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How could Derren Brown's Ghost train at Thorpe be improved?

Chris Brown

Mr CoasterForce 2016
Staff member
Social Media Team
I must admit I'm keen to give it a go again, I've heard reports suggesting that it is still particularly unreliable but I'm only an hour away so wouldn't be too upset. As for the new ending I haven't read into it but I'm assuming its another jump scare at the end. Agreed with Ben the first VR section is actually a bit good, my only gripe with that bit is the piss poor headphones.

I still can't really describe whats wrong with the concept of the ride? Like i hate it, and i hate how much effort they've gone to with simulators and moving trains just to make you sit on the tube and shove a VR headset on but the first section is still quite an unnerving experience. I dunno i think something like the first section would work much much better as a scene in the dungeons or at a special midway attraction where the expectations are a bit lower. The first section alone wouldn't be enough to constitute a ride so Thorpe have just kinda padded it out with other stuff that just breaks up the tension provided by the first section. You end up with something that is drawn out for the sake of not being **** but it ends up a bit **** because the best bit is the first section and it just bumbles along after that.

Fair enough to Thorpe for giving it a go and fair enough for nearly getting the first section bang on but i'm afraid i cant see this type of attraction picking up too much momentum with other parks. Its just a lot of faff for an experience that will blow over. VR headsets are already popular for gamers and they will only become more affordable for everyday households so why would people travel to a themepark for something they can experience in their lounge? Whilst its claimed to be future proof because of the adaptability and ability to change the VR content its not future proof in a sense that you can pick up a VR headset for £100 and recreate the same experience. Can you recreate the experience of riding a roller coaster for £100? Nope.


Social Media Team
Staff member
Social Media Team
Here's my opinion on it, and I know I wrote all this before, but here it goes again...

It's an incredibly inconsistent and overly-engineered attraction that gives you little to no emotional response after it due to the incredibly singular experience (not part of a group). You enter the brilliant pre-show which is great, really starts the experience on a high, followed by that stupid room of nothing before you're batched into the loading area with the floating train...

You then see the (beautiful) floating Victorian train carriage, but due to the angle you enter it you can't actually make out that it's floating much, it just looks REALLY odd. I know that this improvement can't be done now as the cost, the actual effect would be lost and logistics of the change would be astronomical... But, to have guests enter at a lower point would have been perfect, you'd have really 'got it'. Not to mention some form of lighting effects, music and crescendo and then it appearing to make it a spectacle instead of it floating in the middle of the room like the proverbial elephant.

Next up, the train itself - I understand the whole concept of the ride and them is to blur the lines between reality and fantasy, but to walk on to a tube with no actual explanation does NOT work, on paper it may sound good but as an actual experience it falls completely flat and confuses you from the beginning. I'd have designed it to resemble the victorian carriages that replicate the shell itself, keep it cohesive and themed.

The first set of VR is actually kinda cool, I like it, it sets it up perfectly.

The middle section of shouty actors isn't needed in the context it's in. It completely breaks up the experience, but not in a good way - it feels like it has a separate design team working on each of the elements and they never spoke until the last minute, I know this ain't the case, but it feels that way regardless. I'd completely revamp this section, from top to bottom, making it themed to the victorian period, or maybe even some form of 'ghost realm', in which you've passed over from the world of the living to the world of the dead?

I'd get rid of the zombies/infected/typicalMerlinsnarlingf*ckers, they're not needed and muddy the water, yet again.

I ain't done the new second VR yet, so can't comment, but by all accounts it's much better.

You then get off the train to happy chappy workers, before going back into an 'experience', yet another non-cohesive break?

I just don't like it. I won't like it.