Big Dipper (Blackpool Pleasure Beach)

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Big Dipper
Big Dipper (Pleasure Beach, Blackpool) 02.jpg
The Big Dipper
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Park section Star Beach Adventures
Coordinates 53°47′21″N 3°03′25″W / 53.78917°N 3.05694°W / 53.78917; -3.05694Coordinates: 53°47′21″N 3°03′25″W / 53.78917°N 3.05694°W / 53.78917; -3.05694
Status Operating
Opening date 23 August 1923
Cost £25,000 (1922)
General statistics
Type Wood – Out and back
Manufacturer William Strickler
Designer John A. Miller
Model Wooden Out and back coaster
Track layout Out and back
Lift/launch system Chain
Height 65 ft (20 m)
Drop 50 ft (15 m)
Length 3,300 ft (1,000 m)
Speed 40 mph (64 km/h)
Inversions 0
Duration 2:28
Max vertical angle 46°
G-force 3.7
Height restriction 46 in (117 cm)
Big Dipper at RCDB
Pictures of Big Dipper at RCDB

Big Dipper is a wooden out and back roller coaster at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Blackpool, England. The ride was first built in 1923 by John Miller but was extended in 1936 by Charlie Paige and Joe Emberton; adding arches over the south entrance of the park and additional drops.[1] The ride operates with two trains, each containing three four-bench cars, seating two people per bench.[1] The roller coaster is also referenced in the Jethro Tull song Big Dipper, from their 1976 album Too Old to Rock 'n' Roll: Too Young to Die!

The ride was designated as a Grade II listed building on 19 April 2017.[2]



On 13 February 2010, The Big Dipper returned after months of refurbishment resulting from the accident sustained in August 2009.[3] The iconic Big Dipper station received a £500,000 upgrade in time for the 2010 season. The refurbishment has been sympathetic to the original design of the ride station, which dates back to the 1930s. A new fountain has been added, the track was refurbished and the cars have been repainted dark blue with new panels fitted on the exterior using an arrow design.


On 11 August 2009, two trains carrying a total of 32 guests collided. 21 guests required treatment at a nearby hospital for injuries ranging from whiplash and broken noses, to cuts and bruises.[4]

On 5 June 2010, part of a train derailed. There were no injuries and the ride resumed operations a short time later.[5][6]


In August 1998, Richard Rodriguez set a world record by riding the Big Dipper for over 1000 hours. There is a plaque commemorating this event in the ride's station. Although he doubled this mark two years later to 2000 hours,[7] Guinness World Records nullified the achievements by altering the rules in 2007 and Rodriguez's new record was set on the Big One (roller coaster) and Big Dipper and stands at 405 hours 40 minutes.[8]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Big Dipper (RCDB)". RCDB. Archived from the original on 27 March 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2008. 
  2. ^ Historic England, "The Big Dipper (1436080)", National Heritage List for England, retrieved 21 April 2017 
  3. ^ "The Big Dipper". Blackpool: Pleasure Beach 6 March 2010. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  4. ^ Malvern, Jack (11 August 2009). "Big Dipper accident leaves thrill-seekers injured". London: Times Online. Retrieved 11 August 2009. 
  5. ^ "Reported incident on Big Dipper rollercoaster". Blackpool Aloud. 5 June 2010. Archived from the original on 20 July 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  6. ^ "Big Dipper derailed". CoasterForce. 5 June 2010. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "Record breaking teacher on a roll". BBC News. 7 September 2000. Retrieved 10 April 2008. 
  8. ^ "Longest marathon on a roller coaster". Guinness World Records. 1 August 2011. Retrieved 1 August 2011.