SW7 - Alton Towers - Vortex Tunnel

Alton Towers Could Be Going for Inversion Record with SW7

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.