Probably the greatest steel vertical drop roller coaster of all time, is the “Oblivion” at Alton Towers, in England. Not only the best vertical drop roller coaster but it was the first. I remember being in the line waiting for my turn and they play a weird videos on the screens of the The Lord of Darkness. He apparently lives in the underground burrow and tells you that the ride is perfectly safe. One of the videos shows his alter ego, the Lord of Light, who is shown warning riders that they might die, but the Lord of Darkness is also there with him maintaining that the ride is safe. Another video, shown at the cafe, is a mock news flash detailing how a ride car has gone missing. This fuels the rumors that cars have fallen into the pit and have never been recovered. The Lord of Darkness leaves the last video with mocking, booming laughter, just as riders board the ride. Before the ride shuttle leaves the station, another short clip shows him saying “For some things, there is no rational explanation. There is no way out. There is no happy ending to this story. Welcome to the unknown; welcome to eternal darkness, welcome to oblivion.” This is the time, where your heart starts beating through your chest and your veins build with adrenaline.
The design of the roller coaster is actually quite simple. It has a 150 foot drop at 88.8 degrees and as each car reaches the drop it is held by a drop chain for a few seconds. Leaving you hanging looking down into the black hole that wait beneath you. This is followed by a 190 banked turn that climbs up and makes the train lie on its side as it goes through. Then after dropping out of the turn, the train climbs over a small rise in the track to the brakes, slowing down, and then pulls around back to the station. The open design cars accommodate sixteen passengers in two rows of eight. The back row is slightly raised to give passengers a clear view of the drop. If you want to get the full height of the vertical drop then I do suggest you take the back row of seats on the train. A pre-recorded and disembodied voice saying ‘don’t look down’ is played before the release. “Oh No” Swoosh!
This has to be put down in my top 5 roller coasters of all time!
Current Coaster Name: Oblivion Current Park Name: Alton Towers Previous Ride Name(s): N/A Location: England Status: Operating Links: http://www.altontowers.com/ Cost: 12,000,000 Pounds Sterling
Type: Steel Diving Machine / Floorless Opened: 14th March 1998 Designer: Bolliger and Mabillard Features: 1 Underground Tunnel, Themed, Vertical Drop Height: 65 feet Max Drop:180 feet Max Speed: 68 Mph Length: 1234 Feet Acceleration: N/A Inversions: 0 Duration: 2.40 Trains: 7 Capacity: 1900 per hour