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Where was Treasure Island?


Matt N
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Hi guys. Sorry to bother you all, but I've recently been re-reading Making Thorpe Park by Chris Atkinson (an excellent read, by the way!), and when discussing the earlier years of the park, it talked quite a bit about Treasure Island, a pirate-themed train ride and show (I think?) that the park operated under RMC. The land is allegedly not in use anymore.

 

So my question was; where exactly was Treasure Island, and does the park still own the land?

 

I'd also be intrigued to know about Thorpe Farm, but I know that was near Canada Creek/Old Town, as the Canada Creek Railway used to run to Thorpe Farm until 2006.

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3 hours ago, Matt N said:

Hi guys. Sorry to bother you all, but I've recently been re-reading Making Thorpe Park by Chris Atkinson (an excellent read, by the way!), and when discussing the earlier years of the park, it talked quite a bit about Treasure Island, a pirate-themed train ride and show (I think?) that the park operated under RMC. The land is allegedly not in use anymore.

 

So my question was; where exactly was Treasure Island, and does the park still own the land?

 

I'd also be intrigued to know about Thorpe Farm, but I know that was near Canada Creek/Old Town, as the Canada Creek Railway used to run to Thorpe Farm until 2006.

 

Treasure Island was halfway between Thorpe Farm and the park, virtually a little west of where the vacant island next to Swarm is. Thorpe Farm was nowhere near Canada Creek/Old Town. The railway was shortened to just a loop when the farm shut.

 

See image below and watch the attached video. At 2:31 you can see the interchange for the Treasure Island Railway. Waterbuses used to also run from Model Village (next to where Sunken Garden is now over to the jetty you can see just east of my Thorpe Farm label. 

image.png

 

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There's also a handy bit of info here: https://memoriesofthorpepark.co.uk/treasureisland.html

 

4 hours ago, Matt N said:

I'd also be intrigued to know about Thorpe Farm, but I know that was near Canada Creek/Old Town, as the Canada Creek Railway used to run to Thorpe Farm until 2006.

I'll follow this post up with more later, but again, Memories of Thorpe Park can give a nice bit of info about Thorpe Farm and CCR:

https://memoriesofthorpepark.co.uk/thorpefarm.html

https://memoriesofthorpepark.co.uk/ccr.html

 

 

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Cheers, both!

 

I’ll admit I’m surprised at how far Thorpe Farm was from Canada Creek/Old Town; given the distance, surely a train from the bit by Rumba Rapids and the area that now houses Nemesis Inferno would have made more sense? I’m also surprised at how close Thorpe was allowed to build the farm to Thorpe village, as well as just how far away it was from everything else… Thorpe Park was strangely a lot bigger in the 80s, as according to the book, they also had a walk-around attraction about war planes going around an entirely separate lake! Was Treasure Island Railway a separate ride to Canada Creek Railway, or was it the same ride, but a marginally different route?

 

Also, does the park still own the sites of Treasure Island and Thorpe Farm? Could they potentially function as future ride sites if the park wanted?

 

Sorry to ask so many questions; I’ll admit that learning about pre-Tussauds Thorpe does interest me, because as someone who didn’t visit for the first time until 2014 (by which point the park was quite comfortable in the skin of a thrill seeker haven), I find it hard to fathom the prospect of Thorpe Park ever having had these kinds of attractions and being that kind of park.

 

80s Thorpe Park sounds like somewhere my thrill-hating Nan would have quite liked (she’s said to me herself that her thrill threshold doesn’t extend beyond Pembrokeshire’s Folly Farm, and often moans about how Chessington’s peak was when it was primarily a zoo), while I wouldn’t dream of taking her to modern day Thorpe Park, or even a more family-friendly place like Alton Towers or Chessington!

 

I guess it puts into perspective just how much the 2000s changed the park…

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/27/2021 at 8:56 PM, Matt N said:

I’ll admit I’m surprised at how far Thorpe Farm was from Canada Creek/Old Town; given the distance, surely a train from the bit by Rumba Rapids and the area that now houses Nemesis Inferno would have made more sense?

 

Part of it was down to the fact that's where the space was, and that's where investment was going. The Canada Creek Railway was introduced when they introduced the Canada Creek area (including Loggers Leap). It wasn't just a means of transportation, it was also an attraction in its own right, and looping round Canada Creek and giving that - albeit minimal - interaction with Loggers Leap helped too.

 

The area by Rumba and what's now Inferno had other attractions, and didn't really have the space for a train station, train storage shed and a turnaround.

