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The Nash is THE finest wooden roller coaster in the world today. It is the one of the only survivors from the original golden age of the roller coaster combining unrivalled intensity with its historical sentimentality it holds a special place in the hearts of its fans. Anyone who claims there is a better woodie in American parks or anywhere else is suffering from extreme delusions of grandeur. I have ridden the Raven, Phoenix, Kennywood Thunderbolt and the Coney Island Cyclone more times than you've had hot dinners and I say the Nash pussy whips the lot of them hands down (I mean up!)


Steven B


The Nash is great for the first time you get on it and wanting to get off but it's too late you're already at the top of the lift hill but when you return you will want to go on it again.


Lee Jones


Of all the coasters I've ridden in this world. this is no doubt my favourite. The only woodie I've been on which comes close to Nash is Megafobia. 1935 it opened and is still the best ride in the park. The fantastic drops mixed in with amazing airtime and roughness make this one hell of a coaster.

You MUST ride Nash, its just astonishing!!


Jake


The word here is fun - many coasters thrive on speed and airtime, and whilst the Grand National is hardly lacking in airtime, I am hard pushed to find any rides that are more fun. It is rough, and rarely races properly, but who cares?!


Simon Casey


I always come off bruised and aching, but I love it. It is just so Blackpool, and steeped in history. I love it.


Sally Adams


I like it, but it feels like it is showing its' age. Although it is a great ride, it is hard to enjoy it when you are holding on in fear of coming off a cripple.


Trev Bishop


Ow, ow, ow... I love it!  Its my number one woodie and will always be so! Its rough, its violent but its damn good fun!


John Livesey


This ride is just the best! I am yet to come across a better ride. I have been trying for 12 years. I've done Nemesis, Oblivion, Ultimate and the Big One.


Ashley Stanworth


It is the best ride at BPB by an absolute mile. Even ignoring the racing aspect of this ride, I think this is a superb roller coaster.


Les Hughes


Probably the best ride I have ever ridden, but I think at BPB there is a lot of competition. A great park all round


Thomas A Brown


The National is a superb classic coaster. The drops are great - best seats are at the back as the airtime always never fails to entertain.

Another classic coaster from BPPB.


Debbie Harvey


A truly great roller coaster that is made all the more fun by the knowledge that you're riding a piece of roller coaster history! The clacketty sound of the track as you fly along at break-neck (or back!) speeds... the churning of your stomach as you hurtle in and out of the dips... the bending(!) of the carriage as you hit the bends... but most of all: the sensation of flight as you crest each hill and your lap soars into the safety bar!! Fantastic. I'd recommend this as one of the best roller coasters you'll ever ride.


Andy Roberts


The Grand National (here onward referred to as "the Nash") is one of only three mobius-loop coasters in existence (Kennywood's "Racer" being another, which I'll be riding in June 2004) and my favourite woodie, also my favourite ride at the park.. infact my favourite in the country, which probably means it's my overall favourite ride! (to be honest though I don't really have a single favourite)

Opened in 1935 and still going strong thanks to BPB's maintenance team, Charles Paige was inspired by Harry Traver's Cyclone Racer when he designed the Nash. (Traver himself came to the UK around this period, joined the Pleasure Beach staff and actually stayed with the Thompsons or so I've heard.. he is rumoured to have been involved in the 1936 redesign of the Big Dipper too.. it has a spiral drop very uncharacteristic of Charlie Paige who is said to have redesigned it, but characteristic of Traver's designs.. though on a much tamer scale due to the 4-bench cars of the time!)

Anyhow, lest I digress..

From the "midway" the Nash screams CLASSIC! with it's original design station (rebuilt in 1990 to Joseph Emberton's original art deco-modernist style plans after being changed over the years) and also screams classic with the way that the trains bump and bang their way round the J-turns out of the station;- gliding off down through a short tunnel each side, not to be seen again until they fly back into the brakes having magically "switched tracks" to those not in the know.. and the ride itself, one word that describes the Nash well is WILD!!

Rough, bumpy, fast, thrilling and fun, the hills provide stand-up airtime.. I don't mean a few inches out of your seat, I mean >STAND UP<, as in standing up, albeit at around a 60 angle when your legs can go no further than the two-position lapbar and your upper body keeps going upwards! (needless to say the present trains from the early 80's have higher sides than the previous ones.. and the early trains also had NO lapbars!!;- you know the type of thing, old fashioned open-fronted cars with angled bodies and a steel tube-frame arrangement at the front)

The first drop comes after a small downward glide off the chain and a 90 turn to the left.. the drop itself is simply superb, 60ft deep overall but it's a double drop, levelling out about 45ft down before devilishly dropping the rest of the way.. in the middle seats you float sublimely, in the front seats you get superb airtime (stronger than most coasters) and in the back.. you get EJECTOR airtime!! (like I said, high car sides.. and depending on each lapbar (for they all differ slightly in position.. mind of their own!) you lift so far it's possible to land on the seat divider on your harsh re-introduction to the seat as the train slams into the bottom of the drop!!)

