The Ultimate (roller coaster)

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The Ultimate
Lightwater Valley
Coordinates 54°10′26″N 1°34′07″W / 54.1739°N 1.5687°W / 54.1739; -1.5687Coordinates: 54°10′26″N 1°34′07″W / 54.1739°N 1.5687°W / 54.1739; -1.5687
Status Operating
Opening date 17 July 1991 (1991-07-17)
General statistics
Type Steel
Manufacturer British Rail
Designer Big Country Motioneering
Robert Staveley
Track layout Terrain
Lift/launch system Two chain lift hills
Height 107 ft (33 m)
Length 7,442 ft (2,268 m)
Speed 50 mph (80 km/h)
Inversions 0
Height restriction 51 in (130 cm)
Trains 2 trains with 10 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 40 riders per train.
The Ultimate at RCDB
Pictures of The Ultimate at RCDB

The Ultimate is a steel roller coaster at Lightwater Valley amusement park, near the small cathedral city of Ripon, in North Yorkshire, England. In 1991, it took the record of longest roller coaster in the world from The Beast at Kings Island. Following the opening of Steel Dragon 2000 in Japan, it became the second longest roller coaster in the world but still remained the longest in Europe.

History and design[edit]

"The Ultimate" represented an investment of £5.2 million and was the concept of the park's original owner, Robert Staveley. Construction work began in early 1990 and took eighteen months to complete before the opening to the public on 17 July 1991.

While "The Ultimate" was designed by Big Country Motioneering, they were not involved with the completion of the project. Lightwater Valley's owner got engineers from British Rail to oversee the construction. A few sections of track on the second half of the ride were redesigned to change their banking. The track was made by "Tubular Engineering".

Set within 44 acres (178,000 m2) of woodland, "The Ultimate" takes passengers on a 7 minute 34 second ride along 7,442 feet (2,268 m) of tubular steel track (an average of 11.2 mph (18.0 km/h)), with two lift hills of 102 and 107 feet (31 and 33 m) respectively (140 feet (43 m) when taking the full gradient into effect[clarification needed]) which rest on Canadian redwood trestles. It currently runs two trains on a normal day, each of which can hold a maximum of 38 passengers.


In June 1994, a deer from a nearby forest strayed onto the track and was hit in a collision with the train. A 12-year-old boy was taken to the hospital as a result of the accident.[1] In September 2014, another collision with a deer on the track occurred. No riders were injured, but the deer was killed instantly. Park officials stated that although the perimeter is fenced off, animals such as deer occasionally get in.[2]

The Ultimate in popular culture[edit]

  • The Ultimate was recreated as "The Storm" in the "Katie's World" scenario in the original RollerCoaster Tycoon PC game.


The Ultimate has two trains: a blue one and a red one. The two trains each have a name: Blue is Ron's Rocket and Red is Tony's Tornado. The trains consist of ten cars with two rows of two seats. The front car has one row so the train can carry a maximum of 38 riders. The front car has a small locomotive modelled on the front car instead of two extra seats.


  1. ^ "Thrills turn to terror on white-knuckle ride". The Northern Echo. Archived from the original on 16 July 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  2. ^ "Lightwater Valley Roller Coaster Accident Decapitates Deer As Riders Watch In Horror". The HuffingtonPost. Retrieved 30 August 2014. 
Preceded by
The Beast
World's Longest Roller Coaster
July 1991–1999
Succeeded by

External links[edit]