United Kingdom (Abbreviation: AT)
Merlin Entertainment Group
Park News - (7/3/15) I'm not sure of the full details, but any bad news for Alton Towers right now is certainly going to get overplayed, but it seems a pair of cars on the Sonic Spinball coaster may have bumped in the brake run. The initial report from a "witness" claimed that the cars hit "at full pace" while Alton Towers has denied this claim, saying that the minor bump was just two cars that "nudged each other at a walking pace."
Meanwhile the local media also tried to make a big deal about how the park's AIR coaster (A B&M Flyer) stalled on the lift hill for 20 minutes the other day, which simply is not a big deal at all and probably happens daily to at least one coaster at every park in the world. While the crash on The Smiler was horrific (and we are still waiting for the final report to tell us what happened) the unfortunate side-effect has been to put Alton Towers under the microscope, where every out of the norm event that takes place in the park is going to be blown out of proportions by the media, despite the fact that Alton Towers has had a long and very safe operational history over the years. (Oh... and horror of horrors, the monorail trains also stopped and riders were evacuated via the installed walkways on the same day as the Air stall, which also made the headlines.)
(6/27/15) More horrible news has come from the fallout of the Smiler coaster crash this afternoon, as the local news reports that a second rider involved in The Smiler crash has been forced to have a leg amputated. This one has been identified as Vicky Balch, who was forced to have one leg amputated just below the knee following a series of seven unsuccessful surgeries so far that attempted to save it.
She is the second of the four riders from the front row to have a leg amputated, while the other two (male) victims have suffered from shattered kneecaps for one and the other from a fractured leg and collapsed lung.
(6/19/2015) I'm told that Oblivion, Enterprise and Sonic Spinball have reopened at Alton Towers WOA after being closed following The Smiler accident.
(6/9/15) Alton Towers reopened to the public yesterday after staying closed since last week's accident on The Smiler. Acording to the reports not only is Smiler still closed (and will be for a long time), but also Oblivion, Enterprise and Spinball. Meanwhile this news article at BT.com has confirmed that 17-year old Leah Washington was the most seriously injured of the four victims and had to have her left leg amputated just above the knee.
(6/6/15) According to a press release from Merlin Entertainment, they are "enhancing our safety standards by issuing an additional set of safety protocols and proceedures" to the chain of parks "multi-car rollercoasters" effective immediately. While they put these new procedures into effect, several of the chains coasters will be closed: The Smiler at Alton Towers and Saw: The Ride at Thorpe Park remain closed until further notice while they take the corrective steps to ensure that another accident like the one at Alton Towers on The Smiler can never take place again. Nothing was wrong with Saw: The Ride, it was just a similar style ride from the same manufacture.
Two more coaster will be closed for the time being from Chessington World of Adventures: Dragon's Fury and Rattlesnake.
(6/4/15) Alton Towers theme park remains closed today and says they will stay closed until they determine the cause of the accident on The Smiler on Tuesday. While the latest batch of news articles do not say why the accident happened, a few more details have been uncovered.
According to the report on The Telegraph, the park’s management is said to be considering “scrapping” the troubled coaster following the incident.
The Smiler has been suffering from some severe issues on both the day of the crash as well as the day before. The coaster had been reported as opening and closing several times throughout the day before the crash took place shortly after 2pm, and was in the process of reopening from one of these shut-downs at the time of the incident, which is why the empty test train was sent out onto the tracks.
According to an interview with one of the riders (Vanisha Singh) who was on the second row of the train at the time of the accident, the ill-fated car did indeed get stopped near the top of the first lift hill before the lift was restarted, sending the train down the hill and into the stalled empty train. “We finally went up and were kept at the top for ten or fifteen minutes chatting, joking that we were the guinea pigs. Then we plummeted down and smashed into the test car after doing a couple of loops.”
She also described the scene on board the train following the impact as something out of a horror movie, with “blood all over the floor because it was pouring out of their legs in the carriage and dropping down”.
The names of two of the four seriously injured passengers were released, a Joe Pugh who is thought to have broken both legs, who was riding next to his new girlfriend, Leah Washington who is said to have far more serious injuries. The other two unnamed passengers were described as an 18 year old girl and a 27 year old man. Unfortunately, the article in The Telegraph also reports that one of the injured is thought to have “lost a leg” due to the accident as well.
This is just horrifying to read, and my thoughts and well wishes go out to the riders as well as everyone involved in this tragedy from the park as well.
(6/3/15) Alton Towers will be closed today, following yesterday's accident on The Smiler coaster, and from the sound of things, The Smiler will be closed until further notice. According to the reports I've been able to read, four riders were taken to local hospitals for treatment (2 teenage boys, 2 teenage girls), all with serious leg injuries from the impact. I wish them well and a speedy recovery.
As for the cause of the accident... it still isn't entirely clear and an official statement has not been made. I normally wouldn't even speculate or spread rumors about just what might have happened, but there are a couple of weird rumors going around the web from those who claim to have seen the accident. Again... these are unverified reports so far, but according to some reports the train of riders did come to a stop on a lift hill when the coaster's safety system detected a blocking violation (the stalled train) ahead. they claim shortly after it stopped, the lift was started again and sent over the top, despite cries from afar about the stalled train again. This rumor falls in with the second rumor making the rounds, claiming that the ride was put in or left in "Maintenance Mode" which allowed for the override to the blocking system.
Since all coasters do have these safety blocking systems in place to prevent exactly this kind of accident, this story does sounds like it has a possible thread of truth to it, in which case the investigation may determine that 'human error' would be to blame. Again... that is just the early word going around, and nothing is official until the investigation releases their official report. For now, lets just hope everyone gets well and can walk away from this horrible accident.
