Alton Towers has positioned SW8 signage at the site of the former Flume ride, describing a “ground-breaking new ride development”.
The SW prefix – standing for secret weapon – has been used by the Staffordshire theme park to describe its major rollercoasters since the Nemesis ride was built in 1994.
The style of the sign indicates that the new ride may feature pirate theme consistent with the Mutiny Bay area of the park to which the Flume loosely belonged.
The water-based Flume ride closed last season to make way for a new development, after operating at the park since 1981.
Park operator Merlin Entertainments typically installs major new rides in four-year cycles, with the next being due at Alton Towers in 2017, following 2013’s launch of The Smiler.
Existing planning query
In April last year, Alton Towers submitted a preliminary query with regards to permission requirements for a wooden ride, although the precise location of the proposed attraction was not disclosed.
It was understood to at least partially feature in the Forbidden Valley area of the park, and extend into adjacent woodland to an unknown distance.
The proposal was described as involving the removal of existing rides and structures, and “ground level changes”.
The furthest reaches of the former Flume ride lie less than 150 metres from the northern edges of the Forbidden Valley area.
Timeline of Alton Towers’ Secret Weapon projects
- SW1 – early 1990s – abandoned concept from Arrow Dynamics
- SW2 – early 1990s – abandoned concept from Arrow Dynamics
- SW3 – 1994 – Nemesis
- SW4 – 1998 – Oblivion
- SW5 – 2002 – Air
- SW6 – 2010 – Thirteen
- SW7 – 2013 – The Smiler