A new video has been released online showing aerial footage of the Texas Giant rollercoaster, which is due to reopen in spring 2011 at Six Flags Over Texas.
The video was captured by YouTube user warner4az from a helicopter, and is embedded below. It shows that work on installing an all-new steel track is complete, with the park having begun test runs some weeks ago. The Texas Giant is due to reopen during the 2011 Memorial Day weekend (May 28-30), when work on the $10 million refurbishment will be concluded.
Six Flags Over Texas has revealed that the Texas Giant will feature two new tunnels when it reopens, posting images of the covered sections to its official Facebook page. The tunnels are placed on areas of the ride's circuit where riders will be travelling at unusual angles, in order to create a disorienting feeling.
The Texas Giant is undergoing a major overhaul ahead of its return, and will receive a completely new steel track as part of the renovation. Although the wooden support structure of the ride will remain in place (and will be extended as part of the renovation), the all-steel track design calls into question the ride's status as a wooden coaster, instead placing it in the hybrid wood-steel bracket.
The Texas Giant's new Gerstlauer-built trains will be themed around 1961 Cadillac Deville cars, with the park celebrating its 50 years since it opened in 1961. Three distinct trains will operate on the ride, in aqua metallic, black metallic and red metallic colors. Each train will feature a front-mounted "cattle-horn" and authentic-looking grills, headlights and tail lights.
Six Flags says that the updated ride will feature the steepest drop of any wooden rollercoaster in the world at 79 degrees (though coaster enthusiasts may dispute this given the unique track design). It will also see height increased by 10 feet to 153 feet, a new top speed of 65mph and a 95-degree banking section.
The Texas Giant opened in 1990 and was the tallest and fastest wooden rollercoaster in the world at the time. However, it has since suffered from frequent complaints by riders that it offers an violent, painful ride. The current re-work is the second time the Texas Giant has been renovated, following a previous update nearly ten years ago. The cost of the latest renovation is greater than the original $5.5 million construction cost for the coaster, even when adjusted for inflation.