A-Z Coaster of the Week: TH13TEEN

We’re heading overseas for our A-Z Coaster of the Week for letter T, as we take a look at “TH13TEEN” at Alton Towers in England .

A First of Its Kind

Opened in 2010, TH13TEEN replaced the aging Corkscrew at Alton Towers, which was removed in 2008. The park had an idea to have a roller coaster that would include a “show element” of some sort inside a building towards the end of the ride. This evolved into what TH13TEEN is best known for: Being the first ever coaster with a vertical free fall in the middle of the ride. What this means is that the “show section” involves the track (and train) actually dropping straight down five meters. The drop occurs in complete darkness, and is followed by a reverse launch, creating quite a thrill for riders.

Th13teen is actually a family coaster, just with an unexpected element (courtesy Wikipedia)

Interestingly, although the ride has the high thrill drop track section, the coaster is actually an Intamin Family Coaster. The reasoning for this is that the lightweight track and trains of the family coaster meant that it would be easier to create the drop track. The lightweight track and trains also makes the drop track more reliable, as it causes less stress on the hydraulic system used for the drop.

Heavy “haunted forest” theming surrounds Th13teen. (courtesy Wikipedia)

The ride is also heavily themed, and has a scenic (in a spooky way) layout. Located in the “Dark Forest” section of Alton Towers, the ride plays to this location, twisting through the heavily wooded area. The “13” concept plays into the idea of the haunted woods (or bad luck woods, I guess), with the drop section revealing the wraiths in the forest as riders are sent backwards through a tunnel out of the spooky excavation. The station is themed with old medieval-ish stone styling, and statues and sculptures can be found around the track. The heavy theming and surprise drop track led to Alton Towers sometimes referring to the ride as a “Psychocoaster” since the psychological fear is a bigger part of it than physical intensity.

Spooky. (courtesy Alton Tower)

A full PoV from the guys at CoasterForce can be found below, as well as a video showing what the drop track looks like with the lights on for those who are curious.

TH13TEEN Stats and Facts

  • Type/Category: Family drop coaster, psychocoaster
  • Location: Alton Towers, Alton, Staffordshire, England)
  • Opened: 2010
  • Designer/Manufacturer: John Wardley (layout), Candy Holland (artistic direction), Intamin (manufacturer)
  • Height: 65.6 feet
  • Speed: 42 mph
  • Length: 2,480 ft
  • Elements: Free fall drop track, reverse helix in the dark
  • Known for: The first ever coaster with a free fall track section, heavily themed to “bad luck”

(courtesy RollerCoasterKing.com

Have you ever ridden Th13TEEN or a free fall coaster like it? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below, or tell us on Facebook or Twitter! And make sure to check back next week as we get into the home stretch of our coasters of the week!