Big One (roller coaster)

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Big One
The Big One ^ - - 1096.jpg
The Big One
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Coordinates 53°47′21″N 3°03′19″W / 53.78917°N 3.05528°W / 53.78917; -3.05528Coordinates: 53°47′21″N 3°03′19″W / 53.78917°N 3.05528°W / 53.78917; -3.05528
Status Operating
Opening date May 28, 1994 (1994-05-28)
Cost £12,000,000
General statistics
Type Steel
Manufacturer Arrow Dynamics
Designer Ron Toomer
Model Hyper Coaster
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 213 ft (65 m)
Drop 205 ft (62 m)
Length 5,497 ft (1,675 m)
Speed 74 mph (119 km/h)
Duration 3:00
Max vertical angle 65°
Capacity 1700 riders per hour
G-force 3.5
Height restriction 52 in (132 cm)
Trains 3 trains with 5 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 3 rows for a total of 30 riders per train.
Big One at RCDB
Pictures of Big One at RCDB

The Big One, formerly known as Pepsi Max Big One, is a steel roller coaster located at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in Blackpool, Lancashire in the United Kingdom.


The updated design of the trains on The Big One

The Big One was manufactured by Arrow Dynamics. Construction of the ride began in September 1993 and lasted just over seven months. The tubular track and supports were airlifted from Bolton to Blackpool and stored in nearby Blackpool Airport. During the start of the construction of the ride the south of Blackpool promenade was closed and pieces of the structure were stored on the road adjacent to the Pleasure Beach. The first pieces of the ride to be fitted were the large foundations that would follow on from the main supports. Once all the supports were fitted, the tubular track was fitted followed by additional supports on the turnaround and the mid course brake section. The ride opened to the public on 28 May 1994.


The ride is the second Megacoaster to be built by Arrow Dynamics, the first being Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point. At its highest point the ride reaches 235 feet (72 m) above sea level, but only stands 213 feet (65 m) above the ground with the first drop measuring 205 feet (62 m). These numbers were later confirmed by Ron Toomer of Arrow Dynamics.[1] The first drop has an incline angle of 65 degrees and the usual maximum speed for the ride is 74 miles per hour (119 km/h). The ride lasts approximately three minutes and during this time riders normally experience positive g-forces of up to 3.5g and negative g-forces of up to 0.5g. Blackpool Pleasure Beach advertises the ride as rising 235 feet (72 m), but that is above sea level and not the actual height of the ride.

The ride is capable of running three trains at any one time. Each train has five cars with six passengers to a car, enabling each train to carry thirty riders two-abreast in total. This gives Big One a capacity of 1800 people per hour. The colour scheme for each train is the same: a blue base with two coloured bands around the side and front (red and white) showing the union flag logo. Each train is numbered at the back of the fifth car, and each car is numbered according to the back of each section. During testing, sand bags are used to weigh the train down. This is a safety mechanism and is common practice on roller coasters of a certain height. Before the ride was granted a certificate to operate, Blackpool Pleasure Beach had to appeal to Blackpool Airport which is one mile from the park. Due to the ride's height, warning beacons had to be installed on the peaks of the first two hills, including the main drop, before the ride was given the all clear to operate.


When it opened on May 28, 1994, Big One was both the tallest and steepest roller coaster in the world.[2] It was also one of the longest out-and-back roller coasters, measuring 5,497 feet (1,675 m). With a 205-foot drop and 74 mph top speed, it was second only to Steel Phantom at Kennywood in speed, but it was the fastest coaster in Europe.[2][note 1] The Big One lost its height record to Fujiyama in 1996, though it remained the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Europe until 2002, when Silver Star opened at Europa-Park in Germany. The ride still remains the tallest in the United Kingdom, although Stealth in Thorpe Park is the fastest. It is also the second longest in the UK, losing only to Lightwater Valley's Ultimate.

Richard Rodriguez completed a 112-day endurance record on the roller coaster in 2012. This broke the world record for the most consecutive days on a rollercoaster. This attempt was only during operating hours (approximately 6 hours a day) as opposed to 24 hours a day. He also had his own row of seating assigned only for him during this.


In May 1994 during the ride's inaugural season, 26 people were injured when the computer system failed to completely stop a train returning to the station. The result of this brake failure was a collision with a train parked inside the ride's station.[3] Another train collision occurred in August 2000, caused by another computer failure and injuring sixteen.[3]


  1. ^ When Desperado opened three months later, Big One became the third fastest. Though not standing as tall as Big One, Steel Phantom and Desperado both had longer drops (225 feet) and therefore achieved greater speeds.


  1. ^ Hammond, Kip (1994). "Nevada Jackpot". RollerCoaster! Magazine. Chicago, Illinois: American Coaster Enthusiasts. 16 (1): 11–16. ISSN 0896-7261. 
  2. ^ a b Hammond, Kip (1994). "Nevada Jackpot: The Numbers Game". RollerCoaster! Magazine. 16 (1): 12. ISSN 0896-7261. 
  3. ^ a b Gray, Chris (2000-09-01). "20 hurt in crash on Blackpool rollercoaster". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2016-06-26. 

Roberts, J.M. (November 1, 1994). "The 'Pepsi Max Big One' rollercoaster - Blackpool Pleasure Beach". The Structural Engineer. Institution of Structural Engineers. 72 (21): 345–349. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Magnum XL-200
World's Tallest Complete Circuit Roller Coaster
May 1994–July 1996
Succeeded by