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Photo TR: Dreamland Scenic Railway/Screamland Launch


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Last Thursday Theme Park Review was invited to Dreamland Margate for the relaunch of the Scenic Railway and the start of their Screamland event.

 

For those of you who don't know much about the Scenic Railway it was "Britain's original coaster" that opened in 1920! Sadly in April 2008 a major fire happened on the ride which destroyed a large portion of the ride including the workshop, the trains, the station and the entire middle section of the track. Since then the ride sat there in its burnt state while many arguments and discussions were had between people about if the whole Dreamland site should be redeveloped or saved. Luckily for the ride in 2002 it was given a Grade II listed status which meant it couldn't be destroyed. Finally after all the arguments and discussions has settled work finally began to restore the ride in September 2014. Now if I'm being honest the ride was more replaced than restored. The whole track and ride structure is new, the trains are new. I believe the only surviving part of the ride is some of the lift machinery. That being said the ride is as faithful to the original as it possibly can be given modern day H&S rules and the park did a fantastic job restoring it.

 

If I'm being honest I never expected the "Save Dreamland Campaign" to manage to get the park and ride back open due to all the issues that kept getting thrown at them but I am extremely happy they proved me wrong. The one thing I realised while at the park during the day was just how dedicated and enthusiastic all the people behind the project have been, they really want the best for the park and want to see Margate thrive once again! I still believe there is a lot of work to do at the park and in some areas work is still visibly ongoing but they have definitely given themselves a solid platform to work off.

 

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"Welcome back to Dreamland!". It took me a while to release but this sign is actually made out of the old Scenic Railway wood!

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If it wasn't for someone like the Heritage Lottery Fund this project may never have been completed.

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After many ups and downs its finally time to ride once again!

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Once again many happy riders take a trip on the one mile long track!

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and screams of joy are heard around the park.

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"Only Fools and Horses" ride the Scenic Railway!

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What mystery lies behind this door?

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The workshop of course and its MASSIVE! You could hold events in here its so big!

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This is 100% true engineering!

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Ever wanted to build your own Scenic Railway? This is how you do it!

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Why are modern things never this impressive to look at? I do love the fact they have a viewing window to look at all the lift mechanisms though!

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How many people wish they could sit here?

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Given the classic nature of the ride sometimes in the morning the train needs a little push to help it back to the station.

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The Scenic Railway is officially re opened!

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So get down to the park and take a ride!

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Think of how many people rode this track before the fire! Hopefully the new track will create just as many memories.

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If I'm not mistaken there are only 2 of these models in existence and one has already been sold! There is so many cool little items they are selling such as clocks, building blocks etc.

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These people were instrumental in the restoration of the park!

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Now its times to take a look at the rest of the parks offerings.

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You will get some great views of the coast and the Scenic from the top of here!

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Why not hop on the speedway and take a spin?

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Every park should have a Frog Hopper/Jumping Star!

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And what seaside park in their right mind wouldn't have a Wacky Worm!

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I can't think of anywhere else I've seen an operating Rotor ride than at Winter Wonderland in London!

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During the day this is a mirror maze but at night The Amazing Mystero's ghost takes over and prowls the maze in search of his beastly bunny!

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The parks most recent acquisition is this Ghost Train. As of my visit they were still working on the ride and were yet to instal anything in the inside. Definitely one to keep an eye on though to see what they come up with.

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I would have loved to go on the Helter Skelter and get a POV for you all but sadly due to the wet weather it was closed. You all wouldn't want to see a video of my getting launched off the end them flying into the mouse now would you ;)

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A traveling Top Spin is something I haven't seen very often.

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The park haven't forgotten about the littlest members of the family and there are plenty of rides for them to enjoy also.

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A classic seaside ride is of course the Crazy Mouse.

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The multi coloured rainbow slide offers some great views of the Scenic Railway but also a great excuse to go "Weeeeeeeeeeeeee!"

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Monotopia is the parks Cycle Monorail and it felt very RCT to look at.

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There must have been some serious action going on here during the last ride.

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Lets hope that this doesn't need to get used any time soon!

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How many ride hosts do you think can be squeezed into the average sized control room?

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With no signs of stopping new areas of the park will continue to open up!

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Having had a very long day already I think its time for a nap!

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Since when did Sven look like a Donkey?

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The floor of the arcade had loads of 1p coins embedded into the floor! I wonder how much they all add up to!

 

After the 20 minute power nap I had to have in my car in-between events it was time to take on Screamland! The park worked in conjunction with AtmosFear! Scare Entertainment (The creators of Scare Kingdom) on its first ever major scare festival. The event has been designed in such a way that its been divided into a day portion for small children and families then evening/night activities for children over 14.

 

Given the fact that AtmosFear worked on this project with the park it felt exactly how I would have expected having visited Scare Kingdom. That of course is far from a bad thing because they provide an incredibly high quality product. Unlike your typical park halloween events in this country everything seems to make sense, its not a series of random mazes and the usually trick and treat stuff. All the mazes at the park relate in some way to the history of the site and provide some serious scares in the process. If I'm honest I think Thorpe Park in particular should look at this event as a whole and take note. I certainly noticed over the past few years that the atmosphere on park during Fright Nights is almost non existent except for the mazes. Its so different at Dreamland because you have amazing lighting all over, music and plenty of roaming characters all of which totally change the atmosphere on park.

