Review: Infusion

It’s a little-known fact that Blackpool Pleasure Beach was once part of a small family of amusement parks that also included Frontierland in Morecambe and Pleasureland in Southport. The reason I say little-known is because both of these parks have since closed down, leaving BPB as the only surviving member of the family. When Pleasureland was closed in 2006, the decision was taken to move their inverted roller coaster Traumatizer to Blackpool, where it reopened in 2007 as Infusion.

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Let me start with the things I like about Infusion. As a spectator attraction, it’s probably one of the most fun coasters to watch at Blackpool Pleasure Beach because it really does look quite pretty. Infusion replaced the old log flume attraction Drench Falls, and as such one thing the park makes a big deal of in advertising is that it’s almost completely suspended over water. Add to that the water jets, curved waterfall and the fact that the coaster runs impressively quietly and it really is quite delightful to watch.

Unfortunately, the experience of riding Infusion is not nearly as smooth or relaxing. Infusion is a standard model Vekoma SLC (suspended looping coaster), many of which were constructed at theme parks across the world throughout the 1990s. The model is still going strong today, and new versions are still opening, with one fairly big difference. Infusion the coaster is now nearly 20 years old, and you can tell when you ride it. It’s not the roughest ride in the world, but the cumbersome restraints mean there is a fair bit of head-banging going on, and the fact that it was already old when it was installed at BPB made it rough right from the offset, which I personally think was a little disappointing.

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It’s a shame really because I reckon most of the issues this coaster has could be solved simply by changing the trains. Vekoma are constantly updating their train designs (mostly to get away from their image as rough coaster manufacturers I suspect), and a new train similar to those found on other Vekoma SLCs would probably vastly improve the experience of riding Infusion. And it is an experience that deserves to be enjoyed: as I mentioned previously it’s very pretty to watch, but it’s also the park’s only suspended roller coaster and it contains the most inversions of any coaster in the park with 5…although in fairness it does only have the Revolution to compete with in that respect at present!

If a little more time and money were invested into Infusion, then I think it could be a great ride and would once again draw queues similar to those seen when it opened. As it is I find it a little too uncomfortable to warrant repeat riding, even though it does carry some nice effects and themeing. Hopefully Pleasure Beach will realise and rectify this in the near future and will once again have a stand-out inverted coaster ready to further bolster their line-up of great attractions.

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Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of your stay here at Along for the Ride.

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