 

 

On 12/27/2021 at 8:56 PM, Matt N said:

I’m also surprised at how close Thorpe was allowed to build the farm to Thorpe village, as well as just how far away it was from everything else…

It should be remember that the farm was just that - a farm! It had animals and restaurant. It wasn't noisy or disruptive in any way. If Thorpe Park didn't exist, no one would bat an eyelid at that area being used as a farm.

 

It should also be remember that when Thorpe Park opened, it wasn't really a theme park. It was a leisure park, which slowly developed into a theme park, with rides added in at certain periods. A farm in that location made perfect sense in the context of what Thorpe Park originally was.

 

At the same time, having it far away from everything else made sense. It was a place for animals and for quiet, away from some of the louder and busier leisure activities at the park. 

 

On 12/27/2021 at 8:56 PM, Matt N said:

Thorpe Park was strangely a lot bigger in the 80s, as according to the book, they also had a walk-around attraction about war planes going around an entirely separate lake!

I don't think the plane exhibits were in any different parts of the park than what exists now. They were located in various parts of the park, including what is now The Jungle, where Vortex/Zodiac are, and parts of where Loggers Leap are. When Loggers Leap an Canada Creek were introduced, some parts of the lake were infilled to create the area. This might be the separate lake that was spoken about.

 

On 12/27/2021 at 8:56 PM, Matt N said:

Was Treasure Island Railway a separate ride to Canada Creek Railway, or was it the same ride, but a marginally different route?

It was separate. 

 

Treasure Island opened in 1983, so pre-dates CCR. Before CCR opened, one could take the waterbus to the Farm, or you could walk there. To walk there, you would go alongside the lake, from what is now roughly between Rumba Rapids and Inferno to the Farm. About a third of the way along was the station / entrance for Treasure Island. You can see a pathway in the video @Mattgwise posted.

 

When CCR opened, you could still walk to the Farm, and I believe walking was the only way still to get to Treasure Island.

 

 

On 12/27/2021 at 8:56 PM, Matt N said:

Also, does the park still own the sites of Treasure Island and Thorpe Farm? Could they potentially function as future ride sites if the park wanted?

Yes, the park own them. Treasure Island could function as a ride site, Thorpe Farm almost definitely not.

 

Here's a very crude picture:

image.png

Roughly speaking, everything within the yellow region is - in some loose definition - Thorpe's, or of Thorpe's responsible.

Everywhere within the red region (up to the yellow line) is pretty much where the park are allowed to develop rides currently. That's not to say that the park couldn't develop outside that region, but it would require a lot of extra work and changes with the council.

 

As you can see, Treasure Island lies within this region. Back when Treasure Island was an attraction, The Swarm island didn't exist, nor did the straight patch of land above it. In the mid 2000s, the park decided to build an engineering facility building (which is one of the buildings directly above where "The Swarm" is written, just under one my crude yellow lines). The new land helped create a service road to connect it towards the back of the park in an easy way.

 

The Farm is outside of this development region. The park currently use it as storage and work space for some teams (such as Landscaping and Waste Management). At least one of the buildings there is listed too, so can't be demolished. There is some stuff that's also just kind of chucked there (if you've seen the Big Top documentary from Jack Silkstone, you'll see that the clown entrance feature has pretty much been dumped there).

 

Again, it's not impossible for it to be used for something low key or quiet, but highly unlikely.

 

On 12/27/2021 at 8:56 PM, Matt N said:

Sorry to ask so many questions; I’ll admit that learning about pre-Tussauds Thorpe does interest me, because as someone who didn’t visit for the first time until 2014 (by which point the park was quite comfortable in the skin of a thrill seeker haven), I find it hard to fathom the prospect of Thorpe Park ever having had these kinds of attractions and being that kind of park.

 

The park certainly has gone through several transformations over the decades. Especially in enthusiast circles, there's more and more people who weren't born when Colossus opened, and that was truly the turning point for the park becoming a thrill park. So there's lots of people like yourself who will never know Thorpe as anything other than a thrill park, and it's really strange.

 

If you're interested in learning more, there's a fair few sources out there, albeit less stuff pre-Tussauds

Thorpe Park Mania: We have an okay selection of history / archive bits, albeit a bit more recent stuff... https://thorpeparkmania.co.uk/

Memories of Thorpe Park: Memories of Thorpe Park have a good range of stuff too... https://memoriesofthorpepark.co.uk/ / https://www.facebook.com/MoTP.uk/

Thorpe Park Nostalgia: If you're on Instagram, this is a great account to follow from someone who worked at the park and shares lots of stuff from the later 90s/early 00s... https://www.instagram.com/thorpeparknostalgia/

 

And obviously, feel free to ask on here too!

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