Vampire (roller coaster)

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Vampire
Vampire Chessington.jpg
Vampire's second lift hill and drop.
Chessington World of Adventures
Park section Wild Woods
Coordinates 51°20′50″N 0°18′56″W / 51.347279°N 0.315607°W / 51.347279; -0.315607Coordinates: 51°20′50″N 0°18′56″W / 51.347279°N 0.315607°W / 51.347279; -0.315607
Status Operating
Opening date 11 April 1990
General statistics
Type Steel – Suspended
Manufacturer Arrow Dynamics
Designer John Wardley
Model Suspended
Lift/launch system Chain lift
Height 70 ft (21 m)
Length 2,200 ft (670 m)
Speed 45 mph (72 km/h)
Inversions 0
Capacity 1,200 riders per hour
G-force 4
Height restriction 43 in (109 cm)
Fastrack available
Handicapped/disabled access Wheelchair accessible
Vampire at RCDB
Pictures of Vampire at RCDB

Vampire (originally named The Vampire) is an Arrow suspended swinging roller coaster at Chessington World of Adventures Resort theme park in London, England. It opened in 1990 in the new Transylvania area, and in 2017 continued into the areas new theme of the Wild Woods.[1] The ride was designed by John Wardley.[2] During the 2001 season, Vampire was closed so that it could be modified to use new trains, and reopened in 2002. The ride has a gothic theme, and its station features strong theming, including an animatronic organist.[3]

History[edit]

The Vampire opened in 1990 in the new Transylvania area at Chessington World of Adventures Resort, with coaster layout designed by John Wardley.[2] The ride featured elaborate themed design, including a queueline through castle gates, a fog-filled underpass beneath the coaster track, a graveyard canopy and dark crypt passageway into the station. The station itself was dressed as a castle ballroom with torch chandeliers, Gothic murals by Rex Studios and a large pipe organ set piece. The famous theme music in the station was composed by Graham Smart in the style of an organ overture with hard rock embellishments, alluding to Phantom of the Opera. [4]

The station features a pneumatic animatronic character known as Marcel playing at a Gothic pipe organ. The animatronic was originally programmed in time to the musical soundtrack, appearing to play to the organ, however this has not been maintained for many years. In 2014 the graveyard canopy was demolished following years of little maintenance. The station chandeliers were also removed, due to the winch motors used to lower them for inspection being left to seize up. Little of the attraction's original show design and scenery now exists as how it was intended.

The rollercoaster originally had black bat-themed trains. The trains hang from the track, and swing freely as the roller coaster completes the course. It has two lift hills, featuring many dives and turns throughout. Towards the end, the ride has a sudden drop into a sharp banked curve through a tunnel before entering the brake run.

In 1998, the ride was partly refurbished with new branding, logo and name abbreviated to Vampire.

As the ride started to age, it suffered from a number of breakdowns and maintenance problems.[citation needed] The manufacturer, Arrow Dynamics, had gone bankrupt since the ride had been built, meaning little could be done to rectify these issues. The Vampire was closed for the 2001 season, and at the time this was thought to be permanent. However, instead of removal, the decision was taken to modify the ride so that it could use a new type of suspended coaster train.[3] The track was to remain unchanged because modifying this would require planning permission, which was unlikely to be granted. Since the ride consisted of the suspended swinging model, with tight corners, any new trains would also have to be able to swing (reducing lateral Gs). This led to the development of swinging suspended floorless coaster trains, manufactured by Vekoma, which are still in use today. The modified ride opened in 2002, under the same name as the previous incarnation.

From 2013 onwards the Vampire operated with two trains instead of the original three. This greatly reduced the capacity of the ride, and has drawn lots of criticism from all areas.

Gallery[edit]

Ride entrance 
Ride station, themed as an abbey, with an organ in the far back 
Animatronic organ player 
Riders in sitting position 
Helix after lift two 

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://www.chessington.com/explore/theme-park/attraction/17/vampire.aspx
  2. ^ a b "Vampire". T-Park. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  3. ^ a b "Transylvania". ThemeUk.com. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  4. ^ "John Wardley interview episode 103". Season Pass Podcast. 11/11/09. Retrieved 2016-08-19.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

External links[edit]