Warrington is a large town and unitary authority area in Cheshire, England, on the banks of the River Mersey, 20 miles east of Liverpool, 20 miles west of Manchester. The population in 2017 was estimated at 209,700, more than double that of 1968 when it became a New Town. Warrington is the largest town in the county of Cheshire. Warrington was founded by the Romans at an important crossing place on the River Mersey. A new settlement was established by the Saxons. By the Middle Ages, Warrington had emerged as a market town at the lowest bridging point of the river. A local tradition of textile and tool production dates from this time. Part of Lancashire, the expansion and urbanisation of Warrington coincided with the Industrial Revolution after the Mersey was made navigable in the 18th century; the West Coast Main Line runs north to south through the town, the Liverpool to Manchester railway west to east. The Manchester Ship Canal cuts through the south of the borough; the M6, M56 and M62 motorways form a partial box around the town.
The modern Borough of Warrington was formed in 1974 with the amalgamation of the former County Borough of Warrington, part of the Golborne Urban District, the Lymm Urban District, part of the Runcorn Rural District, the Warrington Rural District and part of the Whiston Rural District. Warrington has been a major crossing point on the River Mersey since ancient times and there was a Roman settlement at Wilderspool. Local archaeological evidence indicates. In medieval times Warrington's importance was as a market town and bridging point of the River Mersey; the first reference to a bridge at Warrington is found in 1285. The origin of the modern town was located in the area around St Elphin's Church, now included in the Church Street Conservation Area, established whilst the main river crossing was via a ford 1 km upriver of Warrington Bridge. Warrington was the first paved town in Lancashire, which took place in 1321. Warrington was a fulcrum in the English Civil War; the armies of Oliver Cromwell and the Earl of Derby both stayed near the old town centre.
Popular legend has it that Cromwell lodged near the building which survives on Church Street as the Cottage Restaurant. The Marquis of Granby public house bears a plaque stating that the Earl of Derby'had his quarters near this site'. Dents in the walls of the parish church are rumoured to have been caused by the cannons from the time of the civil war. On 13 August 1651 Warrington was the scene of the last Royalist victory of the civil war when Scots troops under Charles II and David Leslie, Lord Newark, fought Parliamentarians under John Lambert at the Battle of Warrington Bridge; the expansion and urbanisation of Warrington coincided with the Industrial Revolution after the Mersey was made navigable in the 18th century. As Britain became industrialised, Warrington embraced the Industrial Revolution becoming a manufacturing town and a centre of steel, brewing and chemical industries; the navigational properties of the River Mersey were improved, canals were built, the town grew yet more prosperous and popular.
When the age of steam came, Warrington welcomed it, both as a means of transport and as a source of power for its mills. Many people Americans, remember Warrington best as the location of RAF Station Burtonwood Burtonwood RAF base. During World War II, it served as the largest US Army Air Force airfield outside the United States, was visited by major American celebrities like Humphrey Bogart and Bob Hope who entertained the GIs; the RAF station continued in use by the USAAF and subsequently USAF as a staging post for men and material until its closure in 1993. Warrington was designated a new town in 1968 and the town grew in size, with the Birchwood area being developed on the former ROF Risley site. Heavy industry declined in the 1970s and 1980s but the growth of the new town led to a great increase in employment in light industry and technology. On 20 March 1993, the Provisional Irish Republican Army detonated two bombs in Warrington town centre; the blasts killed two children: three-year-old Jonathan Ball died and twelve-year-old Tim Parry, from the Great Sankey area died five days in hospital.
Around 56 other people were injured, four seriously. Their deaths provoked widespread condemnation of the organisation responsible; the blast followed a bomb attack a few weeks earlier on a gas-storage plant in Warrington. Tim Parry's father Colin Parry founded The Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace as part of a campaign to reconcile communities in conflict; the centre opened on the seventh anniversary of the bombing, 20 March 2000. He and his family still live in the town. In 1981, Warrington was the first place to field a candidate for the new Social Democratic Party. On 23 November 1981, an F1/T3 tornado formed over Croft and passed over Warrington town centre, causing some damage. There was a RAF training camp at Padgate, a Royal Naval air base at Appleton Thorn and an army base at the Peninsula Barracks in O'Leary Street; the Territorial Army was based at the Bath Street drill hall. In October 1987, Swedish home products retailer IKEA opened its first British store in the Burtonwood area of the town, bringing more than 200 retail jobs to the area.
