Scorpion Express

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Scorpion Express
ScorpionExpressLogoCWOA.png
CWOAScorpionRide.jpg
Chessington World of Adventures
Park section Mexicana
Coordinates 51°20′58″N 0°19′05″W / 51.349435°N 0.318012°W / 51.349435; -0.318012Coordinates: 51°20′58″N 0°19′05″W / 51.349435°N 0.318012°W / 51.349435; -0.318012
Status Operating
Opening date 7 June 1987 as Runaway Train
19 March 2014 as Scorpion Express
Cost £300,000 in 1987
General statistics
Type Steel – Powered
Manufacturer Mack Rides
Model Blauer Enzian
Height 4.7 m (15 ft)
Length 259 m (850 ft)
Speed 22.4 mph (36.0 km/h)
Inversions 0
Duration 105 seconds
Capacity 1,100 riders per hour
Height restriction 90 cm (2 ft 11 in)
Trains Single train with 10 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 40 riders per train.
Fastrack available
Handicapped/disabled access Wheelchair accessible
Scorpion Express at RCDB
Pictures of Scorpion Express at RCDB

Scorpion Express is a mine train themed roller coaster at Chessington World of Adventures in Greater London, England. It was originally the Runaway Train and opened with the original theme park in 1987. The ride was redesigned and reopened on 14 March 2014, with the same track layout but new name and theming. Scorpion Express is set in a small mining village, featuring an animated metalwork scorpion.

History[edit]

This Mack Blauer Enzian family coaster opened as the Runaway Train in 1987 and operated for over twenty five years.

Boiler feature in the queue

In 2013, the area surrounding the Runaway Train was boarded off with notices up saying that the ride would be "Re-launching in 2014". Over the closed season, the animatronic scorpion was installed after 208 hours of off site construction.[1] During this downtime, the ride had all its original cave design, landscaping and theming features removed, now placing the track completely in the open and the queue on flat ground.

The ride was complete on time to open for the park's Annual Passholder Preview Days when it soft-opened. The ride officially launched on Wednesday 19 March after having slight alterations and theming adjustments.

Advertising[edit]

During the resort's annual February Half-Term event - African Adventures - advertising for the ride was placed on large billboards at the zoo entrance and on the back of the gate maps. At the same time a mini site for the ride was launched on the parks website, which showed the concept art for the attraction among other details. During this time it was also announced that the ride would feature fire, water and smoke effects, as well as an animated scorpion.

Days after the ride's soft opening, adverts for the attraction were broadcast across British television. Several other media stunts including newspaper articles about the ride appeared at this time. None of the footage used in the Scorpion Express TV adverts was from the actual ride, instead shots of a bigger (but similarly themed) family coaster at Heide Park, and computer generated clips, were used to advertise the ride.[2]

Scorpion Express received mixed response since its launch in 2014, largely to do with its minimal theme featured compared to how the ride was originally designed. However it remained a popular family attraction as it had since opening in 1987.

Description[edit]

The ride's premise revolves around a town named "Scorpion Valley", which has supposedly been overrun with scorpions after an explosion caused the gold mine to collapse and all the residents fled the town, according to text and posters stuck up in the switchback queue line. The Town Governor has supposedly left behind a giant, mechanical steam-powered scorpion fashioned from scrap metal from the debris of the explosion, in an attempt to guard the gold from chancing looters.

Queue[edit]

Vinyl posters in the queue for Scorpion Express display the "ride backstory".

The new ride in Mexicana starts with a long winding queue. At the start of the queue, a radio station can be heard playing in the background, notices from the governor of Scorpion Valley are pinned up in the queue, which reveal the ride's backstory. Riders then enter and queue in a dark, mine-themed building where live scorpions feature. Upon exiting, riders go over a bridge, before arriving at the station.

Ride[edit]

The ride takes guests on a train journey through an abandoned mining town, across deserts and near to the mine itself. It features animatronic scenery, smoke, fire and water effects. The height minimum is 90 cm, while guests with a torso +51 inches are not able to ride. Riders under 110 cm must be accompanied by a person aged 16 or over.[3] The layout is a basic figure of 8 loop with a straight piece of track at the back and consists of several helixes, some of which go over and under the queue line, which itself snakes around the ride. The ride makes at least two laps of the circuit, and more on off peak days. An on-ride photo is taken immediately before the train returns to enter the station for the first time.

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]