Corkscrew (Alton Towers)

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Corkscrew (Alton Towers) - 1.jpg
View of Corkscrew from ground level
Alton Towers
Park section UG Land
Coordinates 52°59′05″N 1°53′26″W / 52.984701°N 1.890421°W / 52.984701; -1.890421Coordinates: 52°59′05″N 1°53′26″W / 52.984701°N 1.890421°W / 52.984701; -1.890421
Status Closed
Opening date 4 April 1980
Closing date 9 November 2008
Cost £1,250,000
General statistics
Type Steel
Manufacturer Vekoma
Designer Arrow Dynamics
Model Corkscrew with Bayerncurve
Track layout custom
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 75 ft (23 m)
Drop 68 ft (21 m)
Length 2,400 ft (730 m)
Speed 44 mph (71 km/h)
Inversions 2
Duration 1:45
Max vertical angle 43°
Capacity 1,100 riders per hour
Acceleration no launch
G-force 3.1
Height restriction 47.3 in (120 cm)
Corkscrew at RCDB
Pictures of Corkscrew at RCDB

Corkscrew was a steel roller coaster manufactured by Vekoma of the Netherlands. The coaster was located in the Ug Land area of Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England. It was the park's oldest ride and is considered the greatest factor in promoting the new theme park to the British public. It was one of the first double-inverting coasters in Europe (the first in the UK) -[1] so received much publicity and avid popularity in the 1980s. Waiting times for the ride frequently reached 6–9 hours during the first few months of operation at Alton Towers, and the park would often be forced to close early as it found itself swamped with visitors long before the evening ever came.

In 1999, Ug land was new which meant that the Corkscrew was the main feature of the new Ug land. The Corkscrew received a lick of paint, some new Vekoma trains and some minor themeing to fit into the new Ug land. In 2005 with the arrival of Rita The land changed again to Ug land and the Thunder Rock Ralley which meant the Corkscrew's days were numbered. As the corkscrew aged it was known for being rough and uncomfortable due to the age of it.

In October 2008 after 28 years of service, Alton Towers confirmed that the ride was to be dismantled at the end of the 2008 season, to make room for the 2010 attraction Thirteen, then named Secret Weapon 6.[2] On 9 November 2008 the park held a special event in honour of the attraction in which the Corkscrew completed the final circuit of its 730 m track. The official date for the last day in regular service was 2 November 2008 - the last day of the season.

One of the coaster's cars were put up for sale on eBay. The car was sold on 15 December 2008 for £7,200 to which these funds went to good causes. Alton Towers retained the famous corkscrew inversions which were refurbished and placed as an artwork feature in the entrance plaza.

The opening title sequence used by The ITV Chart Show between January 1989 and November 1991 was created by digitally rotoscoping footage of the Corkscrew.[3] A photograph of the Corkscrew was used on the cover of the 1991 single Everybody in the Place by The Prodigy


  1. ^ Roller coaster database
  2. ^ BBC News - 'Iconic Ride to be Dismantled'
  3. ^ Amiga Computing magazine, November 1991 issue.

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