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Wicker Man

Roller coaster
Click here to watch the on-ride POV
Wicker Man
WickerManPromoArt.jpeg
A promotional poster released alongside the attraction's announcement on 8 January 2018
Alton Towers
Location Alton, Staffordshire, England, UK
Park section Mutiny Bay
Status Operating since 20 March 2018
Cost £16,000,000
Soundtrack Yes, by IMAscore
Rider height 120 cm minimum
Replaced The Flume
Statistics
Manufacturer Great Coasters International
Designer / calculations Skyline Attractions (Jeff Pike), John Wardley
Type Wooden
Riders per train 24
Hourly capacity 952
Propulsion Chain lift hill
Drop 22 metres
Top speed 70.2 km/h
Length 795 metres
Inversions 0
Bank angle 68°
Duration 3:30
HELP
Wicker Man logo.png

Wicker Man is a wooden roller coaster located at Alton Towers in Alton, Staffordshire, England, UK. It was manufactured by Great Coasters International, designed by Skyline Attractions,[1] and opened on 20 March 2018. It is the sixth operating "Secret Weapon" and was codenamed SW8 during development. The Secret Weapon line is a line of roller coasters at Alton Towers emblazoned with the Secret Weapon code name during development. This line started with SW3 (Nemesis) and has been emblazoned onto all of Alton Towers' major thrill coasters (excluding Rita) ever since.

History

A view of the roller coaster and the scenery under construction

In the early 2000s, Alton Towers applied for planning permission to build a new wooden roller coaster. This was never built due to complaints from the public regarding noise pollution and environmental damage.[2]

The Flume closed on 10 October 2015. While not revealed at the time, it would later be replaced by Wicker Man.

In March 2016, the park began teasing the ride to the public through its Towers Loving Care Twitter page.[3] On 31 May 2016, Alton Towers filed for planning permission to build Wicker Man on the site of The Flume. The plans revealed that the ride would be a wooden roller coaster, and sound comparisons hinted at the ride being manufactured by Great Coasters International. The application was approved on 24 August 2016 and in December, demolition of the Flume began.

On 7 May 2017, wood arrived at Alton Towers. This followed the arrival of GCI earlier in May.

On 21 May 2017, vertical construction of the ride's station track and pre-lift section began.

On 30 May 2017, vertical construction of the ride's large theming element began.

In June 2017, vertical construction of the station began.

On 27 June 2017, vertical construction of the ride's lift hill began.

In July 2017, construction on the rest of the ride began with the installation of part of the first drop.

On 7 July 2017, the ride's lift hill reached its full height. This was commemorated by the British and American flags being placed on top of the lift hill, representing the two countries involved with the project.

On 16 August 2017, Alton Towers began a new marketing campaign for the ride. This marketing campaign involved the tagline Be Chosen, some Pagan-esque runes being placed on the construction fences surrounding the ride which apparently also translate to Be Chosen and the first in a series of videos marketing the ride. The second of these videos feature YouTuber Elliott Crawford and was released on 23 August 2017. The ride is also currently being marketed as a world class experience by the park.

In early September 2017, Alton Towers announced a new scare maze for the park's Scarefest event called The Welcoming. The Welcoming was heavily linked with Wicker Man.

On 6 October 2017, Alton Towers introduced a new logo depicting a burning wicker man into the ride's marketing. Also, the SW8 minisite started redirecting people to TheWelcoming.co.uk, where people were given more of an insight into the ride's story and the scare maze, including the introduction of another slogan; Feed The Flames.

On 22 October 2017, the park released another teaser featuring Elliott Crawford. This teaser featured runes teasing parts of the ride's storyline.

By the end of the park's 2017 season on 5 November 2017, the ride's queue line was being erected and most of the ride had the wooden track installed and was only awaiting the installation of the steel rails. Also, the exterior of the station and maintenance shed was mostly complete.

In late November 2017, Alton Towers released a partial time lapse video of the ride's construction. This was followed by a teaser on November 22 entitled Unite with the chosen ones.

On 9 December 2017, the European Coaster Club and multiple other sources reported that the ride made its first test run on 7 December 2017.

On 22 December 2017, Alton Towers sent out planks of wood to the media with the ride's logo on reading All will be revealed 8-1-18, confirming an announcement on 8 January 2018. Alton Towers subsequently announced that the ride would be named Wicker Man and that it would be the world's first roller coaster experience to fuse wood and fire.[4] However, this claim was later removed from the marketing campaign reportedly following a claim to the Advertising Standards Agency.

The roller coaster was planned to open on 17 March 2018, but due to poor weather, this was pushed back to 24 March. However, the ride actually opened on 20 March.

Design

Wicker Man features four sound tunnels during the ride; one during the pre-lift section, one after the lift hill, one on the first airtime hill and one on the brake run.

The ride's chain lift hill changes gradient from 24 degrees to a shallower 12 degrees shortly after starting its ascent. This is to allow sufficient clearance for vehicles to utilise the access road below. This is unusual, and not seen on any other roller coaster built by Great Coasters International.

British ride designer John Wardley has stated that he was involved in reprofiling the ride's initial two drops.[5] The rockwork was supplied by Universal Rocks.[6]

Trains

3 trains with 12 cars per train. In each car, riders are arranged 2 across in a single row, for a total of 24 riders per train. Wicker Man uses GCI's Millennium Flyer trains, with a custom piece on the front of each train depicting a miniature version of part of the ride's main theming element.

Images

References

External links


Articles on Alton Towers
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