John Walpole

Electrical Engineer (permanent)

“It's my fifth season working here, and in that time I've been involved with the original commissioning of Colossus, Stealth and Nemesis Inferno. I was also the primary electrical engineer for Colossus and Vortex, and now for Stealth.

“I have always been interested in the Theme Park industry. At a point when I'd just been made redundant, I came across this job through a recruitment agency – I couldn't believe my luck that THORPE PARK were recruiting. It's embarrassing, but I thought that THORPE PARK only had family rides, so I got really excited when I knew that something as big as Colossus was being installed.

Big ambitions and big plans

“In my opinion Merlin breaks the mould; they're taking the industry to the next level. After seeing what they'd done with Alton Towers – with rides such Nemesis and Oblivion – I was keen to join a company that wasn't afraid to innovate.

“In terms of new rides and technology, the Park has grown faster than I ever would have imagined. There has been a lot to learn in the last five years – there's a new project added most seasons, which certainly keeps the job interesting. It's been hard work, but when you see guests getting off rides like Stealth filled with excitement, it's incredibly satisfying.

A typical day? Not really

“In the open season, I'll start the day by carrying out safety checks on the rides. When I am satisfied all have been completed to the required standard, I hand the ride to the Rides Team for the day. If the rides have any issues during the day I'll come back to rectify and fault-find. Otherwise I keep busy with housekeeping tasks and checking stock levels of spares, etcetera. When the park closes, we work on the annual inspections required for each ride, and do all the major stripping down, servicing and re-building of the rides. Either way, there are lots of plus points to being here. The Park is a very nice, clean environment, you're outside a lot in the fresh air, and occasionally getting to ride the attractions yourself isn't all bad!

“Day-to-day, I deal mainly with two departments – Rides and Engineering. I know that if I ever need support from my team-mates, I'll get it. There are a lot of highly experienced engineers who have been here for many years who would happily help me, and I'll always do my best to help them. The Rides Department are always helpful, keen and interested. Working alongside them is always a real buzz.

Doing a real job

“THORPE PARK is completely different to anything else I've done. People may not think that keeping a theme park running compares with manufacturing or food production, but I disagree. We give people a lot of thrills and enjoyment, and hopefully a day they will remember for a long time. And I make sure we do it safely.”

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