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Scenic Railway at Dreamland Rolls Again

On October 17, the oldest roller coaster in Great Britain returned to service for the first time in nine years. The newly revived Scenic Railway has been reconstructed faithfully to its traditional design, including new trains of three five-bench sleigh-style cars that run with an on-board brakeman.

Much drama has complicated and imperiled the coaster's existence, as well as the whole of Dreamland itself, over the last several years. In 2002, it was announced that Dreamland would be closed and removed in favor of a new seaside resort village of luxury apartments, shopping, and dining. The "Save Dreamland" campaign, headed by Nick Laister, succeeded in securing protected status for the Scenic Railway as an English Heritage structure, although much of Dreamland was closed off and dismantled in 2003. While the upscale village plans for Margate were scaled back, the 1920 wooden coaster continued to operate through 2006 even as Dreamland was vanishing around it. The ride did not reopen in 2007, then suffered a devastating fire in April 2008. Rather than sealing its demise, however, the preservationists persisted and eventually saw through to the coaster's reconstruction, along with a re-imagined Dreamland to go with it.

While Dreamland did reopen in time for attendees of ACEUK!2015 to visit the park in July, delays in construction held off the Scenic Railway's reopening until October.

* Lee Ann Draud
Publications Director
* Rus Ozana
ACE News Now Editor

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