Twisted Colossus

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Twisted Colossus
SFMM- Twisted Colossus.jpg
Twisted Colossus
Previously known as Colossus (1978–2014)
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Park section Screampunk District
Coordinates 34°25′40″N 118°35′51″W / 34.42778°N 118.59750°W / 34.42778; -118.59750Coordinates: 34°25′40″N 118°35′51″W / 34.42778°N 118.59750°W / 34.42778; -118.59750
Status Operating
Opening date May 23, 2015 (2015-05-23)[1]
Replaced Colossus
General statistics
Type Steel
Manufacturer Rocky Mountain Construction
Designer Alan Schilke
Model I-Box – Custom
Track layout Möbius Loop with one station
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 121 ft (37 m)
Drop 128 ft (39 m)
Length 4,990 ft (1,520 m)
Speed 57 mph (92 km/h)
Inversions 2
Duration 3:40
Max vertical angle 80°
Height restriction 48 in (122 cm)
Trains 4 (3 max. in use) trains with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 24 riders per train.
Flash Pass available for Gold and Platinum Levels
Must transfer from wheelchair
Twisted Colossus at RCDB
Pictures of Twisted Colossus at RCDB

Twisted Colossus (formerly Colossus) is a steel roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. Originally designed and built by International Amusement Devices, the roller coaster opened as Colossus on June 29, 1978. It was the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster in the world and the first with two drops greater than 100 feet (30 m). Colossus became well known after appearances in film and television, including the box-office hit National Lampoon's Vacation.

After more than 36 years in operation, Six Flags announced that Colossus would be closed permanently on August 16, 2014. Within two weeks of its closure, Six Flags announced that the roller coaster would reemerge in 2015 as a steel-tracked roller coaster named Twisted Colossus. It was renovated by Rocky Mountain Construction to feature barrel roll inversions, and a near-vertical drop. Twisted Colossus opened on May 23, 2015.


Twisted Colossus Entrance

For its next attraction to debut in 1978, Magic Mountain wanted a wooden roller coaster for the classic "rumble and sway" experience that they felt was missing from steel coasters.[2] They hired Ohio-based International Amusement Devices (IAD), who began designing Colossus in January 1977.[3][4][5] IAD in turn subcontracted Bernard Brothers Construction for the construction of the ride, Continental Consultants for all of the mechanical systems, and Lorenz & Williams for the structural engineering and electronic systems.[2][3] A member of the design team traveled to Mexico City to study Montaña Rusa – the largest wooden roller coaster in the world at the time – in order to help plan for the project.[2][3]

The design was finalized in May 1977, and construction began a few months later in August.[3] During construction, a tornado caused part of the structure to collapse, but the roller coaster was still completed on schedule.[2] At a final cost of $7 million, Colossus opened to the public on June 29, 1978. It was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world, as well as the first to feature two drops over 100 feet (30 m).[6]


Colossus underwent a number of changes over the years. In 1979, the ride closed for approximately ten months to remove excessive negative g-forces. The "speed hill" after the second drop, the double-up element, and several of the ride's other hills were reprofiled. Also, the original IAD trains were replaced with trains manufactured by Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) during this renovation. In 1987, the PTC trains were replaced with trains manufactured by Morgan Manufacturing, and the valley within the double-dip element was leveled off and received block brakes in 1991.

During the Halloween season, the coaster's web-like structure was accompanied by a giant black spider, and the height restriction became 54 inches (1,400 mm). On August 29, 2013, Six Flags Magic Mountain announced that they would run Colossus backwards for a limited time during the 2014 season.[7] The train on one side of the track was changed to run backward using the old trains from the now defunct Psyclone roller coaster.[citation needed]

Closure and Twisted Colossus announcement[edit]

Twisted Colossus

During the 2014 season Six Flags Magic Mountain announced that Colossus would close permanently on August 16, 2014.[8] On August 4, 2014, the park held a 36-hour riding marathon event on the roller coaster as a way for the public to say goodbye to one of the park's staples.[9] Out of 24 participants, six completed the marathon of 328 laps around the track in 45-minute intervals.[10]

