Touring the stars

Very cool – Star Tours from the outside…  (this is the DLP version, link via ScreamScape.Com)


Farewell Dreamland

In a terrible turn of events for the groups trying to save the historic Dreamland amusement park in Margate – today saw the destruction of the centrepiece of the park, the classic Scenic Railway in a fire which is apparently being described as “suspicious”.Deliberate

Now, this is a coaster I never made the (fairly long) trek to ride – and I now regret not doing so, as another ride which is part of the heritage and history of the amusement park has been lost. In recent years so much of the heritage of the British seaside has gone – with the loss of the Runaway at Rotunda, the traditional park at Southport, with it’s classic Cyclone coaster – lost to the chainsaws in 2006, and the recent closure of the park on Rhyl seafront.

We now only have one classic Scenic Railway left in the UK – at Great Yarmouth – there used to be loads of them.

More links to photos of this after the fold, but for now, a link to happier times at Dreamland, thanks to the ECC…, and a gallery of the ride in better times at RCDB.COM

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It’s only a few hundred miles.

P9070205 …with some ups and downs along the way

Well, it’s been an interesting week or so. Driving the best part of 900 miles in 5 days, visiting 5 themeparks, 1 snow-dome, and spending time with some friends. Overall it was a good week, although there were a few moments when things didn’t go quite to plan, and the strain of the journey took it’s toll… But anyway, on to the trip reports… Continue reading


Blackpool – stretching the truth?

Some of you, my regular readers are probably aware through various sources, that Blackpool Pleasure Beach have opened a new ride today.

This particular post/rant is about the marketing and publicity this second-hand machine seems to have attracted…

InfusionShown here, is a small screen-grab from Blackpool’s own website – boldly claiming “Infusion Opens Today – Infusion is the world’s first suspended looping coaster”

Well, it’s not.

Not even close.

There are, 22 examples of the standard SLC worldwide, plus the 2 original prototype models, plus 5 extended versions. So there’s 29 of these out there (including Infusion), the first one of which was built in 1994 in the Netherlands. I’ve ridden it.

Infusion is however not a new ride – it was first installed in 1999, at the now defunct Southport Pleasureland (not coincidently owned by Blackpool Pleasure Beach) under the name “TraumaTizer“, when it was the first SLC in the UK.

However when you click the link into the BPB site – you discover the rest of that headline grabbing quote. “Infusion the world’s first suspended looping coaster completely over water“.

Yup, completely over water. (they couldn’t omit the word “completely” as there’s a MK2 in Italy which is built partially over water)

OK, let’s look at another claim – ” Infusion is the tallest, fastest SLC in the UK, and represents an £8 million investment for Pleasure Beach.

Let’s break that claim down:

Tallest, Fastest SLC in the UK

Well, if we’re only counting standard SLC’s (of which we have already established there are 30 worldwide), then yes, it is. Given that it’s the only standard SLC in the UK, we can give them that – however it’s also the smallest and slowest – which is a claim which will stand up under closer scrutiny.

If we include the two custom layout SLCs in the UK however the story is very different.

Infusion stands 109ft high and reaches a top speed of 50mph (in common with the other 21 Mk3 SLC’s in the world)

Flamingoland’s “Kumali” has a 111ft drop, and a top speed of 55mph

Fantasy Island’s “Jubilee Odyssey” has a 141 foot drop, and a top speed of 63mph.

However it probably was an £8m investment. When they bought it in the late 90’s. I doubt it cost £8m to dismantle, paint and reassemble at Blackpool.

Now, I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan of BPB’s management after what the company did to Southport, (despite them having some fun and enjoyable rides) and I’ve never been a big fan of the SLC as a ride (I’ve ridden a few of them – none were really any fun – far too painful really) – but Blackpool’s marketing divison seem to have worked miracles and really pulled the wool over some people’s eyes in the media today – and it would seem, their website team too.

(all coaster stats taken from the Roller Coaster Database)


Lunch on a Rollercoaster

As part of a series celebrating classic Saturday evening TV show “Jim’ll Fix It” – they’ve recreated the iconic moment of the show, a group of cubscouts have relived their Rollercoaster Lunch “fix it” 27 years after the original was shown in 1980.

There’s a nice story on the BBC News website – which contains a link to the videos of both the old a new versions.

However they are not the first to recreate this classic TV moment featuring that ride in Blackpool. Back in 2002, the European Coaster Club also did a recreation, this time in the interests of raising money for Give Kids the World. The photos from that (rather messy) event are also online – at the ECC Website.

One of the most iconic and memorable bits of tv from when I was young, will be relived again – The new series remembering Jim’ll Fix It is being shown on UK Gold, starting in April.