Black Hole was a mysterious ride that was hidden away from the prying eyes of riders and spectators alike as the almost 600 metres long ride took place in almost total darkness, with the only illumination coming from stars and asteroids.
The ride was a vast undercover roller coaster which first opened in 1984 on the site of the former Dinosaur Land. Guests traveled through helixes upwards until completely disorientated and then suddenly dropping straight down a 44ft drop into the Black Hole itself.
Because the ride was totally hidden from view, guests didn’t know what to expect until they had ridden it, so for first time riders the queue was quite intimidating not knowing what they were queuing for. In the station was the first time guests could see the trains with passengers sitting in twos, one behind the other rather like sitting on a sledge. Spiraling upwards the train climbed fairly high, before a voice said ‘sit back – hold tight’ and then guests were plunged down large drops and around tight corners before a quick return into the brakes. The ride had a very poor through-put, because of this queues often built up.
To build this ride, the rail framework had to be covered completely with a canopy, but not before a quarter of a million tonnes of soil had been dug away from the hillside. The tent the ride was housed in was originally green and yellow, but in 1998 when Oblivion was installed it was rethemed and painted blue.
Black Hole took its last riders in early 2005 before remaining SBNO the following season with the coaster itself then being removed in February 2007. The tent remained standing for a number of years afterwards, being used as a venue for Carnival of Screams and The Boiler House during Scarefest 2011. However, in 2012 the tent was finally demolished in order to make way for a new rollercoaster, The Smiler.
Although the ride’s whereabouts were unknown for several years, since May 2011 it has been operating as Rocket at Furuvik, a Swedish theme park.
Were the Beast and the Black Hole the same ride?
The simply answer is no.
This misunderstanding comes from the fact the two rides are very similar in design, and at a casual glance it would be fair to assume they are identical, though they are not. The similarities came about because the two rides come from the same series of rides from Schwarzkopf, the Jetstar series.
The Black Hole, the older of the two, was also the smaller of the two models, being a Jetstar II. The Beast on the other hand was a Jetstar III, the main difference being a extra tier on the spiral lift hill, which made the ride taller than the earlier model and also allowed for an extra drop in the ride.
As the rides were similar models they shared many similar parts, such as the coaster trains, which were near identical. When the Beast arrived at Alton Towers it was second hand and came with no trains. It’s arrival also coincided with the upgrade of the Black Hole for 1988, and because of this the park decided to run the old Black Hole cars on the Beast and purchase brand new trains for the more high profile Black Hole.
If more proof were needed that the two rides were not the same the footprint taken up by the Beast was significantly larger then that of the Black Hole. This, combined with the addition height means that it would be impossible for the Beast to fit into the tent which contained the Black Hole for the duration of its life.