Less than two weeks after the ride closed, Six Flags announced that Colossus would reopen in 2015 as Twisted Colossus following a renovation by Rocky Mountain Construction.[11] The company added their patented I-Box track technology to the ride, also known as Iron Horse, which converts the wooden track to steel while retaining some to most of the original wooden structure. Hybrid retrofitting is becoming a popular trend at amusement parks around the world looking to extend the life of aging wooden coasters and its ability to add overbanked turns and inversions.[12]


Colossus in 2007 prior to the renovation

The table below summarizes the differences between Colossus and Twisted Colossus. With the exception of capacity, the statistics of Colossus represent a single track only.

Statistic Colossus[4] Twisted Colossus[13]
Years 1978–2014 2015–Present
Manufacturer International Amusement Devices Rocky Mountain Construction
Designer Lorenz & Williams Alan Schilke
Track Type Wood Steel
Track Layout Racing Möbius Loop
Height 125 ft or 38 m 121 ft or 37 m
Drop 115 ft or 35 m 116 ft or 35 m
Length 4,325 ft or 1,318 m 4,990 ft or 1,520 m
Speed 62 mph or 100 km/h 57 mph or 92 km/h
Max vertical angle Unknown 80°
G-force 3.2 TBD
Capacity 2600 riders per hour TBD
Duration 2:30 3:40
Inversions 0 2
Trains Morgan Manufacturing Rocky Mountain Construction

Ride experience[edit]


The previous configuration of the roller coaster featured two drops greater than 100 feet (30 m); the first drop was 115 feet (35 m) and the second was 105 feet (32 m). The ride spanned two and a half minutes and reached speeds up to 62 miles per hour (100 km/h).[6] Its original configuration was noted for numerous and sustained air-time moments, which were eventually toned down or eliminated by reprofiling and/or braking.

Twisted Colossus[edit]

The ride begins on the blue track. Immediately after dispatch, the ride makes a 90 degree left turn, is sent through a set of "drive tires" to boost the train towards the pre-lift section, and makes another left turn. After going through a series of small hills in the "pre-lift", the train makes its way up the lift hill, catching up to the train on the green track. Immediately after the lift hill ends, riders are sent down an 80 degree, 128 foot drop. The trains then go through a small airtime hill and then up another tall hill, crossing under Goliath. The train then proceeds to go through a banked turn to the left, and goes through a "high-five" element. After this, the blue tracked train drops down and goes under the train on the green track while it does its top gun stall. The blue track goes through an airtime hill, taking riders close to the train in the green track's stall. Then the blue tracked train does a zero-g roll. After a double up and a quick turn to the left, the blue track turns green and the train hits a brake run, before returning to the second lift hill. The green track is identical to the blue tracked segment up through the high-five, which is banked in the opposite direction as to create the "high-five" illusion with the blue track. After the high-five, the green track does a double down and does a top gun stall crossing over the blue track. After crossing under the blue track's zero-g roll, it then goes up a double up and turns left, where the train hits the final brake run.[14]

Because Twisted Colossus is a "racing coaster" with one long continuous circuit, it may be considered a Möbius Loop roller coaster. However, unlike most Möbius Loop layouts, it only has one station and one cycle sends riders through both sides. This is different than a traditional Möbius Loop layout (such as Racer at Kennywood), which takes riders through only half of the ride's "complete" circuit before stopping and unloading at the other station.

Because of the unusual setup of a one-station Möbius Loop layout, to race, the operators on Twisted Colossus must properly time dispatches. While a train is in the blue side, the ride operators will sometimes call out " __ seconds to race", counting down to encourage riders to board quickly so they can race. To give the ride operators extra time, the green lift can run slower than the blue lift, giving the blue side time to catch up.

