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Rank the Alton Towers coasters

Matt N

CF Legend
Hi guys. I'm in a ranking kind of mood tonight, and a park particularly near and dear to me is Alton Towers. I'm honestly staggered that we don't already have an Alton Towers coaster ranking thread given that CF is a UK forum and many members have been to Alton Towers (in fact, I even could have sworn that I posted in one once), but I could not find one no matter how hard I searched the forum. So I decided to make this one! I'll get the ball rolling with my personal ranking of Alton Towers' rollercoasters:
  1. Wicker Man - I know this will be controversial, but I really value fun & rerideability in a coaster and Wicker Man delivers wonderfully in both these departments, in my opinion! The pacing is absolutely fantastic, the transitions are brilliant, the layout is very good and I even feel as though the coaster's airtime, while not its strongest area, improved as I rode it more! Combine that with the amazing theming and I think Wicker Man really is something quite special! It was one of my biggest ever positive surprises when I first rode in March 2018 and it's somehow grown on me even more ever since; I really do adore it! 10/10, #6 in overall rankings
  2. Nemesis - Nemesis is a stunning machine! The pacing is fantastic, the g-forces are brilliant; it's just a wonderful and iconic coaster! However, I must say that one thing keeping me from ranking it higher is that while it's very smooth for its age, some of the inversions do bash your head a little. Despite this, Nemesis is still a fantastic ride, in my opinion! 9/10, #8 in overall rankings
  3. Galactica - Galactica may not be the most intense coaster, but I love it because it's just such a fun ride! I love the coaster's grace and smooth, yet thrilling transitions and it's genuinely a very fun ride, if you ask me! 8/10, #18 in overall rankings
  4. Oblivion - It may be short, but this ride is certainly sweet! That drop never fails to deliver; the forces and sensation of speed are brilliant! 7/10, #19 in overall rankings
  5. Thirteen - A very fun family coaster! It may not be the most intense coaster out there, but it wasn't designed to be; the first drop is actually very, very good, in my opinion, especially if seated towards the back where you get some good sustained floater! The turns are also nice and whippy and some of the other hills provide good gentle floater, and the drop track and backwards section never fail to disappoint! A very fun ride! 6/10 relative to my whole count, but a top-notch family coaster, #23 in overall rankings
  6. Runaway Mine Train - Runaway Mine Train never fails to disappoint as a fun family coaster! Even though it might not be the fastest or most intense coaster, it provides the perfect mid-ground between Octonauts and Thirteen, in my opinion! If seated towards the back of the train especially, I also find the ride to be surprisingly forceful considering its apparent low speed! I personally think that John Wardley's description of it as a "pink-knuckle coaster that everyone can enjoy regardless of age" sums up RMT perfectly, and it will always be a special ride for me! 6/10 relative to my whole count, but a brilliant family coaster, #27 in overall rankings
  7. The Smiler - I really struggle to rank The Smiler. It is a good coaster, I won't deny, but I don't really enjoy it as much as many others I've ridden these days. While not terribly rough, in my opinion, I definitely wouldn't call it smooth, and I do think I would enjoy it more if it didn't have such a persistent judder to it and some of the hard jolts were smoothed out. As my taste in coasters changes, I'm also not really sure if it's my kind of coaster, if you get what I mean. Still, I appreciate it as a piece of engineering, and the layout is quite good with many thrilling moments; 14 inversions in that space was never going to be butter smooth, and I certainly admire them for doing it! 6/10, #35 in overall rankings
  8. Spinball Whizzer - I can certainly get why people would like this, as the spinning is fun, but I find Spinball a little too rough and jerky to truly rank highly as a family coaster, personally. Still, it's a reasonably fun ride that has a wide appeal! 4/10 relative to my whole count, but still a good family coaster, #44 in overall rankings
  9. Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure - Perfectly fine as far as kiddie coasters go; it's smooth and reasonably fun, so I don't really know what else I can ask for! Also, the theming is very nice, with a synchronised audio track, a bubble machine and a water-squirting whale, amongst other things! A great first coaster for the youngest guests! 4/10 relative to my whole count, but it's a great kiddie coaster, #49 in overall rankings
  10. Rita - The launch is great, but I remember it being very rough last time I rode and I'm not a fan of those Intamin OTSRs. 3/10, #58 in overall rankings
But how would you rank Alton Towers' cohort of coasters?


