Enter The Pit Of Peril If You Dare

The green eye of Nemesis and the zero-G roll over the station

The Concept


A large hole has been torn into the Staffordshire landscape in which a mighty alien monster has awoken from its slumber after sleeping for centuries.  It is now hell bent on revenge and has been pinned down by hundreds of tons of steel, which has twisted and buckled to form the ride track.  Prepare to meet your Nemesis, sit back - it's fright time!

Two of the four inversions; Zero-G roll and the loop 

My Memories

I'll never forget my first ride on Nemesis.   Back in its first year of operation in 1994 I was just 13 and absolutely terrified with the whole concept of Nemesis.  As you approached it from the Forbidden Valley it looked so menacing with its scary music, apocalyptic landscape and thunderous noise as the trains roared around the track at scary speeds. 

Concept art of the Nemesis station

I had never seen anything quite like it and was so scared that I nearly didn't go on it at all.  Fortunately by the end of the day I had plucked up enough courage to give it a go and the queue had reduced to only 15 minutes as most people were leaving the park for home.  So I joined the queue and prepared my self for the worse.

Riders are warned what to expect before they even join the queue

Nemesis is built inside a man made pit and has its own rivers and lake of blood.  The queue fence looked old and rusty, the music was scary and then the word "Nemesis" was bellowed out in an evil voice.  The support joints were spray painted to make them look old and unsafe, and the station looked like a monster with its legs cleverly turning into bits of fake track as they spiralled to the ground.

Joy and I on Nemesis

In no time at all I was inside the station at the front of the turnstile waiting for the next train.  Then it arrived, the turnstile opened and I nervously took my seat.  Fear was racing through me as the attendant lowered the overhead restraint and fastened my seatbelt trapping me in.  This was it, there was no turning back now - I was about to meet my Nemesis!  Then the floor lowered slowly so my feet could no longer reach the floor and were left helplessly dangling.  The train began to move and started to climb up the lift hill.  My mate and I looked at each other and I nervously said to him "see you at the bottom".

This corkscrew takes you by surprise

The train got to the top of the lift hill and took its first plunge - I don't remember anything in detail after that, except for roaring around the track thinking this was one of the best moments of my life to date (I was 13 at the time!).  With Nemesis you realise very quickly that it isn't as bad as it looks and is actually great fun!  I loved it and when we pulled into the breaking station the entire train cheered at the experience - I got off and immediately rejoined the queue to ride it again!  The adrenaline rush was incredible and I loved that not being in control feeling.  From that point onwards I have been hooked on Nemesis. 

One of the Nemesis trains in the station 

Quite simply Nemesis is a unique, intense experience and a world class coaster.  In my opinion it is the best ride at Alton Towers by a Mickey-mile!  It looks menacing thanks to its excellent theming and back story.  Nothing else in the UK comes close to the adrenalin rush of the mighty Nemesis.

The lift hill, which is like the calm before the storm

So what makes Nemesis such a world class coaster?  It isn't the tallest, fastest or longest roller coaster.  It's the entire concept of Nemesis with the good back story and superb theming that make it  world class.  The physiological build up before the actual ride itself plays a key role in enhancing the experience.  Every aspect of the ride is designed to frighten you silly and this is where the superb theming plays a key role. 

Initial descent over the river of blood   

Nemesis was the first roller coaster installed at the park by the Tussauds Group, who bought Alton Towers for £60 Million back in 1990.  It was described at the time as the 'world's most ultimate ride experience' and boy they weren't kidding.  Nemesis was a huge success and giant step forward for Alton Towers.  It showed the direction the Tussauds Group intended to take the theme park. 

The massive loop the loop

In 1992 they installed the Haunted House and the Runaway Mine Train.  When Nemesis was launched in 1994 the park reported very healthy attendance for the year.  Nemesis was the catalyst for many peoples enthusiasm towards roller coasters.  During its launch year in 1994 it shared the limelight with Blackpool's Pepsi Max Big One and Drayton Manor's 7-Up Shockwave.  Unsurprisingly the Roller Coaster Club of Great Britain dubbed 1994 as the year of the roller coaster.

The tight helix early on in the ride is one of the fastest moments; the G:force at this point is immense!

During the launch year there was a massive advertising campaign to promote the new ride and theme park. The Gladiators (who were extremely popular at the time) were invited to give Nemesis a spin to promote it further. After a few circuits the ride proved too much for one of the Gladiators who became ill - much to the delight of the Alton Towers marketing department!

Joy and I in the Forbidden Valley

Due to awkward noise, height and planning restrictions, much of the ride was designed to go below ground level, giving it a special quality that most other coasters simply didn't have.  The area had to be excavated and blasted to create the pit that Nemesis lies in.  The huge blocks of sandstone that dominate the landscape in Forbidden Valley are from the man-made crater.  As a result Nemesis is a ground hugging-ride that stays very close to the terrain. A couple of strategically placed rocks and an old bus make it look like you are going to hit them but of course you narrowly miss each just at the very last minute - all of these factors enhance the overall ride experience.


Facts & Figures


Secret Weapon 3 (SW3)


Inverted Steel Roller Coaster


£10 Million


19th March 1994


4; 2 corkscrews, 1 loop, 1 zero-g barrel roll


440 Tonnes


716 metres


2 trains with 8 cars per train.  Riders are arranged 4 per row (total of 32 riders)


~1356 people (1400 max) per hour

Ride time

45 seconds


2 Mins 55 Secs


~3.5G (max 4.5G)

Max Drop


Top speed


Made by

Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M)


John Wardley

Official Nemesis site plan showing the track layout

Did You Know

When Nemesis was originally designed on the drawing board the last part of the track was much higher than it actually is on the finished ride.  This was to naturally slow the trains down before they entered the breaking station.  The designer, John Wardley, decided that this slowed the ride down too much and didn't resemble the rides overall intense experience, nor did it stay true to the rides scary theme.  So he deliberately lowered the final part of the track so the trains maintain their fast pace through the final corkscrew and then up the turn into the braking station.  It's hard to think the ride nearly didn't have the intense conclusion it rightfully boasts!

The stalled turn just before the loop

The original ride logo

My Review


A truly intense experience - superbly themed with a great back story add to the scary atmosphere surrounding the ride.  It stays close to the ground and exploits / interacts with the surrounding terrain perfectly.  Decent ride time and plenty of inversions - maintains its speed and intensity throughout.


If only it was a little bit longer and featured a few more inversions like the Montu; which has seven.

Overall 10/10 - The best coaster in the UK!

The photo above is a very rare aerial view of Nemesis taken in its opening year.  If you look towards the bottom middle of the photo you can see the Thunderlooper, which was in operation when this photo was taken; you can see the red train on the right incline.  You can read more about the Thunderlooper on the Coaster Heaven webpage. 

Original Nemesis building design


Cool Videos 

TV Advert



Another Advert



The Making Of Nemesis



Nemesis On-Ride



 Blue Peter Testing Nemesis



Alton Towers



 control the music above


Page last updated: 9/9/09 ><><><