Alton Towers Could Be Going for Inversion Record with SW7

Roller Coaster News

Alton Towers has been busy teasing their “world beating” 2013 roller coaster with a teaser site. For now, it’s being referred to as SW7. It’s thought to be a Gerstlauer roller coaster and it could be similar to SAW – The Ride at Thorpe Park or Takabisha at Fuji-Q Highland. Unlike some of the more compact Gerstlauer’s here in the States (Dare Devil Dive, Mystery Mine, Untamed, etc), it’s thought to have a much larger layout and at least eight loops.

Here’s a fan-made No Limits animation of how the ride could look based on design plans that were found on the Web:

SW7’s Secret Weapon – A Vortex Tunnel

SW7 - Alton Towers - Vortex TunnelIf the ride turns out to be anything like the video above, it will be impressive enough. To add another layer of interest to this new coaster, ScreamScape reported a rumor about how the ride could set a new inversion record. Unless I’m mistaken, an obscure coaster called Journey to the Stars at Jingling Happy World in China will soon be the record holder when it opens with 11 inversions. I think it’s based on the 10-looping Intamin coasters like Colossos at Thorpe Park.

SW7’s layout shows 8 inversions, but an enclosed area at the beginning of the ride could hold the ride’s “secret weapon”. Much like the park did with Thirteen, the World’s first roller coaster with a horizontal drop track section, they may be looking to detach the track again. This time instead of dropping riders, they may invert riders a number of times.

My Take

I’m all about innovation of any type. While this element feels a bit gimmicky, it’d definitely be memorable.  And while it could be a first-of-its-kind feature, it won’t be the main draw of ride like Thirteen’s drop track was. Other than that drop section, there doesn’t look to be a whole lot to Thirteen (hence the disappointed reviews). But again, if the plans and that video are accurate then SW7 will be a complete roller coaster with an additional unique element.

Here’s a video illustrating how the vortex tunnel might work:

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of SW7’s potential secret element? Do you think that this looks like a fun element? Leave a comment below.

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.


  1. The USA has amazing coasters but I think it’s great that my local park can churn out world beating coasters with brand new exciting elements to challenge and astound the world. This is going to go well alongside oblivion and nemesis 🙂

    • Alton Towers is probably the park outside the US that I'd most like to visit. I think it's the way that their adaptation to a strict height limit has driven them to build unusual coasters that you can't really find anywhere else.

      • It is probably the most incredible park I've ever been to. I was just blown away by the size and beauty of it, not to mention the creativity of the coasters due to the constraints put on them.

        • I'm jealous. It's probably the park that I'd like visit the most outside of North America. Maybe in a few years I'll make it over there. Heck, maybe I could time it perfect and visit Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, and go to a Muse concert all in the same trip.

          I guess I better start saving up 🙂

  2. This look cool. I really like this ride and it sound like so much fun. I dont like A Vortex Tunnel because it feel like dizzy or throw up. They put too much upside down on A Vortex Tunnel.

  3. If this counts toward the inversion record then so should the spinning seats on X. 🙂

    Don't think this will be my cup of tea if true, but I can see it being a really effective surprise for most riders.

  4. I don't know, it seems like a roller coaster that pauses to turn into an uninteresting flat ride for several seconds.

    • This element alone wouldn't be such a big deal, but at least it's only a part of already pretty good looking ride. Again, if that fan-made video is accurate.

  5. SW7? If this vortex tunnel does come to light, I think a more apt name would be "Washing Machine: The Ride." Just add water effects.

  6. Looks like it will be a great coaster. Alton Towers has always made great theming decisions, so if they use the lay of the land as they always tend to do and add some other "artificial" elements to the theme, the experience will be Grade-A!

  7. Im disappointed in the look of this ride and if its as rough as Saw it will be rubbish. Alton Towers has sadly relied on gimmicks since the 1990s, when you actually look at their "big" ride list how many of them are that good:
    Nemesis – world class ride
    Oblivion – world first verticle drop, dissapointing ride
    Air – world first flying coaster, actually a good ride
    Rita – First launch coaster in GB(i think), dissapointing ride
    13 – World first element, dissapointing ride

    Most of the big rides rely too heavily on the gimmick section of their ride, i mean oblivion is just the verticle drop and then thats it, rita is just the launch and then its over and it says something when a ride built in 1994 is head and shoulders above anything else the park has. This doesnt look as bad as some of the others but instead of spending the money developing the new "washing machine" element why dont they just spend the money actually making a better ride?