 

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Darkness has now fallen and its time to head back into the park for Screamland!

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The park completely transforms at night.

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Screamland has set a new standard for scare attractions in the south! Thorpe Park, Tulleys and everyone else need to take serious note of what the park has done!

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The lighting package used around the park was amazing! Every so often the music used to change and it almost turned into a rave. It was better than anything I've ever seen Thorpe Park do.

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The Scenic Railway feels like a completely different ride at night!

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There is a lot of mixed opinions on the new trains for the ride given all the HSE issues they had. I personally dont have any issues with them. They ride just fine and even with the seatbelts they are not restrictive and terrible at all. There is definitely worse looking trains out there.

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The ride has a really simple yet effective light package.

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Practising my scream at Screamland.

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"Hello ladies!! Who wants to see my joker?!"

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Beware of the many roaming creatures and characters that may emerge from the smoke!

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If you need to hide you can always hop on here.

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What a competition the park is running!

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One of the attractions during Screamland is a meet and greet with some weird animals! On the left is a naked albino pig!

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And this is Bernard the Bearded Dragon! They also had snakes, spiders, millipedes and all sorts of creepy crawlies.

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Festino's Forgotten Funhouse has clowns in it there for I did not go anywhere near it!

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From £5 per maze is very good value when you consider general admission to the park for the rides online is £13.95. If you want to do one maze it makes total sense but if you want to do them all its only £24.95 online. I certainly believe you get your moneys work at that price.

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So the thing on the left does that look like a rocket or a needle?

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If the scares become too much you can always fly away from them into the night.

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Wow when did I become a creature in the smoke?

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Final Cut and Dead & Breakfast are the parks 2 scariest attractions and they are phenomenal. The quality of theming is so good that you feel truly immersed into that world. You can instantly forget you are at Dreamland at all.

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My 14 hour day at Dreamland finally came to an end and it was time to go home to bed.

 

So over all the park and the events well surpassed my expectations and if you get the chance please go down and check the park out. If they keep on the track working like they are now I do think its possible the park will get back to its former glory and it should do wonders for Margate as a whole.

 

-Craig

Edited by robbalvey
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I would have loved to go on the Helter Skelter and get a POV for you all but sadly due to the wet weather it was closed. You all wouldn't want to see a video of my getting launched off the end them flying into the mouse now would you

 

Oh, wouldn't we?

 

I was also doubtful about Dreamland coming back; like you, I'm quite happy to be proved wrong.

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I have a noob question. I see that it uses a cable lift (two even). How does the train grab onto the cable?

That's something I always think about when I see these older coasters using this cable system.

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I have a noob question. I see that it uses a cable lift (two even). How does the train grab onto the cable?

That's something I always think about when I see these older coasters using this cable system.

 

I think it works like a detachable chairlift.

In this case, the train has a grip underneath that is constitued of two parts: a fixed jaw and another one on a spring. So naturally, the grip is closed thanks to the spring resilience.

At the beginning of the lift, you can see a metal plate on the track. The train will run over it, and thanks to a system of cams and levers, will open the grip. In the meantime, the cable will slide into it, the metal plate comes to an end and the grip is closed.

Same process in reverse at the top.

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Those double downs look like they would be phenomenal in the back car.

 

The back seat provided a surprising amount of air time early in the morning. I didn't get to ride in the back later in the day but I imagine it was a lot more impressive.

 

Imagine if you lost a coin in that arcade...

 

I did see a few people lean over to pick the money up before they realised they were embedded in the floor.

 

As I mentioned in the trip report the park did some amazing things with lighting. The video below is just a preview of the light show that randomly used to go off inside the park. It was so nice to see something like this that wasn't so static.

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Also the park have very kindly given me a promo code to give to you all that will get you £5 off standard entry to Screamland. When booking online enter the code: SCREAMPROMO4 to receive the discount. This code is valid through to 31st October 2015.

 

-Craig

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I have a noob question. I see that it uses a cable lift (two even). How does the train grab onto the cable?

That's something I always think about when I see these older coasters using this cable system.

 

I think it works like a detachable chairlift.

In this case, the train has a grip underneath that is constitued of two parts: a fixed jaw and another one on a spring. So naturally, the grip is closed thanks to the spring resilience.

At the beginning of the lift, you can see a metal plate on the track. The train will run over it, and thanks to a system of cams and levers, will open the grip. In the meantime, the cable will slide into it, the metal plate comes to an end and the grip is closed.

Same process in reverse at the top.

 

Ive actually always wondered the same thing about El Toro's cable lift, since unlike the newer Intamin steel cable lifts, El Toro connects to the lift after a turnaround, and not out of the station like I305, Skyrush, Millennium, etc. Anyone know if Toro's works the same way? Or can someone explain it to me? (sorry to threadjack!)

 

Also, thanks for the report. Cool photos and video.

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