Roller Coaster (Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach)

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Roller Coaster
Gypb scenicrailway.jpg
Track layout of Roller Coaster
Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach
Coordinates 52°35′34″N 1°44′10″E / 52.5928°N 1.7361°E / 52.5928; 1.7361Coordinates: 52°35′34″N 1°44′10″E / 52.5928°N 1.7361°E / 52.5928; 1.7361
Status Operating
Opening date April 1932 (1932-04)
General statistics
Type Wood
Designer Erich Heidrich
Track layout Triple out and back
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height 70 ft (21 m)
Drop 51 ft (16 m)
Length 3,223.10 ft (982.40 m)
Speed 45 mph (72 km/h)
Inversions none
Duration 3:10
Max vertical angle 35°
Capacity 600 riders per hour
Roller Coaster at RCDB
Pictures of Roller Coaster at RCDB

Roller Coaster – also known as Scenic Railway or The Scenic – is a wooden roller coaster at Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, Great Yarmouth, UK. The ride was built at the park in 1932 and has remained operational. It stands and operates as the only remaining ride of its kind in the UK; and one of only eight in the world.[1] It is one of only two remaining roller coasters where a 'brakeman' is required to ride with the train, to control its speed as there are no brakes on the track. It is the second tallest and second fastest wooden roller coaster in the UK.[2][3] It is a Grade II listed building.[4]


In 1929 Pat Collins, the owner of Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, attended the Paris Colonial Exposition where the largest attraction was a scenic railway. The Scenic Railway had been designed by German Herr Erich Heidrich of Hamburg especially for the Exposition (Heidrich was a scenic railway designer, having the previous year designed and built Montaña Suiza at a Spanish amusement park), and was operated at the Exposition by showman Hugo Hans. At the close of the Exposition, Pat Collins bought the ride for the Pleasure Beach; and he along with Harry and Edward Wadbrook shipped the components to England. They arrived in February 1932 and a team of German workmen began constructing the ride on the sands of the Pleasure Beach site. The ride opened to visitors in April 1932.[5]

Like other scenic railways of the time; the Scenic was clad in mountainous-styled plaster which hung from the sides of the wooden structure. Other scenic features like castles were constructed around parts of the ride. The ride came with five trains, each of the cars of which were made entirely of wood. New trains were built in the early 1960s and these are still in operation today.

The ride was completely re-clad in the late 1960s; with steel sheet replacing the old plaster. The ride was painted in a mountainous landscape with rolling hills and valleys. The ride has been reclad during the down-season since 2002 and stands in its light blue with dark blue band and stars and red stipe.

The Ride[edit]

The ride's superstructure is entirely timber in construction, the timber being fir and pine; and is completely clad in painted sheets of steel. It measures around 460 ft in length and 100 ft in width. The highest point of the track is 70 ft above ground level. It has a long track length of 3,223.10 feet (982.40 meters)[6][7] - the second longest scenic in the world.[8] The actual track is wooden and the running rails are in a trough with walkways either side. The ride is often called a side-friction coaster, which is misleading as the train makes no contact with the side walls of the track; the running wheels are simply flanged like those of railway vehicles (hence the name scenic railway). The ride features two large drops, the first one of which is a 'headchopper' where the train dives under some of the support structure of the ride. There are also other large drops and a bunnyhop sequence which gives very good air-time both at the front and back of the train. In total there are nine drops. A typical ride time is 3:05, but can vary depending on the styles of the particular brakemen.

There are five trains to the ride; each train is made up of three cars, each of which has five 2 person bench-seats, allowing 30 riders per train. There are manual lap-bars and grab rails for each seat. The brakeman rides between the first and second cars.[9]


The ride continues to be the most popular attraction at the Pleasure Beach; its popularity largely due to its uniqueness.[10] The ride is an ACE Coaster Classic, along with the Scenic Railway at Luna Park, Melbourne, Australia; the only operational scenic railways to obtain this status. A copy of the ride was made by John Collins (Pat Collins' brother) in 1938 which ended up at John's amusement park in Barry Island in 1940. This ride survived until 1973 when it was severely damaged by gales.

Part of the music video for the 1982 single House of Fun by Madness was filmed at the Pleasure Beach with the band seen riding on the Roller Coaster.



  1. ^ "Side Friction Coasters". Archived from the original on 29 September 2010. Retrieved 14 September 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ The World's Fair; 70 Years on from the Beginning of an Era
  6. ^ Sent: Thu 8/06/09 7:17 AM Dear Jack With reference to your email, i can confirm that the track length is 982.4 meters as checked this morning with a wheel meter. i dont know where 1600 meters came from. Good luck with your research Regards John Caldon (operations manager )
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Ride Operators' Manual for Roller Coaster; Pleasure & Leisure Corp. PLC
  10. ^ Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach publications

External links[edit]