Oblivion was the world’s first vertical drop rollercoaster! Back in 1997 and early 1998, due to the intense secrecy surrounding the ride, it was near impossible to take construction photos of this project, code named Secret Weapon 4. However, in the years since the ride has been open more photos have emerged, all of which can be viewed below.
Construction walls surround the site in 1997. Peering through the fence for a closer look towards the part of the site which would eventually be the location of the brake run.
With construction progressing on site, the first photo provides a look down the Fantasy World hill towards the track installed for the brake run. The next image looks towards where the final bend will be – notice the freshly painted Blackhole – with the final image providing a closer look at the supports for the final bend that are already in place.
Here are some images taken early on in the tunnel’s construction – a sense of scale is provided by the people working in the tunnel!
The main way of moving things into and out of such an immense hole is using a container and crane. However, when digging down so deep there is a problem with water – not only does water usually sit just a few metres below ground level, drainage is also an issue following any rain. You can see the pipes and pumps used to extract this water. Workmen even had to use a boat to traverse the water which had collected inside the pit.
Scaffolding can be seen being constructed within the pit, in order to provide workers with access to the deep trench. Meanwhile, other workers are shown working on the sides of the pit.
The completed scaffolding can be seen on the left of these images. In these we can also see the arched supports that will form the shape of the tunnel at the base of the hole – the white digger gives a sense of scale in these! Higher up the excavated area are the steel supports that support the ground above the tunnel and prevent it from collapsing inwards.
Once the tunnel was complete, the track for the drop could start to be installed – it is pictured here being installed alongside the former arcade that would reopen as KFC/Pizza Hut during the following season. Around the same time, the supports for the lift hill also started going up.
Construction of the infrastructure for the ride and surrounding area was now also progressing, with the station rising tall from the building site, and a rare shot of the former Springfield Restaurant being transformed into the X-Cite Arcade.
Some images from mid December 1997 – with the station building, tunnel, brake run and lift hill all complete, work has begun on the final sections of track and the queue line structures.
Pictured here is one of the Oblivion shuttles under construction off-site. Staff had the opportunity to test out the train, and were given a sense of the ride experience by the shuttle being lifted up to a near vertical position whilst in the workshop.
This final image provides a look inside the station while still it was under construction, complete with train.