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Antique TR: How to conquer Alton in 30 minutes - Part 1


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Was going over a TR and suddenly decided maybe I should share one of my most memorable coaster-related experiences ever.

 

Note: This turne dout logner than I expected so wha tI posted here is just part 1- which is the nightamre Iw ent throug in order to get to the park.

 

This happened when I was 11, I am now 17. You do the math.

 

How to conquer Alton Towers in 30 minutes!

 

Well, me and my parents went on vacation in england, and stayed in the Cumberland hotel which is smack down in the center of London.

 

Me and my dad decided to take one day and hit that interesting Alton Towers park which I have seen recreated in my copy of Rollercoaster Tycoon and hardly knew anything about at the time. My mom didn't come along becuase, well, let's just say, once she went on a big apple coaster and screamed for the ride op to stop it after only 2 laps. She went to an antiques market instead.

 

So, we wake up bright and early to have the entire day to roam around the park. My dad asks at the reception how to get there, and the receptionist tells him to go to St. Fenchurch railway station.

 

We start walking, or riding, or whatever, I don't relaly remember how we got there.

 

Long story short we arrive at St. Pancras station, and I'm thinking "Hmmm... Aren't we supposed to be at a different station?" But I also think "Eh. What do I know. Dad probably knows best."

 

This is where it all went wrong.

 

We arrive at the station, and I'm all excited that King's Cross is across the street(because I was 11 and was reading Harry Potter).

 

We ask the lady at the information how do we get to Alton Towers and how long does it take.

 

She directs us towards a train that's right next to us, saying we need to take that train, which is an hour (or an hour and a half, I don't remember) ride, and then switch to another train that is a 30 minutes ride.

 

I am a bit startled by the long travel time(I live in the middle of the biggest city in a very small countyr, after all, I'm not used to traveling anywhere longer than an hour.)

 

We get our tickets and get on the train, which is jsut about to leave anyway, and the ride begins. I am fascinated because I like trains and the view of England passing by through the window is not something I'm used to. I remember passing alot of bridges over streets, which I'm not used to, either. All I remember other thant hat is that the train had a kiosk car and I bought a muffin.

 

 

Well, a long time later(which I didnt mind, I was enjoying the ride) we arrive at our station. I can already see that it's in a rural location. We get off the train, and as it drives off I see that aroudn the train station there is nothing in sight. Just land and stuff. Again, living in the middle of the big city, it's a view I'm not used to.

We check and see we still have a couple minutes before our train comes in, so my dad suggests we go order ahead our tickets for hte park so we don't have to spend time at the booths when we get there. So we go in and call Alton Towers, we make reservations for our tickets, and then grab a bite to eat at the diner thing that was there.

 

Well, after about 30 minutes(I assume) we go to the designated platform, and wait.

 

Soon enough a short train rolls in, and we board it. We don't even get the chance to sit ourselves down before hte conductor goes and tells us this is not our train. We get off the train, and they redirect us to another platform.

 

No big deal. We walk over to the other platform, and wait.

 

...

 

And wait.

 

...

 

And wait.

 

 

Now, let me remind you, I'm from Tel Aviv, Israel, where temperatures reach only as low as 12C in the average cold winter days, and as far up as 41C in the summer. And this being birtain, the country that considered it a national disaster when temperatures reached the mid-twenties, I am freezing my poor little 11 year old ass off.

 

So I went and sat in the diner/kiosk thing that was on the platform, because it had heating. probalem is, because oyu coudlnt' see the platform from there I had to keep going outside and checking. My dad bought me some chocolate milk and I played a couple rounds ont he arcade machine there and I was at peace with the predicament.

 

...And then I waited.

 

...And waited some more.

 

And I wen toutside to wait with my dad, I think.

 

After a while a 3-car train bumps its way into the station. I never even knew trains can even be that short.

 

We go on, and once again, the conductor soon lets us know that this is not our train. We get off and keep waiting.

I was getting pretty upset then. I assume my dad was, too.

 

And then, it starts raining.

 

Now, as I mentioned, this is a rural station, nothing urban, so its not all under one big roof, but instead each platform has a little canopy over it. Which isn't doing much good because the rain is coming in diagonally and there wasn't a dry spot in sight.

 

I go in and keep waiting in the little diner, while my poor dad waits ont he platform for the train to arrive.

 

I wait for a very, very long time, it would seem. It has been hours since we arrived at the station, I think. Everyone growns frustrated.

 

Eventually, a measly, petite, one-car train(Including the locomotive, because the trian was it's own locomotive, which was brand new for me), slowly barrels its way into the platform.

We get on, sit down, and relax. This is our station.

Because the little car was already practically full me and my dad sit in seperate places, and I sit nex tot this nice old lady. I don't rememebr her name but we tlaked the tentire time and I told her the name "Sylvia" would suit her.

 

Dad said we should be getting off the train at a stop claled "Uttoxeter".(Little did I know, while Alton Towers is right next to London, Utoxetter is, in fact, closer to Blackpool than it is to London) Well, after a 30 minute ride the announcer says "Next stop Uttoxeter!"

I bid the nice old lady farewell and me and my dad hop off the train.

As the train drives off I realize something odd.

I am out in the plain open.

There are no walls to this place, no roof, no canopys. There isn't even a station building in sight. Heck, there was only one platform!

The train was just a concrete platform on both sides of the track, with two bus-station-like benches sitting on each side. And two monitors moutned on poles. That's it.

