First Used - 1987
Last Used - 2008
Manufacturer - POMA
Number of Gondolas - 54
Capacity per Gondola - 12
Capacity per Hour - 6000
Internal Height: 2.5m
Gondola Diameter - 2.7m
Weight per Gondola - 1028kg
Gliding high above the tree tops float the
multicoloured gondolas of the iconic Skyride, freshly updated for
The Skyride is the perfect way to take a
little time out during a hectic day out at the park as it transports
you between Mutiny Bay, Forbidden Valley and Cloud Cuckoo Land. And
even better it allows you some stunning views across the park and as
it takes you 200ft over the Gardens set in an awe-inspiring valley at
the centre of the park.
The Skyride was
originally installed in 1987, though Alton Towers had Cable Cars many years prior to this. The
1960s system followed the same route as the Skyride but only travelled from Towers Street to the area where Forbidden Valley is today. The old system was quite limited, there was a maximum capacity of 4 people
per car, due to the gondolas & cable not being as strong as the one used today.
Due to the increasing popularity of the park and the fact a new area was planned (Forbidden Valley) it was decided that a more modernised cable car system was necessary for the park. The new gondolas were designed and manufactured by Poma. The Engineering was implemented by Sir Robert McAlpine. Not only did Alton choose to upgrade the system, the decision was made to extend the cable to
Fountain Square where a third station was put in place, which is conveniently located close to the Towers.
The new system consisted of
a fleet of much larger gondolas; each one able to carry up to twelve people at once
as well as wheelchairs and push chairs, making the ride much more
accessible. For many years the tinted brown gondolas were part of
one of the iconic skylines of the Towers as they floated serenely
over the gardens.
occasional wind based issues (due to the rides high altitude) the
Skyride operated largely without issue for almost twenty years.
However during the 2007 Scarefest a fire broke out in the Forbidden Valley station,
gutting the roof and damaging the workings of the ride. While the
damage was repairable, it meant the ride closing for a six month
period while work was carried out, eventually re-opening midway
though the 2008 season.
By this stage
the gondolas were showing their age, looking very much like the
throwback to the 1980s they were; in fact several had already been
decommissioned reducing the rides capacity. It was therefore
decided to replace the fleet for the 2009 season with the
multicoloured cars you see today.
After just a
few months of operation with its new gondolas, calamity struck the
Skyride on the night of July 21st 2009 as its second fire in less
than two years tore through the Cloud Cuckoo Land station entirely
gutting the building. Over the following closed season, the
station was redesigned and rebuilt ready to reopen for the 2010