WORK has begun on a new ‘world-first’ rollercoaster at Alton Towers which will create 60 new jobs and be the most expensive ride in the park’s history.
The steel rollercoaster is being constructed near to the Oblivion rollercoaster in the X-Sector area of the theme park, replacing the Black Hole which was decommissioned in 2005 and which has now been demolished.
Work has begun to clear the site before the assembly of the ride itself begins in October and it is on track to be open in time for the 2013 season.
Visitors to the theme park are able to see the first part of the development being built during the rest of the 2012 season with the adjacent rides in X-Sector and its Fried Chicken Co. restaurant remaining open.
The ride was given planning permission by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council back in March.
As part of that deal Alton Towers agreed to pump £100,000 in funding to surrounding highways projects to alleviate traffic concerns.
It will also spend £150,000 during the next three years on building restoration projects on the mansion ruins and Grade-I listed gardens.
Mark Kerrigan, operations and development director at the Moorlands resort, has spoken of how the new rollercoaster will enhance Alton Towers’ offer to its millions of visitors every year.
He said: “Continued investment in high quality, innovative new rides and attractions is vital to us if we are to maintain our position as the UK’s leading resort theme park and in turn contribute to the long term economic stability that we bring to the surrounding area.
“This new rollercoaster will continue to diversify the range of attractions available at the resort, which will enhance our visitor offer even more and ensure we continue to attract visitors.
“Of course, the exact nature will remain top secret until the last possible minute.” Rumours have been circulating about exactly what the ride, codenamed ‘Secret Weapon 7’ will include.
The plans submitted to the planning authority revealed the ride will feature at least eight inversions and two lift hills and is also set to feature a yet-to-be-revealed ‘world’s first’ element.
It has been suggested that the ride will be a ‘Gerstlauer Eurofighter’ rollercoaster such as the ride Saw at Thorpe Park as a noise report submitted with the plans referred to that renowned ride as an example.
Reaching a maximum height of 73ft above ground level, the new coaster will also dip below ground level at some points so as to gain extra height.
The new ride is set to be the most expensive attraction ever installed by Alton Towers, with its rumoured £20 million budget topping the £15 million spent on installing the resort’s last major rollercoaster Thirteen in 2010.