 

In fact, the way out of the station was just this dirt path that crossed the track and lead to the nearby bus stop(Which was like 2 meters away from the staiton itself, and approximately the same size.)

 

It was this odd couldersac, which consisted of the little train station, a telephone booth, and a bus station with a sign that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside - Alton Towers.

 

We waited for the bus.

 

...And waited.

 

...And waited.

 

It never showed up.

 

Needless to say, Utoxetter was this "middle-of-nowhere" town. There was zero traffic and no people in sight. Even on the main street that was somwewhere up the hill at the edge of the couldersac.

 

After a VERY long wait in the rain and the freezing cold(no Diner to hide out in this time, and the bus stop's canopy was doing zilch) we decided to call the park fromt he payphone.

 

I had a very hard time figuring out the british payphone system and the park's automatic call redirection system. I spent like 30 minutes trying to contact a live human being in the park. During that time a pack of teenagers appeared out of nowhere and sat around the bus stop for a while.

 

Finally my dad came in to help me with the phone and we finally got a hold of someone that said that the last bus should have left at 4:00PM.

 

I checked my watch. It was 4:07 or so. And I have been standing there for well over an hour.

However, the group of teens did mysteriously disappear.

 

Me and my dad went out of the phone booth. It was still raining, and we were stuck int he middle of nowhere int he freezing cold and rain with no way to go anywhere, our day at hte park has been ruined. Bein only 11, I started crying, my dad sid he was on the verge of tears himself(and he's a very strong, at the time 63 year old man).

I simply walked aroudn the oculdersac when suddenly a black car arrived out of the main street. Some guy droppped someone else off. My dad and me approached the driver and shared with him our story.

He offered to give us a ride to Alton Towers himself. We couldn't believe our luck. We hopped into the guy's car, thanking him. My dad said he's heaven-sent.

 

After a long drive I saw a sign reading "Alton" and my excitement went through the roof.

 

About 15 minutes later(Go figure) we finally reach Alton Towers itself.

 

We thanke dhte guy once more, and got out. We quickly got our tickets(good thing we ordered ahead) and went in. We bought a raincoat and were on our way to having fun. It was 5:15. But my dad had to go to the bathroom. So he did. and after he did I did too.

So as we got out I looked at the time. It was 5:30.

 

Problem is, Alton Towers closed at 6:00.

 

The race was on.

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Little did I know, while Alton Towers is right next to London, Utoxetter is, in fact, closer to Blackpool than it is to London

 

BTW, Alton Towers is nowhere near London. Thorpe is near London though.

 

And looking up Uttoxeter, it's only 10 miles from Alton Towers. Uttoxeter is closer to Blackpool than London, so you were half right.

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^ I'm still offended by Flipdude's constant "this being England and all..." commentary, I don't even know where to begin to respond to the post above yours, Kyle, except to say that it's an absolute load of bollocks which I won't dignify with any kind of argument as I don't wish to start a North vs. South war.

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^I'm really sorry if I offended you, I didn't mean to, I just don't see what is offensive about pointing out that england has cold rainy weather? It's kind of a known scientific fact, and not a matter of opinion. I have nothing against England and in no way meant to diss it. I edited out the phrase

 

 

And Raptor, I didn't write this jsut for comments, but it is alot of work and time writing such a long TR, and if nobody reads it, it feels kidna pointless to make such an effort, and the only way to know how many people actually read it(instead of just clicke don it, saw how long it is and went away) is to see how many comments I got

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^What? Where did I ever say gross?! I would never say that about England! I said "It being england and all, it started to rain".

 

It jsut so ahppens I LIKE England's weather, it's part of what makes it special, if we didn't like England, weather and all, we wouldn't have gone there in the firstplace, so why is everybody talking like I tried to say something offensive about england?

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^I'm really sorry if I offended you, I didn't mean to, I just don't see what is offensive about pointing out that england has cold rainy weather? It's kind of a known scientific fact, and not a matter of opinion. I have nothing against England and in no way meant to diss it. I edited out the phrase

 

What is "a kind of known fact?" It's either known or not known. Seattle's rainy too, and sometimes sunny. Heck, it may snow or be 90 degrees.

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What the heck's everybody picking on me for?! I never realised that pointing out that England is cold and gets alot of rain an offensive thing, in fact I LIKE that about england, as I have already stated. I wouldnt be offended if someone that visited Israel said "It being Israel and all temperatures were in the high 30s".

I never so much as implied it is gross, don't know why you would even say that I did, and after I saw people considered it offensive I immidiately apologized and edited it!

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^ I already said this to you in my response to your PM, but I'm posting publicly too just so people see it: I wasn't offended by Tomi's comments, not really. A little irritated maybe, but not at all offended, it was the guy at the top of the page that pissed me off.

 

Didn't mean to begin a derailment of the thread.

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I just don't understand how you can butcher the rail system that bad. I had only used public transportation once and still ripped around London, no problem. I alos don't understand why you wouldn't have just came back the next day.

 

BTW It was like Florida the 17 days I was in London, right Lou.

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^^What do you mean "Who cares"? This is a TR, if you don't find TRs interesting, just don't read it.

 

^I didn't butcher the rail system, I just said what happened on this specific trip. I didnt express a single opinion about the rail system, in fact, if you'll notice, I said this was my dad's fault for getting the stations mixed up. This entire mess happened because we went to the wrong station, not because of the rail system.

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