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Big Dipper

Blackpool Pleasure Beach

One of Blackpool's classic woodies, and the first in Europe to use under-friction wheels...

Theme ParkBlackpool Pleasure Beach
TypeWooden Rollercoaster
AudienceThrillseekers
OpenedJuly 1923
ManufacturerJohn Miller & William Strickler (original)
Charlie Paige & Joe Emberton (1936 modifications)
Height60 ft
Length3300 ft
Inversions0
Duration2½ minutes
Big Dipper

Big Dipper

Blackpool's Big Dipper is the oldest operating rollercoaster at the Pleasure Beach, and the second oldest operating coaster in the UK after the Scenic Railway at Dreamland in Margate.

It was originally constructed in 1923 by William Strickler from a design by the legendary John A Miller. Subsequently, the original track was extended by Charlie Paige and Joe Emberton in 1936.

Big Dipper runs along the western side of the Pleasure Beach and features a series of drops and airtime hills the like of which had not been seen before when it opened. It was one of the first wooden coasters to use up-stop wheels to lock the train to the underside of the track, allowing for much steeper drops and sharper turns than had been possible previously.

The ride's station was designed by Joseph Emberton, who also designed the station for Grand National. It is a large cavernous building topped by a big tower which also acts as the top of the lift hill and turnaround for the coaster's first drop.

Sadly Big Dipper is now extremely rough and gives an uncomfortable ride. Not only are riders vibrated and jolted as the trains make their way around the track, but there are some moments of extreme side-to-side lateral bumps too.

Even though it doesn't provide a smooth ride anymore, Big Dipper still holds its rightful place at Blackpool Pleasure Beach as one of the park's collection of classic woodies. If you can get over the roughness, it is still an astonishing ride full of character that has been thrilling riders for just short of a century.

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