Editorial: Merlin’s wood gamble worth taking

UploadMerlin Entertainments would appear to be finally taking the plunge and constructing a new wooden ride.

All signs in the plans for Alton Towers’ next major addition point to a wooden rollercoaster being the park’s next ‘Secret Weapon’ project.

After years of consideration (they have been potential options for new rides for more than a decade) one now seems destined to finally arrive.

We don’t yet know how big or long the ride will be, or will if it will be as spectacular as John Wardley’s cross valley epic proposed in 2003.

However we do know that for whatever reason, Nick Varney and other bosses at Merlin Entertainments seem to have finally come round to the idea.

Wardley has never given up on the idea of bringing a wooden rollercoaster to Alton Towers, disagreeing with Merlin over such a ride’s marketability.

And with good reason, as the evidence elsewhere – both in and outside the UK – is clear.

Advanced market research is not something that can effectively be used to gauge potential interest in such a ride.

One simply has to build and the people will come, and equally as importantly, come back.

If and when a wooden – or at least part wooden – rollercoaster comes to Staffordshire, Wardley may just happily be on the receiving end of a few apologies.