Thirteething problems…over one year on

Opening to much hype and expectation in March last year, Thirteen was supposed to be Alton Towers’ fortune-changing weapon in the same fashion that Nemesis was in 1994.

Indeed, it did pull visitor numbers back up by around 400,000 – levels not seen since Nemesis’ debut season seventeen years ago.

However, not only did Thirteen receive considerable criticism for failing to live up to the many overdramatic press releases, it was plagued by terrible reliability issues.

Such problems continue almost fifteen months following its opening.


Yesterday, a Bank Holiday Monday, the ride ran for just a couple of hours until around lunchtime before being rendered inoperable for the rest of the day.

The rollercoaster’s world-first element of a freefall track drop and everything that entails makes the sequence of train movements complicated and with little margin for error.

Trains entering the second lift hill too quickly were originally a problem and led to the outside section being trimmed, which many enthusiasts criticised. The ride still has frequent problems when the second hill is entered and frequently causes a cut out and 20-minute delay.

Combined with the questionable reliability of the neighbouring Rita, now six years old and also inoperable for several hours on Monday, the Dark Forest is becoming quite hit and miss.