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Thorpe Park Updates

GregBoxall

New Member
Sorry if this thead already exists but I can't find another one anywhere! This may be a long post...

We visited Thorpe briefly this afternoon as we we're in the area. Due the the crowds the only ride we go on was Rumba, but we did have an interesting chat with an engineer about a few things.

First off was the Stealth closure. Lots of rumors out there about what this could be so we wanted some clarification. He told us it was an issue with with the drums locking break and the launch mechanism it's self, not the cable. Basically it exploded due to wear and tear. He said that Sealth has the highest amount of launches out of any of the Inamin coasters. The launch cable has to be replaced after every 50,000 launches, which for Stealth is twice a year. They also recently found a high number of fractures on the catch car which had to be replaced at at a cost of £250,000.

Still on the topic of Stealth I asked about the original plans of an accelerator clone. He admitted this was true but the area they had planned for it wasn't big enough. This led them to cut it in half, the top hat section stayed with Thorpe and the rest of the ride became Rita at Alton Towers.

I then asked about the future of the park, and it doesn't look amazing. His exact words were 'Derren Brown's Ghost Train was the final nail in the coffin for the park." They spend 10s of millions on running costs every year making it very difficult to invest anywhere else. Colosus also takes a lot of money to maintain. He says the entire coaster needs a re track but Merlin don't want to pay out for it. Instead they keep covering issues and hope it goes away. The track was designed to last to last 20 years and was built 18 ago.

He feels like the park is being forgotten about and heading the wrong way. When I asked about the new 10 year plan he laughed and said they probably dont even know what they're doing next year.

I ended by asking about the photos of merlin magic making visit the F.L.Y prototype. He laughed, smiled, and said I don't know what you're talking about.

Hope this post has been interesting to a few of you, and if not I'm sorry you had to read it all!


I really want to like Thorpe as it's my home park, but its really hard to keep my enthusiasm up with the way the parks looking. Would love to hear your thoughts on the park!
 

Lneeno

New Member
He might be being a bit over negative there but I imagine a lot of it is true, especially the stuff about DBGT. I personally think it’s okay but i’d never ride it more than once in a day, it’s a one trick pony for me. For the amount of money they spent/spend on it it’s just not worth it. I’d rather they spent it other new rides or just keeping it old ones going.

I don’t know how long DBGT will last.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

JoshC.

Active Member
There's some fun age old rumours and myths in your post, which I'll just point out since they're actually quite common...

Still on the topic of Stealth I asked about the original plans of an accelerator clone. He admitted this was true but the area they had planned for it wasn't big enough. This led them to cut it in half, the top hat section stayed with Thorpe and the rest of the ride became Rita at Alton Towers.
This is perhaps my all time favourite rumour. No, Stealth and Rita were never planned to be one ride. They originally used Xcelerator's layout as an indicator of rough size and scale relative to the location in a preliminary plan to the council. The park did want a longer layout at the time, but it just wasn't feasible due to space and cost.

Rita (which of course opened a year before Stealth) was a very quick investment. The original SW6 plans (woodie in the valley) had stalled. Towers felt like they needed a new thrill ride, and they wanted it quick. Tussauds already had a good working relationship with Intamin due to Colossus and the long-term plan for Stealth, so they were able to get Rita designed and ordered pretty quick (and they probably saved some money in the process by bulk buying).

I then asked about the future of the park, and it doesn't look amazing. His exact words were 'Derren Brown's Ghost Train was the final nail in the coffin for the park." They spend 10s of millions on running costs every year making it very difficult to invest anywhere else.
Hard to tell what exactly you mean here, but..They certainly don't spend 10s of millions running Ghost Train. So that'd be a very big exaggeration. Of course, it's still very high due to the sheer number of staff, engineering manpower, along with running the VR headsets, etc.

If you mean the park is spending 10s of millions on running the whole park, then...well yeah. It's a mid-sized park with a lot of technologically advanced attractions which require a lot of maintaining. If will cost a lot to run. Same as Towers, Chessington, etc. That won't stop them investing. Merlin give their parks different pots of money: one for running and maintaining the current park, and another for investment. Whilst that money ultimately comes from the space place, there is a basic understanding at Merlin that you still need to invest.


Colossus retrack has been spoken about for years. However, as seen with Heide Park, Merlin's currently philosophy is that they won't allow major money to be spent on something until it *needs* it. We saw that with Loggers Leap too really, but instead of them spending the money, they just didn't.
 
I don't understand why anyone would want a ride themed with Derren Brown. He just comes across like a gimmicky conman to me. His stupid lottery prediction trick was literally replicated by someone at home with a single camera in a bedroom on Youtube and it actually looked better the day after the original broadcast.

The Stealth lengthly closure is very disappointing. I guess I'm lucky to have had the rides on it I did end of July. But even then it was down for most of the day.

I think the park needs at least another decent looping coaster to deal with such downtime.
 

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
Staff member
Administrator
Moderator
I must admit, in my eyes your source lost a lot of credibility when he repeated the old "Stealth and Rita were one" myth, as that one has been debunked countless times. If only @The Undead Creature was still around on CF, he used to have a lot of insight into these things. If memory serves correctly, he was a senior engineer/mechanic at Thorpe and knew the rides inside out. Wonder what he's up to these days, must be a decade since he last posted.
 

thepoweroften

New Member
I still haven’t been on Derren Brown’s Rail
Replacement Bus Service despite having been to Thorpe twice since it was built. The first time we queued for half an hour only for the ride to break down (and we weren’t in the mood to queue for it again on a day when some of the other major rides were walk-on). The second time the queue wasn’t shorter than 90 minutes at any point after about 12:10 and we decided it wasn’t worth our time. I’ve never heard anyone who actually made it onto the ride really suggest that it’s a BAD experience, but between the downtime, the low throughput and the generally mixed reviews it’s always felt like a bizarre investment.

