What we learned from Wardley and Varney Q&A

Nick VarneyDuring the recent celebrations for the Nemesis rollercoaster’s 21st anniversary, John Wardley and Nick Varney took questions from theme park enthusiasts.

The ride’s designer and the Merlin Entertainments chief executive – then a marketer for Alton Towers – revealed a number of interesting facts.

The Q&A session was the culmination of a celebratory event for Nemesis, which included presentations and a cake-cutting ceremony.

Below we take a look at some of the most interesting points raised in Wardley and Varney’s responses to questions.

  • Nemesis’ track is entirely original, dispelling years of unfounded rumours of sectional replacement.
  • A wooden rollercoaster at a Merlin park is “not off the agenda” according to Varney, but he highlighted how they remain difficult to market.
  • Following the 2017 major addition at Alton Towers, the next big ride will come in 2020.
  • Wardley believes that retrofitting rear-facing seats onto rollercoasters is a “mark of desperation” and that such things are “gimmicks”.
  • Overall, The Swarm is seen as a disappointment and Merlin are unlikely to be build another winged rollercoaster.
  • Varney is extremely critical of the Paramount London project and does not think it will happen.
  • Filling rollercoaster track with sand – to reduce the noise of the ride’s trains – adds around £250,000 to the overall cost.
  • Varney said he can’t imagine circumstances under which Nemesis would ever be removed from Alton Towers.