In Lancashire, Warrington was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1847 under the Municipal Corporat
Gulliver's Kingdom is a theme park aimed at children aged 3 to 13 in the Derbyshire town of Matlock Bath, England. Founded in 1978 by Ray Phillips, it is still owned by the Phillips family and now has sister theme parks; the park was created by Ray Phillips as a model village for his young children to enjoy, it is close to the site of the Victorian Switchback rollercoaster ride. The park is noted for its location - it provides a unique experience, with many rides being nestled in amongst the trees; the view across to Starkholmes and the Heights of Abraham is notable. As of 2018, the Theme Park has the following rides and attractions: Western World - The log Flume and Sliver Mine, Western Play Town and Indian Play Area. Safari Kingdom - Flying Raft, Tree Top Drop, Safari Dodgems and the Top Entrance for the chairlift; the Lost World - Dino Falls Water Slide, Dino Cars a Dinosaur Play area and Fossil Dig. The Party House - The Ladybirds, Fish Ride and Jumping Star. JCB Zone - and interactive construction site with full JCB Diggers for the children to play with.
Lilliput Land - The Crazy Barrels and the Model Village Toyland - The Switchback Coaster, The Magic Bikes, The Monorail, Moon Buggies and Play Area. Lilliput Woods - The Log Coaster, Crows Nest Quest and Climbing Wall Smugglers Wharf - The Double Decker Carousel, Percy Pigs Pirate Adventure and the Pirate Ship. Bourbon Street - The Bottom Entrance for the Chairlift. In 2018, the Lost Kingdom dinosaur area was refurbished into the "Lost World:Land of the Living Dinosaurs" and features animatronic dinosaurs that come alive with movement and sound and the chance to have a photo with its resident dinosaur "Terence", trained by the on-site team, it is a firm favourite with children. In 2017 Gulliver's Kingdom launched the Pirate Training Camp, featuring the Crows Nest Quest - A 17m high challenge course Themed accommodation is now available within Gulliver's Kingdom Resort. Family cabins can sleep up to 5 people and packages include access to the main theme park. Launched in summer 2017 the Explorers Retreat and Fairytale Retreat include pirate and wizard themes.
Gulliver's Kingdom features two entrances due to the car-parking being so spread out and on a hill side. There are two onsite shops at each entrance. Places to eat in Gulliver's Kingdom include The Happy Haddock, Tamu Feast, the Canyon Grill. In 2018 Costa Coffee was introduced into the bottom entrance of the park; the main park opens seasonally, from Easter and throughout summer on weekends in September and October - up to Halloween. The park is home to the Gully Gang; the Gully Gang consists of Gilly Mouse, Percy Pig and Leonard Lion. In 2017 in partnership with Sony, saw the Smurfs visit Gulliver's Kingdom and in 2018 sees Johnny and Mavis from Hotel Transylvania 3 on a "Monster Vacation" at Gulliver's Kingdom; these characters are available to meet children and pose for pictures. In 2018 Gullivers Kingdom celebrated its 40th Anniversary and to celebrate holds a daily "Ruby Jubilee Street Party" in Bourbon Street where you can get High Tea, cakes and a visit from Gully Mouse. Under 120cm Gulliver's Land Gulliver's World Official Gulliver's Kingdom Website Interview with the Gulliver's Managing Director
Eaton Hall Railway
The Eaton Hall Railway was an early 15 in gauge minimum gauge estate railway built in 1896 at Eaton Hall in Cheshire. It was built for the Duke of Westminster by Sir Arthur Percival Heywood, who had pioneered the 15 in gauge with his Duffield Bank Railway, connected the hall to the GWR station sidings at Balderton on their Shrewsbury to Chester Line, some 3 miles away; the total length of the line was four and a half miles, with the addition of several branches including one long one to the brick store and estate workshop at Cuckoo's Nest. The track was steel flat-bottomed rail of 16.5 pounds per yard, attached by spring clips to cast iron sleepers, 3 feet long and 6.5 inches wide, spaced at 2-foot-3-inch centres. Pointwork was prepared at the workshop in Duffield, carried to site; the maximum gradient was 1 in 70. For much of its length it followed the main driveway and crossed the park, including the major driveways. Therefore, the line had to be as unobtrusive as possible and was laid level with the ground with a central drainage pipe beneath.
