I'm sure you've all seen the news that Thorpe Park have submitted planning documents to Runnymeade Borough Council for the redevelopment of the Old Town area of the park including the construction of a new roller coaster, Project Exodus. They submitted 50 documents all associated with the redevelopment which include things such as a biodiversity calendar, roller coaster plans, noise assessments and much more. With so much to cover lets dive right in.
The roller coaster that has been submitted for planning is of the same layout as the one shown during the public consultations earlier in the year. Nothing seems to have changed from those original concepts and plans between then and now. The planning documents confirm that it will be a steel tracked roller coaster that goes over the lake area that Loggers Leap went around. The coaster will have a maximum ride height of 72m (That's 236ft), so it will be approximately 21ft taller than Stealth which is 205ft tall. The layout will contain two inversions (aka upside down bits for non enthusiasts) at heights of 50m (164ft) and 43m (141ft). The coaster will be supported with 143 steel columns. The plans also say that where it exceeds the treeline, these coaster tracks will be painted a lighter colour to the rest of the ride to blend in and reduce visibility. This has been done before at the park with Stealth. The ride will have an approx top speed of 130km/h. They believe the project will cost about £18 million.
Whilst the overall theme and colours of the ride are undecided, the planning does give a hint that they might try and keep it as natural as possible: "The ride will benefit from a bespoke theming concept which will draw on the presence of the lake and surrounding trees. The theming and colour scheme for the attraction will be determined at the detailed design stage and can be controlled by way of a planning condition." They also plan to plant wild flowers around the supports and along the ground around the ride area which does add to this natural idea. During construction, part of the lake will be infilled with most of it being excavated upon completion and new reed beds planted. There will also be a splash view area located along the exit pathway to the ride which means its very likely that the roller coaster will feature a splashdown.
The station walls are to be cladded on the exterior in natural timber. The station will contain a disabled guest elevator so this hints that the building will be raised. The station will also have a baggage hold, we assume it will be similar to the one Icon but this is to be confirmed. The train itself will have 10 rows. It is unconfirmed who the ride manufacturer will be. The queue line for the coaster will be made from wood too. In the queue a new food and beverage unit will be built. We imagine it will sell snacks similar to the sort that are sold in The Swarm queue line shop.
The old Loggers Leap station is to be removed along with the Canada Creek Railway train station building. The train storage building in the far right corner of the area looks like it will also remain. The only building currently in the Old Town are that will be remaining is the old Passholder Hub building. This will be converted to a shop and food and beverage outlet. There is also plans to build a photo collection point onto the side of the building removing the footpath down the right side of the building when looking at it from the front. The Diana memorial has been relocated to the Sunken Gardens area of the park near Stealth.
There was a different idea first proposed in more of traditional style hyper coaster. The station for this would have been near where Jungle Escape is currently situated and the track would have gone towards the lake and then turned around and returned up with a few turns added in towards the end of the track but after discussions and a look at the environmental and noise impacts this coaster would have they decided they wanted to keep the canyon area at the back of the site to help reduce noise and the current plan for Project Exodus was born.
(The purple/pink was the first layout considered)
If approved, construction on Project Exodus will begin in later 2022 with a planned opening of 2024. With the construction starting in late 2022, there is potential for the Buckwheats to return but this is unconfirmed with the park releasing a video earlier in the year saying that they hope to find them a new home. What we do know is that the stairs next to the Loggers Leap station have already been removed ready for an access road so it seems very unlikely that they will be returning at this location in 2022.
We think that's the basics and the need to know bits of the planning. We will keep going over the plans to make sure we haven't missed anything significant.