The Ultimate: Europe’s longest roller coaster to be dismantled

The ride held the title of longest roller coaster in the world from 1991 to 2000.
Loukia Papadopoulos
The Ultimate at Lightwater Valley is the longest roller coaster in Europe.jpg
The Ultimate at Lightwater Valley is the longest roller coaster in Europe.

Lightwater Valley

Europe’s longest roller coaster, the Ultimate at Lightwater Valley in the UK, will soon be dismantled, according to a post on the ride’s website.

“We have devoted much time and effort considering the future of The Ultimate," said Anne Ackord, Chief Executive Officer, Brighton Pier Group PLC, the owner of the famous ride.

"The ride has been out of service for some years now and the process of assessing the viability of bringing it back into use was a long one."

A nostalgic status and fond memories

“We are mindful of its nostalgic status and that many of our visitors have fond memories of riding the Ultimate Coaster," said the statement.

"Nevertheless, given both the investment required to bring it up to acceptable standards of safety and the re-imagining of Lightwater Valley as a family-orientated Adventure Park, we have decided to close The Ultimate permanently and remove it from the Park.”

Ackord added that she had ambitious plans for the former roller coaster’s home.

“We look forward to welcoming everyone to the new-look Lightwater Valley as it develops and evolves into the north of England’s number one destination for family adventures,” she concluded. 

The ride, located near Ripon, has been out of service since 2019. It was shut down following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Amongst the reasons for its closing, park management cited safety concerns and the costs to refurbish the ride, as well as the park's shift in focus to becoming more family-oriented. 

The park does now offer a virtual reality roller coaster.

An iconic status

The park was purchased by the Brighton Pier Group in 2021. At the time, the firm stated, "The Ultimate is not dead in the water. It needs some work doing on it, but we are more than conscious of its iconic status. If we can do something with it, then we will. Obviously, safety has got to be the priority, so in due course, we will have a look at it and make sure it complies with modern standards."

From 1991 to 2000, the ride, which is 7,442 ft (2,268m) long, held the title of longest roller coaster in the world for nine years surpassing The Beast at Kings Island in the United States. 

In 2000, it was surpassed by the Steel Dragon in Japan which is 8,133 ft (2,479 m) long. However, it remained the longest in Europe.

 At the time of its creation, the Ultimate cost a whopping £5.2 million ($6.36 million) and was designed from a concept created by the park's original owner Robert Staveley. Construction began in early 1990 and took a total of eighteen months to complete.

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