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Friday, 1 September, 2000, 01:44 GMT 02:44 UK
Rollercoaster 'one of the world's best'
Pepsi Max Big One
The ride can be seen from 15 miles away
The Pepsi Max Big One was hailed as one of the world's tallest and fastest roller-coasters when it was opened at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 1994.

It has a good safety record, but on Thursday, 14 people were injured when a train waiting to enter the station on the ride was "bumped" by a second slow-moving train.

It had not been completely stopped by the primary braking system of the ride.

Costing 12m to build and nearly a mile long, the roller-coaster has been hailed by enthusiasts the world over.

Awards

Riders reach a maximum speed of 87mph as they race down its tracks after a slow 235 feet ascent.

The gigantic ride can be seen from 15 miles away and at night it is brightly lit, a sight for which the park has won awards.

But things have not always run smoothly for the huge rollercoaster.

It had been open only a week when it suffered its first accident in July 1994.

Twenty-six people were injured when a computer failure on the ride failed to stop a train packed with trippers speeding down the rails.

Computer fault

The train, travelling at 35mph, was only slowed down and ended up ploughing into the back of another.

Eight passengers, trapped by jammed safety bars, had to be cut free and all 26 people were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Others were treated for shock.

Only two hours before the crash, the ride was shut for an hour because of a similar computer fault.

Twenty passengers were stranded for 15 minutes 200ft in the air before the train moved on to allow them down an emergency staircase.

Millions of visitors

But such problems have not deterred fans of Blackpool Pleasure Beach from flocking there.

It is the UK's biggest free tourist attraction with more than 7.5 million visitors through the gates each year.

It was recently rocked by a tragedy when 11-year-old boy Christopher Sherratt dropped out of the Space Invaders ride and fell to his death in July.

A week later a woman and three children were injured in a fall from fell from a horse carousel at the attraction.

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