After a short delay Derren Browns ghost train was ready to depart from Thorpe Junction. This is the ghost train reimagined for the 21st century! Bringing state of the art technology to the dark ride industry this ride will leave you where does reality begin and stop. With an old Victorian carriage suspended 4 meters in the air, by nothing more than chains.
With the ride being heavily imputed on by the famous isolationist Derren Brown the ride had a lot of hype. No one knew what the ride was going to be! Everything apart from how many people per train and the fact the ride was going to be using HTC Vive headsets was kept top secret.
From the outside the building looks amazing! With the numbers 1871 written on the building this is a hidden Mickey if you will. The number comes from the illusionist’s birthday year but with 100 years taken away to fit in with the rides theme / Victorian era. On the outside no expensive has been spared, the quantity of the theming is possibly the best we've ever seen on a Merlin project even better than The Swarms. Everything from the bricks on the wall to the simple paint work on the metal work weld points everything has been thought off.
Starting at the entrance of the ride, the sign for the ride is made from what appears to be laser cut metal. However, by day and night the sign looks very different! The entrance sign for the ride glows a lovely blue shade at night making for some very beautiful photos. By far the best entrance sign for a ride we have ever seen.
The queue line features two unique photos points, data blast and infection check.
In data blast your shown a series a photos and images in groups of 4 whilst looking at a red dot on the wall. Your told to keep your faces and body as close to the perspex glass as you can. When the videos come to an end the red dot starts to move to the camera and your group photo is taken. Infection check makes sure your clear of all infections and diseases from the outside world. In data blast, you enter in groups of 4 and have a 3D scan of your head taken. Both of these photos can be brought if you survive your experience on the ghost train.
Once we had navigated our way through the queue line and had both our data blast and infection checks done we dropped off our luggage and prepared to board with the platform conductor Jamie constantly telling us “We’re late for the train.”
Before we knew it, it was time to go in and experience Derren Browns Ghost Train. In the pre-show for the ride your greeted by a mini Derren Brown who says “It's funny how the first game we play with babies is to scare them. But it's obviously going to be harder to scare a us.” He explained that this is the ghost train reimagined and that if you think you know what a ghost train so then to think again! "This is my ghost train" At the end he also asks everyone to keep what happens within the ride a sweet as the ride is more fun if you don't know what's going to happen. And because of this we will be respecting this and not reviling what happens within the ride.
The ride lasts between 12-15 minutes and is heart pounding from start to finish. From boarding a hanging Victorian train carriage. To escaping the other side the ride will leave you thinking what just happened! What’s real and what’s not…
The TPG team had mixed reviews of the ride with a few of the team saying it was amazing to some of the others saying they felt like it was missing a little something. The start of the ride is amazing, but as soon as you re-board the vehicle there’s to much sitting around in green smoke. However, the effect of boarding an old Victorian train carriage and then suddenly being on a tube train is very effective to guests that don’t know it’s coming. We expect that over the next few years the park will keep updating the ride with more and more effects and changing the story line and theme.