Page last updated at 16:25 GMT, Tuesday, 8 April 2008 17:25 UK

Rollercoaster fire was deliberate

The Scenic Railway on fire
The fire is being investigated as arson (Picture by Michael Doughty)

Police investigating a fire which badly damaged a Grade II listed rollercoaster at Kent's former Dreamland amusement park say it was started deliberately.

Samples collected by specialist police and fire officers at the Margate site on Tuesday have been sent off for analysis in the arson investigation.

Up to 60 firefighters tackled the blaze at the Scenic Railway on Monday.

About 40% of the historic rollercoaster was destroyed, including sheds which stored the rolling stock.

Kent Police are appealing for witnesses or anyone with information about the fire, which started about 1645 BST, to come forward.

Damage assessed

The wooden rollercoaster, believed to be one of the oldest of its kind left in the world, was damaged in another major fire in the 1940s.

It has not operated for the past two years, but a campaign has been under way to boost the town's tourism by reopening the ride.

Dave Collard, of the Save Dreamland Campaign which secured the ride's heritage status in 2002, said he was optimistic the rollercoaster could be rebuilt, although that would depend on the full extent of the damage.

"There are eight other coasters in the world that have similar trains," he said.

"There's no reason why it couldn't be done, but it will take a lot of work and a lot of money to do so."


SEE ALSO
Amusement rides stored for park
17 Jun 07 |  England

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