Rita (roller coaster)

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Rita (Alton Towers).JPG
As Rita: (2010-present)
Alton Towers
Park section Dark Forest
Coordinates 52°59′06″N 1°53′26″W / 52.985022°N 1.890515°W / 52.985022; -1.890515Coordinates: 52°59′06″N 1°53′26″W / 52.985022°N 1.890515°W / 52.985022; -1.890515
Status Operating
Opening date 1 April 2005
Cost £8,000,000
General statistics
Type Steel – Launched
Manufacturer Intamin
Designer Werner Stengel
Model Accelerator Coaster
Track layout Steel twister
Lift/launch system Hydraulic Launch
Height 60 ft (18 m)
Drop 52 ft (16 m)
Length 2,099.8 ft (640.0 m)
Speed 60 mph (97 km/h)
Inversions 0
Duration 0:49
Max vertical angle 53°
Capacity 1,040 riders per hour
Acceleration 0 − 60 mph in 2.5 seconds
10.92 ms−2 or 1.11 g
G-force 4.7
Height restriction 55 in (140 cm)
Rita at RCDB
Pictures of Rita at RCDB

Rita (formerly known as Rita: Queen of Speed) is an Intamin accelerator coaster located in the Dark Forest area of Alton Towers in Staffordshire Moorlands, England. Open since 2005, it accelerates to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds. The ride is loosely based on drag racing, though this partly changed with the retheming of "Ug Land" into the "Dark Forest" in 2010. It now stands as an abandoned drag racer that is used as the escape cart to escape the Dark Forest. Riders must be over 1.4 m (55 in) tall to ride. In 2006 a similar coaster opened at Thorpe Park, called Stealth.

The ride was temporarily renamed "Camilla - Queen of Speed" on 9 April 2005 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Charles to Camilla Parker Bowles. This simply involved banner signage to notify guests of the name change.[1]

Ride experience[edit]

Rita was Alton Towers' new attraction for the 2005 season. The ride starts with the train racing forward from the station area, accelerating from 0 - 60 mp/h in 2.5 seconds, and negotiates high speed corners and air-time hills (The layout is a figure-of-8) before then reaching the brake run parallel with the station. The track is painted red but the higher parts of the track are painted green due to a rule which states that no rollercoaster should be visible above the tree line. The ride has since been partly rethemed to support the theme of nearby Thirteen which opened in March 2010. The ride control cabin and entrance have been refurbished to look 'engulfed' by the branches of the Dark Forest area. As well as the control cabin and Rita tyres being rethemed to suit the Dark Forest, the cars have been rethemed with a darker grey tint to the bottom of the cars with forest stains over the flames to make it fit. It still has the blue and purple cars with flames but with a tint of grey to make Rita look damaged by the supernatural forest.

The voiceover heard before the ride launches is also changed to incorporate a more spooky theme. As opposed to an American-accented motor racing commentary-style voice counting down to the start of a drag race, it is now a sinister, foreboding voice ordering passengers to "Keep your head back! Hold on tight! You MUST escape! Go! Go! Go!".


In September 2004 UG Land was stripped of almost all of its attractions including The UG Bugs, The Bone Shaker and Lava Lump preparing for a major new ride. The only rides that remained were the Corkscrew and the UG Swinger.

On 1 April 2005 Rita Queen of Speed opened to the public and 'UG Land and the Thunder Rock Rally' was formed, incorporating the new ride, Corkscrew, and a number of other rides which would be removed in the following years.

In September 2008, Alton Towers took the decision to close the Corkscrew after 28 years of operation. Its final run came on 9 November 2008. Along with the departure of the Corkscrew, the UG Land theme followed in preparation for the new developments. In 2009, Alton Towers planned and built a new record breaking roller coaster on the Corkscrew's site and in 2010 the ride opened as Th13teen. With this ride came a substantial retheme of the area to the Dark Forest. In keeping with this, the Queen of Speed suffix was dropped from the ride's name, and Rita (as it is now simply known) received a retheme, with a redecorated entrance, queue line, station, control room and cars.


On the morning of Tuesday 24 July 2012, the ride's launch cable snapped during morning testing while attached to an empty train. This also happened in 2005. No injuries were reported, but the incident was similar to the 2009 failure of the Xcelerator rollercoaster's launch cable in the United States.

The ride re-opened on Thursday 26 July 2012.


External links[edit]