The ballast was red furnace cinder, 4 feet wide. On leaving the park the line was embanked; the line was not fenced - where it crossed between fields it was carried on girders over a deep ditch to prevent cattle straying. There were bridges over one or two streams, the longest being 28 feet, but it crossed roadways on the level, at one point the main Wrexham to Chester road. Although Heywood had obtained wayleave, it could only be a temporary arrangement, for a private railway, the council was not able to enter in an agreement which bound its successors. Heywood therefore campaigned for a clause in the proposed Light Railway Bill which would allow permission for public road crossings to be granted in perpetuity; the first engine was "Katie", an 0-4-0T with Brown/Heywood valvegear. Following this were two identical 0-6-0T locomotives, "Shelagh" and "Ursula". Further details are given below. Katie proved capable of handling up to 40 long tons on the level, or 20 long tons on the gradient, at a speed of around 10 mph.
Under test, 20 mph was achieved in safety. All rolling stock was built to negotiate curves of 25-foot minimum radius. Self-acting coupler-buffers were fitted and measures were taken to ensure interchangeability of parts. Thirty open wagons and a 4-wheeled brake van were provided, each wagon carrying about 16 long cwt of coal or 22 long cwt of bricks; the wagon'tops' were removable to allow them to be used as flats, bolster fittings were supplied to carry long items such as timber. An open 16 seat bogie coach, a bogie parcel van and a small open 4 wheeled brake'van' were provided at the opening. A closed bogie passenger vehicle, some 20 feet long seating 12 people inside and four outside, a bogie brake van seating four inside and four outside were supplied after opening. Other wagons were rebuilt over the years; the design estimate for the line was around 5,000 long tons per year coal, road metal and bricks. To Heywood's mind it was the ideal application for this gauge of railway. One of the suppliers to the Hall was Co..
It arranged for fuel supplies to be delivered by rail to Balderton sidings where they were transferred to the Eaton Hall wagons. Allan Morris commenced business in Chester in 1893, the company still exists in Telford, in Sandycroft, Wales; the Eaton Hall railway closed in 1946 and was lifted in 1947. It was transported to the Romney and Dymchurch Railway. A new 15 in railway, named, it is not available for use by the public except on the various garden open days. The new line consists of a large loop with a spur leading to the engine shed; the latter section of track follows a small part of the original route. The original Katie was sold to the newly built Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway and in 1922 to the Llewellyn Miniature Railway in Southport. In 1923 she was sold to the Fairbourne Miniature Railway where she operated trains until scrapping in 1926, she was rebuilt in 2016 using original frames and is on display in the Ravenglass Museum, being commissioned for first service on the railway in 2018.
1896 Katie 0-4-0T boiler 160 psi grate area 2.12 sq ft heating surface 53 sq ft cylinders 4.675 in × 7 in wheel diameter 1 ft 3 in Brown/Heywood valve gear. 1904 Shelagh 0-6-0T boiler 160 psi grate area 3 sq ft heating surface 80 sq ft cylinders 5.5 in × 8 in wheel diameter 1 ft 4 in Brown/Heywood valve gear. 1916 Ursula 0-6-0T as Shelagh Fifteen-inch gauge railway Clayton, H. The Duffield Bank and Eaton Railways, The Oakwood Press, X19, ISBN 0-85361-034-7 Heywood, A. P. Minimum Gauge Railways, 3rd Ed. Derby: Bemrose. Republished by Turntable Enterprises, ISBN 0-902844-26-1 Smithers, Mark Sir Arthur Heywood and the Fifteen Inch Gauge Railway, Plateway Press, ISBN 1-871980-22-4. Specific
An amusement park is a park that features various attractions, such as rides and games, as well as other events for entertainment purposes. A theme park is a type of amusement park that bases its structures and attractions around a central theme featuring multiple areas with different themes. Unlike temporary and mobile funfairs and carnivals, amusement parks are stationary and built for long-lasting operation, they are more elaborate than city parks and playgrounds providing attractions that cater to a variety of age groups. While amusement parks contain themed areas, theme parks place a heavier focus with more intricately-designed themes that revolve around a particular subject or group of subjects. Amusement parks evolved from European fairs, pleasure gardens and large picnic areas, which were created for people's recreation. World's fairs and other types of international expositions influenced the emergence of the amusement park industry. Lake Compounce opened in 1846 and is considered the oldest continuously-operating amusement park in North America.