Film and television[edit]

Colossus was nearing completion in May 1978 when it was used as a backdrop for fight scenes in the NBC TV movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.[8] In 1983, it was featured in the film National Lampoon's Vacation as Screemy Meemy. In the sitcom Step by Step, Colossus is the roller coaster that the Lambert-Foster family rides in the opening sequence. The roller coaster was also seen in television episodes of Knight Rider, Wonder Woman, and The A-Team.[8] The film Zapped! featured the ride when protagonists Barney and Bernadette visit Magic Land (Six Flags Magic Mountain). The Castle episode "Deep Cover" used Colossus as a stand-in for the Coney Island Cyclone.[15]


A 20-year-old woman died after being thrown from the ride in December 1978. An investigation determined the lap bar restraint failed to close properly due to the rider's size.[16][17]

On September 8, 2014, while workers were disassembling the track, the top of the lift hill on Colossus caught on fire. The fire – which occurred while the park was closed – was contained and no injuries were reported.[18][19]


Golden Ticket Awards: Top steel Roller Coasters
Year 2015 2016 2017 2018
Ranking 28[20] 26[21] 16[22] 24[23]


  1. ^ "Highly-Anticipated Twisted Colossus Opens To Public At Magic Mountain". May 23, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Apodaca, Patrice (November 7, 1989). "Three of a Kind : Bernards Brothers Fame Rides on Projects Like Magic Mountain's Giant Roller Coaster". Los Angeles Times. Tribune Company. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d McCrate, Tim (August 3, 2014). "Interview With Colossus' Structural Engineer, Tim McCrate". The Coaster Guy (Interview). Interviewed by Kurt Dahlin. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Marden, Duane. "Colossus  (Six Flags Magic Mountain)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  5. ^ Marden, Duane. "International Amusement Devices, Inc". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Entertainment/Travel Editors. "ADVISORY/After 20 Years -- Six Flags Magic Mountain's Colossus Is Still the West Coast's Most Thrilling `Woodie'." Business Wire. December 4, 1998. Retrieved June 5, 2008
  7. ^ "New for 2014". August 29, 2013. Archived from the original on September 1, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  8. ^ a b c Silverman, Ben (June 4, 2014). "Legendary rollercoaster 'Colossus' closing in August". Plugged In. Archived from the original on April 2, 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2014.
  9. ^ Boyer, Jessica (July 31, 2014). "Six Flags Magic Mountain's Colossus is scheduled to close Aug. 16, and park officials are planning to host a 36-hour coaster marathon to say "goodbye" to the coaster". KHTS. Archived from the original on August 19, 2014. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  10. ^ "Six Riders Complete 36-Hour Colossus Marathon At Magic Mountain". KHTS. August 5, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  11. ^ Macdonald, Brady (August 28, 2014). "Six Flags Magic Mountain turning wooden coaster into Twisted Colossus". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
  12. ^ "Colossus to return at Six Flags Magic Mountain - Twisted". Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  13. ^ Marden, Duane. "Twisted Colossus  (Six Flags Magic Mountain)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 31, 2014.
  14. ^ "YouTube".[dead link]
  15. ^ ""Castle" Deep Cover (TV Episode 2014)" – via
  16. ^ " SR9617 - Magic Mountain - Eagles Flight".
  17. ^ "Evolution of California's Amusement Rides Safety Laws". California Research Bureau. August 1997. pp. Appendix A. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
  18. ^ "Magic Mountain's Colossus Roller Coaster Catches Fire; Peak Collapses". September 8, 2014.
  19. ^ "Fire erupts on Colossus ride at Magic Mountain". KABC-TV Los Angeles. September 8, 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  20. ^ "2015 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 19 (6.2): 49&ndash, 50. September 2015. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  21. ^ "2016 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 20 (6.2): 50. September 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  22. ^ "2017 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 21 (6.2): 46. September 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017.
  23. ^ "2018 Top 50 steel Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 22 (6.2): 45. September 2018. Retrieved September 9, 2017.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Screamin' Eagle
World's Fastest Roller Coaster
June 1978–April 1979
Succeeded by
The Beast