A trip to Alton Towers would not be complete without a bit of time spent in Katanga Canyon; home to The Runaway Mine Train and Congo River Rapids.
They aren't exactly biiiiiiig scary rides, but they are both great fun, with their courses intertwining and much waving happening between the two.
Of course, one of the attractions of the Rapids is the possibility of getting wet, but unlike the Flume (on which we did get extremely wet!), with the Rapids, it's very much hit and miss. I've been on them in the same boat as people who have come away very damp, whilst I got off bone dry, and vice versa. It all depends on the spin!
My boys and I usually ride the Mine Train after the Rapids in order to blow out some of the dampness. It's a bit like the combination of a washing machine and spin drier.
A few interesting facts
The Mine Train was added to the Park in 1992 as the new themed 'coaster'; though it is in fact a powered ride throughout, the speed being controlled by the ride operator up to a maximum of 22mph. It's a relatively long ride at about 50 seconds per lap with two laps as standard (except in very quiet times, when a little shouted persuasion may extract a third time round). At £3 million, it was a lot cheaper than the big coasters, but had the same designer, John Wardley.
The Rapids have been around much longer, opening for the 1986 season. At the time they were the biggest project the Park had attempted, taking over 12 acres of what had been the car park, requiring the moving of over 40,000 tons of earth and rock. They also needed the installation of their own electricity sub station and the building of a 1.3 million gallon reservoir to store the water used. At 6 minutes, it's one of the longest water rides in the UK with a total channel length of 725 metres.
Good fun :)
NB: Those who value our heritage will be pleased to hear that, during the construction of the Rapids, great care was taken to preserve the mature trees which existed in the area.
PS: I think that my own view on the question from yesterday is sadness at the fallings out of families over inheritance but, once the Towers had fallen into decay, I'd rather see the estate used as a theme park than being flattened for the building of houses! I do, however, wish that Merlin (the current owners of Alton Towers) would see fit to restore at least a section of the building to it's historic richness.
I'm not holding my breath though...
"Too expensive! The paying public would rather the money were spent on a new attraction."
"They are a great attraction in their current state of ruin!" (useful for Hex (ride) and Scarefest (event) )
"We have restored some parts enough for you to walk around them as ruins."
...I can hear the arguments now!
Besides, people who like historic buildings are hardly going to pay Alton Towers prices just to walk round the Towers (which is exactly why coach loads of people no longer arrive to walk round the gardens).