Welcome to the construction archive of Secret Weapon 6! Here you can take a look back at the coverage TowersTimes provided of TH13TEEN, from initial work starting in March 2009, to the ride nearing completion in February 2010.

On 12th March 2009, Alton Towers Resort’s new rollercoaster for the 2010 season was approved by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council. The ride, which replaced Corkscrew, was dubbed to have world first features and was codenamed “Secret Weapon Six”.

These initial photos show the last remaining pieces of Corkscrew being removed, and the area prepared for new construction. The majority of the ride was transportable, so no large footers or foundations had to be removed. The iconic double inversion track sections were shipped off to a contractor to be refurbished into a new landmark feature for the main entrance of the theme park. Most of the queue line for Corkscrew was retained for the new attraction.

A large banner sign was erected at the edge of the site, featuring sinister artwork and the words “ Yet another fantabulous Alton Towers Resort development coming 2010”.

Corkscrew was now fully removed other than some remaining debris in the middle of the site. The trees in the centre were protected with fencing as they would be retained.

No further work took place since the beginning of the month whilst contractors were sourced to start the main construction of the attraction.

Initial construction started on the station area and the trench for the first track section leading up to the lift hill. Site offices were installed next to the maintenance area for Rita: Queen of Speed.

A large hole was dug in the centre at the front of the site for the secret element.

Momentum stepped up a gear with the excavation of further station area foundations, and the first trenches for ride support column footers.

Marketing teasers started to appear around the theme park, with a glimpse of the potential theming of the attraction, the first official acknowledgement of the world first feature, along with a tag line of “Ride into the unknown”.

Foundation work continued with the installation of the first rebar, which is a mesh of steel wires used as a tension device in reinforced concrete to strengthen and aid the structure under tension.

Land clearing started to take place in the woods behind the main construction site in preparation for the footers for the track layout in this section. Station area foundation work continued with the creation of formwork, which is used by manufacturing moulds made out of wood, onto which concrete is poured.

The first delivery of ride parts from Switzerland and Lichenstein based Intamin took place. This consisted of track for the station, maintenance area and first curve before the lift hill, along with nuts, bolts, and parts for the ride control system. Ride Construction Service Worldwide (RCS) were installing the ride, and their first shipping containers also arrived at the resort.

Further deliveries of ride parts took place from Intamin, including air tanks, compressors, and many more track sections. On site, vertical construction has commenced with the maintenance area track supports being installed. The supports for this particular model of coaster are not bolted to a footer, instead they are sunken within it, and then concrete poured into the mould to secure it in place.

The first piece of track to be installed was the transfer track, which will slide back and forth from the main circuit to the maintenance area. The station area foundations appeared mostly complete.

Vertical construction picked up pace with the installation of track and supports for the station, crest of the second lift hill, and curve into the secret element, which eventually would be housed in a building.

The steel frame for the large building that will house the secret element began to be installed, along with the base of the ride lift hill, with booster tyres in place to propel the train to the highest point.

The first lift hill was now taking shape, along with the installation of the twisted track that will lead into the second lift hill. Steelwork continued to be put together for the large building that will house the secret element.

The large frame of the building was now mostly complete, defining separate areas for the maintenance workshop and secret element.

The lift hill continued to rise into the sky, while the track that would take riders through the forest was installed. Meanwhile in the car park, the final deliveries from Intamin arrived, awaiting transport to the construction site.

The lift hill and drop were completed, with just the catwalk to be installed.

Work continued on the station area, with the pouring of the concrete to make up the platform either side of the train. The track sections for the part of the circuit running through the forest were installed, completing this portion of the ride.

Incredible aerial photos taken from a crane were provided to us, showing the current progress of construction and recently completed ride circuit.

As part of a wider marketing campaign, the secret element was finally delivered on to the construction site. The resort were not yet ready to announce exactly what it was, so had the element wrapped in a large cover, adorning the words “AUTHORISED PERSONNEL ONLY and SECRET WEAPON INSIDE”. Although to enthusiasts it was now obvious that the element was a drop track, the campaign certainly got people speculating about exactly what it could be.

The drop track was quickly installed within the building, and then swiftly covered up by the exterior cladding. Landscaping commenced underneath the track sections around the forest.

The first piece of major theming to be installed was the base of the haunted tree which was attached to the front of the station building, facing the plaza. These photos show the theming feature leaving the Merlin Studios area, behind the scenes at the park.

The themed building quickly took shape, and replicates a similar design to the Towers themselves, with a haunted twist. The entrance pillars and wraiths made an appearance for the first time.

Following the drop track element, the train reverses out of the building and traverses a large ascending helix section, which was in the process of being covered over in these photos.

Who cares about a snowman when you can build a rollercoaster? A large amount of snowfall is always a hindrance to construction projects, but the resort took the opportunity to promote TH13TEEN, which had now officially been announced. Some of the constructions workers built a replica of the front car in snow, and then took a ride themselves!

The themed station building received its finishing touches, with the haunted tree sections being connected together with a seamless transition, along with work to the facade, doorways and windows to make them as lifelike as possible.

As part of the transition from Ug Land to Dark Forest, TH13TEEN’s neighbour Rita received a spooky makeover. Gone were the bright colours, race track theming and any trace of dinosaurs. The control cabin, trains, bunker, and entrance arch all received updates to ensure they would fit in the new area.

In our last update before the ride and area officially opened, themed scaffolding was being added to the sides of the building, making it look like it was undergoing restoration. Testing was taking place, with the ride undergoing the final stages of being commissioned by the manufacturer.