Hyper Poster
My list is not too dissimilar to yours @Matt N

1. Wicker Man
2. Nemesis
3. Oblivion
4. Galactica
5. Thirteen
6. Runaway Mine Train
7. Spinball Whizzer
8. The Smiler
9. Rita
10. Octonauts

I need to go back and re-ride Wicker Man. I'm starting to think the reason I liked it so much was because I had built up the idea in my head that it was going to be utterly terrible, so anything more than that would have seemed impressive.

Whilst I love the design and layout of Nemesis, I never rate it too highly because it makes me really dizzy and I can't do many re-rides.

Oblivion is iconic. I love it.

Galactica is my favourite B&M flyer. Controversial.

Everything else I'm not that bothered about.


Strata Poster
1. Nemesis
2. Oblivion
3. Galactica
4. Wickerman
5. Thirteen
6. Spinball Whizzer
7. Smiler
8. Runaway Mine Train
9. Octonauts
10. Rita

Matt N

CF Legend
My list is not too dissimilar to yours @Matt N

1. Wicker Man
2. Nemesis
3. Oblivion
4. Galactica
5. Thirteen
6. Runaway Mine Train
7. Spinball Whizzer
8. The Smiler
9. Rita
10. Octonauts

I need to go back and re-ride Wicker Man. I'm starting to think the reason I liked it so much was because I had built up the idea in my head that it was going to be utterly terrible, so anything more than that would have seemed impressive.

Whilst I love the design and layout of Nemesis, I never rate it too highly because it makes me really dizzy and I can't do many re-rides.

Oblivion is iconic. I love it.

Galactica is my favourite B&M flyer. Controversial.

Everything else I'm not that bothered about.
It would seem as though we have some very similar opinions, because as much as you say that Galactica being your favourite B&M flyer is controversial; it’s my favourite B&M flyer too! I found it far more enjoyable than Manta at SeaWorld Orlando, personally.


Giga Poster
Your views have changed a bit since last time you ranked the Alton Towers coasters:

Anyway, my point really is that we already have a topic for this:

Matt N

CF Legend
Your views have changed a bit since last time you ranked the Alton Towers coasters:
View attachment 8412

Anyway, my point really is that we already have a topic for this:
I thought we had one, but I searched the forum and I couldn’t find it! As it turns out, I didn’t look hard enough!

And yes, my views have changed somewhat since that ranking! I think I’ve come to realise what I really love in a coaster over the last year or two, and that’s very much reflected in my current rankings!


Donkey in a hat
This was my post from the other thread:

"Just because I'm an old bastard and I can, I'm going to include some of their defunct coasters too.

1. Nemesis
2. Oblivion
3. ThunderLooper
4. Wicker Dude
5. The Smiler
6. Air
7. Runaway Train
8. Spinball
9. Rita
10. The Black Hole
11. Th13teen
12. 4 Man Bob
13. Corkscrew
14. Alton Mouse
15. Alton Beast
16. Octonauts
17. Beastie"

Yeah, I still think the order sounds about right, but I'll expand a little:
1. Nemesis. For 20+ years this was my number 1 ride. It's f***ing brilliant! Eventually though I had to concede that this wasn't the best coaster in the world anymore (Helix was the one that 'broke' me). But I do maintain that this is still the best coaster in the UK, it's still the best B&M inverter and my deep rooted love for this ride will never die.
2. Oblivion. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Oblivion was the scariest thing I've ever done in a theme park. I mean, it's not anymore, obviously, nowadays I'd happily fall asleep on it, but back then... woah. In terms of pure terror, nothing has come close since. Well... maybe X2 and KK, but Blivvy did it first and did it best.
3. ThunderLooper. My most missed of all rides. Just nostalgia, that's all. Fondest memories are those of getting the last rides of the day where the ride ops would jump on board for a rip, but not before dragging the entire train backwards several feet... by hand ...to give a longer launch. Whether that actually made any difference to the acceleration/top speed I've no idea, but it sure felt cool to be a part of it.
4. Wicker Dude. Yeah it's a decent coaster, I've had some fun rides on it. Would've preferred the cross-valley Intamin, but hey ho.
5. The Smiler. Got a bit of a love/hate relationship going on with this thing. I mean, some aspects of it are pure genius - even the name, The Smiler, is an example of Merlin's marketing team at their best. I love the fact that it's blatantly themed as an acid trip, I love the twisted, tangled appearance of all that track and I love the fact that they had the sheer audacity to build something with 14 loops. But the ride experience? It's ok. Sometimes.
Oh, and it chops peoples legs off.
6. Air. Nice, smooth ride, decent fun, but a bit tame. Wish they'd have waited a few years and built Tatsu instead. Or at least something with a pretzel loop.
7. Runaway Train. As runaway trains go, it's one of my faves. Unless they only give you 1 lap, in which case it moves down a notch. 3 laps is where it's at!
8. Spinball Whizzer. Good fun.
9. Rita. The launch is great, but the rest is meh. Again, instead of hastily installing a launch coaster just because they were the next big thing, if they'd have waited a couple of years we could have had a Maverick or a Taron.
10. The Black Hole. Quite good back in the old days, but not greatly missed.
11. Th13teen. Decent family ride I guess, just... mis-sold.
12. 4 Man Bob. Mildly amusing.
13. Corkscrew. Again, it was ok back in the day, but I don't miss it.
14. Alton Mouse. I was there when Kylie Minogue attended the opening. That's all I have to say about that.
15. Alton Beast/New Beast. The Black Hole without the blackness? Meh.
16. Octonauts. Shyaaame!
17. Beastie. More shame, but far less recent.

