The Life & Times
The Alton Beast arrived in 1988 as the star of Coaster Corner in Talbot Street. The coaster was a hit with guests, offering a fast paced ride with sharp drops and swooping turns. The ride began with a spiral lift hill where the trains would power themselves up to the top of the track before the motors would disengage and let gravity do the rest of the work.
The ride stayed on Talbot Street for four years until Coaster Corner was decommissioned to appease noise complaints from the local villages. Whilst the corner's other coasters were removed from the park altogether, Tussauds saw a future in the park for The Alton Beast and so dispatched the ride back to the manufacturer for a full refurb.
It returned to the park as The New Beast, moving to a new site in Thunder Valley and eventually becoming part of Forbidden Valley's four coaster line-up. The Beast continued to thrill guests until 1997 when it was removed, leaving a large footprint at the foot of the valley, which would eventually become the site for Air.
But the story didn't end there... The departure of The Beast left a rather quarry-like mark on the park for the next several year's before development started on SW5. Meanwhile the ride itself was transported to Mexico, where it opened as Space Mountain in a park called Divertido; by coincidence in this iteration the ride operated in a tent structure not unlike that of the Black Hole.
More recently the coaster moved to Columbia and became part of the line-up of Salitre Magico, though it was removed at the end of the 2017 season and is presumably now in storage awaiting a new owner.
The Jetstar Question
Over the year's The Beast has been at the centre of several conundrums that have kept fans busy with speculation.
The Beast was made by Schwarzkopf and was an "off the shelf" Jetstar III; a model similar to that used in the Black Hole, which was also by Schwarzkopf. The hidden layout of the Black Hole led many people to speculate that the two roller coasters were identical to each other, however the Black Hole was in fact a Jetstar II; which was smaller in height and footprint to the Jetstar III. They did share many similar characteristics, however, and when The Beast first opened in 1988 the park bought the track but not the trains. Instead Black Hole was upgraded, with some minor track changes to accommodate longer trains to improve capacity and the old Black Hole cars were coupled into trains and moved on to The Beast.
Later, when the Beast went to the manufacturer for a refurb in 1991, fans theorised that that the park received a completely different ride back. No doubt this idea was inspired by the ride briefly being called The New Beast alongside its dramatically different colour scheme. Staff who worked on the ride however, noted that certain track welds were recognisable as repairs made to the Alton Beast so the track was certainly the same . The New Beast did, however, get brand new trains when it returned.