Six Flags Magic Mountain to run Superman coaster backward

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

The Superman coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain will get a makeover in spring 2011 that will send riders rocketing 100 mph straight up into the air -- backwards.

Superman: Escape from Krypton will add new coaster trains that run backward instead of forward, as they have since the $20-million magnetic launch shuttle coaster opened in 1997 at the Valencia amusement park.

After the ride operates for a few months, one of the cars on the twin tracks will be turned around to run forward, allowing riders to choose between both options, amusement park officials said.

A new paint job in classic Superman colors will feature red on the top third of the 415-foot-tall track and blue on the lower portion with yellow rails.

New streamlined cars with the Superman logo will have lower-profile sides for a more exposed feeling. Superman: Escape from Krypton will feature over-the-shoulder restraints similar to the Tower of Terror II makeover at Dreamworld in Australia. (Watch a concept video of Superman: Escape from Krypton.)

For the first time, riders will see the load station as they race down the vertical incline toward what looks like a pair of pinholes beneath a gleaming Superman logo. The iconic Fortress of Solitude ice cave entrance will remain.

The old ride, known as Superman: The Escape, which closed earlier this year, featured a gravitational force of 4.5 Gs and 6.5 seconds of weightlessness, according to Roller Coaster Database.