Six Flags’ Texas Giant to reopen after a $10 million upgrade

One of largest wooden roller coasters in the U.S. is getting a massive $10 million dollar makeover. Aging wooden roller coasters often undergo rehab projects where the ride’s rickety, old track is replaced with new lumber to create a more comfortable and enjoyable experience. Texas Giant’s transformation goes way beyond a standard rehab project. It will be reborn as the first wooden roller coaster to have its wooden rails completely replaced with steel rails.

When Texas Giant reopens during Six Flags Over Texas‘ 50th season next year, it will be as a steel coaster with a wooden support structure. It should offer a pretty unique experience thanks to a transformation almost akin to switching genders. While there have been steel roller coasters built with wooden supports, to my knowledge there haven’t been any that were first built as wooden coasters.

Texas Giant will return in 2011 with some exciting new elements. The first drop has been extended 10 feet higher and its angle of descent will set a record. The 79-degree drop will be the steepest of any wooden coaster in the World. The ride’s layout will also include a record-breaking bank of 95-degrees. The other most notable upgrade will be the new trains themed after 1961 Cadillac Devilles. To top off the ride with some Texas flavor, the trains will be adorned with custom made cattle horns.

Hopefully, Texas Giant’s “Six Million Dollar Man”-like renovation pays off for Six Flags. The company has transitioned from building lots of big new rides to renovating and updating older rides with new themes and special effects. If Texas Giant’s upgrade proves successful, I’d hope to see other aging, rough wooden roller coasters get a steel track overhaul as well. I’m looking forward to getting down to Arlington, Texas next year and taking the all new Texas Giant for a spin. It looks to be one of the most exciting stories in the theme park industry in 2011.%Poll-56849%