After more than thirty years, Colossus is still one of the world's largest dual-track wooden roller coasters. Built in 1978 by International Amusement Devices, the ride blew away the amusement ride industry and remained one of the largest wooden coaster in California until it closed on August 16, 2014.
Built on the north end of the park, adjacent to the parking lot, Colossus had become a landmark at Six Flags Magic Mountain welcoming guests since its inception. This white wooden monster was two separate roller coaster tracks, each standing 125 feet tall, featuring six drops, including a 115-foot first drop, fourteen hills, and top speed of 61 miles-per-hour. From the time you departed the loading station to the final brake run, Colossus was over three minutes of pure thrills.
Leaving the station the two tracks split into separate directions as it headed for the lift hill. Joining it's sister track at the base of the 12-story lift, you on occassion got lucky to be on one of the rare trips where the trains line up and race. It was rare, but it happened.
The first drop at 115-feet was a classic straight drop, dipping slightly below the ground level. Speeding at 61 miles-per-hour up the second hill the train rounds a 180-degree turn, before soaring down the second drop.
At the opposite end the train rounds a second turn and dives into the third drop and then up a hill passing through the block brakes. The fourth drop is one of the smaller dips and leads to a hill that climbs into a 180-degree turn within the wood structure. The roller coaster concluded with one more drop and a final bunny hop before entering the brake run.
Once the king of wooden coasters, Colossus was more of classic in its later years rather than a state-of-the-art thriller. But regardless, it was a fun ride and the crowds still filled the queue on busy days.
More photos of this roller coaster can be found in the Colossus Photo Album.
Colossus had gone through a number of changes over the years.
1978 – During the initial year of operation, Colossus suffered a major setback after a deadly accident. A female rider was ejected from the train on the speed hill between the second drop and the double up. The accident was blamed on the riders weight, but this section of track that was known for extreme airtime was re-profiled. The trains were also modified to include seat belts.
For a number of years the park operated Colossus with one track running the trains backwards and the other track running them facing forwards. Backwards was very popular with Magic Mountain guests, who loved the disorienting ride experience.
1988 – Six Flags replaced the Phildelphia Toboggan Company trains with new "California" style trains from Morgan Manufacturing. The new fiber glass trains increased the rides top speed from 55 mph to 61 mph. The new trains were designed with individual lap bars, eliminating the need for a seat belt. However, the absence of headrests on the new trains prevented backwards operation.
1991 – The park re-profiled Colossus removing the double down on the north side. This change disappointed fans since it was one of the last remaining spots of airtime. A mid-course block brake, which is used as a trim brake was added to allow for three-train operation. The explanation was odd, since Colossus had previously operated with three-trains per side.
1998 – Two of the B&M trains from Psyclone were borrowed to operate one side of Colossus backwards for FrightFest, the park's annual Halloween event. This continued nearly every year until 2013. In fact, Psyclone closed in January 2007, but the park retained two trains just for backwards operations.
1999 – Colossus ran one track backwards using the B&M trains for Spring Break.
2000 – Colossus has a new neighbor Goliath, a monster sized steel 255-foot hypercoaster. Goliath opens in February 2001 and its layout towers over the first turn by more than 100 feet.
Type of coaster:
Height: 125 feet
Max drop: 115 feet
G-force: 3.23 G's
Top speed: 62 mph
Length: 4,325 feet
Double Out and Back
3 minutes, 5 seconds
Number of Trains:
6 - 28 passenger
June 29, 1978
August 16, 2014
International Amusement Devices
1979 Overhaul Designers:
Don Rosser, Bill Cobb
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Photos by Mike Phillips. © 1998 Ultimate Rollercoaster.
Colossus logo courtesy of Six Flags Magic Mountain. All rights reserved.