Alton Towers in Staffordshire, England is removing the Vekoma Corkscrew after 28 years of operation. It will close for good on November 9. 2008. Installed in 1980 along with five other attractions, it was the first roller coaster at the park, which at the time was changing from a leisure garden to an amusement park. The coaster has carried over 43.5 million riders, and has traveled over 820,000 miles to date.
Russell Barnes, Divisional Director for the Alton Towers Resort said: "The Corkscrew has played a key part in the heritage of the Alton Towers Resort, and I am sure millions of our guests will look back with fond memories of the first time they were inverted upside down twice within 3 seconds. We are extremely proud to have hosted Europe's first double helix roller coaster*, but it is now the right time to say goodbye to the attraction as we look forward to continuing to pioneer fantastic family entertainment of the future."
Alton's Corkscrew is a standard Vekoma Double Corkscrew with Bayern Curve. Vekoma built eight of these models, and although none are currently in the U.S. there are two in Canada--at La Ronde and Playland.
Alton Towers has seen a number of coasters come and go over the years. Fourteen coasters have been installed at the park over the last 28 seasons, some for just a few short years. With the removal of Corkscrew, the park will have six coasters, with a seventh very likely in the near future.
*Editor's note: This was not the first double helix roller coaster in Europe. Two of this same model coaster opened in Germany in 1979 at Holiday Park and Traumlandpark.