10 years of passenger power on the Green Dragon Roller Coaster
This June will see the 10th anniversary of the Green Dragon, North Wales’s leading family adventure park’s unique rollercoaster.
Built in early 2004 the Green Dragon is the only rollercoaster of its kind in the world. The ride combines traditional roller coasters with funicular technology that was developed and used 200 years ago in the slate quarries of North Wales.
Stephen Bristow, GreenWood Forest Park’s Managing Director explains how the design works; “Once it starts, the ride itself is gravity driven but it is at the very beginning where we turn people power into the energy we need. This energy is used to pull the coaster cars up to the starting point. Pulling the cars to the top of the ride is where the old slate quarry technology comes in.
Mr Bristow continues: “Having walked up the coaster hill, visitors enter a people carrier and travel down an incline. This descent, through the use of the slate quarry technology, pulls the cars up to the station. Passengers then leave the carrier and walk up the hill a second time to the station where they enter the cars for the ride itself. This reaches a top speed of 25mph and covers a distance of 250 metres. At the end of the ride, the cars stop on a moveable platform at the bottom of the hill where the passengers alight before the cars are pulled back up to the station by the next group of visitors.”
Since the building of the roller-coaster the park has continued to expand and develop over the ten years, introducing innovative children’s play whilst always keeping their carbon footprint low.
Since building the coaster, visitor numbers have risen from 94,000 in 2003 to 135,000 in 2013. Over 1 million visitors have ridden the Green Dragon in that time.
Co-owner Andrea Bristow had this to say about the upcoming Birthday “For many children this was the first rollercoaster they had ever been on, but for everyone it was the only people powered rollercoaster they had been on as it’s the only one in the world.”