THE first images of a £16 million new ride were released by Alton Towers last week.
Visitors will have a chance to ride the ground-breaking Wicker Man – the first wooden rollercoaster to be built in the UK for 21 years – when the theme park reopens next month.
But dramatic images issued by the resort reveal a spectacular six-storey structure featuring a human face on one side and ram’s head, which bursts into flames as the train races through its chest, on the other.
More than 40,000 tonnes of soil were excavated to build the new attraction, which is almost 60ft high, spans 2,000ft and is made from naturally treated timber, hand-carved specifically for the project.
Every ride will house two trains, each made up of six wooden carriages carrying 12 passengers (24 passengers per ride).
Before boarding Wicker Man, riders will 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 will ‘be chosen’ to take part in the cinematic ‘pre-show’ before braving the ride itself.
Francis Jackson, Operations Director at Alton Towers Resort, said: “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 though flames.
“The ride has been in development for the last four years and we can’t wait for people to experience it when the park opens this Spring.”
Bradley Wynne, creative lead at Alton Towers, is convinced thrillseekers, who will embark on ‘a multi-sensory rite of passage’, will be impressed.
He said: “We hope visitors will be blown away by the breath-taking scale of the ride.
“The primal essence of the wooden coaster and astonishing effects are mot to be missed.
“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.”
Andy Hine MBE, chairman of the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain, said: “We’ve been hoping Alton Towers would invest in a wooden coaster for a long time, and we’re so pleased it’s finally coming with Wicker Man.
“GCI are known for building really exciting, smooth coasters and this will be a great compliment to the ‘Big Six’ steel rides already at the park.
“It’s a big investment which is great for thrill-seekers everywhere, and I for one can’t wait to ride it.”
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