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Scenic Railway

Dreamland Margate

The oldest wooden rollercoaster still operating in the UK

Theme ParkDreamland Margate
TypeWooden Rollercoaster
AudienceOlder Families and Thrillseekeers
Opened3 July 1920
Height40 ft
Length3000 ft
Inversions0
Max Speed35 mph
The Scenic Railway station

The Scenic Railway station

Dreamland’s Scenic Railway first opened in 1920, which makes it the oldest surviving wooden rollercoaster still operating in the UK.

Unlike modern rollercoasters, the Scenic Railway does not feature “up-stop wheels” which lock the rollercoaster trains to the track. Instead, a brakeman rides with the train. They are in charge of controlling the speed by manually applying the brakes and preventing it from leaving the rails during more intensive manoeuvres.

Tame by today’s standards, but still fun and thrilling, the coaster features two cable-powered lift hills, a number of hills and drops, together with turnarounds at either end of the ride.

Scenic Railway drop

Scenic Railway drop

The Dreamland Scenic Railway was the first rollercoaster to be granted listed status in the UK, initially Grade II in 2002 which was upgraded to Grade II* in 2011. This recognises it as of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve it.

Unfortunately, the ride has suffered from several fires over the years, including an arson attack in 2008 which destroyed a significant portion of the track together with the Scenic’s maintenance shed which housed the ride’s original trains.

As part of the wider plan to reopen Dreamland, the Scenic Railway underwent a massive restoration project and was reopened to the public in October 2015. Unfortunately the new trains feel much more enclosed than the originals, with high back and side panels. However, this hasn’t tainted the rollercoaster too much, and it still retains much of its former celebrated character.

Plan

Scenic Railway Plan

Scenic Railway Plan, as seen on the wall of the maintenance shed

Photo Gallery

Scenic Railway in 2004

Photographs of the Scenic Railway from 2004, prior to the 2008 fire.