Review: Colossus at Thorpe Park


Colossus at Thorpe Park in Surrey, UK is a steel 10-inversion coaster manufactured by Intamin.  Opened in 2002, it held the record for most inversions on a roller coaster until 2013, when The Smiler (with 14 inversions) opened at Alton Towers. (Colossus was subsequently cloned as 10 Inversion Roller Coaster – how original – in China.)

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Layout, Theming and Elements

Colossus has a fairly compact layout with 2,788 feet of track.  It’s supposedly themed after the ruins of an ancient civilisation although the theme was not at all evident to me, not even from the signage at the entrance.  This coaster features the following 10 inversions, in this order: vertical loop, cobra roll, double corkscrew, quadruple heartline roll and single heartline roll.  The trains consist of 7 cars seating 2 across in 2 rows for a total capacity of 28 riders. Colossus reaches a maximum speed of 45 mph and the restraint is an over the shoulder harness.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Ride Experience

A ride on Colossus begins with an ascent up a 98-foot chain lift hill.  Upon reaching the top the train banks left and descends 97 feet before going up into a vertical loop built over water, a nice touch.  It then dives into a tunnel, negotiating an airtime hill, before ascending into a pretty forceful cobra roll.  This is followed by another descent into a tunnel and the two corkscrews.  And let me stop right here.  Through the first several inversions the ride is a real headbanger.  I have no idea how this coaster rode 16 years ago but as of 2018 it was too rough to be enjoyable, at least during the initial part of the ride.  The latter part of the ride is another story altogether.  After the corkscrews the train makes a turnaround and negotiates four – count ‘em! – consecutive clockwise heartline rolls.  These were an absolute delight, not to mention a thrill, and not in the least bit rough.  The train then veers left and riders pass through a fifth, counterclockwise heartline roll – why not throw that in for good measure? – before returning to the station.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Photo by Bobbie Butterfield
Final Thoughts and Rating

Colossus features some nice elements, a superabundance of them, and it’s just unfortunate that the ones at the beginning of the ride are so jarring. Designing this ride with four heartline rolls in rapid succession was nothing short of brilliant.  When is the last time you rode a coaster with as many heartline rolls one right after another?  For me this was a first and only.  If the entire ride were as good as the heartline rolls this would be a real winner.  I rode Colossus twice, once in the back and once near the front to see whether the position on the train would make any difference.  The front was better but only marginally so.  As a huge fan of Intamin coasters, I had been looking forward to riding Colossus and expected to like it much more than I did.

Final Rating – 6 out of 10 (Above Average)  

Tip for travellers to the UK: Thorpe Park is easily accessible from London’s Waterloo Station; it’s about a 40 minute train ride to Staines, where you can catch a shuttle bus to the park.

What’s your take?  Have you ridden Colossus and if so, what did you think of it