Black Hole (roller coaster)
|Closing date||5 March 2005|
|Replaced by||The Smiler|
|Type||Steel – Enclosed|
|Designer||Anton Schwarzkopf / Ingenieur Büro Stengel GmbH|
|Model||Jet Star 2|
|Track layout||Custom Twister|
|Lift/launch system||Electric spiral lift|
|Height||44.25 ft (13.49 m)|
|Drop||27 ft (8.2 m)|
|Length||1,919.25 ft (584.99 m)|
|Speed||32 mph (51 km/h)|
|Max vertical angle||33°|
|Capacity||900 riders per hour|
|Height restriction||42 in (107 cm)|
|Black Hole at RCDB
Pictures of Black Hole at RCDB
Black Hole was an enclosed steel roller coaster at Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England. It operated from 1984 until 2005. The coaster was located within a huge black tent (formerly green and yellow) that ensured the ride took place in total darkness. The coaster itself was a Jet Star II, designed by Anton Schwarzkopf. During the time that the ride operated, the park also operated an outdoor Jet Star II, the Beast.
The Black Hole was constructed in Fantasy Land for the 1984 season taking the place of the "Dinosaur Land" attraction which was then moved into storage. It was loosely themed around space exploration.
In 1985, a number of changes were made. Firstly, the bottom of the first drop was modified slightly to make the ride run more smoothly. An oil-based smoke machine was added, but it was found that this sped the ride up too much. As a result, it was changed to a water-based smoke machine. When the ride first opened, the ride was completely dark. However, lights were added to the lift section of the ride, so that riders were able to brace themselves for the first drop. For the 1988 season, the coaster was dismantled and transported to Europe, where it had an overhaul, which then allowed the ride to use dual car trains. The reconstructed coaster, complete with minor overhaul of the internal special effects, then operated briefly as "New Black Hole", and then from 1989 it operated as "Black Hole II" before reverting to the original name.
In 1998, the opening of Oblivion in the area brought about the redevelopment of Fantasy Land into X-Sector; the Black Hole was integrated into the new themed area with another refurbishment. The colour scheme of the original tent was changed from yellow and green to solid deep blue, with a new entrance in the style of X Sector. Inside, the ride retained its theme of space, but received a newly designed queueline and station with steampunk architecture. However, the ride became costly to maintain and out of date with the rest of the theme park, leading to its closure in 2005. The interior was left relatively untouched until the coaster track was dismantled and sold off in 2007. At the time of its closure, there were no plans on what to do with the now redundant area, so the building that once housed the ride was never removed.
During a one-off Q&A session held to celebrate the opening of Thirteen in 2010, it was confirmed by John Wardley and then-marketing director Morwenna Angove that preparation for a new rollercoaster in 2013 had already started; also that the Black Hole area was a potential site for redevelopment in the coming years. Planning applications proposing the construction of a new rollercoaster on the Black Hole site were submitted in early 2012 and approved by Staffordshire Moorlands council. The large tented dome was finally dismantled in April 2012 to make way for the The Smiler (then known as SW7), marking the end of its stay at the park after almost 28 years.
During the park's annual Halloween Scarefest event in October 2011, the Black Hole building was used to house two temporary scare maze attractions. This was the first time the structure had been put to public use since the attraction's closure in March 2005.