Battlestar Galactica ride to reopen in early 2015

Tests on the new two-seater ride vehicles have begun. Universal Studios Singapore said it will have a more specific launch date soon.
Tests on the new two-seater ride vehicles have begun. Universal Studios Singapore said it will have a more specific launch date soon.PHOTO: COURTESY OF DEJIKI.COM

Roller coaster revamped, with two-seater vehicles replacing four-seaters

The squeals from excited roller-coaster goers will soon be heard at Universal Studios Singapore (USS).

After a closure of more than a year, the amusement park's star attraction - the Battlestar Galactica roller coaster - will reopen in early 2015.

Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), which owns the ride, said that it has been revamped with a new design.

The attraction has two roller coasters, called Human and Cylon, that are intertwined but run on separate tracks.

The ride's four-seater vehicles will be replaced by two-seater vehicles, halving the roller coaster's capacity.

The track, however, will remain the same.

RWS said that this will give all riders an intense experience.

"It will be as if every rider has their own window seat," said senior vice-president of attractions at RWS John Hallenbeck.

A Building and Construction Authority (BCA) spokesman said that permits to modify the Cylon and Human roller coasters were issued in October and November respectively, and tests on the ride vehicles began subsequently.

Once tests and safety checks are completed, the BCA will award RWS a licence to start operating the 42.5m-high ride.

USS said a more specific launch date will be announced soon.

"BCA will only allow the ride to operate after the modifications are completed, safety checks are done, and the Commissioner of Amusement Rides Safety is satisfied with results of the tests on the ride," said the spokesman.

When the attraction closed last July, RWS said it was an "attraction review" and did not elaborate on the closure.

But the 90-second ride, which has sharp turns and vertical loops, has been plagued with problems and closures since the early days of the park.

In March 2010, just a week after USS opened, a seat fell off during a routine test of the ride. While no one was hurt, the roller coaster was suspended and only re-opened after almost a year.

Mr Nicholas Yau, who has been documenting developments in the park on his blog dejiki.com since 2011, hopes the new ride will go faster than the current top speed of 90kmh.

"When this reopens, I think a lot more people will want to go (to USS)," said Mr Yau, who works in the communications industry.

Social worker Jasper Lim, 25, however, is slightly more apprehensive about the ride.

"Every time I visit USS, I see the track closed, but there has not been much explanation on the closure," said Mr Lim, who has a six-month pass to USS, and makes it a point to visit the park each month. "I'm excited to try it," he said.

dansonc@sph.com.sg

leepearl@sph.com.sg