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Images: Plans unveiled for Alton Towers' new SW7 roller coaster for 2013

SW7 mock-up

Alton Towers has submitted a planning application for its world's-first SW7 roller coaster, which is set to feature a huge number of inversions in its compact circuit.

The plans, submitted to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, include a number of drawings of the new coaster. The ride's long-rumoured location on the site of the closed Black Hole attraction is confirmed, along with the target opening date of spring 2013.

The new coaster is set to be the most expensive attraction ever installed by Alton Towers, with its rumored £20 million budget topping the £15 million spent on installing Thirteen in 2010. The plans appear to confirm that it will be manufactured by Gerstlauer, who also constructed SAW - The Ride at sister park Thorpe Park.

A full breakdown of the plans for Alton Towers' new roller coaster for 2013 is given below, along with a number of images from the planning documents.

Location

SW7 will be located in the futuristically-themed X-Sector area of Alton Towers, close to the existing Oblivion vertical-drop roller coaster. It will replace the vacant tent-style building that housed the Black Hole coaster prior to its closure in 2005, which has sat empty for a number of years (although it was used to house The Boiler House horror maze at the Scarefest 2011 Halloween events).

SW7 plan

SW7 will be packed into a relatively compact site.
Image © Alton Towers

The attraction will cover a total area of around 1.5 acres, a relatively a small area for a major coaster. It will not replace any of the existing rides in X-Sector, with both Submission and Enterprise set to remain in place.

Ride type and manufacturer

The noise assessment in the planning application (which aims to reassure the authorities that the new ride will not disturb nearby residents) uses Thorpe Park's SAW - The Ride as a reference point. It states the SW7 will be of "the same type and manufacturer", providing near-confirmation that the new coaster will be a Gestlauer Euro-Fighter model. The drawings of the ride also bear a strong resemblance to existing Euro-Fighter coasters.

SW7 view from distance

SW7's compact curves are consistent with a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter coaster.
Image © Alton Towers

The coaster will be constructed using steel track, and will feature a compact layout that is consistent with other Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter deployments. Several other coaster types, such as Maurer Söhne's X-Car, might also be able to fit into a small footprint, but the statement in the noise assessment would appear to rule these out.

Ride layout

SW7 side view

SW7's side profile shows a large number of inversions.
Image © Alton Towers

Reaching a maximum height of 22.15 metres (73 feet) above ground level, Alton Towers' new coaster will also dip below ground level at some points in order to gain extra height. It will feature a custom layout that appears to include at least 8 inversions, along with two lift sections (one of which is vertical).

It is not yet clear whether the ride will feature a launched section, although these have been included in existing Euro-Fighter coasters. The inversions appear to include a "cobra" roll and a "sea serpent" roll.

SW7 mockup

A mocked-up image of SW7 - the red sections will be invisible from this view.
Image © Alton Towers

While much of the ride will take place outside, an indoor section housed in its 872 square meter station building could feature additional elements.

"World's first" element

Alton Towers has previously claimed that its new coaster will be the "only one of its kind in the world". It is not clear from the plans what elements might contribute to this claimed status, although speculation has begun among fans.

SW7 front and back view

Will SW7's vertical section feature a world's first?
Image © Alton Towers

The majority of interest has focused on the ride's vertical section, with some suggesting that this could feature a vertical launch (providing a neat counterpoint to Oblivion's vertical drop). However, others have suggested that curves prior to the vertical section are too tight to support a vertical launch, and that a launch from the vertical section itself may not be practical.

Theming

SW7 theming colours

SW7 will utilise a "muted" colour palette.

SW7's theme is expected to be consistent with the surrounding X-Sector area, although Alton Towers has promised to submit detailed plans at a later date. The existing proposals do include some details of the styling of the attraction and its surroundings, confirming that the ride will be painted "black-grey" as shown in the image above. An "aged" look will be applied to the ride's station and queue line fencing.

SW7 theming features

A major theming element will sit at the heart of SW7.
Image © Alton Towers

The plans refer to a major theming element sitting at the heart of the ride, although little detail is given beyond the 15x15x15 metre dimensions and the fact that it is "not a building". The coaster itself appears to interact with theming element on at least 3 occasions.

