Alton Towers' famous flume ride to close after 34 years
After 34 years of soaking thrillseekers, Alton Towers' iconic flume ride has made its final splash and will not be opening this year, it has been revealed.
The Staffordshire theme park confirmed the closure just three weeks before its gates are due to open for the 2016 season.
Alton Towers is also saying goodbye to Ripsaw - the dizzying, rotating Forbidden Valley ride - which was dismantled late last year.
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Park veterans will no doubt be disappointed by the loss of the flume, but Alton Towers said the ride will eventually be replaced by an 'exciting' top secret new attraction. Whether or not ponchos will be required for the replacement it is not yet known.
The flume, which saw riders meander sedately upwards before plunging steeply into a splash pool, was initially a log flume but had logs replaced by bathtubs as part of a 21st century makeover.
A blog post on Alton Towers' website said: "It is never an easy decision to take out rides, however, as we look to our long term future, it is essential that we continue to invest in thrilling new attractions and experiences and we'll keep you posted with news of what will replace The Flume as soon as we can but for now, our exciting plans for the site are still top secret!"
The log flume's closure means the only water-based ride in the park will be the comparatively sedate Congo River Rapids. Punters wanting a soaking will instead have to head to the separate Alton Towers Water Park.
Many disappointed fans have already taken to social media to express their sadness, posting under the hashtag #goodbyeflume.
Alton Towers has had a difficult year since the horrific crash on the park's Smiler ride in June 2015.
Sixteen people were injured in the accident - five seriously - which saw the park shut down for four days and led to a sharp drop in visitor numbers.
And it was announced last week that the Health and Safety Executive intends to prosecute Alton Towers operator Merlin over the accident.
Bosses at Alton Towers will be hoping that new virtual reality rollercoaster Galactica will help boost visitor numbers for the coming season.
Galactica, which the park says will turn guests into astronauts, will open on March 24,
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