  8. I understand visitors from overseas wanting to visit Alton Towers cause it is a really nice looking park and Nemesis is legend, but for my money Thorpe Park is and has been the best Theme Park in the Uk for Coaster fans for a long time now, just a shame about the crowds it attracts.

    However if Alton Towers decided to build a nice woodie I would retract all of these statements and go there every weekend! LOL

    • That's absolute madness to me (Alton is one of the best parks I've ever been to and I didn't think Thorpe stood out at all), but agreed on the woodie comment. With the woods and the terrain Alton could build one of the best wooden coasters in the world if they wanted. It seems that the noise issues with the neighbors will prevent that from ever being an option, though, sadly.

      • Speaking of woodies in the U.K., Joey from Theme Park Thoughts wrote a great post called: 3 Reasons Why the UK Hasn't Built a Wooden Coasters in Years for Geekly.

        • ""John Wardley’s efforts to get a wooden coaster at Alton Towers are well known. It’s rumoured he came up with several different plans that never went through. SW6, also known as the “cross-valley wooden coaster”, could have potentially had the longest drop of any wooden coaster in the world, thanks to the unique landscape at the park. It would have dived over 200ft into the valley and back up the other side. For a park that can’t build much higher than 5 metres in some areas due to strict building regulations in the countryside, that’s one heck of ride."

          I want to cry.

          • I know ive read about the planned wooden coaster at Alton Towers and keep re reading just to dream, if only ay. I agree Alton Towers as a park is really good but the coasters themselves I feel underwelm and my point about Thorpe being better was just in terms of coasters, if you compare what Thorpe has added since 2000 its not even comparable.

            2002 – Colossus
            2003 – Nemesis Inferno
            2006 – Stealth
            2009 – Saw
            2012 – The Swarm

            Apart from Nemesis which obviously there is no debate about I cant see another ride at Alton Towers which is better, I think Alton Towers recent additions and Thorpes are an indicator of the direction each park is going. but you know what they say about opinions.

            And yeah ive read that article was very good but also sad for a woodie fan like me

          • I was extremely disappointed by Colossus. It was a wonderful looking ride but I found it too rough to be pleasurable. The only rides I really liked at Thorpe were Nemesis Inferno and The Swarm, which were both awesome. Contrast that to Alton, where Nemesis was incredible, Air, Oblivion and Rita (hell even Thirteen) were a lot of fun, and then rides like Hex, Duel, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory were great as well. Maybe part of it is just coming as an American tourist; we've got plenty of places like Thorpe Park, but there is nothing like Alton Towers over here (Busch Gardens Williamsburg being the closest thing).

          • For me Alton Towers rides lack rediderablity Oblivion is decent the first time but after that its boring, Rita again is a nice thrill but stealth is better, Thirteen is a kids coaster. I feel the only two rides at Alton Towers which make me want to stand in the queue for an hour are Nemesis and Air, whereas at Thorpe you have Nemesis Inferno, Stealth, The Swarm and Saw.

            Maybe its just two perspectives cause its different if you go to a park compared with regular visits or maybe we just look for different things in our coasters.

  9. The ride looks great, that vortex thing I could do without.

  10. It would give the towers an advantage yes, but with all the nausea, they'll need a ton of garbage cans. I don't think they'll do it, more of just a haunted house vortex tunnel effect before lift 1

  11. The coaster looks amazing, although I have to agree that the "vortex" looks especially gimmicky. The technology behind a track rotating on its x-axis does look interesting though. I'd like to see better ways to incorporate it though.

    I could totally see a Gerstlauer coaster stopping at a high-altitude midcourse brake run (in the dark even?), then having a "vortex" track spin 1.5 or 2.5 times, leaving them inverted, and then exiting in a half-dive loop or some other similar element. In this sense it would be a nice suspenseful moment without completely killing the pacing of the ride like stopping to spin 3-6 times would.

    • Really loving this idea of entering the vortex right way up and leaving upside down – you will have to sell the idea to a coaster designer/builder.


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