18. Mini Apple. Don't think I rode it. Don't even recall ever seeing it to be fair. ?


Strata Poster
Uhm, so I only rode each of AT's coasters once almost 7 years ago, but I do like making lists, so what the hell;

1. Nemesis
2. Air
3. Smiler
4. Thirteen
5. Sonic Spinball
6. Oblivion
7. Rita
8. Runaway Mine Train

So yeah... I do feel my ranking would be quite a bit different if I were to revisit the park today. This is just how I remember ranking these rides way back then, though I do think I would at least rank Oblivion quite a bit higher considering how much I enjoyed its clone in Taiwan last year.
Of what I have actually been on...

1. Nemesis
2. Oblivion
3. Air
5. Thirteen
6. Rita
7. Runaway Mine Train
8. Spinball Whizzer
9. Beastie or whatever the hell that defunct thingy was called


Strata Poster
Wow, in two weeks time it'll be six years since my visit. How time flies. I'll be back someday.

1. Nemesis - Of all the coasters I've been on, this one has kept a Top 10 spot for the longest time. I had only just passed 50 creds then so I'm hoping my feelings for it weren't just because of my inexperience, but damn marathoning this was incredible. One of the few rides were I wouldn't change a thing.

2. Air - I probably wouldn't rate it as much as I used to now that I've done more stuff, but considering the rest of Alton's lineup, this definitely stays above the rest. I actually quite enjoy flyers in general, and the lie-to-fly, while not as good as a pretzel loop, is unique.

3. Oblivion - I mean, it's fun for what it is and what's there is good, but it desperately needs to do more. I'll still take this over the rest of the creds, mainly for the comfort (not surprising to see the park's three B&Ms on top).

Alright, I'm honestly struggling to rank the rest of them. It's a big drop-off for me after the Top 3. The rest isn't in any particular order. I'd probably still ride them all again anyway, but only because they're there.

So I actually really like Runaway Mine Train for what it is. The other rides might offer better moments, but at least RMT I have no issues with. I definitely had a smile on my face when I rode it. It's just simple fun.

Smiler... ugh Smiler. Ok, I remember the two airtime hills being fantastic, but in retrospect that may have had to do with my inexperience at the time. I guess the indoor inversion is pretty cool, kinda forgot Gerstlauer had made that a thing... oh that's right it's a Gerst… restraints were ass and the transitions weren't great.

Th13teen. This as alright. The little hills at the start were kinda fun, and the drop section is pretty good... and then it just ended? I dunno, there was nothing special here.

Rita. Fantastic launch, rest after that wasn't good. I was almost gonna say the layout is bad, but honestly it's not too different from Skyrush's layout after its drop (you know, series of airtime hills with intense turns in between). It's mainly down to those awful OTSRs. Now that I think about it, if Rita had some good lap bar trains, and the positive g's were toned down a bit, I could see it being a killer ride, because you do get airtime on those hills.

Sonic Spinball. It was my first Maurer spinner... and that's all I have to say about that.

Yeah, not the greatest lineup huh? I guess Wicker Man helps. Doesn't seem to be the most exciting GCI but it could probably crack Top 3 in the park for me.

