Rumours as to what the fourth major 'coaster installation at Thorpe Park would be were rife prior to the announcement of SAW - The Ride. Hot favourites included a B&M Flyer (similar to Air at Alton Towers) and a Wooden 'coaster (see below for more on this), but the Park chose to invest heavily in an IP and subsequently spend comparatively less on the ride structure, opting for a Gerstlauer Eurofighter. Eurofighters are known for their short trains which enable far more twisted track layouts than is usual - and are also cheaper to build.
The ride was marketed as the "world's first horror-movie themed 'coaster" and promised to be the "world's most terrifying 'coaster". The planning documents compare the ride to Speed in Oakwood (see comparison photos below), a similar Gerstlauer Eurofighter. Versus Speed however, SAW - The Ride's lift hill is 5 metres lower and car speed is 14% lower, and the SAW track is filled with sand to dampen noise, unlike Oakwood's ride. The plans also point out that a significant part of the SAW experience is the indoor section, which also differentiates it from Speed.
Artist's impressions of the ride played up the dark nature of the themeing, with Lionsgate (studio that produces the SAW films) providing many props from the films for the ride queueline area.
13th July 2008, Thorpe Park began a series of videos that would
be uploaded to YouTube every month on the 13th of every month,
to create hype around the ride. Videos released appear below
- including the name reveal on 13th October!
Here's what could have been - one of the competing ideas for the 2009 investment was a Great Coasters International Inc wooden rollercoaster to sit in the space that SAW - The Ride now occupies!
The ride plans look hugely exciting - tracking through the Logger's Leap tunnel and a station fly-by and fly-under! If you've been on GCII's Millennium Flyer trains you'll know just how improved wooden coasters are these days, when compared to, say, rides like the Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach (opened in 1923!). Unfortunately, much to the enthusiast's chagrin, UK parks are reluctant to build wooden coasters, due to the fear that such rides would be hard to market to the UK audience. Wooden rides are seen as outdated and tame - but this often couldn't be further from the truth. With the UK's only decent wooden offering being 1996's Megafobia at Oakwood, here's hoping that Thorpe Park revisit these plans in the near future...
A view from the Dome across the Park in 2009: