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Twisted Colossus Construction Tour At Six Flags Magic Mountain

By on 11/27/2014

Six Flags Magic Mountain was kind enough to invite a few of us out on Tuesday afternoon for a Twisted Colossus construction tour. The ride has only been closed since August, but they are making tremendous progress on it. Despite an unexpected setback due to a small fire, they claim to be right on schedule.

The bulk of the work is being done by a team of 20 workers from Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC), the firm hired to do the conversion of the coaster, with a few Magic Mountain maintenance workers helping out as needed. When RMC finishes up work on Wicked Cyclone at Six Flags New England, or they get to a point where weather prohibits further work there, they’ll send more guys to California to help on Twisted Colossus.

The most obvious change upon arriving at the park now is that the rebuild of the lift hill is complete and awaiting track to be placed over the top of it.:

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Even though the lift hill will be a few feet shorter than it was, 121 feet vs. 125 feet, it will have a much steeper first drop than it did in the past:

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The other big change since my last update is that the massive horseshoe turnaround on the second hill after the first drop has been shaved way down, almost to the track that is housed within that part of the structure:

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While the lighting isn’t that great, this next shot shows the height difference between the lift hill and the turnaround that was just given a significant trim:

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Most of the cuts are rough, primarily made with a chainsaw, leaving the connection hardware hanging in place. I presume this will all be cleaned up in time:

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One of the drops has just been left hanging for now. It almost looks like a ski jump:

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It’s nice to see a fire extinguisher sitting next to the cutting torch <wink>:

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Once inside the park, we met up with the Six Flags folks in front of the Magic Moments Theatre. We learned this entire area will be renamed to Screampunk District, with everything inside being transformed to a steampunk look and feel.

As seen in this next photo, there will be a brand new portal welcoming guests to the area. The giant graphic on the ground will be stamped concrete with a metal ribbon inlay. The bathrooms to the right will be completely refurbished, and the theatre will get a complete facelift and possibly a new name as well:

Concept art options for Twisted Colossus sent out via a survey.

Image © Six Flags

The Freshers Lemonade stand located in this area will be removed. The building originally known as the Colossus Cookery, and most recently as Ben & Jerry’s, will be reopened as Twisted’wiches, offering gourmet sandwiches and subs:

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There will also be some new retail in this area, but that hasn’t been completely finalized yet. It sounds like they’re leaning towards some carts with Twisted Colossus merchandise located near the exit. I don’t expect a dedicated retail building to be added.

The inside of the station doesn’t look very different yet. The only changes so far have been the removal of the track and queue stanchions on the left side. Since they will only be using one side, the size of the queue will essentially be double what it was previously. Guests will actually enter the station on the left side, the side that has been removed, and then make they’re way to the loading area on the right side. The ADA and Flash Pass entry will be on the right side:

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The right side will be the loading/unloading area and will basically be identical to how it was, using the same air gates. In fact, the track is already installed here and ready to host a train:

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They really are going to great lengths to use as much of the existing structure as possible. As you see here, other than the track and the two metal cross pieces, everything else is from the original supports:

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The section of missing track here will be the transfer track, which is the track that slides on wheels to let them move trains in and out of service. It’s currently being built. To answer a question I get a lot, this is also where the track transitions from green back to blue. The entire transfer track is green, so it switches back to blue as soon as the train enters the station:

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This is where the transfer track will slide back and forth. The area on the far side is where the storage track will be added. The trains will slide over on the transfer track, then roll backwards onto one of the multiple storage tracks. There will be an enclosure over the storage/maintenance area so the trains in storage are not exposed to the elements like the Colossus trains were:

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This is the transfer track being built. It is currently on its back so that the slider wheels can be bolted on. Once completed, it will be moved into place, completing the track from the slanted green return track you see here all the way around to the top of the blue side of the lift hill. The long concrete footings you see here also happen to be where the storage/maintenance area will be built:

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Back inside the station, the right side control panel you see here has already been removed, but the raised platform and stairwell leading to underneath the station are still there. This entire structure, including the stairwell will be removed. The new ride operator’s panel will essentially go back in the same place, but it won’t be raised:

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In order to access the bottom of the station, the employee’s will use the stairway on the other side of the station that used to be the left side exit:

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Underneath the station, the entire control system for Colossus has been gutted. The new MCC (Master Control Center?) station will be housed in this same area:

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For you hardcore coaster geeks out there, like me, this is where the left side track used to roll through the station:

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This is a shot from underneath the transfer track area:

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Before we could go out to the track, we had to ensure that we had the proper fashion accessories:

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The train will exit the station and around the first corners with the help of basic kicker wheels, until it hits this dip for a little pre-lift hill fun:

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If you’re one of those people still wondering where they came up with the name “Twisted Colossus,” this should leave you wondering no more. Before you even get to the lift hill, the track takes you for a very twisted ride:

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If one didn’t know any better, they might think this coaster was designed by Salvador Dali:

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In order to get in the supports for some of these short dips, they needed to cut into the concrete a bit:

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It’s like this all the way to the lift hill:

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Each piece of track has a couple of unique identifiers welded onto it. The first number is a serial number that identifies the connection point. The ‘L’ stands for Left, the ‘MM’ stands for Magic Mountain, and the B stands for Blue. Every connection point of two track pieces should have the exact same label. One of these track pieces has a label at the other end that says ‘491LMMB’ and the other track piece should have a ‘493LMMB’ label:

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The above picture also shows a couple of other interesting construction tidbits. If you look at the six bolts at the bottom holding the track to the support, you’ll notice the right three bolts have extra washers immediately under the track that the left three bolts don’t. I assume this is to help align the top of the two pieces as much as possible to get the smoothest riding surface possible.

The second tidbit is the thin top cap plate that covers the gap between the two pieces. You’ll notice that the right track piece is just a hair taller than the left. When a coaster train runs over this, it would be a very noticeable jolt, giving a rough ride. It would also be hard on the coaster’s wheels. The plate covers that gap, giving the smoothest ride possible.

With one final hill, it’s around the corner and onto the first of two lift hills:

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Gratuitous selfie of me on the Twisted Colossus track. You don’t get one of these every day:

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The reason the green track was started so far up the lift hill is because that is where Phase 1 of the track installation started for the green track:

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The installation has been broken into three phases. Phase 1 is basically from the transfer track around to the bottom of the first drop. Phase 2 is from the bottom of the first drop to the middle of the parking lot side of the structure. Phase 3 is from the end of Phase 2 back around to the lift hill.

Our hard hat tour was graciously hosted by Bruce Thompson, Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Construction Manager, and Tim Dofflow, Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Director of Maintenance & Construction. These guys were a wealth of knowledge and answered all of our questions:

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The missing lower part of the green track is technically part of Phase 3, the last stage of construction, however they’re trying to expedite getting those track pieces from RMC sooner. They can’t install the lift hill chains and motors without it and they’d like to get that work done:

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As part of Phase 3, they said we can also expect the second horseshoe turnaround to get massively chopped down in scale, much like we saw the first turnaround get the axe (or chainsaw) above.

This is what 36 years of dripping chain grease looks like:

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Don’t worry. Once they are done with the construction, the entire structure will get a fresh coat of white paint!

All of the track that has been delivered has already been installed. They were expecting the next load of track to show up the following day. In the mean time, there’s still lots of work to do, such as installing the catwalks and safety rails alongside the blue lift hill track:

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This is the green track returning to the station, as seen from behind:

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It’s absolutely amazing how much of the original structure has been removed from the inside:

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Remember this lead car they had out on display during Colossus’ final days? It’s been painted blue and is getting a steampunk makeover. That entire area of the park from the theatre down, including Scream, will soon be closed off for construction. I’m not sure if the newly made over car will be placed in front of the construction wall as a teaser of what’s to come, or merely be a set piece for the new ride, paying homage to the ride’s past:

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I’m not sure if you’ve ever seen it while riding Colossus, but there used to be a green tractor behind the fence between Colossus and Hurricane Harbor. It is also getting a steampunk makeover. Again, I’m not sure if it will be used as a set piece or something else.

