A Long Way Down

blivcontributeIn the first of our TowersStreet YourStreet articles, guest writer Andrew takes us on a trip down memory lane as he explores how it felt to walk into X-Sector and take on the world’s first vertical drop roller coaster –  Oblivion, for the very first time!  

So grab a cuppa, get yourself comfy, and enjoy every adrenaline pounding moment of Andrews first ride into the unknown, but remember – Don’t Look Down!

After only visiting Gulliver’s World Warrington as a child, I had very little experience of a true theme park designed to scare you senseless. In hindsight, it was a strange decision to ride Oblivion as my first ride at Alton Towers.
X-Sector entrance and Oblivion

As I entered X Sector with my classmates, my jaw dropped much like one of the ride’s shuttles- I had never seen anything like what was before my younger (and much more easily terrified) self. My eyes focused upon the colossal 180 foot drop into the dark abyss from which echoing screams could be heard every so often. My senses were tingling and my hair was on end.

There was one question left in my mind: Should I do this?

No sooner than this question was put before me, I was entering the queue line designed to build up suspense. It certainly did its job! The videos containing the Lord of Darkness and his alter-ego made my heart pump more than it had done in my entire life. I was truly petrified! The rising queue line made me feel like I was rising up to the heavens above, which I would soon be doing after embarking upon Oblivion judging by my heart. The anticipation before even entering the station was far too much for a 10 year old such as myself and I had nearly burst into tears by the time we reached the moment of fate.

Station overview

I now had the chance to turn back but I had come this far. I did not want to give up! Nervously, after the operator batched the group of us into the shuttle (I was placed on the front row…), I pulled down my restraint with clammy hands and I felt as though I was locking myself into my death-bed. The ride itself was designed to make the rider believe in their own impending doom, but I had never experienced anything like this in my life so I was not accustomed to the feeling of panic that was pulsating through my nerves. The dispatch video began to play…


Agonisingly, the shuttle paced forwards onto the lift hill. My heart began to race even faster that it did in the queue line which I did not think was possible. I started to breathe profoundly as the shuttle reached its highest point. There was a beautiful view of the Towers in front of me but I had no time to dwell upon this as I knew that there was a test of my courage only a few seconds away: the vertical drop. We reached the end of safety…

Perilously perched upon the edge of the colossal drop, I gripped the restraint with all of the strength that I could muster. It felt like an eternity when I was there but it was only 3 seconds… I’m sure that time must have stopped as it felt like much longer! Suddenly, the shuttle plummeted into the eternal darkness below. I barely had time to scream before my face was hit by the blanket of mist and I was plunged into the chilly, sinister ‘hole of no return’ as someone once described it.

The feeling on my body as I leveled out and began my ascent upwards is unrivaled in the terms of force. It was absolutely unbelievable! I couldn’t help but let out a scream of joy and happiness that I had survived this traumatic experience and it certainly would go down as a story to tell others when I returned. I was eager to ride it again, terrified still, but much less so than the first time.


There is no ride quite like Oblivion; it has an imposing theme, a terrifying drop, and the urge to ride again (although you are still as scared as the first time) like no other… Oblivion is a truly spectacular piece of theme park technology and is still one of the best rides that I have ever ridden. It is always one of the highlights of a day at Alton Towers, especially if I am riding with someone who has never experienced the terror of the vertical drop! Don’t look down!