(6/2/15) Four riders are reported as being seriously hurt after a fully loaded (16 riders) roller coaster train on The Smiler crashed into an empty train that had stalled out on the track. Apparently the ride went down for some kind of issue and the crew sent out the empty car first, and followed it with the one loaded with guests, unaware that the empty train had stalled or valleyed somewhere on the course. Normally all coasters have a series of sensors and blocking zones to prevent this kind of thing from happening, so somewhere in the system, the automated safety blocks failed.
Given what we know so far, I'd expect The Smiler to remain closed for the next several weeks, if not months, to allow for a proper investigation and resolution. You can read the official report from the BBC here.
(5/27/15) Alton Towers launched a new Ice Age themed 4D Experience film at the park on May 24th called "No Time For Nuts". This new film replaces the original Ice Age 4D film that opened within the attraction back in 2002.
(4/23/15) According to the latest planning applications, Alton Towers wants to build a new themed restaurant. According to the rumors this may be a “Food Loop” style restaurant where the food you order will travel from the kitchen to your table via a miniature roller coaster track.
(3/31/15) A couple of notes from Alton Towers today... starting with a reversal of the decision to close The Blade. Apparently the ride opened on March 21st and the park says it will stay open until further notice.
In other news the park experienced a small fire near the Nemesis coaster. An on site report from the fire event was posted to Airgates. Apparently the fire broke out inside the kitchen of the Fish & Chips restaurant. It was put out quickly, but guests were evacuated from that section of the park as a safety precaution.
(3/13/15) I’m told that Alton Towers has released their 2015 park map, which shows that the Blade ride (swing ship) in Forbidden Valley is now missing. This goes along with rumors that the next major ride at the park will go into Forbidden Valley somewhere between Nemesis and Air.
2015 - Enchanted Village Resort & Tree Top Quest - (1/9/15) ThemeParks-UK reports that Alton Towers is actually going to open Enchanted Forest Tree Top Quest in 2015, a fantasy themed ropes course attraction themed to the woodland of the new Enchanted Village. There will be opens here for both Adult and Kid sized challenges as well as ziplines, one which will go through an enclosed tunnel.
(8/29/14) Alton Towers will open a new resort in 2015 featuring 120 fairytale cottages and five luxury tree houses. It will be called The Enchanted Village and be located in a woodland area next to the Alton Towers Hotel. A sneak preview cottage has been set up in the park as a preview of what is coming.
(5/7/14) Alton Towers is now planning to open Enchanted Village, a new resort option for guests, in 2015. The unique looking new resort features a number of fairytale looking lodge buildings and luxury treehouses than can accommodate up to 8 guests. Make the jump over to ThemeParkInvertigator.com to see the concept artwork.
(3/17/14) According to this article, Alton Towers is planning on adding 10 luxury tree houses and 61 unique holiday lodges as part of a new resort expansion for the park. Each treehouse will sleep up to 8 and will come with an outdoor hot tub. Look for this expansion to be added to undeveloped land next to the existing hotel, which is also near Rita, Air and Nemesis.
2015 - Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure - (2/13/15) ThemeParks-UK has confirmed that the new coaster under construction in CBeebies Land for 2015 will be themed as the Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure.
(1/8/15) The latest rumors posted to Towers Street claim that some construction in the park where the former kiddie coaster, Beastie, was located. According to the pictures they posted, it looks like some new concrete foundations have been poured and considering the site is also next to last year’s CBeebies Land, it could be used as an expansion to the new kiddie area. Plus adding a new kiddie coaster would help improve the park’s lineup as Beastie was never replaced when it was removed.
Screamscape’s own sources did report back in October 2014 that an expansion of CBeebies Land was being planned for either 2015 or 2016, as it was a big hit with the park’s smaller guests.
2017 - SW8 Coaster / Future Expansions - Rumor - (5/2/15) According to the latest rumor sent my way about Alton Tower’s SW8 project, our source backs up that it will be an wooden coaster, but also claims that it may be a “launched” coaster as well, though they insist that RMC is not involved in this project as well. Very interesting…
(4/29/15) Is Alton Towers preparing to build a new wooden coaster? According to ThemeParks-UK, the park has submitted documents to the planning authority for a new attraction that would feature "timber truss construction set within a wooden backdrop and foreground". The plans also mention that the ride would have a maximum height of 14.5m above existing ground levels, and one of more of the high points in the ride would be enclosed within a "sound tunnel" to keep the noise levels down. Looks like SW8 is planned to open in 2017 if all goes well.
(3/31/15) The latest buzz says Alton Tower's next big coaster is expected to open around either 2016 or 2017. Many still believe it will go into the Forbidden Valley area, possibly behind Air on the site of a current parking lot.
(10/9/14) According to a Screamscape reader, Ripsaw at Alton Towers will be taken down and moved across the park to reopen in the X-Sector in 2015 on the former Submission spot. The fast food building next to Ripsaw is said to have already been gutted and is ready for demolition as well. This would open up this entire side of the Forbidden Valley (from Air down along the valley edge) for future new developments.
Future Plans - (11/14/12) Screamscape sources tell us that Alton Towers is eyeballing three possible sites for new roller coasters between now and 2019. Two of the sites are said to be in the Forbidden Valley area while the third is near Cloud Cuckoo Land. One proposal is looking into building a coaster to cross between Forbidden Valley and the Dark Forest.
ThemeParkTourist goes over these and other possible future plans as gleemed from Alton Tower’s long-term development plans filed with the local government. Other desires include items to turn the park into a year-round destination, increase overnight stays, new attractions to appeal to a wide range of demographics, and more.
They also say that Sonic Spinball is expected to be removed in this time period, along with Ripsaw, The Blade and The Flume.