A fast approx. 190 righthand turnaround (Becher's Brook) follows a nice airtime filled crest up off the first drop.. the cars wildly hunt in the track and shake you about as you round the turn, taking you into the second drop, which floats you forward in the front seats and whips you out again in the back, only to once again slam into the bottom and bounce up and down as the fine profile track (only five layers in the laminate) flexes between each ledger, rearranging your bodily organs! You then turn upwards, met with strong floating airtime in all seats as you crest the next hill (Valentines), before a repeat dose of the previous drop only somewhat milder, apart from the airtime as you rise and make the crest.. STANDUP airtime in the front as the top flattens out a little too soon (thank god for these classic works of art!!) and you are SLAMMED into the lefthand "Canal Turn", once again a turnaround of about 190 (a little over 180 creating a figure-8 layout) and I mean slammed, all these turns are banked no more than 10 and after the first one which is perhaps already faster than it should be, you really tear your way around the rest getting faster as you go!! (upper-trackboard wood is regularly replaced in these turns because it gets chewed up over a relatively short time)

We've almost reached the airtime capital of the ride, after first being ejected in almost all but the very front seats as the track dips sharply from under us, and after a low flat section we reach THE hill.. at this stage in the circuit no more than about 20ft high, but PACKED with standup ejector airtime in EVERY seat as the crest prematurely flattens out, meaning sharp apex transitions as you go both up and over and then down the other side.. all this happens right as you head-chop your way through the structure of the Valentines hill, before levelling out into another double drop, the second part of which doesn't offer much since it only drops a couple of feet but you still float a little. Rising up and once again virtually STANDING up in the front car as you enter the structure of the Becher's Brook turnaround, you then land in the seat at the last moment to be slammed around the last approx. 190 righthand turn, which if you're sitting on the inside seat rounding the turn, makes you struggle for mercy and beg for forgiveness as you fruitlessly try to keep your body upright!! (these turns are of course worse on the tighter radius "inside track" of the turn.. though maybe that should read "better"..)

We then drop down after leaving Becher's Brook's structure and after banking out of the turn (may be only 10 but makes the 6-seat rigid-wheelset cars twist and creak nicely as they straighten out!) and at the very least float in all seats with strong pops of airtime at the back as we drop maybe 10ft off the turnaround, then crest a small hill of similar height and dip again, then we are treated to a repeat of the *"flat-topped sharp-apex transitions syndrome", as we crest another hill the same as previous, only this time being playfully ejected (quite harshly but I prefer "playfully") into the lapbar (ouch.. Mmm!) on both sides of the hill, or perhaps "hump" now at this stage, before dipping and rising up into the last turn.

This approx. 90 turn to the right is wickedly fast and a side-slammer like the previous ones.. the wheels almost always screech round here even with greased rails.. the track takes a good beating here!

That turn sets us up perfectly parallel to the lift hill and we take several smooth shallow dips down the home run right next to the lift structure, dipping under a couple of staff-walkway headchoppers along the way. Heading in an almost straight path for the station, we meet a set of trim brakes that slow us just slightly before we dip about 15-20ft under a wide walkway, whilst still parallel next to the outgoing pre-lift tracks. Our trains then finally part lateral company; rising slightly to the right up into the brakes (more so on the "righthand track" and with no banking on either) and we come to a smooth but brisk stop, courtesy of pinch-brakes operated by levers! (the Nash's brakes have always been modern "pinch" style brakes, as far as I can tell from old wartime video footage)

We exit the train either to our right or to our left onto a wide platform (depending on the side on which we came back into the station) and exit through a centrally positioned narrow underpass, back out to the front of the station, rising up to ground level next to the left-hand (when on ride) J-turn.

Meanwhile the trains have rolled down to the front of the station, and inconveniently lined up with the gates. (they usually miss-align, but not always.. those lovely manual brakes eh!)

From the moment the trains meet side by side before the lift hill to the point just before the final brakes where the "tracks" separate;- the entire ride takes place with the "tracks" close enough to join and slap hands between trains as you pass each other on the turns and sometimes coast side-by-side on the hills.. which is GREAT for coaster club ride sessions!! (and being a mobius configuration, the trains ALWAYS race, not perfectly every time but they DO race!)

*The "flat-top apex syndrome" thing.. I expect this is due to the hill-crest being built slightly higher originally, but being later modified and made lower. (as was often the case for coasters before computer design came in, when things were done by experience and guesswork, and geometric calculations were occasionally wrong)

The Nash may be pushing 70 years old, but it NEVER fails to thrill old and young alike.. some people regret deciding to ride and never do so again, whilst others will want to ride and ride and ride again!! (me!)

As with many other BPB rides and attractions, the Grand National is a true gem and is historically important and very unique.. I hope it continues to thrill unassuming riders for decades to come!!


Peter Proctor


Thank you BPB for creating a GEM of a coaster, this ride is the 2nd best woodie (Nothing beats Megafobia for AIRTIME in the UK), you just can't beat getting some friends on each train trying to slap each others hand when going round the bends etc. Shame it over 4 hours drive from my house. But worth having a long weekend just to ride this classic


James Culver


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