Lightwater Valley engineers put in the hard graft before theme park re-opens in March
You could be forgiven for thinking that when Lightwater Valley Theme Park closes to the public at the end of October, nothing happens there until it re-opens in the week before Easter.
You could be forgiven for thinking that when Lightwater Valley Theme Park closes to the public at the end of October, nothing happens there until it re-opens in the week before Easter. But, actually, quite the opposite is true.
In the ‘winter breakdown’, nearly every single one of the 33 rides - including ‘The Ultimate’, which is the longest rollercoaster in Europe - is completely stripped down for full maintenance: a huge undertaking that requires specialist engineering, experience and a lot of hard work. Anybody that was to visit the park in the summer and then pay a return visit in the winter months would find it barely recognisable, such is the scale of the breakdown.
Lightwater Valley employs 13 maintenance engineers and regularly takes on apprentices, one of whom, Mark Taylor, has just passed all his NVQ exams and is now working full-time at the theme park as a maintenance fitter. The team is headed up by Engineering Manager Tony Bolsover, who has been at Lightwater Valley for 14 years. Tony spent five years working exclusively on ‘The Ultimate’ and then becoming a supervisor before being entrusted to lead the team.
Tony said: “People probably wouldn’t expect it but winter is when the really hard work begins.
“We literally completely dismantle the rides, thoroughly assess the parts and then make any fixes that need to be made in the workshop. Each and every element of the rides has to meet the exacting standards of the ride inspector (electrical, mechanical & structural), or else that ride will quite rightly not be allowed to run.
“It’s a huge task, but it’s ultimately hugely satisfying; particularly when you see each of the rides working like clockwork when the park re-opens to the public in the spring.”
Each of the engineers tends to specialise on certain rides and every one of them needs - for very good reason - to complete a working at heights course before they can start maintenance on the rides. Any contractors that are used must have full health and safety regulations in place before they can start work at Lightwater Valley.
Lightwater Valley Theme Park in Ripon, North Yorkshire is home to over 40 rides and attractions. After developing from a self picking strawberry farm, rides were introduced in 1987, making it into one of the UK’s top, modern day theme parks. Lightwater Valley Theme Park will re-open to visitors on 24 March 2012.
For further information on days out at Lightwater Valley or to check out the latest vouchers for Lightwater Valley visit www.lightwatervalley.co.uk
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