Texas Giant sports steel track in $10 million upgrade

Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2010 8:46 PM | Contributed by kpjb

The new track on the refurbished Texas Giant will feature I-beam style welded track, dubbed "Iron Horse" by its manufacturer, Rocky Mountain Construction.

Read more from WBAP/Arlington.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 8:27 AM

kevin38 said:
Why ? all wood coasters have steel plates that the train rides on so the plate in this case is attached to a steel frame.How much metal on the track turns it from a wood coaster to a steel coaster ?

Seriously?? This was all covered in Coaster Enthusiasm 101


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Thursday, March 4, 2010 8:47 AM

kpjb said:

I sure as hell hope they've replaced bolts and wood in the last 20 years. If not, I can't see how it's still standing.

It was built with pressure treated southern yellow pine and galvanized fasteners. The wood will last for many decades, the galvanized fasteners, even longer.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 8:48 AM
kpjb's avatar

I'd say when the track is 100% steel, mounted to 100% steel supports, you've got yourself a steel coaster.


Hi

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 8:53 AM
kpjb's avatar

^^ Well, I sound like a dope when you don't include the post I was responding to.


Hi

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 9:03 AM

It sounds a lot like a concept Morey's Piers was considering for their proposed wood coaster a couple of years ago. In addition to the GCI design that may or may not still be in play, a "steel" wood coaster by Premier was also on the drawing board. Maybe Premier has something to do with this one?

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 9:09 AM

How utterly bizarre.

I can only hope that the park has a racing GCI twister amongst its plans for 2012 or 2013.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 9:43 AM

Jeffrey Seifert said:
Since no one needs to walk the track anymore, I wonder if there will still be walkways and handrails, particularly on the section with the 95 degree overbanked turn.

Even though the track is now steel, it still has to be inspected by some means. Also the wood structure has to be inspected. I don't care how many bolts or wood fasteners they have holding the thing together, it still has to be inspected every day. If they don't, they are asking for trouble. My guess is there will be walkways and handrails.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 9:49 AM

By the way, Woodpeckers love to drill holes in wood. I've seen them do it on roller coasters.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 11:03 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

Bizzar indeed. I'll reserve judgement because it could potentially be a great ride and I didn't ride it as a woodie but still this is weird.


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Thursday, March 4, 2010 11:35 AM

The only concern that I would have long term is the flat steel surface getting divots and thus making the ride rough. I'm hopeful that they thought of this and made the running surface thicker or have an piece of steel placed vertically internally that will help to support it long term.

Does anyone have photos of the the SFMM retrofit?


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Thursday, March 4, 2010 11:48 AM

I don't get the use of I-beams. Didn't companies like Arrow prove that tubular steel track is a much better option? I-beams work for small Miler coasters. I can't imagine them working well on something that's close to 160 feet tall.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 12:36 PM

Trackwalker said:

Even though the track is now steel, it still has to be inspected by some means. Also the wood structure has to be inspected. I don't care how many bolts or wood fasteners they have holding the thing together, it still has to be inspected every day. If they don't, they are asking for trouble. My guess is there will be walkways and handrails.

Do steel coasters get inspected every day? Most steel coasters have no walkways, and although some of those with wood structures do have walkways, not all of them do. I don't see how anyone can walk the tracks or inspect the structure daily on Excalibur or SFOT's Mine Train.

I know Gemini has walkways, but does someone walk the tracks every morning?

Last edited by Jeffrey Seifert, Thursday, March 4, 2010 12:38 PM
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Thursday, March 4, 2010 12:40 PM

This sure indeed is strange! The AT article makes it seem as if this is the first application of such a concept. I've never seen anything like it.

Super-hybrid coaster? Sounds like a sneaky way to keep from using the s word, i m o. It also looks like there's plenty of room for walkways and railings, and I dont know why they would leave em off, anyway.

In spite of the fact that the "wooden" designation will be taken away, this seems like it might be just the thing this poor ride needs. It's been a few years for me now, but the last time I rode it went down considerably on my "list" and the guy I was with wouldn't ride it again.

We got a long wait ahead of us before we see how it rides. The shape of the rails makes me think new trains, too. Hope so .

This will be one of those continuing stories...

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 12:54 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

jive2 said:


Does anyone have photos of the the SFMM retrofit?

I don't have pictures handy - but the current 'I-beam woodies out there'
(American Eagle from 1/3 of the way down the first drop to the top of the helix; Colossus - most of it from what I hear; Texas Giant first drop) Also have the 2 top layers as a traditional wood coaster.

So there is the I beam, with 2 layers of wood, then the metal strap where the wheels ride. Texas Giant opened with it's first drop like this. The other 2 coasters had it added much later (early 1990's for American Eagle; I've also heard Screamin' Eagle has some I-beam sections).

If you look at old pics of the Giant, you can see the silver track under the 2 top layers on the first drop.

From the looks of things, it doesn't seem like this new track will be like the old 'I-beam woodie track' but rather an all steel construction.


Billy
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Thursday, March 4, 2010 1:05 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

So the big question: Count it once or twice? :-P
Seriously though, I'm excited to try it out (especially since the Giant couldn't really be any worse IMHO) but I'm not holding my breath. Something about steel track on a fairly flexible wooden structure seems like it's asking for roughness. Not to mention a 79 degree drop and a 95 degree overbanked turn.


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Thursday, March 4, 2010 1:34 PM

Arrow did prove it's a lot easier to bend tubular sections when they built the track for the Matterhorn at Disneyland. Tubes can be bent easily in, in all directions. This because it has an identical cross section about it's center. Rectangles (ie. 2 x 4's) or odd shaped members ("I" beams) don't have an identical cross section about the center. If you rotated a "I" 45 degress on it's side, it looks completely different than standing upright. Therefore, as you rotate the "I" beam it changes on how easily it's bent. I experienced this phenomena while building a working model roller coaster. I tried using HO scale track, but it was very difficult to get a smooth track for hills, but very easily to make curves.

Now, going back to the Texas Giant. I've reread the article on www.amusementtoday.com, they mentioned the "track is not bent, but is cut, then welded together in 40 to 53-foot lengths". From this statement, I am assuming Rocky Mountain Construction (or their supplier) is going to cut out the track using a CNC (computer numerical control) machine. I imagined they surveyed the structure to find the exact elevations of each ledger at the top of the bent. From here, I they probaly created a 3D model of the ride. From here, they would model the track in 3D, create a CNC file, and send out to a automated metal-cutting CNC machine.

My fingers are crossed that this "cut" track will be superior in making a very smooth ride on the Texas Giant. If the ride is as promised, I can't wait to travel through some of those 95 degree turns.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 2:03 PM
rollergator's avatar

ApolloAndy said:
So the big question: Count it once or twice? :-P

Depends on how FB and Jeff set up their count strategies....personally, if available, I'll count TG once as a wooden coaster and again as a steel coaster...

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 2:30 PM

I've just found the website for Rocky Mountain Construction; http://www.rockymtnconstruction.com/. They show a pretty good rendering of a piece of their track with a coaster car on top. There's CNC machine which appears to have a plasma cutter on it. It's cutting a large plate, which I believe that they piece together the plates, then weld them together making the "I" beam.

From what I see, the track will be a few inches above the ledger beam. There seems to be bracket (?) between the galvanized steel ledger beam and the track. Any guesses on why they wouldn't have the track directly on top like a traditional woodie? It kinda looks a bit goofy.

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Thursday, March 4, 2010 2:51 PM
CoasterDemon's avatar

ApolloAndy said:
So the big question: Count it once or twice? :-P

I'm sooo happy I rode the heck outta the Giant the month it opened. It was truly a kick butt, ballz to the wall, exhilarating experience. I re-rode it in 1995, still good, but very watered down. Same goes for Timberwolf, GA Cyclone - all were top 5 rides when they opened.

I will probably count it as 2 different coasters. Kinda like Steel Phantom and Phantom's Revenge, makes sense to me.

Personally, I'm all about traditional coasters, etc., but I realize many of the larger woodies have fallen prey to unforseen problems. I think this will make Giant a great ride.


Billy
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Thursday, March 4, 2010 3:17 PM

I also rode Giant a few times in the first couple months it was open. Wasn't a bad ride, still I'm glad to hear this! I expect we will see a few steel supports throughout the structure....I'm actually surprised it took SFoT so long to make this retrofit.
Hopefully they also spruce up the park in that area a little, without disturbing the beautiful tree cover. SFoT in my opinion has some of the best shade trees around, as far as amusement parks are concerned.

Last edited by JoshuaTBell, Thursday, March 4, 2010 3:17 PM
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