Pepsi Max the Big One
Specific Type: Hyper Coaster
After delighting thrillseekers for nearly a century in Blackpool, England, Blackpool Pleasure Beach decided to go for something big for the mid 1990s. The Pleasure Beach went all out in asking Arrow Dynamics to create for them a steel monster taller and larger than anything that the American-based ride manufacturer had ever attempted, or any coaster that had gone before for that matter. So a layout was developed to fit into the already densely-packed park, a £12,000,000 contract signed, and construction got underway on the dominating new titan in 1992. On May 28, 1994, Blackpool proudly unveiled their shiny new red and blue mega-monster named, appropriately, the Pepsi Max Big One. Topping off at over twenty-one stories in height, the hypercoaster dominates over a windswept, seafront plot of land spanning two sides of the Pleasure Beach's 42-acre site, boasting eight hills, five major twisting variations to the Camelback, and 5,497 feet in all of sleek steel track. The coaster's 74-mile per hour velocity is enhanced as thrillseekers are swept through Big One's extended L-shaped course while weaving under other sections of track, below support structures, and around and through other attractions all while pulling up to 3.5 g's of force, making for an unforgettable rampage through the park during the two-minute, twenty-five-second experience.
Two accidents occurred during the Big One’s lifespan. In its opening year, 26 people were injured when the computer system failed to engage the brakes to stop a train returning to the station. This caused the train to collide with that was loading passengers. The injuries were minor, but the incident was publicized widely by the media. The other incident happened in 2001, and basically the same thing happened. This time, however, 14 people were injured and two were actually hospitalized for a serious leg fracture and spinal and rib injuries. Four of the riders were trapped in the car for a while, until firefighters freed them later. This accident was also heavily publicized by the media.
Big One's train is loaded to its thirty-rider capacity, lapbars secured, and the ride is off, starting out with a U-turn around to the right, then venturing breifly into a metallic tunnel leading to the chain lift. The train starts up the incline and is cranked higher and higher above Blackpool, not ceasing until the top 213-foot high crest is reached. Off directly ahead is the Irish Sea, down just below is Ocean Boulevard, and the mega-sized twisting drop comes into view as well as riders start down. The clicking stops, and the plunge begins, sending the train and its contents down a twisting 205 feet then pulling out of the sixty-five-degree dive parellel to the street. Pepsi Max Big One starts up a 45-degree second climb in an anti-parabolic hill topping off at nearly 170 feet sending the train curving to the right on the way back down. Passengers are sent up again, veering rightwards and then banking to the left in the Big One's far turnaround. The red rails head to the right again as the ride exits the U-turn, crossing beneath overhead track on the way down and then aiming back up. Veering slightly to the left, the train mounts the top of the fourth hill and careens down over top of Blackpool's Log Flume, pulling out to start up another hump leading under the lift structure. Riders are carried over a sixth hill diving 90 degrees to the left and under the wooden Roller Coaster on the way down before hopping up into a run of block brakes. Down and around a helix to the left, crossing back under Roller Coaster and through a brief tunnel, Pepsi Max Big One concludes and leaps onto the final brake run, one last U-turn to the left and into the station wrapping things up.
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