SW7 plan

Theming feature "B" also lies on SW7's circuit.
Image © Alton Towers

Two other smaller theming elements with be located around the ride's circuit, although again the plans do not describe these in detail. The ride's station will also house some theming elements, with a maximum height of 11.3 metres. A shop and ride photo outlet will complete the experience.

Construction and opening date

Alton Towers is targeting a March 2013 opening date for its new roller coaster, which is likely to necessitate the start of construction during the second half of 2012. This will commence with the removal of the Black Hole tent and the laying of foundations for the ride's footers. The park is likely to be targeting the first of its 2013 season (expected to be March 23) as an opening date for SW7.

Black Hole front and back views

Before...
Image © Alton Towers

SW7 front and back view

...after.
Image © Alton Towers

The existing Oblivion roller coaster is likely to provide a good view of the construction site, particularly when its trains pause at the top of its vertical drop - which directly faces the proposed site of the new coaster.

What do you think of the plans?

What's your reaction to the plans for Alton Towers' new coaster for 2013? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

You can see more drawings of Alton Towers' new coaster for 2013 in our SW7 plans gallery.

You can keep up to date with the latest confirmed and rumored opening dates for new attractions through Theme Park Tourist's "New Attraction Watch" section, and by signing up for our weekly newsletter.

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There are 32 comments.

im interested in that thing going rowned the cobra role that cood be a worlds erst eement

There are rumours that the cobra roll might be included in the elevation of the ride because as far as I am concerned there are no roller coasters that have an inversion while it is being elevated into the air

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There are rumours that the cobra roll might be included in the elevation of the ride because as far as I am concerned there are no roller coasters that have an inversion while it is being elevated into the air

this sounds like another ride similar to that of florida, rock it!!! therefore not the worlds first of its kind!!

If you're refering to Hollywood Rip Ride Rocket, then you seriously no NOTHING about rollercoasters.
Firstly the Florida ride has NO inversions or any verticle track!

I went on holiwood rip ride rocket last year and it has a verticle lift hill

WOOW IT LOOKS SO FUN!!!!!!!!!!!

Hollywood rip ride rocket has a vertical chain lift and sone inversions idiot

Yeah the worlds first bit hasn't been released yet brainiac! It's not the make of roller coaster there will be a section in it for example the drop in th13teen.

Hmm... all I can think about is the swarm at thorpe! It feels similar! No way is this like Florida, even if it does have a vertical lift hill thats not the world first because SAW the ride has one too so do some european coasters. I rekon this is gonna be emmence! Sub Terra had bad reveiws and Th13rteen was a huge let down and what they both needed was inversions! As I said to one if the Alton Towers staff after my first 13 ride - It needs to go upside down for thrills! They must be taking the publics ideas onboard so hopefully this will takeover as best ride from nemesis! But do somthing about queueing times because Th13rteen and Sub Terra and Rita all have HUGE queue lines and they seem to have the longest queue time.

Looks AMAZING!!!!!

And for those who say there's one like it some where else so it's not world first, they haven't revealed the worlds first section yet, it's kept secret till construction so that other theme parks can't steal it and strat construction before Alton towers

Looks AMAZING!!!!!

And for those who say there's one like it some where else so it's not world first, they haven't revealed the worlds first section yet, it's kept secret till construction so that other theme parks can't steal it and strat construction before Alton towers

having been working closley with the german faction of the new coaster conception i can confirm there will be no surpises around any cobra rolls but most of the ground breaking elements will most likley be around the vertical loops!at present alot of effort is being put into ensuring the rider is given an experience like never before the theming if it is approved will completley immersive taking some parts of the ride into a 4th dimension this truley will be an asset to alton towers and give thorpe park a run for its money as of late it has become the leading part of the tussauds group...

Hi My Names Mark i was just at the Alton Towers Resort the weekend just past and i seen that there was an advertisment for the SW7 i think this is amazing how they are bringing out new rides every year or so i think it puts the excitement into coming back to the Park and trying them out but also coming back to enjoy Rita,Oblivion,Nemisis & Thirteen, but i wouldnt go back on Nemisis Sub Tera because that only happens once its not the same as all the other rides where you can go on them as many times as you want and feel like they were worth it but Sub Tera would be a let down you can go on once and thats it its not the same twice . I like alton towers alot but i think the rides need to become longer and more worth the wait there needs to be a ride thats got a good scare that makes your heart go something that has got a massive scare everyone i have spoke to about alton towers has said there needs to be something scary and worth the wait i think that will put the parks customers up to because more people want to come and get that thrill and they would tell friends and family.

