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The Smiler
Smiler promotional image.png
roller coaster
Alton Towers
Location Alton, Staffordshire, England, UK
Park section X-Sector
Status Operating since May 31, 2013
Cost £18,000,000
Height restriction 140 cm (55 inches)
Replaced Black Hole
Manufacturer Gerstlauer
Designer / calculations John Wardley (ride consultant)

Ben Dowson (development)
Candy Holland (artistic direction)

Type Steel
Model / product Infinity Coaster
Riders per train 16
Hourly capacity 1200
Propulsion Chain lift hill and vertical chain lift hill
Area 120 metres × 50 metres
Drop30 metres
Top speed85 km/h
Length1170 metres
Steepest drop50°
G-force4.5 g
Musical score: IMAscore[1]HELP
Smiler Logo.jpg

The Smiler is a steel roller coaster located at Alton Towers, opened in May 2013. The ride is manufactured by Gerstlauer and is an Infinity Coaster roller coaster. The ride is positioned where the Black Hole was formerly located, opposite Oblivion. The ride is the first roller coaster with 14 inversions.

Due to "teething" problems, the coaster did not open on the planned date of May 23. The ride opened on Template:Date.


Smiler under construction

Plans were submitted for SW7 in late December 2011. Documents were later revealed showing that it was a custom Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster. Planning permission was granted on 15 March 2012, despite opposition from both Alton and Farley Parish councils.

Deconstruction of Black Hole tent started in April 2012.

Track arrived on Template:Date and vertical construction began in early December 2012.

On Template:Date, the ride's name was announced as The Smiler.

The ride was originally scheduled to open for the start of Alton Towers' 2013 season on Template:Date, however due to the ride falling behind schedule the opening was delayed to May 2013.

The ride's track was completed in April 2013 and a new opening date of Template:Date was announced. However, on Template:Date, Alton Towers announced that due to "unforeseen teething problems" The Smiler would not be open on May 23. After the problems were ironed out, Smiler opened on Template:Date.



The Smiler is an Infinity Coaster, manufactured by Gerstlauer. It has two chain lift hills (one of them vertical) and 14 inversions.


4 trains with 4 cars per train. In each car, riders are arranged 4 across in a single row for a total of 16 riders per train.


The ride was codenamed SW7. This stands for Secret Weapon 7. This name was used for Thirteen (SW6), Air(SW5), Oblivion (SW4) and Nemesis (SW3). It was subsequently used again for Wicker Man (SW8) in 2018.


On Template:Date, a bolt fell from the ride. People queueing for the ride at the time said that they heard a large clanging sound as the bolt fell. The bolt partially disengaged two sections of track and the ride reopened on Template:Date.

On Template:Date, guide wheels flew off one of the ride's trains as the train was ascending the vertical incline and hit four people in the face. The ride was closed for the rest of Scarefest.

On Template:Date, two cars collided, one full and one empty. The four riders in the front row; Daniel Thorpe, Vicky Balch, Joe Pugh and Leah Washington were seriously injured. The following week, Washington had her left leg amputated above her knee as a result of her injuries. On Template:Date, it was revealed that Balch had her leg amputated below the knee after multiple operations to save her leg were unsuccessful.

Following the accident, merchandise and references to the Smiler were removed from the park. The coaster was abandoned for the rest of the year. The fate of the ride was unknown until November 24, 2015, when Alton Towers announced that the accident was caused by human error and the ride would reopen in 2016.[2] [3] On March 19, 2016, the ride resumed operation after 9 months of sitting abandoned. Merlin Entertainments, operator of Alton Towers, was later fined £5 million for the accident on September 27, 2016.



Most inversions on a roller coaster (14)
May 2013 - present
Preceded by
10 Inversion Roller Coaster
Most inversions on a roller coaster (14)
May 2013 - present
Succeeded by