The first theme parks emerged in the mid-twentieth century with the opening of Santa Claus Land in 1946, Santa's Workshop in 1949, Disneyland in 1955. The amusement park evolved from three earlier traditions: traveling or periodic fairs, pleasure gardens and exhibitions such as world fairs; the oldest influence was the periodic fair of the Middle Ages - one of the earliest was the Bartholomew Fair in England from 1133. By the 18th and 19th centuries, they had evolved into places of entertainment for the masses, where the public could view freak shows, acrobatics and juggling, take part in competitions and walk through menageries. A wave of innovation in the 1860s and 1870s created mechanical rides, such as the steam-powered carousel, its derivatives, notably from Frederick Savage of King's Lynn, Norfolk whose fairground machinery was exported all over the world; this inaugurated the era of the modern funfair ride, as the working classes were able to spend their surplus wages on entertainment.
The second influence was the pleasure garden. An example of this is the world's oldest amusement park, opened in mainland Europe in 1583, it is located north of Copenhagen in Denmark. Another early garden was the Vauxhall Gardens, founded in 1661 in London. By the late 18th century, the site had an admission fee for its many attractions, it drew enormous crowds, with its paths noted for romantic assignations. Although the gardens were designed for the elites, they soon became places of great social diversity. Public firework displays were put on at Marylebone Gardens, Cremorne Gardens offered music and animal acrobatics displays. Prater in Vienna, began as a royal hunting ground, opened in 1766 for public enjoyment. There followed coffee-houses and cafés, which led to the beginnings of the Wurstelprater as an amusement park; the concept of a fixed park for amusement was further developed with the beginning of the world's fairs. The first World fair began in 1851 with the construction of the landmark Crystal Palace in London, England.
The purpose of the exposition was to celebrate the industrial achievement of the nations of the world and it was designed to educate and entertain the visitors. American cities and business saw the world's fair as a way of demonstrating economic and industrial success; the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, Illinois was an early precursor to the modern amusement park. The fair was an enclosed site, that merged entertainment and education to entertain the masses, it set out to bedazzle the visitors, did so with a blaze of lights from the "White City." To make sure that the fair was a financial success, the planners included a dedicated amusement concessions area called the Midway Plaisance. Rides from this fair captured the imagination of the visitors and of amusement parks around the world, such as the first steel Ferris wheel, found in many other amusement areas, such as the Prater by 1896; the experience of the enclosed ideal city with wonder, rides and progress, was based on the creation of an illusory place.
The "midway" introduced at the Columbian Exposition would become a standard part of most amusement parks, fairs and circuses. The midway contained not only the rides, but other concessions and entertainments such as shooting galleries, penny arcades, games of chance and shows. Many modern amusement parks evolved from earlier pleasure resorts that had become popular with the public for day-trips or weekend holidays, for example, seaside areas such as Blackpool, United Kingdom and Coney Island, United States. In the United States, some amusement parks grew from picnic groves established along rivers and lakes that provided bathing and water sports, such as Lake Compounce in Connecticut, first established as a picturesque picnic park in 1846, Riverside Park in Massachusetts, founded in the 1870s along the Connecticut River; the trick was getting the public to the resort location. For Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York, on the Atlantic Ocean, a horse-drawn streetcar line brought pleasure seekers to the beach beginning in 1829.
In 1875, a million passengers rode the Coney Island Railroad, in 1876 two million visited Coney Island. Hotels and amusements were built to accommodate both the upper classes and the working class at the beach; the first carousel was installed in the 1870s, the first roller coaster, the "Switchback Railway", in 1884. In England, Blackpo
Lightwater Valley is a theme park in North Stainley, North Yorkshire, England. The park is best known for being the home of Europe's longest rollercoaster - The Ultimate. Lightwater Valley was founded by Mr Robert Staveley and evolved from a small farm attraction; the park features around 40 other rides and features an adjacent shopping village and restaurant. The park is now managed by Livingstone Leisure Ltd.. The park attracts 500,000 visitors per year. In 1969 Lightwater Valley started life as a small self-pick fruit farm attraction, quite popular with the local community; the farm was owned by the Staveley family, in ownership of the land way back until 1516 when Cardinal Wolsey handed the grounds over to John Staveley. The farm was dealt a crippling blow in 1976 as a severe drought was brought to the region, having a huge effect on the strawberry crop, the main source of the farm's revenue; that year a lake was excavated to help reduce the effects of a future drought. The lake became hugely popular with visitors in the warmer months of the year and the Staveleys began to see new business opportunities in the form of entertainment for visitors.
