Following years in development, Alton Towers Resort opened their latest thrill attraction earlier this year. Wicker Man is the first wooden rollercoaster to be built in the UK for 21 years and has been designed to reconnect riders with the primal essence of rollercoasters.
Wicker Man is the world’s first rollercoaster experience that fuses wood and fire, and incorporates a giant, flaming Wicker Man who stands six-stories high. The Wicker Man structure dominates the very centre of the Alton Towers Resort, appearing to burst into flames as the wooden track races three separate times through the structure. The structure features a human head on one side and a ram on the other.
Before boarding Wicker Man, riders embark on a journey into the world of the Beornen, a secret community living in the woods around Alton. Lured in by chanting, rhythmic sounds and unseen eyes watching them, guests are chosen to take part in the cinematic ‘pre-show’ before braving the ride itself.
Every ride houses 1 train, made up of 6 wooden carriages carrying 24 passengers (riders sit in pairs).
Work on the track began in January 2017 and the final section of track was laid in November of the same year. The construction was led by US-based firm Greater Coasters International (GCI), the world’s leading manufacturer of rollercoasters. All the wood for the rollercoaster was sourced by CGI from a sustainable source in Pennsylvania. It took a total of 40 container loads and 7,500 tonnes of wood to make the ride.
The track is over 2,000 feet long and made up of 8 layers of wood, while 1.8 million screws and 65,000 bolts have been used to secure the structure.
The safety of guests has been paramount in the design and build of Wicker Man, incorporating the latest in proven safety technology, rigorous testing and hundreds of training hours for ride operators. The ride was tested over 500 times using industry-standard water-filled buoys before opening to the public. There are 11 team members from the rides team working on Wicker Man at any one time, with 45 people on the Wicker Man team in total.
Speaking earlier this year prior to the ride opening, Francis Jackson, Operations Director at Alton Towers Resort, commented:
“Wicker Man is Alton Towers’ most ambitious project to date and we’re really excited to finally reveal our newest thrill attraction to the world. We’ve spent four years creating an experience that is truly spectacular by investing in the latest technologies which combine wood, fire and special effects to give riders the genuine feeling that they will be racing through flames. We can’t wait for everyone to experience Wicker Man when the park opens this spring.”
Wicker Man is the latest addition to Alton Towers Resort. The resort offers an amazing combination of rides, attractions, shows and themed accommodation. It is also home to the UK’s first Rollercoaster Restaurant, which opened in May 2016.
The new restaurant is set below a vast rollercoaster track where diners can watch as their order tackles two gravity defying loop-the-loops before dropping 8m/26ft – the equivalent of two double decker buses – down the tornado spiral to their table. From a standing start, each dish will compete to its final destination, racing along 400m of spiralling steel track. The restaurant can be used by both guests enjoying the theme park during the day and members of the public in the evening, after the theme park has closed. Due to high demand, booking is highly recommended.
Accessible via a walkway running from the hotels and Alton Towers’ Enchanted Village into the heart of the Park, the restaurant is ideal for thrill-seeking guests who are looking to extend their Alton Towers experience with a short break once the rides have closed. To find out more, please visit www.alton-towers.com.
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Steve Foster Cranes specialise in the provision of hiring cranes for use on projects within the construction industry. From 13T to 220T cranes, working both on CPA Hire (crane only) & contract lifts (inc. Slinger/banksman with all accompanying paperwork) Steve Foster Cranes can cover all requirements, in addition to the provision of transport, Hiab lorries and the supply of labour.
Set up in 1981, Steve Foster Cranes focuses on generator installations using heavy cranes and transport for the likes of Bradgate Containers, Yellow Power, Infinis & Central Power, amongst others. Most recently, Steve Foster Cranes has been involved with the work on the Wicker Man at Alton Towers.
Steve Foster, said:
“It was great to be involved with Wicker Man at Alton Towers and work on a project in our local area.”
“At Steve Foster Cranes we pride ourselves on our team and our service. We employ almost 30 members of staff and we have the right equipment for the job.”