Roller Coaster is located at Pleasure Beach Great Yarmouth. This classic ride built in 1932 is amongst the oldest roller coasters still operating in the UK and is designated as a Grade II listed building.
Roller Coaster at Pleasure Beach Great Yarmouth
The ride features two large drops, the first one is a real ‘headchopper‘ with the train diving under the support structure of the ride. As well as additional drops, the ride has a nice bunnyhop sequence which gives very good air-time both at the front and back of the train. The ride duration is approximately 3-minutes 20-seconds but this can fluctuate as it is determined by the onboard brakeman and how frequently the brakes are applied.
Roller Coaster Statistics
Top Speed – 72km/h 45mph
Cost – £unknown
Length – 3223ft 982m
Height – 70ft 21m
Manufacturer – Erich Heidrich
Type – Wooden
Lift/Launch – Chain Lift
Inversions – 0
G-Force – Unknown
Trains – Unknown
Passengers per Train – 30
Ride Duration – 3m 20s
Theme Park – Pleasure Beach Great Yarmouth
Year Opened – 1932
The majority of roller coasters do not have any form of braking on the train itself and use sophisticated computer systems to control the brake runs which determine the ride’s speed. Scenic Railway models, which the Roller Coaster is are one notable exception, relying on an operator. The operator, referred to as the brakeman sits in the middle of the roller coaster train and uses a large brake lever to control the trains speed. It is hard to provide an accurate ride time for the ‘Roller Coaster’ as the duration varies depending on how frequently the brakeman applies the brakes. Click Here to learn more about the different braking systems found on roller coasters.
Madness – House of Fun
In 1982 the band Madness filmed part of their video for “House of Fun” on the roller coaster at Pleasure Beach Great Yarmouth.
Grade II Listed Building
The Roller Coaster at Pleasure Beach Great Yarmouth is Grade II listed. There are a number of reasons why it has achieved this status with some of the key facts being:
* The rides age and rarity *
The ride is the second oldest of only two surviving scenic railway type roller coasters in Britain, after the Scenic Railway at Dreamland Margate.
* Historic interest *
Roller Coaster is the major surviving ride from Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach, one of the earliest seaside amusement parks in Britain and one of only two early seaside amusement parks to have remained open continuously, the 2nd being Blackpool Pleasure Beach).
* Architectural interest *
Although the alpine scenery has been lost and much of the timber has been renewed through maintenance (and will continue to be), the Roller Coaster retains its original configuration, and the rider experience is almost identical to when the ride first opened. It is also an important element of Great Yarmouth’s seaside history.
The Scenic Railway
Pat Collins, the owner of Pleasure Beach Great Yarmouth attended the Paris Colonial Exposition in 1929. A Scenic Railway designed by German Herr Erich Heidrich of Hamburg especially for the Exposition caught his eye. A Scenic Railway being a type of roller coaster that was usually clad with scenery fashioned in plaster, to give the rider the impression of riding through a picturesque landscape. Heidrich was a scenic railway designer, having designed and built Montaña Suiza at a Spanish amusement park a year earlier. When the Exposition closed, Pat Collins bought the ride for the Pleasure Beach in Great Yarmouth and shipped the components to England. On arrival in the UK, a team of German workmen constructed the ride on the sands of the Pleasure Beach site and it opened to the public in 1932.
In a similar manner to other Scenic Railways at the time, the ride was clad in mountainous-styled plaster which hung from the sides of the wooden structure. Other scenic features were added such as castles and a windmill. In more recent times, the ride has been completely re-clad with steel sheet replacing the old plaster and is now painted light blue with stars and stripes.
History of the Roller Coaster
Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach was established in 1909 and included a Scenic Railway which was there on a lease, a common arrangement at the time. The ride was destroyed by fire in 1919 but was soon rebuilt. In 1928 when the lease expired, it was dismantled and moved to Aberdeen.
The present Scenic Railway opened in April 1932 and became Pleasure Beach’s main attraction. Another fire in 1935 necessitated the rebuilding of the structure and in the 1970s the south end of the roller coaster collapsed and was rebuilt. The original rendered cladding from which the alpine scenes were fashioned also perished in the fire and were replaced by sheet steel panelling in the late 1970s which was painted with mountain scenes. It has since been repainted in the American-style colour scheme seen today.
The Scenic Railway Roller Coaster remains in much the same configuration as the original 1930s structure but there is a rolling programme of maintenance and timber replacement. In June 2016 it was estimated that around 85% of the timbers had been replaced over the years, and the timber posts to the safety railings were undergoing a programme to sheathe them in fibreglass to protect them from the weather.
The Roller Coaster Collapses
On April 1st 1973 gale storm winds hit Great Yarmouth, they were the strongest winds to hit the East Anglian coast for many years and the Scenic Railway came off worst with part of the southern turnarounds collapsing in the wind. After the extent of the damage had been determined, keen to get the ride back in operation, the site was cleared of splintered timber over the following week. The structure was repaired and the missing parts were replaced as close to the original as possible by the Pleasure Beach’s own team of maintenance staff and gangs of carpenters. On May 24th, the first test ride was run with trains full of workmen testing out their construction. Arthur Goodwin, company secretary, said “Everything is running well for the Holiday. It’s incredible that it has been put right in just five weeks. I shudder to think what it will cost, but it will be an awful lot as we had no time to shop around.”
UK Roller Coaster Rides
If you enjoyed reading about the Roller Coaster at Pleasure Beach Great Yarmouth, you may also be interested in these other Roller Coasters located at Theme Parks across the UK.
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