These early attractions included an adventure playground, rowing boats, a circus, on, a range of other rare and unique attractions such as a petting farm, BMX bikes, pedal carts, Skate Karts, petrol driven single and double seated Go Karts, a pitch and putt golf course, a hell slide, a water chute and many more. The park advertised itself as country self pick fruit farm during this time. A range of different fairground rides were introduced into the entrance areas of the park, such as chair swings, carousels and waltzers. During this time the Lightwater Shopping Village was established. For many, the birth of Lightwater Valley Theme Park proper was soon after the year 1987, during which Rat Ride was built. Robert Staveley wanted to expand on the family market and provide something for the thrill market whilst still being suitable for the younger audience. At the time, Robert Staveley's wife was a keen protector of the country park status and did not like the idea of having a roller coaster spoiling and compromising this.
After much discussion, she permitted the construction of a roller coaster as long as it was out of sight. Robert decided he would bury the roller coaster in the ground and so was born the subterranean roller coaster themed on the dwellings of a sewer rat, it gave the illusion of an underground experience, was converted to Raptor Attack for the 2010 season. The ride was constructed by blasting large amounts of rock and capping the hole and exposed sides with a large barn style building; the ride attracted much attention, nearly doubling gate figures and setting the stone for future developments in the ride offering including, the following year, the park's first looping coaster, the Soopa Loopa, featuring two vertical loops and a backward facing ride car. Robert Staveley used the success of the Rat Ride to persuade his wife that a'proper' roller coaster be built, he had liked the idea of having a roller coaster coming down the valley at the top of the park but was faced with the challenge of getting people to the top of the valley to board the train.
His wife suggested that the train be sent out to the top and returned with the aid of two drops. In 1990 construction began on the world's longest rollercoaster, costing £5.2 million and over 1.5 miles in length, The Ultimate was opened to the public in 1991. Additional rides and attractions were added throughout the decade, including roller coasters such as'The Viper','The Batflyer', arguably one of the most popular all time favourites,'The Ladybird'. Water rides such as'The Beaver Rapids' log flume, the'Falls of Terror' were opened. A number of rides were opened on short term leases rather than buying the rides, for example, the Beaver Rapids and the'Heatwave', later. Robert Staveley handed the park over to his children and James in the mid 1990s, but there was a change of ownership from a private family firm to Queensborough Holdings, who bought the park for £5.2 million in 1997. The park was sold because the park had run into financial difficulties following the heavy expenditure on The Ultimate.
Queensborough Holdings were in ownership of Pleasurewood Hills Theme Park at the time, which resulted in both parks sharing the same mascot Woody the Bear. Both parks were operated by part of Queensborough Holdings. However, the new owners put the park back up for sale within 11 months of buying it as they decided to re-focus their business. However, no bid was accepted during the following few years; the park was given a new lease of life in February 2001 when Lightwater Valley was bought by Ball Investments who used Heritage GB to manage the operations. The new ownership brought about rapid investment in the ride offering and brand imaging with new logos, mascots and rides such as'The Treetop Twister' and'Black Widow's Web' in the first year, followed on by rides such as'The Octopus','The Eagle's Claw','The Grizzly Bear','The Caterpillar Coaster','Trauma Tower' and'Skyrider'. Following the unfortunate incidents of 2001 guest figures plummeted from their 1990 averages. Continual improvements to the family offering, brand imaging and marketing have resulted in vast improvements to customer satisfaction and attendance figures.
Investment in the re-theming of the Sewer Rat to'Raptor Attack', the introduction of the first themed'area','Skeleton Cove'
Oakwood Theme Park
Oakwood Theme Park is a theme park in Pembrokeshire, Wales. Oakwood opened in the late 1980s as a small family park with BMXs, a wooden fort, a 3D-style cinema experience show, go-karts and a water chute ride; the park now incorporates four large thrill rides: Megafobia, Vertigo and Speed. In 2006 Oakwood opened a new ride to the public: Speed, a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter roller coaster with a 97-degree drop; this was the first Euro-Fighter in the UK and was at that time the steepest roller coaster in the United Kingdom, only being overtaken by the opening of Thorpe Park's Euro-Fighter Saw: The Ride in 2009 and Mumbo Jumbo at Flamingo Land Resort in the summer of 2009. The 85-foot-tall CCI-built wooden roller coaster "Megafobia" has been rated among the best in Europe by enthusiasts. In 2016 it celebrated 20 years at Oakwood; until March 2008, Oakwood Leisure Ltd. was owned and developed by the McNamara family, Pembrokeshire farmland owners who diversified into the leisure industry in 1987 after the introduction of milk quotas.
