World's longest wooden roller coaster is getting longer

By Forrest Brown, CNN

    (CNN) -- It's pretty much a yearly occurrence these days -- some amusement park is setting a new roller coaster record. Maybe it's for speed. Maybe it's for a special design feature.

But since 1979, The Beast at Kings Island in Ohio has held tightly onto the record as the world's longest wooden coaster.

The Beast apparently isn't going to rest on its laurels though. The park announced in a news release Wednesday that it's going to extend the track by 2 feet, solidifying its grip on the record by 24 inches.

How long is The Beast exactly?

The Beast has been a length of 3,759 feet (or 1,146 meters) in its long life. But when it opens in May, riders will enjoy those 2 extra feet because of "offseason retracking and reprofiling work," the release said.

Obviously, those 2 extra feet (.6 meters) are going to fly by pretty darn fast. Perhaps more important and more noticeable to the thrill-seekers on the ride will be a steeper first drop.

Kings Island said it "has been reprofiled from 45 degrees to 53 degrees so that it can come into the tunnel lower and deliver a buttery-smooth transition through the first tunnel and onto the second drop."

Crews began refurbishing 2,000 feet (610 meters) of the coaster's track back in November.

Other features of the coaster

So how much time will it take to cover the new 3,761-foot track? That's four minutes and 10 seconds of ride time. Some other hair-raising, yell-inducing Beast stats from Kings Island:

• Vertical drops of 137 feet (41.8 meters) and 141 feet. That latter drop is at an 18-degree angle.

• An underground tunnel at the bottom of that 137-foot drop is 125 feet long.

• That's just the first tunnel -- there are two more.

• Eight banked turns and a 540-degree helix tunnel near the end.

• Speeds up to 64.77 miles per hour (about 105 kmh).

Kings Island said it cost $3.5 million to build The Beast from 1977 to 1979 and that it would cost more than $20 million to recreate it today.

The Brady Bunch did not ride this coaster

Fans of the classic ABC sitcom "The Brady Bunch" may fondly recall the episode of the family's outing to Kings Island, the madcap misadventures of losing and finding the father's architectural blueprints -- and the ending sequence with the family enjoying a ride on a wooden coaster.

However, Alice, Mike, Carol and the kids missed The Beast by six years. The cast filmed their scenes at the park in the summer of 1973 and took a ride on The Racer, with Eve Plumb (Jan) and Mike Lookinland (Bobby) in the front seats.

The Racer, actually two coasters on twin tracks that "race" side by side to see which train pulls back into the station first, has been with the park since its opening in 1972.

Kings Island Amusement Park will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, and it now has 15 roller coasters.

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