SW8 - Secret Weapon 8 - is Alton Towers' new wooden rollercoaster, built on the old log flume site and due to open for the 2018 season.
Secret Weapon 8 will be the park's first wooden rollercoaster when it opens at Alton Towers in 2018, and is being manufactured by Great Coasters International (GCI). Rumours suggest the ride will dive underground at one point, and will have a Wicker Man theme.
There have been massive changes on the site over the last four weeks. Most notably, the framework of the wooden lift hill now dominates the skyline. It was topped of on Friday, and has German, American and British flags flying from the top. This is clearly visible from several places around the park, including Mutiny Bay and the Congo River Rapids queueline.
A large metal structure has also been erected down on the lower half of the site, which many believe to be the bottom of a giant Wicker Man statue which the ride will eventually pass underneath. Indeed, the track sections under its "legs" are already being constructed. It will be interesting to see how much more of this gets built before an announcement/confirmation of the ride theme is made.
The station and maintenance buildings are also looking much more complete. These now both have the majority of their roofs in place.
The lift hill
Flags fly from the top of the lift hill
The lift hill towers over the site
The lift hill in profile
Looking down the site from the top
Base of the lift hill
Station and Maintenance building roofs
Lower half of the site
The turn and 'Wicker Man' framework
Close-up of the 'Wicker Man' framework
Another close-up of the 'Wicker Man' framework
Metal framework with the lift hill in the background
View from the Congo River Rapids queueline
View over the site from the Sky Ride
Another view from the Sky Ride
Construction on the SW8 site has been progressing nicely over the last month. It is now much clearer from looking at the site where certain sections of the track layout will be, and there is a preliminary scattering track supports visible.
However, the most obvious change is over at the station building. The framework for the building has gone vertical and the station, together with the maintenance building is starting to take shape.
The SW8 construction site
SW8 Construction site from the Sky Ride
Turnaround at the top of the lift hill
Top of the lift hill looking smooth
Top of the first drop
View from the top of the site
Station Building under construction
Supports emerging from the station
Station, with a show building in front - the train will pass through this to reach the bottom of the lift
Bottom of the site
A corner near the bottom of the site
Bottom half of the SW8 site
The former home of The Flume is now very much a building site. All that remains of the old log flume is the station building and some of the concrete supports in the surrounding woodland. Extensive groundworks have taken place, and construction of the new coaster's main building has started.
The usual path between Mutiny Bay and Katanga Canyon has been closed for the 2017 season to allow easy access to the site for construction traffic. In its place, the backstage path between the two areas, only usually open on Fireworks nights, has been opened with a short length of new path which skirts the southern side of the SW8 site.
Signs advertising SW8 have gone up on fences around the construction area
Construction of the main building housing the station and preshow has begun
Turnaround at the top of the lift hill
The top of the lift hill
New path linking Gloomy Wood and Mutiny Bay, with windows offering views over the construction site
Remains of The Flume in the surrounding woodland
Concrete supports from The Flume can still be seen
The former Flume ride entrance area
One of the old buildings near The Flume currently remains
Congo River Rapids station in the distance
The Mutiny Bay side of the construction site
The main station building under construction
Overview of the SW8 construction site
Mutiny Bay begins to look a lot different