The park took twelve months to research. A 15 in gauge narrow gauge railway operates on site at Oakwood; the railway, well established, is not listed amongst the park's rides and attractions, but forms part of the operational infrastructure, providing a transport link between the theme park and the car park. Travelling on the railway is included in the cost of the park admission ticket; until 2016, the railway was operated by four diesel locomotives. Since 2016 only one non-themed diesel locomotive is being used, the other three locomotives having been retired. Open 20-seater "Severn Lamb" type toast rack carriages are used in warm weather, with enclosed 20-seater former Liverpool Garden Festival coaches used year-round. Following an increase in visitor numbers after the arrival of the Snake River Falls water coaster in 1994, the management decided to pursue the development of the park into a more'thrilling' theme park. On 30 April 1996, Megafobia opened, it cost £1.7m to build, but allowed the park to reach 500,000 visitors in one season for the first time.
In 1996 Oakwood began an annual After Dark event, with late-night opening, fireworks and discounted evening entry. Following the change of hands to Aspro Ocio S. A in March 2008, Oakwood Theme Park has seen a range of changes, in particular to staffing, with restructuring of both seasonal and permanent staff levels in line with market conditions. In February 2010, a new logo was premiered on the front page of Oakwood's new leaflet and Facebook page; the new image was the first logo for the park to change the initial'train stop' shape around the name. There is now a blue corkscrew section of a coaster with the words Oakwood and Theme Park in a box underneath. In late 2012, the park announced. In 2013, Kidz World was redeveloped into Neverland; the park added a number of rides, including Skull Rock, Crocodile Coaster, Neverland Chase, Jolly Roger, London Taxi Ride, Tink's Flying School, Journey to Neverland and the Lost Boy Adventure. The park relocated some of the children's rides to the old Plane Crazy site and created Circus Land.
1988: Nutty Jake's Gold Mine. 1989: Treetops Family Roller Coaster. 1991: Jake's Music Hall animatronic stage show. 1994: Snake River Falls Family Water Ride. At the time this was a rather substantial addition to the small leisure park; the addition of the falls, saw the removal of 2 of the 8 original assault courses as the falls was built on the zip line area of one of the courses. 1995: Play Town Farm for children including tractor ride. Further development on this area never came to fruition. 1996: Megafobia. 1997: Vertigo Sky Coaster. Kiddie Coaster in Play Town. General park face-lift. 1999: Assault Course is first of Oakwood's original attractions to face the axe as part of the park's expansion. This makes the park's third white-knuckle attraction. Guest Relations is added, it is a tourist information centre as well as a second first aid base it is a link between guests and park, lost property and lost children are its main duties. 2000: Jake's Town is axed. Voodoo Mansion now occupies the site of Jake's Music Hall.
Play Town is revamped with the addition of the Wacky Factory. 2001: Nutty Jake's Gold Mine closed since 2000, is now transformed into Brer Rabbit's Burrow. 2002: Hydro becomes the biggest ride to arrive since Megafobia 6 years earlier. Both Senior and Junior go-karts are axed. 2003: Voodoo Mansion is revamped into "Spooky 3D" for Whitsun. 2004: Plane Crazy is opened on the site of the old Junior go-karts. 2005: Speed does not arrive as intended due to the Hydro tragedy of the previous Easter. Hydro itself is re-opened following closure through all of the 2004 season, it re-opens with a new boat interior with some degree of re-branding. The Magic Factory is the new children's attraction for this year. Oakwood's after-dark show loses its laser-water screen. 2006: Speed Euro-Fighter is opened on the site of the old Senior Go-Karts. 2007: Oakwood relocates its Premier Theatre from New Orleans back to the Wacky Factory location, next to Plane Crazy. Wa
Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway
The Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway is a 15 in minimum gauge heritage railway in Cumbria, England. The 7 miles line runs from Ravenglass to Dalegarth Station near Boot in the valley of Eskdale, in the Lake District. At Ravenglass the line ends at Ravenglass railway station on the Cumbrian Coast Line. Intermediate stations and halts are at Muncaster Mill, Murthwaite, Irton Road, The Green and Beckfoot; the railway is supported by a preservation society. The oldest locomotive is River Irt, parts of which date from 1894, while the newest is the diesel-hydraulic Douglas Ferreira, built in 2005; the line is known locally as its 3 ft gauge predecessor as Owd Ratty. Nearby attractions include: the Roman Bath House at Ravenglass; the original Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway was a 3 ft line opened on 24 May 1875 to transport hematite iron ore from mines around Boot to the Furness Railway standard gauge line at Ravenglass. A tramway separated from the line just after Beckfoot along the route of the current railway and up to Gil Force.
