The oldest wooden rollercoaster still operating in the UK
|Theme Park||Dreamland Margate|
|Audience||Older Families and Thrillseekeers|
|Opened||3 July 1920|
|Max Speed||35 mph|
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.
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.
Scenic Railway Plan, as seen on the wall of the maintenance shed
The new Scenic Railway station
Front of the train
One of the new 2015 trains
The simple track design
Inside the maintenance shed
Photographs of the Scenic Railway from 2004, prior to the 2008 fire.
The original station
Classic blue train
Ascending the lift hill
Approaching the station
Empty green train
Track leaving the station
Detail on the blue train
Green train detail
In the station
The brakeman takes his seat
At the top of the second lift
Dropping from the highest point on the ride
Coming to the end of the rollercoaster