made of steel. If SFMM were to pull this off, it would have a nostalgic feel to it, yet be a high tech rollercoaster.

    One thing that absolutely mess this ride up though would be a new paint job. White wooden supports and white steel tracks would be great because it would look almost exactly like the classic version. Anything else would mess it up its amazing look!

  18. Webb, R

    07/03/2013 at 2:03 pm

    Here is an LA Times article on the Bernards Brothers Construction.

    http://articles.latimes.com/1989-11-07/business/fi-1135_1_magic-mountain-s-giant-roller-coaster

  19. Brenden

    07/03/2013 at 4:40 pm

    I was on EBay and noticed a 1971 park map, but was curious as if it is authentic. I’d hope so for 17 bucks, and in that case I will buy one. There are 10 if you are interested. Also any insight yet on 2014?

    • The Coaster Guy

      07/03/2013 at 5:22 pm

      I highly doubt these are the original park maps. Somebody out there had taken a crappy digital scan of a 1971 map, blew it up to poster size, laminated it, and started selling them on eBay. I made the mistake of buying one and really regretted it. Be sure to check the description very carefully.

  20. Andrew

    07/04/2013 at 10:56 pm

    It would be awesome if this ride gets the iron horse treatment like the new texas giant and others!

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  22. Scott

    08/22/2013 at 10:45 am

    Great memories. My partner and I designed the camera mount for press day so all of the stations could quickly change cameras. We also shot a documentary on the building of the ride…a lifetime ago. Still love wooden roller coasters!

  23. Mark

    09/22/2013 at 2:51 pm

    too bad it’s not “The Greatest Roller Coaster in the World,” any more gotta update it.

  24. Paul

    10/16/2013 at 12:31 am

    Nice article. Brings back a lot of memories. I was a ride operator at Magic Mountain from ’78 to ’81. I was trained on Colossus the day before the accident & happened to have the next day off. When I arrived to work the following day, I found out about the accident & the ride was closed. I was transferred to the Gold Rusher & when the Colossus reopened, I was on the re-opening crew. My recollection is that after Six Flags took over, they ordered us to stop racing the trains to reduce the stresses on structure. At peak operations we were able to run 5 trains per side & I was one of the few operators they allowed to do so. I believe we could cycle 3200 – 3400 passengers per hour and we still had 2.5 hour wait times at peak hours. The lines from the Revolution & Colossus would actually backup past each other around the fountains at the front of the park.

    I was the first operator to run a Colossus train mounted backward (it was filled with sandbags & test equipment) but they never did it with passengers when I was there.

    I have some pictures of the original Thunder & Lightning artwork for the original trains that one of the park designers posted on a Former MM employee facebook page. I also have pics of the original operator panel & block diagram.

    Keep up the good work!
    Paul

  25. Sam Skarin

    05/05/2014 at 8:05 pm

    I really don’t think magic mountain should do an iron horse treatment. They already have a lot of stand out rides. I have ridden colossus backwards but not forwards yet. I really want to! Also, iron horse treatment turns a woodie into a steel coaster. Not a good idea.

    • The Coaster Guy

      05/05/2014 at 8:24 pm

      It’s pretty rare that someone has only ridden Colossus backwards and not forward. It’s really old, and even if they restored it to like new condition, it just wouldn’t carry enough oomph to satisfy the typical thrill seeker today. It was exciting when it was new, but it’s very tame by today’s standards. They need to jazz it up just like they did with the Texas Giant and Rattler.

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  27. Michael Ochs

    06/08/2014 at 3:54 am

    They are closing Colossus. :( I really hope they are just remodeling it and will reopen both sides, or at the very most hopefully give it the “iron horse treatment”, if not, they will definitely need to put in a Super awesome amazing new roller-coaster as there will be/are a lot of people mad about this, anyway thanks for all the updates and old pictures of the rides, I really do appreciate these things as I am a teenager and did not get to see a lot of the awesome things they had back in the 80′s etc, so thank-you again. :)

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  31. DeMickeys

    08/17/2014 at 2:30 pm

    Great article, really enjoyed reading it. I think the RMC treatment is a good way to “recycle” this massive coaster that otherwise would be torn down. Did anyone else noticed how the news anchors were not at all convinced of the ride? Today that would never happen…

  32. Tim Cole

    08/21/2014 at 9:54 am

    I have pictures of the original trains as they were sitting in the graveyard in back of the park, as well as an okay shot of the train going over the double-up (before the reprofiling) with people stretched up out of their seats. Where can I send those?

  33. Pingback: Colossus: A Look Back At The First 36 Years - The Coaster Guy - The Coaster Guy

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