That said I do hope it wasn’t a nail in any coffin and that that’s just more hyperbole from your source. I know it divides enthusiasts a bit but I have a huge soft spot for Thorpe, if only because it was one of my closest parks growing up and I have a lot of happy memories of it. I’m not quite optimistic enough to agree with the “RMC 2020!!!!” crowds, but I am hoping for some sort of major development from the park in the next...five or six years, maybe.
 

Lucy

Member
I don't understand why anyone would want a ride themed with Derren Brown. He just comes across like a gimmicky conman to me. His stupid lottery prediction trick was literally replicated by someone at home with a single camera in a bedroom on Youtube and it actually looked better the day after the original broadcast.
Personally I really like DBGT, even though it's not always running perfectly - I think it's a bit of a Marmite ride, you either love it or hate it!
 

Dar

Member
Was this "engineer" working on one of the drinks stands?
I've heard of subway sandwich artists, but I didn't know Dippin' Dots had ice cream engineers!

It seems like Merlin resented having 3 parks so close to each other and kind of gave up trying to make it work with all three, starving Chessington of cash and Thorpe of family rides, making it impossible to have a "complete" day out unless your group fits at either end of the "family" scale.
 
It seems like Merlin resented having 3 parks so close to each other and kind of gave up trying to make it work with all three, starving Chessington of cash and Thorpe of family rides, making it impossible to have a "complete" day out unless your group fits at either end of the "family" scale.
The lack of competition can't be a good thing for all three parks. I've never understood why the coaster line up at Chessington is so poor and how they get away with that. I've thus never wanted to visit. 1 spinning coaster this side of the millennium. And that at a "theme park" closest to the capital? Very strange.
 

GregBoxall

New Member
I must admit, in my eyes your source lost a lot of credibility when he repeated the old "Stealth and Rita were one" myth, as that one has been debunked countless times. If only @The Undead Creature was still around on CF, he used to have a lot of insight into these things. If memory serves correctly, he was a senior engineer/mechanic at Thorpe and knew the rides inside out. Wonder what he's up to these days, must be a decade since he last posted.
One of The Undead Creatures comments did say that Stealth and Rita were ment to be the same ride. I have no idea what was originally ment to be, just find it interesting to think about what could have happened with the area.
 

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spicy

Active Member
One of The Undead Creatures comments did say that Stealth and Rita were ment to be the same ride. I have no idea what was originally ment to be, just find it interesting to think about what could have happened with the area.
To clear this up here’s a PM to me from Undead Creature in 2007 about this exact thing:



So basically it wasn’t going to be an Xcelerator clone it would have been the Top Hat and then Rita’s layout but scaled up.

As obviously you would have been travelling a lot faster than Rita does so I guess the corners would have been more drawn out.

Shame it never happened, could have been awesome.
 
Weird how the council's problem wasn't with the 200ft top hat but with the rest of a relatively low to the ground run out. Perhaps some of these UK councils should be more critical of the actions they have taken themselves rather than what others want to do. Many councils have objected to tonnes of similar projects over the last few decades or made entertainment projects difficult and certainly not encouraged the landscape for these to thrive. At the same time they have allowed countless estates to be built and thus massively increasing the amount of people who pay council tax. Yet many are still broke and high streets are still dead, even if they kept their crumbling old fashioned layout and infrastructure just because it's old and somehow that makes it special.
 
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cookie

Member
To clear this up here’s a PM to me from Undead Creature in 2007 about this exact thing:



So basically it wasn’t going to be an Xcelerator clone it would have been the Top Hat and then Rita’s layout but scaled up.

As obviously you would have been traveling a lot faster than Rita does so I guess the corners would have been more drawn out.

Shame it never happened, could have been awesome.
Reminds me of how Desert Race's predecessor was supposed to be this massive giga.
 

GregBoxall

New Member
To clear this up here’s a PM to me from Undead Creature in 2007 about this exact thing:



So basically it wasn’t going to be an Xcelerator clone it would have been the Top Hat and then Rita’s layout but scaled up.

As obviously you would have been travelling a lot faster than Rita does so I guess the corners would have been more drawn out.

Shame it never happened, could have been awesome.
Thanks for the clarification, it sounds like Thorpe lost out on what could have been their best ride. Stealth's got a fantastic launch, just a shame the rides over so quickly.
 

GregBoxall

New Member
Weird how the council's problem wasn't with the 200ft top hat but with the rest of a relatively low to the ground run out. Perhaps some of these UK councils should be more critical of the actions they have taken themselves rather than what others want to do. Many councils have objected to tonnes of similar projects over the last few decades or made entertainment projects difficult and certainly not encouraged the landscape for these to thrive. At the same time they have allowed countless estates to be built and thus massively increasing the amount of people who pay council tax. Yet many are still broke and high streets are still dead, even if they kept their crumbling old fashioned layout and infrastructure just because it's old and somehow that makes it special.
A good example of this would be at Tayto park, Ireland. They recently had their 2021 coaster project refused by the local council as a handful of locals were concerned about the noise, despite the extra jobs and money it would make.
 
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Interesting talk about the two UK Accelerator Coasters.

What happened to the rumor that Rita was going to another park in the UK? - Potentially Oakwood until they opted out and built a Eurofighter (It would make sense as the name "Speed: No limits" would be suitable for a ride like Rita).
 
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