The Black Hole
Hidden away from sight, the ride was located in a large tented structure which gave away little about the thrills that could be found within. Indeed for those who had never ridden before, the enigmatic nature of the ride built up tension and upped the fear factor.
Having wound through the ride's outdoor queue-line, guests would enter into the futuristic (by 80's standards) indoor queue, before entering the space-station, which provided riders with their first glimpse of the ride itself.
A spiral lift hill carried guests up into space before they were dropped 15 metres into the Black Hole, where the darkness was only penetrated by brief glimpses of the stars or occasional laser beams illuminating hidden asteroids or other residents of the void. What followed was a disorientating tangle of various steep twists and turns before hitting the brake run and returning to the station.
The Life & Times
The Black Hole was built on the site of the former Dinosaur Land in 1984, becoming the park's second major coaster and quickly establishing itself as a perennial favourite with park guests. In its early years the tent in which the attraction was housed was originally bright green and yellow in stark contrast to its gloomy innards, as well as its space based theme.
The Black Hole's queue line sported a stage with an animatronic floating alien's head that would interact with passers-by and actually speak with customers waiting in the queue, using what was then a sophisticated set up of cameras and communication devices. After a few seasons the effect was removed from the park, amid rumours of several unfortunate incidents where the microphone powering the alien's voice was left on accidentally.
In its earlier years the ride suffered from through put problems due to its single car trains, which resulted in long queue times for the popular attraction. This situation was somewhat rectified at the end of 1987, when the coaster was dismantled and taken away to be re-profiled in order to accommodate coupled trains, greatly improving the ride's capacity. And thus the coaster reopened in 1988, variously known as the New Black Hole and Black Hole II, although the look and feel of the ride remained similar to the original ride experience.
The coaster's continued popularity, saw its queue line expand in 1993 to swallow the neighbouring Vintage Cars site, and for its remaining years in operation, the Black Hole's extended outdoor queue-line was actually sited on the former track of the Vintage Cars as it snaked through the bushes at the top of Fantasy World. When X Sector arrived, the Black Hole received a complete makeover that saw the traditional yellow and green tented repainted in Black and Silver, seamlessly blending the older ride into the park's latest theme area, where the Black Hole kept its own alongside Oblivion for the rest of its time in the park.
What happened next...
The Black Hole took its final voyage on March 5th 2005, much to the dismay of enthusiasts and guests alike, and then... not a lot. A board celebrating the coaster's twenty years of operation appeared at its entrance, but the ride itself joined a long list of SBNO attractions in the park at that time.
The coaster remained SBNO into the following season, during which it was dismantled, though eve then it remained on site awaiting its fate. Over the following years many rumours circulated, both about potential purchasers for the coaster as well as what might replace it, though none came to fruition. No replacement was ever built inside the tent, although the park considered various ideas including flat ride and rollercoaster concepts.
February 2007 saw the coaster finally departed the park to shores unknown, though the tent remained as an empty shell for several more seasons, dominating the X Sector skyline. It was not until Scarefest 2011 that the tent finally found a new occupier when it housed the two paid mazes, when The Boiler House and Carnival of Screams came on park for the first time. This proved to be the tent's final use, as 2012 saw it demolished to make way for construction of The Smiler.
But the story didn't end there... after many years of looking as though the coaster had a date with the scrap heap, The Black Hole did eventually find a new owner, and since 2011 has been enjoying a second lease of life as Rocket at Furuvik, a park in Sweden. Sporting a vivid new colour scheme, and no longer hidden within a tent, the ride lives on to hopefully thrill many more Swedish guests in the years to come.