In 2004 preparation began for an exciting new project, with rumours from a booster bike to a wooden coaster, but in April 2005 Rita opened as Europe’s first Intamin rocket coaster.

Clearing work has begun to make way for the new coaster, with Ug-Land closed off to the public and looking extremely barren. Heavy machinery has been brought in to help with the clearance and the rides are beginning to be dismantled to clear space.

Clearance work is now well underway – both the Ug-Bugs and Ug-Swinger have been removed, with the old site of the former now reduced to merely a kiosk. More items have started to arrive by the wall. Also there is a new sign stating “LAUNCH COASTER SITE ENTRANCE”.

A sign has appeared, suggesting that the RITA name would be staying. Over at the construction site, the space by the wall is now packed with construction materials. Ug Land itself has been completely fenced off to the public, with heavy machinery on-site undertaking excavations.

What was Ug Land is now simply a blank canvas, ready for RITA, with a large clearing easily seen from the Skyride. Work is underway on the footers for the coaster’s station and launch track, along with the foundations for the building that will house the hydraulic launch mechanism.

Footers continue to be installed around the site, with these indicating that the ride will run right alongside Corkscrew. In the centre of the site, the Ug-Land arcade still stands, although theming has been removed.

Here we can see Ug-Land scenery near the wooded area where Ug Swinger was located, ready to be stored. Meanwhile, there is a very large concrete pouring crane on site.

Track and supports have now started to arrive. The distinctive Intamin track sections are in a delicious maroon colour, whilst the supports are brown. With the arrival of the ride hardware, Ride Construction Service are now also present in preparation for vertical construction to begin. On-site, the Ug Land entrance is now serving as an entrance for plant and machinery.

Along with further track sections for the launch, other ride components have now started to arrive, including transport wheels and hydraulic pistons for the brake fins that will line the launch track to slow down the train in the event of a rollback.

These images provide the first views of constructed launch track. She looks stunning in ruby red!

Track and supports for the rest of the layout have now started to arrive at the Resort, being stored in the car parks.

Following its installation, the launch section of track continues to be worked on. Footers for the rest of the layout now look ready to receive metalwork and the building that will house the hydraulic launch mechanism has gone vertical. Finally, track and supports continue to arrive and be stored in the car park.

This update focuses on the track and supports which continue to be stored in the car park, along with the hardware which is staged closer to the construction site – this includes components for the launch mechanism, including the main drum around which the launch cable will wrap.

More of the layout has now been erected on site, while the metal framework for the station platform and operator’s cabin has also gone vertical.

Vertical construction is now progressing at a rapid pace, with the top of Rita’s airtime hills visible from Fountain Square.

Scenery objects have now also started to arrive, including the queue line entrance portal. However, even more exciting is a part-train on the track!

The full track layout is now complete, with theming work progressing around the ride and area! For example, “Race Control” and “Thunder Rock Rally” can be seen on the operator’s cabin and it’s possible to make out Rita’s shop and photo-shop. The part-train can again be seen, this time stationery on the section of track just before the off-load area.

This update brings us a number of close-ups from around the ride and site. Rita’s storage and maintenance area can be seen under construction, while a close-up of the train provides a good look at the flame design and restraints. Also pictured is the ride control panel, along with a lift up to the loading platform for disabled guests. There is also a silo on-site, which is being used to store Silica Sand.

The below is a photo of Rita’s second train being delivered!

With opening day fast approaching, construction of the queue line is now well underway. Additional theming elements have also been added to the station, including race-track style megaphones.

Rita and the surrounding Ug Land area now looks to be largely complete, with just a few finishing touches left to be applied. The Rita shop and ride photo point are ready to go, while Swee-T-Rex and Dino Derby are back for another season. There is also a new sign above the entrance to the area, advertising the Thunder Rock Rally.

This final gallery consists of various photos from the latter stages of Rita’s construction, providing a look at the theming around the area and the coaster itself being tested.