Thorpe Park unveils rollercoaster visuals

Thorpe Park Project Exodus rollercoaster

Thorpe Park has unveiled concept images depicting its proposed major new rollercoaster.

Standing at a maximum height of 236 feet (72 metres) above ground, the ride – codenamed Project Exodus – had its dedicated consultation website published on Friday.

In-person consultation events for local residents were held on Thursday, where the park confirmed its intention to build the UK’s tallest rollercoaster.

Artist impressions depict a ‘splash plaza’ viewing area overlooking the lake which was encircled by the former Loggers Leap ride.

A splashdown-type element where the rollercoaster track runs close to the water is also depicted, as are several track inversions.

Thorpe Park said that further detail on the design of the ride would be “provided through the planning process” and that the layout could change.

Visitor decline

The ride is widely expected to have a target opening date of March 2024, but this has not been confirmed by Thorpe Park.

The ride’s manufacturer has also not yet been confirmed, but planners said on Thursday that discussions with various rollercoaster builders were still ongoing.

A planning application is expected to be submitted to the local authorities in Spring next year, with construction earmarked to begin by late 2022.

Thorpe Park Project Exodus rollercoaster
A ride viewing area known as a ‘splash plaza’ would be created under the proposals

Thorpe Park said that visitor numbers “remain well below the peak levels” seen in 2010, where around 2.2 million admissions were recorded.

The consultation website depicts a decline in the number of guests since that time, ending the 2019 season at about 1.5 million guests, the lowest of Merlin Entertainment’s four UK theme parks.

Planners said that “without investment in new rides, visitor numbers will decline”, adding that admissions fluctuate year-on-year in any case.

Project Exodus would be the tallest British rollercoaster, beating the 213-foot (65-metre) aboveground record held by the Big One at Blackpool Pleasure Beach since 1994.

The Big One is marketed as being 235 feet high, but this is measured from sea level. By the same measure, the proposed Thorpe Park rollercoaster would be in the region of 300 feet.

Thorpe Park Project Exodus rollercoaster
An ‘overbanked’ track turn is depicted at the station’s exit

The initial consultation runs to 7 January next year, with an online presentation being made to the public on Monday.

Design outline

The existing lake around which Loggers Leap was based will be expanded slightly as part of the proposals.

The splash plaza would enable views across the lake and much of the ride’s layout.

With the rollercoaster’s first drop likely exceeding 200 feet, the first inversion could be one of the largest in the world.

Removal of Loggers Leap began earlier this year, although the ride had stood unused since 2015.