The UK’s first double launch rollercoaster has won a civil engineering award.
The ICON at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which launches riders to speeds of 85 kilometres per hour and takes them nearly 30 metres into the air, has seen the engineering firms behind it scoop the Institution of Civil Engineers North West Medium Project of the Year award for its complex and innovative design.
Westlakes Engineering, and Mack Rides of Germany, collaborated to fuse engineering disciplines and human physiology and develop a safe yet thrilling ride which has further cemented Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s position as a world class amusement park.
The ride’s 1,143 metre track passes around other famous rides such as the Big Dipper and Steeplechase and was virtually mapped by Westlakes before work began on site, using a system called 3D BIM Modelling to ensure that ICON could fit into what is already the world’s most ride intensive amusement park.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach said it was the most complex technology seen there. Emma
Antrobus, North West Director of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “For this award we were looking for excellence and imaginative concepts in civil engineering and this complex ICON project certainly delivers.
"It’s a great advertisement showing the breadth of civil engineering, highlighting it as a brilliant career and delivering something which will thrill and delight thousands of people for years to come.
Chris Pratt, director at Westlakes said: “The engineering in a rollercoaster is complex and building one like ICON in such limited space was very challenging.
“But it is great experience for the team, you don’t forget it. Thirty years ago one of my most memorable projects as a young engineer was the design of the Avalanche ride at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and our team has been working on rides like this ever since.”
Steve Hughes, director of engineering and projects at Blackpool Pleasure Beach said: “ICON really has been the most challenging, but also most rewarding, project that we have ever undertaken.”