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Dreamland's scenic railway rollercoaster will not be finished in time for grand opening of theme park

By KentOnline reporter

The historic rollercoaster at the heart of the Dreamland theme park attraction will not be ready in time for the grand opening in two weeks' time, it's been revealed.

The scenic railway, considered the main attraction ahead of the Margate theme park's opening on June 19, will not be included in the initial rides.

It is believed there has been a "slight delay" in finishing off work to the world's only Grade II listed rollercoaster.

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Dreamland's Scenic Railway
Dreamland's Scenic Railway

Work has included the replacement of the rollercoaster's entire timber structure.

Today, Thanet council confirmed the scenic railway would not be included in the opening attractions.

A statement said: "Although work to the timber-framed structure is near completion, the Scenic Railway will not open on 19 June due to continuing restoration to the trains.

The scene after the collapse of the Scenic Railway last year
The scene after the collapse of the Scenic Railway last year

"All other rides and attractions due for phase one will be open as planned.

"Existing ticket holders to Dreamland have been informed about the Scenic Railway and offered a free return visit to the Park at a date of their choosing."

Leader of Thanet District Council Cllr Chris Wells, said: “Meticulous efforts are being made to create an authentic experience for visitors, in keeping with the original 1920s design of the ride.

Video: The scenic rollercoaster will not be ready - Jem Collins reports

“Thanks to the dedication and hard work of contractors, the finishing touches are now being made to the timber framed structure and restoration of the trains is now well underway.

"We recognise that this is no easy task and appreciate delays can be unforeseeable with this type of project.

“I know it is disappointing the Scenic Railway will not be opening for rides on 19 June, we are confident that our commitment to the protection of its heritage will offer the best possible experience for visitors.”

Dreamland chief executive Eddie Kemsley confirmed the delay, but added: "This launch represents a considerable achievement in bringing Dreamland to life once again and everyone in Margate and involved in the project should be very proud."

News of the delay has sparked disappointment on social media.

Johnragbag said he was really disappointed. On Twitter he said the scenic railway was the only reason his family had wanted to go to the park.

Meanwhile, Peter Davis said he had been really looking forward to riding the scenic railway on opening day.

It follows other setbacks in the run-up to the structure's grand unveiling.

In December last year, the wooden attraction blew down in high winds as engineers worked to complete the intricate works.

And in April 2008 a major fire ravaged the iconic structure.

Built in 1920, the Scenic Railway was Britain's oldest surviving rollercoaster.

It fell into disrepair when the attraction closed in 2005 and was then badly damaged by an arson attack in 2008.

Working on the scenic railway
Working on the scenic railway

Refurbishment of the Grade II* listed ride - led by designer Wayne Hemingway - is part of an £18m project to reopen the amusement park in 2015.

Phase one includes 17 restored rides, as well as the roller disco, pleasure gardens, restaurants, food stalls, arcades and amusements from the golden age of the British seaside.

The second phase, scheduled for later in 2015 will include the ballroom, outdoor event space, restaurant café, and dance studio. In 2016 the Hall By The Sea and the Buffet Building will be opened.

Dreamland’s phase one opening will create over 200 jobs to the local economy.

The Scenic Railway had been painstakingly dismantled over 10 months and was in the process of being rebuilt.


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