During his second conference call with online journalists, Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro fielded questions and talked about a number of topics, including the company's bankruptcy reorganization, 2009 performance, capital projects for 2010, and the 50th anniversary celebration planned for 2011. But the most interesting tidbit, at least for coaster fans, was probably his announcement about the renovation of the Texas Giant coaster at Six Flags Over Texas
. The popular coaster at the original Six Flags park will get a $10-million makeover from the "creator of El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure," according to Shapiro.
Although El Toro
was designed by Intamin AG of Switzerland and Ing.-Buro Stengel of Germany and features a unique prefabricated track that delivers an incredibly smooth, airtime-filled ride (which I rate as one of the best wooden coasters
in the world), the Six Flags CEO said that Rocky Mountain Amusements will handle the Texas Giant overhaul. The Idaho construction firm is known for building rides, rather than designing them. It's possible that Rocky Mountain Amusements was involved in building El Toro (the company did not return calls seeking more info), but it's unlikely it will be bringing the same prefabrication technology to the Texas project.
It's more likely that the Texas Giant will retain its same layout and incorporate a conventional wooden track. While he declined to offer more details about the El Toro connection, Shapiro did say that the ride will feature the same steep banks that have always distinguished the Texas ride and that it will be "faster, smoother, and loaded with plenty of airtime for the coaster fanatics out there." He also said that the ride will be getting completely new track, new trains by the German manufacturer, Gerstlauer, a state-of-the-art magnetic braking system, and themeing for the queue and during the ride (translation: Fire up the flame throwers!). Six Flags Over Texas will throw a "Giant Farewell" weekend October 30 to November 1. The ride will then close and reopen February 2011 to kick off the company's 50th anniversary.