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Oblivion

Oblivion

Click here to watch the on-ride POV
roller coaster
Oblivion
UK.png
Alton Towers
Location Alton, Staffordshire, England, UK
Park section X-Sector
Status Operating since March 14, 1998
Cost £12,000,000
Height restriction 140 cm (54inches)
Statistics
Manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard
Designer / calculations Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH, John Wardley
Type Steel
Model / product Dive Coaster
Riders per train 16
Hourly capacity 1820
Propulsion Chain lift hill
Drop196.9 feet
Top speed68.4 mph
Length1,223.8 feet
Inversions0
Steepest drop87°
G-force4.5 g
HELP
Oblivion Logo.png

Oblivion is a steel roller coaster located at Alton Towers in Alton, Staffordshire, England, UK. The ride opened on March 14, 1998 amid a large publicity campaign as the first full-circuit roller coaster with a vertical drop. It is the tallest and fastest roller coaster at Alton Towers and is located in the X-Sector area of the park.

Oblivion was built by Bolliger & Mabillard and is their first Dive Coaster installation. An almost identical coaster, Diving Machine G5 opened in Taiwan in 2000.

History[edit | edit source]

Early History[edit | edit source]

During 1997, Fantasy World (now X-Sector, where Oblivion is situated) was closed off and all the Fantasy themed rides, except the Black Hole were removed. Surrounding the area were signs announcing a world-first, codenamed SW4. Alton Towers' secrecy and the ever-deepening hole fuelled hype and speculation, which had built up over the year. Oblivion was finally unveiled in March 1998. To build the tunnel, a deep trench was excavated and drained. After the tunnel was built, it was covered over.

The codename SW4 stands for Secret Weapon 4. Nemesis was SW3, and SW1 and 2 were cancelled projects to be built on the plot where Nemesis is located now.

Oblivion's opening was accompanied by a massive publicity drive. This included appearances on The Gadget Show, Blue Peter, news channels and cereal boxes.

Marketing memorabilia was also released just before Oblivion opened, including its own brand of deodorant (which was re-introduced for the 2011 season).

Opening[edit | edit source]

With the opening of Oblivion, the surrounding area was completely overhauled and its fairground theme replaced with that of a sinister government facility. The name was changed from Fantasy World to X-Sector. The last remaining ride from Fantasy World, Black Hole, had it's tent reprinted dark-blue and silver, replacing the original yellow and green striped pattern. Energizer and Enterprise flat rides were moved to the X-Sector from other areas of the park to make it a major ride area.

The Ropers[edit | edit source]

On May 3, 2012, Alton Towers lost its appeal to prevent The Roper's from taking their grievances to the high court, making way for a court battle at a later date. This involves noise made by the park, especially rides near the boundaries, including Oblivion.

Smiler[edit | edit source]

For the 2013 season, Oblivion was repainted black as part of changes to the X-Sector area for the opening of The Smiler.

Design[edit | edit source]

Trains[edit | edit source]

7 cars. Riders are arranged 8 across in 2 rows for a total of 16 riders per car. This ride has special Dive Machine trains, wich can seat 8 people in a row. There are four trains, with two rows, making each train have a capacity of 16 riders per train.

To increase tension and add excitement, the car is held at the top of the drop for a few seconds, giving riders a view of the tunnel below

To increase excitement even further, Oblivion had speakers in the trains with a recorded message saying "Don't Look Down". These were subsequently removed as residents, upset with the amount of noise coming from the park felt the audio induced screaming. The "Don't Look Down" message was later painted on the floor, for riders to view before they drop.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Although Oblivion was marketed as the first roller coaster with a vertical drop, the steepest angle of the drop is only 87 degrees. This is to allow easier maintenance, and to keep a smooth ride. If it was to have a 90 degree drop, the car would jolt when it enters the tunnel, as there are no springs on the wheels.

Oblivion is the shortest roller coaster built by Bolliger & Mabillard and the first with no inversions.

Incidents[edit | edit source]

On May 8, 2012, a 20-year-old man climbed over safety fences and accessed the underground ride area. He reportedly dropped into the hole from which the roller coaster track re-emerges from the underground tunnel, walked through the underground section and emerged on a ledge where the track enters the ground. Neither he or guests on the ride were harmed following the ride cars being held at the boarding station. He was arrested for a public order offence, and the ride returned to normal operation the day after.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Steepest roller coaster
March 1998 - March 2000
Preceded by
Unknown
Steepest roller coaster
March 1998 - March 2000
Succeeded by
Diving Machine G5