Coaster Review: Rita

Another trip to Alton Towers recently prompted me to catch up on a backlog of coaster reviews I’d been meaning to do.

First up – Rita, formerly “Rita: Queen of Speed” (see below*), is a LSM launched coaster, much like the Aerosmith Rock n Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios Florida, technology-wise. It uses a Linear Synchronous Motor to accelerate the cars from 0-62mph in 2.2 seconds. It does take your breath away a bit.

Rita Coaster Vital Statistics

  • Type of ride: Steel coaster (Launched)
  • Top speed: 62 mph (in 2.2s)
  • Track length: 2,122 feet
  • Ride time: 49 seconds
  • Inversions: 0
  • Height requirement: 1.4m
  • Opened: 2005
  • Manufacturer: Intamin
  • Cost £8m

As for the ride itself, it’s not the longest, but with the accelleration, it’s pretty intense. The build-up includes a creepy babbling voiceover, ultimately urging, “you must escape!”

You can only just feel the brakes coming off and a slight roll-forward, just as the voice says “Go! Go! Go!” and you are launched, with cheeks pulled back, to that top speed in the two or so seconds it takes to get to the end of the straight coming out of the station.

Then we bank heavily to the right in a big curve and climb to the highest point of the track before switching to banking left round another tight curve, with the cars almost on their sides on the downhill stretch. We straighten out from that curve with a mini-climb and hard-bank-right into another tight right-hand curve, parallel with and just below the first curve. We again straighten into a slight lift and easy bank left then it’s over a final crest before we’re onto the brakes and back into the station.

* Rita was originally themed as a drag-racing coaster but was re-themed in 2010 to fit in with the new ‘Dark Forest’ look and feel for that section of the park and the introduction of the coaster Th13teen that year. As a result, it lost it’s “Queen of Speed” tag along with the bright colours and flames, and received the gloomy, dark treatment we see now.

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