Your right about sub-terror but everytime I go back to Alton Towers I can't wait for the scare of looking down the oblivion drop or racing round on nemisis

What Alton Towers really needs is a hyper coaster.
Inversions are all well and good, but Alton Towers always has ride footprint issues, meaning they miss the chance to have a truly world class coaster.
Rita - too short, Oblivion - too short.
It's a shame the talked about Intamin wooden coaster through the valley a few years ago never happened.
A B & M hyper coaster similar to Nitro (Six Flags Great Adventure) or Apollo's Chariot (Busch Gardens), Diamondback (Kings Dominion) would be absolutely amazing at Alton Towers, but unfortunately I don't think they will ever build anything on that scale. Check them out on youtube if you're unfamiliar with them.

ALton towers will never get planing permition for a hyper coaster as they are not aloud to go above the tree line. saying that, if you dig a big enough hole...

Undeniably believe that which you said. Your
favorite reason seemed to be on the net the easiest thing to be
aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people think about worries that they plainly
don't know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects ,
people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more.
Thanks

They will never have an "american style" coaster because of all the restrictions on the park from staffs moorland council to keep the Locals happy, they have heights and noise restrictions so they can only do so much! They should pay everyone to move out of alton and go mental expanding the park! ahaha, the new ride looks amazing btw :D

Okay the plans look good
Just went yesterday and saw the site but still can't see much
I think alton towers are sorta under pressure due to the flops of th13teen and the new nemesis sub terra which aren't really for AJ's also its gonna have to reflect the sheer awesome of oblivion its neighbour

We are a bunch of volunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.
Your web site provided us with valuable info to work on. You've performed an impressive activity andd our whole group will probahly be thankful to
you.

i know whats going to happen having working for alton towers itself and your all in for a BIG supprise as we know that Th13teen and Sub terra was a let down which was a supprise to us but we are a family based theme park providing for the whole family and Th13teen does just that.

SW7

YOUR GONNA LOVE IT IT HAS A.........

Can you guess

i reckon alton towers should do a stand up roller coaster! would be much more of a thrill and something that would make A.T a hit with adrenaline junkies (like myself) :)

Totally agree a stand up coaster would be awesome!

Hi im anthony and im a 13 year old DJ. alton towers is amazing but my brother works there and he helping to build sw7. he told me that the drop in 13 will be included and the holding brake from oblivien will be there to. there will be no corkscrews but there will be a 50ft drop from 13. its going to be fast so its not for the faint harted and also 1 loop.

hope you like it and have fun when you go on alton towers sw7

p.s its going to be better then saw at thorpe park!

No offence but from the plans there is NO section anywhere of any drop like thirteens. For that there would be a gap in the tracks, a brake holding section and then a long piece of launch section after it, there's none of that. As the official plans state if you read through the whole doc PDF that was given to Staffordshire moorland council it's a euro fighter similar to Saw the ride, it will include a 45 degree lift and a 90 degree lift it launch. It does not know have a worlds first Ellement but instead it's a worlds first BEATEN Ellement. The theming in the middle seems to be a massive part of the IDE which the cars pass through 3 times. The cars are also timed to duel too. Stop with the rumours keep to the facts.

If any of you had a clue about what you on about the diagrams clearly.show the lay out of the new.coaster, and you can figure out for yourselfs whats involved

Another steel coaster at Alton. Nothing new really. What would be good, how about a woodie running down through the valley under the cable car. Something like Megaphobia at Alton would really be worth a visit. Lets have a real coaster for once !!!

hey, back in 2005 there was plans to do a cross valley woodie, plans are around online and such it would be a world class rollercoaster! but due to trees having to be cut down, it was rejected but alton towers will revisit this in the ten year plan :)

I love Alton Towers and I don't think there is anything wrong with it, it's AWESOME especially OBLIVION!!!!!!!!