I mean, just give me Nemesis all day and I'm good.


Strata Poster
Pulling up the old spreadsheet and having a look...

1. Nemesis. Bloody brilliant really.
2. Th13teen. Big soft spot for 13; it's got a fun enough outdoor section, and the indoor section is really enjoyable. There's some days I'd rather ride this over Nemesis (especially if Nemesis is in a head-bashing mood...)
3. Rita. Never really got the hate for this; I've never had an uncomfortable ride? Also, it's like a baby Taron.
4. Galactica. Does the job, nothing special.
5. Spinball Whizzer. One of the better spinners I've done; I stand in the minority who prefers it over Dragon's Fury.
6. Wicker Man. Meh, don't get all the love for this. One of the weakest wooden coasters I've done. I do think the theme and pre show is a bit over-the-top for the family audience.
7. Oblivion. One trick pony. Great one trick. But still one trick.
8. Runaway Mine Train. Nothing special, but nothing bad.
Corkscrew. Here for reference. Only did it once, in 2006. It was old. It was rough. But it wasn't painful.
9. Octonauts. Kiddie cred, +1. Would ride again if with kids (and have done)
10. The Smiler. Wayyy too uncomfortable to be enjoyable. It's a shame as I like the theme and set up, and think it's fab for an engineering standpoint. But the ride is too rough and too comfortable that I actively avoid riding it.


Theme Park Superhero
I did answer the original topic, but I was lazy. So let's expand because I haven't talked coasters for far too long.

1. Nemesis - The most clinically positioned ranking. Yes, it used to be my favourite ride but that was before I really thought about such nonsense (deep scientific importance). I believe it says more about the quality of the other things I had done than it does about this ride. Aside from that, it was always a professional relationship with Nemesis for me, never personal. I never fell in love with it. I enjoyed it because it was the done thing to do and I respect it. It's forceful, well made, well paced and that downwards helix that introduces you to the concept of having your feet ripped off by the force of a ride is legendary. Unlike the rest of this list, it is a good example of the ride type. But it doesn't excite me.

2. Smiler - I like the ambition behind this ride. It was made to break a record and often that leads to a lack of creativity, but I'd argue this was done in a better way than most other significant records. What came before it? Colossus. How can we do the most inversions? Let's take that super basic sequence of inversions already out there (loop, cobra, corkscrew) and have enough rolls at the end to win.
Smiler went beyond this, the inversions are almost all different and much less commonplace - they even invented one for the ride (or is it two?) and they're paced between other interesting features like the vertical lift. The best part of the ride, as with Colossus, is the surprise airtime hill between inversions, and it does this twice, and better. Sometimes being upside down is fun too now, it's a statement of how ride inversions have improved in general - they have a lot more variety than they used to and offer many more sensations to go with it. It doesn't fully pull them off due to Gertslauer's struggle with quality at the time, but the ride gives it a good go. If it was built to their current standard, we could have had a potential Nemesis beater.
As a ride it's both long, something the UK lacks a lot (Ultimate aside) and intense to me even now, which is also hard to come by these days. I like intensity that earns itself. If I ever could ride it several times in a visit, I suspect I may struggle a little, but I also think I may grow to like it even more than I currently do.
Sadly the park, the queue and to a lesser degree the restraints mean that will never happen.

3. Thirteen - I was never subject to any of the hype and/or marketing around this ride, so that never bothered me. The only thing that bothers me is the trimmed drop. It's actually the only coaster in the park I have a soft spot for, a little bit of emotional attachment. The drop track still kicks my ass (particularly with the tease) and it was potentially my first ever genuine joyous surprise moment on a ride the very first time it shot backwards in the dark. It's also the first time I ever saw this new era of quirky shuttle, switch track type stuff being run at an efficient and impressive pace. Watching the track move, followed by that ending launch is so satisfying and I remember thinking this could become so much more. And it did.

4. Oblivion - When the concept worked for you, this was a great experience, I can't deny that. Now it boils down to a singular decent out of your seat moment. This is the UK, so that makes a good ride by comparison. Fear of a single element as a base concept on a ride seems almost impossible to bring about these days and I do miss that to a degree, even if it's just watching or experiencing it through other people. There's a lot more out there now diluting the simple sensations that used to scare people, like just a (near) vertical drop. It's now the worst B&M dive layout in the world, but it's otherwise fine to ride.

