Step aboard a Victorian railway carriage suspended from chains and experience illusionist Derren Brown's 21st century virtual reality version of a ghost train.
|Theme Park||Thorpe Park|
|Park Area||Thorpe Junction|
|Ride Type||Virtual Reality Dark Ride|
|Manufacturer||Simworx (dark ride)|
Intamin and Severn Lamb (transit system)
|Virtual Reality||Figment Productions|
|Designer||Merlin Magic Making|
|Opened||8 July 2016 (original version)|
31 March 2017 (Rise of the Demon)
|Duration||approx 15 minutes|
Derren Brown's Ghost Train is billed as a modern take on the traditional ghost train, but the casual observer would be hard pressed to find much in common with the rickety carts travelling through darkened passages that we imagine when we think of a normal ride of that type.
The ride is a combination of Virtual Reality and live-action experience. It is set inside an old Victorian train depot, and its centrepiece is a Victorian railway carriage suspended on chains from the ceiling. Juxtaposing this is a dystopian feeling theme, with posters commenting on the dangers of fracking, and advertisements for a fictional mining company known as Sub Core, seen throughout the attraction.
British illusionist and mentalist Derren Brown fronts the ride, and acted as a consultant during the design and construction. Indeed, he is seen several times throughout the quarter of an hour long experience, including in a nicely done Pepper's Ghost illusion that acts as a pre-show to introduce the ride.
During the ride guests board the Victorian railway carriage and put on HTC Vive headsets, through which they experience several virtual reality segments. At the end of the ride, they are asked to keep the secret of what they have experienced - indeed, going into Derren Brown's Ghost Train without being forewarned of what lies inside is by far the best way to try out the attraction.
After a lot of teething troubles during its premiere season in 2016, the ride got a revamp for 2017 and returned as Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon. Several glitches with the VR were rectified, a whole section of story was replaced, and additional effects were added. This has vastly improved the experience, and the ride now feels much more compelling.
This is Derren Brown's ghost train
The ride is set inside an abandoned Victorian railway depot
New for 2017: Rise of the Demon
Thorpe Junction Rail Depot
A queueline poster hints at a dystopian future
Is this the End of the Line?
There's something strange about the clocks
Guests are batched into groups in the final part of the queueline
The posters continue inside the attraction
The suspended Victorian railway carriage
Construction of Derren Brown's Ghost Train began in late 2014, with the clearing and removal of the former Arena. Building work continued throughout the 2015 season. Before the official name was announced, the ride was codenamed Project Whitechapel, or simply WC16.
Unfortunately, construction delays meant that the attraction did not open at the beginning of the 2016 season, and further delays meant that the first officially announced opening date of 6 May 2016 was also missed. The ride finally opened on 8 July 2016, following several days of soft openings and previews.
The old Arena cleared
The old towering bank of seating was removed, revealing the back of X:\No Way Out
Warehouse building under construction