There has been dispute about the gauge. It is shown as 3 feet in records but is quoted as 2 ft 9 in in some books such as the ABC of Narrow Gauge Railways; this figure was believed for many years until the present company discovered a sleeper from before the line closed, with spacings between holes made by track spikes confirming the gauge was the wider one. The confusion stems from the fact that the line was built under the condition that it was "of a gauge not less than 2' 9" ". Following requests from the residents of the valley for a passenger service, the railway was upgraded to meet the minimum standards of the Board of Trade, the first passenger trains ran in November 1876, it was the first public narrow-gauge railway in England. However, the cost of upgrading the line for passengers left the railway company with substantial debts which it was unable to pay off; the company was forced to declare itself bankrupt in 1877, although trains continued to run under the control of a series of receivers.
All but one of the iron ore mines closed within 10 years of the railway opening, there wasn't enough traffic from other sources for the railway to sustain itself. In years, the railway did become popular with summer tourists, but this wasn't enough to offset the railways running costs. In 1905, a passenger train was derailed at Murthwaite due to a combination of a defective locomotive and defective track. By 1908 the track-work was is such poor condition, it was declared unsafe for passengers by the Board of Trade; the railway closed to passengers that year. Goods trains continued to run; these attempts failed, the railway closed in April 1913 In 1915 Wenman Joseph Bassett-Lowke and Robert Proctor-Mitchell, two model makers, converted the line to the 15 in gauge that it is today. The first train operated over the regauged line on 28 August 1915. By 1917, the entire line had been converted and trains were running along the whole length. Services were operated using the Bassett-Lowke-built, to-scale 4-4-2 Sans Pareil.
Rolling stock was augmented by Sir Arthur Heywood's Duffield Bank line, following Sir Arthur's death in 1916. These included the 0-8-0 locomotive Muriel, whose running gear were rebuilt as River Irt; as well as passengers, the line transported granite between Beckfoot Quarry and Murthwaite crushing plant. From Murthwaite to Ravenglass the track ran as dual gauge for a time, with 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in standard gauge track straddling the 15 in gauge rails. A diesel locomotive was obtained in 1929 to work this section and details are in Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway locomotives; the line produce for the valley. By the mid-1920s, the line had been extended to its present terminus at Dalegarth Station. Passenger trains did not run during World War II. In 1946, the line was purchased by the Keswick Granite Company, but quarrying at Beckfoot finished in 1953, leaving the line dependent on passenger traffic. From 1958 attempts were made to sell the line, it was expected that if these failed the line would close at the end of the 1960 season.
In the event, the railway was sold by auction in September of that year. Locals and railway enthusiasts formed Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway Preservation Society to save the line, with financial backing by Sir Wavell Wakefield, MP for Marylebone and owner of the Ullswater Steamers, Colin Gilbert, a stockbroker; the railway was owned and operated by a private company, with the backing of the preservation society, an arrangement, still in place. Despite construction of the 2-8-2 locomotive River Esk in 1923 and the rebuilding of Muriel into the 0-8-2 River Irt in 1927, the line was short of motive power. To allow for an expanded timetable, the preservation society raised funds to build a third steam locomotive. River Mite entered service in 1967 and, although owned by the society, has been on permanent loan to the company since. In 1968, the death of Colin Gilbert led to the railway company becoming the property of Sir Wavell Wakefield, who by that stage had become Lord Wakefield of Kendal. In the early 1970s it became apparent.
This time the company constructed the locomotive itself. Northern Rock was complete in time for centenary celebrations in 1976. A