Another piece of great news that I’ve already tweeted about, but I’ll say it again here. Bonnie Rabjohn, the park’s President, did confirm later that night that Scream will be getting a new paint job and some set dressing to tie it into the new “Screampunk” theme for the area  Yay!!

That’s going to do it for this Twisted Colossus construction update. I’d like to thank Connie, Sue, Jerry, Bruce, Tim, Bonnie, and all of the Six Flags folks that made this tour possible. It’s nice to take a peek behind the curtain and let our readers know what the latest news is, and I know they appreciate it, too. Thank you!

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13 Comments

  1. steve austin

    11/27/2014 at 9:47 pm

    Outstanding update….as usual. I’m glad my coaster knowlege is still somewhat sharp…you answered a few things that i wanted to see if i was right about… and i was. There was only one thing that i was off on..and that was why the green track started further up the hill. I thought it was because the “rail spreaders” as i call them,(the steel peices that keep the track rails gauged a certain distance apart)extend several feet passed the outside rail of track on the blue side so the hand rails and catwalk can be added. I was thinking they couldnt do that on the other side until the entire double-up element was removed because it is right next to the lift hill and be in the way. And talking about the profile of Classic Colossus getting crew cut….that camelback element of the ride where the MCBR is i think will basically be removed all the way to the footers and completely new bents be put there…but im just speculating.

  2. Ryan O'Neill

    11/27/2014 at 10:25 pm

    This is fantastic. Thanks for putting together another awesome update, Kurt.

    It’s awesome to see the “behind the scenes” of an RMC coaster. Last week I talked with a college student who works at RMC, and the way they build coasters sounds fascinating. He talked about how RMC always uses existing footers, which makes sense seeing how they cut into the concrete with that funky crossbeam.

    Also, did they mention whether they would remove the track from within the first horseshoe turn? I have no idea how they would remove all that track without damaging the structure.

    • The Coaster Guy

      11/27/2014 at 10:46 pm

      I didn’t specifically ask, but I’m sure they’ll remove the track. And since the track just sits on top of the structure, I’m sure they can remove it w/o affecting the structural integrity.

  3. Jeremy

    11/28/2014 at 1:04 am

    Glad to hear there making a deli at six flags I always wondered where to get a Tasty sandwich at the park. Beside cyber cafe theres were tasteless and dry. Glad to hear this hopefully they will provide dining pass!

  4. Erik

    11/28/2014 at 11:20 am

    Amazing… you are awesome, Kurt!

    Thank you sir…

  5. Eric

    11/29/2014 at 1:35 pm

    Since Colossus is phasing out dual loading stations, and only using the old left side for the train… I’m wondering if the old right side could be renovated to make the loading station bigger, to accommodate longer line on busy days, and a separate line/entrance for Flash Pass riders.

    Twisted Colossus construction is looking very good, and hopefully we’ll be seeing more progress. Wicked Cyclone at SFNE is looking very good too. I have my fingers crossed that The Boss (SFSTL) and Georgia Cyclone (SFOG) could and might be next Six Flags wood coasters to get the RMC renovation.

  6. Webb, R

    11/29/2014 at 3:30 pm

    I would have loved to see that pre-lift twisted section be enclosed in a pre show building. Keep it dark with some steam punk mechanical clogs and machines animated, would have really added to the theme.

    • Justin B

      12/01/2014 at 9:00 am

      That is actually a great idea – I didn’t even consider that!

  7. Cesar

    11/29/2014 at 5:05 pm

    MCC Motor Control Center. It is a term used specifically for all the motor starter panels and does not include the control/ automation systems. Of course this doesnt mean they wouldn’t put the control equipment rigt next to the MCC

  8. JJJ

    12/03/2014 at 7:36 pm

    Will scream be open through the holidays?

    • The Coaster Guy

      12/03/2014 at 9:02 pm

      They said they’d be closing that area of the park soon to start work on Scream and the entire Screampunk area. However, I suspect they won’t close it until sometime after Holiday in the Park ends in early January.

      • JJJJ

        12/05/2014 at 7:49 am

        I hope they wait until January

  9. Pingback: Twisted Colossus Construction Update #10

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