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March 3, 2003

Historic Coaster Becomes Britain's First Listed Ride

Article written by:
Eric Gieszl, Editor

Margate, United Kingdom -- Britain's Department for Culture, Media and Sport has given the historic Scenic Railway roller coaster at Dreamland in Margate a grade II listing. This is first time an amusement park ride in the United Kingdom has been listed. The Scenic Railway has stood and operated at Dreamland Park since 1920.

A campaign to save the park and coaster is being lead by amusement park historian Nick Laister and journalist David Page. The two submitted the report to the department to earn the coaster the listed status.

"Well over a hundred wooden roller coasters were built in this country between 1885 and 1960 and only nine remain," said Laister. "What we are now seeing is an alarming number of amusement parks closing down or downsizing, resulting in the loss of historical rides."

"The Scenic Railway at Margate is the oldest operating roller coaster in the United Kingdom. It is the only remaining ride of its type in original condition. If any ride deserves to be listed, this is the one," added Laister.

The report was considered by Elain Harwood, Post-War Architectural Historian at the Government's historic building advisers, English Heritage, who recommended that the roller coaster is Grade II listed. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport accepted that recommendation, and the Scenic Railway should now be protected and enjoyed by generations to come.