23 Oct, 16

  Texas Tornado

Tornado is Wonderland's biggest and most thrilling rollercoaster. It has two loops, a tunnel and takes up an entire corner of the park. This ride was designed on the back of a napkin so it's not be sneezed at!

Type: Looping Coaster , Steel Coaster
Manufacturer: Hopkins
Opened: 1985
Height: 80 ft
Length: 2050 ft
Inversions: Vertical Loop x 2

The design for Texas Tornado was scribbled on a napkin at a cocktail party at a trade show...but we're not sure how many drinks were consumed before! The Tornado (as it is affectionately know) was the first coaster to be designed by North American water ride company Hopkins. It was something of a gamble. Five years previous to the opening of Tornado, Hopkins also built their first log flume at Wonderland Park, so to design their first coaster on a napkin and built it at the same park must have taken a lot of trust. Hopkins went on to build seven coasters until 1996 when they concentrated exclusively on water rides.

The layout is simple yet effective. Riders begin by climbing the chain lift hill beside the highway to the coaster's highest point of 80 ft (24.4 mtrs) before it heads down the first drop. Immediately after the drop, the train powers through a 72 ft (30 mtrs) tall vertical loop before heading along an elevated section nearly level section of track with a slight dip to the right. The train turns downwards and left and then back up and left towards the second 52 ft (15.8 mtrs) tall vertical loop. After the second loop, the train heads down and through a 13 ft (4 mtrs) deep, 200 ft (61 mtrs) long tunnel before climbing back to the brake run.

The track in the second loop is not flush to the frame like most vertical loops. This is a deliberate design to make the coaster stand out. The two loops are also set aside to appear that they loop consecutively, however, this is simply an optical illusion. The original trains reached a top speed of 65 mph (104 kph). When new trains were installed, the lift hill was slightly shortened to accommodate the decrease in speed. Texas Tornado was originally painted white but was repainted in 300 US gallons (1,135 litres) of Texan red, white and blue paint in early 2009.

When the coaster opened in the mid-80's it ranked highly in several "best steel coaster" polls. Technology and innovation has moved on since the mid-80's, but Texas Tornado still appeals to coaster aficionados and general thrill seekers today.


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