The Sky Ride at Alton Towers is expected to be closed for the rest of the 2009 season after a fire completely destroyed one of the ride's stations.
The gutted station is located in Cloud Cuckoo Land, close to the Rita rollercoaster. No-one was hurt in the incident, which took place after the park had closed for the day. Firefighters were called to the scene at 10:30pm and fought the flames for around four hours before bringing the fire under control. The park will open as normal tomorrow, and other rides should be largely unaffected.
The loss of the Sky Ride will be a blow to visitors, as traversing the park without it is notoriously time consuming. The gondolas of the ride carry guests over the Towers' famous gardens, saving significant walking time.
It is the second time the Sky Ride has been closed following a fire in under two years. The previous incident occured when the Main Drive station's roof was damaged in October 2007, causing less inconvenience as it occurred towards the end of the season.
Alton Towers has issued a statement on the incident, stating: "The station has been destroyed and the ride will therefore not reopen for the foreseeable future.
"There will be cosmetic alterations to the park tomorrow as certain areas will have to be fenced off during the fire service investigation into the cause of the fire.
"The park will be open as normal from 10am with some rides open for early ride time at 9am."
A spokesman for the local Fire and Rescue service said that CCTV footage and procedures for closing down the station will now be studied to ascertain the cause of the fire.