Almost 10 years on from the opening of The Swarm at Thorpe Park, the Resort now have plans to add what is set to be the UK’s tallest rollercoaster. Likely to open for the 2024 season, the flagship new ride will be located in the area that has historically been Old Town, principally replacing Logger’s Leap following its closure in 2015.

21st January 2023

The start of the new year saw on-site activity significantly pick up with it possible to get clear views of this from Monks Walk. The first step was of course the removal of the structures and attractions in the Old Town area that are not being retained as part of the development. Notably this included the demolition of the Logger’s Leap station, most recently used for Creek Freak Massacre at Fright Nights, as well as the dismantling of Rocky Express, with the Resort confirming that the attraction was being retired. The food kiosks in the area were also removed, along with a number of trees, which altogether opened-up the area significantly.

Still to be removed are the former station of Canada Creek Railway and the flume part of Logger’s Leap, including both lift hills and drops. Effectively only one building on the site is being retained, which will be utilised as the photo collection point / retail unit through which guests exit after riding Project Exodus. Sections of fencing along Monks Walk near the Logger’s Leap lift hill have been replaced for new, which lead to the former Canada Creek Railway maintenance building which is in the process of being cleared out. The train carriages, sleepers and track for the former railway are being stored further along the access road, presumably pending removal from the Resort – a sad sight to see.

26th March 2022

Opening weekend gave the first glimpse of the construction site for Project Exodus, with most of the former Old Town / Canada Creek area closed off behind large construction walls. At the time of writing, the planning application has been submitted to the local council and is pending consideration for approval. Until permission is granted, works cannot start on the site other than demolition of fixtures and fittings throughout the area. Peering through the construction fence reveals some new signage attached to the former Mill Grill building, humorously teasing the departure of the residents of the area. A vibrant new decal has been installed on the service gate next to Burger King – it remains to be seen if this is a teaser of the branding for Project Exodus.

14th March 2022 – Full Application

Following the completion of the public consultation, and confirmation that a full Environmental Impact Assessment would not be required for the development, the Resort submitted the full planning application for Project Exodus. The layout remained as per that which was put forward during the consultation phase, although the application documents did state that the rollercoaster will feature two inversions at heights of 43m and 50m, as well as another high point of 48m. Details contained in these latest documents also confirmed that the rollercoaster will have a maximum speed of 130km/h (80mph), and have c. 143 supports. Although it was stated that the ride will benefit from a bespoke theming concept, there were no specific theming elements shown in the plans. A rollercoaster train was shown on the plans for the station, confirming that it will have 10 rows, each seating two riders and so giving each train a capacity of 20 riders. The visual appearance of the train shown seemingly confirms that the ride will be manufactured by Mack Rides. The documents stated that construction is anticipated to commence in late 2022 and last an estimated 16 months, putting the ride on track for a 2024 opening.

December 2021 – EIA Screening Opinion

Shortly following the commencement of the public consultation, the Resort also submitted a request for a formal Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Opinion to the local authority. An applicant is only required to prepare a full EIA where the respective project is likely to have significant effects on the environment. The purpose of this submission was therefore to seek agreement with the Resort’s assessment that an EIA would not be required. Much of the detail included in the submission reflected what had been disclosed as part of the consultation process. However, there was some additional detail in respect of the lake infilling that this would be required for the purposes of construction and part or all of this infill was likely to be retained permanently to house footings for the new rollercoaster – a plan was provided to identify the likely maximum infill required. Zone of Theoretical Visibility modelling of the proposed rollercoaster was also included, along with specific clarification of the structures that would be demolished.

December 2021 – Consultation

In December 2021, the Resort commenced a four week public consultation on the proposed new rollercoaster, providing a first look at the prospective development. Concept images released show the ambitious scale of the attraction, which is set to reach a maximum height of 236 feet / 72 metres. The initial plans indicated that the station will be situated on the former Canada Creek Railway station building. The layout of the rollercoaster stretches either side of the lake, and features an outward banked curve out of the station, a steep lift hill, steeper first drop, overbanked turns, inversions, airtime hills, and a splashdown element. Although the Resort stated that they were still in discussions with multiple manufacturers, the style of track depicted and elements featured suggest Mack Rides, Gerstlauer or Intamin as likely choices.