5. Air - I know Merlin have a rep for dark and dingy theming now, but at least that's a theme. Air had none of that, no presence, no energy. Just a prototype in a car park, by a car park. For a park that definitely errs strongly on the side of theme, I see this as significant step down. Then it had VR and that of course didn't help at all.
I like the build of momentum at the start with the double down type drop and the sections where it's swooping over grass rather than concrete are decent, but the fly to lie being the only interesting thing it tries to do just ends up being uncomfortable and something I'm glad they never repeated. It's now the worst B&M flyer in the world, but it's otherwise fine to ride.

6. Rita - If you're into launches, it lacks the punch of a Stealth. If you're into layouts to sink yout teeth into (like me), it lacks anything interesting. Corners in alternate directions with uneventful hills between. It was built in the era when launching into a corner just led to an awkward transition, bordering on the uncomfortable if you're not prepared. It used to be an ordeal when I was weak, now it's just there. What I do like is the launch announcement. The half hearted 'go, go... go' is very representative of the ride and always brings a smile to my face.

7. Wickerman - The simple process of riding other wooden rollercoasters makes this ride seem weak. Couple that with the disproportionate popularity/queue times and I get left with the question of 'why bother?' It took us 22 years to get new wood here and with all the technologies and manufacturers now on offer they still failed to surpass the very low bar set by the others we already have in the country. The preshow is better than the ride experience and builds towards something that wants to lean on its theme more than its thrill, which I would be perfectly fine with if it actually made any further attempt to do that. It doesn't, and the ending shed is completely squandered. It's the worst GCI in the world, but it's otherwise fine to ride.

8. Spinball - I have had good rides on this at certain times as you can get a bit of a vicious spin. There's even an on-ride photo of me for this somewhere, of which I'd say there are less than 10 in the world from any ride so it must have meant something at the time. Rarely worth the queue with its capacity these days though, just a bit too much of a fairground attraction for Alton Towers really.

9. Runaway Mine Train - Very long time since I've done this, I generally skip past this whole area of the park now. I love a bit of ride interaction so the fast bit with the rapids in the tunnel was always my favourite part.

10. Beastie - A vicious +1.

11. Octonauts
- A non-vicious +1.

Nicky Borrill

Strata Poster
Think I answered the original topic, but I change my mind so often (I can’t really decide what my overall top coaster is!) that I may as well answer in here too,..

1) Nemesis
2) Wicker Man (Back Rows Only!)
3) Smiler (this goes up and down from season to season, some years it seems to run better with no rhyme or reason, last year was a ‘good’ Smiler year)
4) Oblivion
5) Galactica
6) Spinball
7) Th13teen
8) Rita
9) RMT
10) Octonauts

Of the coasters no longer there... I’ll try and base these off how I felt at the time rather than where they’d feature now.

1) Corkscrew
2) Thunder looper
3) Black Hole
4) New Beast
5) Beastie
6) Mini Apple

Feel like I’ve missed a defunct one? But I can’t be bothered to check ??


Strata Poster

Won't rank the old ones. I liked Black Hole and Corkscrew was a back breaker, +1s are +1s.


Giga Poster
1. Nemesis
2. The Smiler
3. Thirteen
4. Wicker Man
5. Galactica
6. Oblivion
7. Rita
8. Runaway Mine Train
9. Spinball Whizzer

Haven't on any of my visits bothered to venture over into c-beebies land for the Octonauts cred. One day maybe but can't imagine it would change the ranking much. ?


Roller Poster
I haven't been since the Smiler and Wickerman have been added but was meant to go this year. ?.

1. Oblivion ( I know it's short but the built up and drop gets my adrenalin going everytime. Could of swapped this with Nemesis but hey.)

2. Nemesis ( Not much to say ?)

3. Galactica/ Air. ( It was Air when I rode it and I like how smooth the coaster is, beautiful ride imo but I guess lacks intensity.

4. Thirteen. ( fun family coaster)

5. Rita ( I will get some hate for this but I think it's ok, good launch and I have always found it fun if not too short.

6. Spinball wizzer ( fun ride, could swap with thirteen and Rita, 4,5 and 6 are all pretty close.)

7. Hex

8. RMT.

9. Dual

I have rode the Thunder looper and Corkscrew. Personally the TL was a good ride, Shame it went.

I would be interested in a thorpe park poll as I haven't been. ?