Battlestar ride may reopen this year

SINGAPORE - It is billed as the tallest duelling roller coaster in the world - but since last July, it has also probably been the quietest. But screaming crowds might return by the year end to Universal Studios Singapore's (USS) 42.5m-high Battlestar Galactica roller coaster if plans to resurrect the ride proceed without a hitch.

The Sunday Times has learnt that Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), the ride's owner, has submitted technical and support documents for the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to review.

A spokesman for the authority confirmed that the review is being finalised. Once this is done, a Modification Permit would be issued so alterations can be made to the present ride. "BCA will allow the operation of the ride only after modifications are completed, safety checks are done and the Commissioner of Amusement Rides Safety is satisfied... with the safety measures in place," the spokesman added.

Sources within USS also said they have been told the ride would re-open before the end of this year.

Genting Group, which owns RWS and USS, revealed in its quarterly report in August that it was getting ready for the sci-fi-themed ride's relaunch. When contacted, an RWS spokesman confirmed this and said details would be announced at a later date.

The Battlestar Galactica, USS' star attraction, was closed on July 21 last year for what RWS called an "attraction review". It has not given further details on why it has been unavailable for more than a year.

The 90-second ride, which has sharp turns, vertical loops and can go as fast as 90kmh, got off to an inauspicious start when a seat fell off because of a technical glitch during a routine test in March 2010, just a week after USS opened. No one was hurt, but the ride's licence was suspended immediately.

When The Sunday Times visited last Wednesday, the doors to the two alternate tracks of the roller coaster were shut, but the tracks had received a fresh coat of paint. Park-goers have spotted other changes too.

"From September onwards, I started to see ride engineers on the track," said blogger Nicholas Yau, who has an annual pass to USS and visits the park every two to three weeks.

Malaysian student Ismail Ibrahim, 19, has fond memories of his first time on the roller coaster in June last year. When he visited the park again this week, he was disappointed to find the ride closed. "I can still remember the people screaming," he said.

This article was first published on Oct 12, 2014.
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