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Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon

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Got 2 rides on Ghost Train yesterday, each time I'm going on it I'm enjoying it more, however that 2nd VR section is still bollocks.   Operations towards the end of the day were incredibly p

It's fine everyone, Thorpe will have their Derren Brown's Ghost Bus Replacement Service in operation if there's any delays.


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I think it is such a shame more isn’t made of looking at the suspended carriage. I don’t understand why they got Derren to pose from this angle when we never get to see if from there. Would be awesome to start off looking up and then going up the stairs.





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The reality is that photo is photo shopped, since from that angle you would in real life be able to see the illusion techniques (mirrors) and the ride mechanism from there

Just zoomed in on his face and some of it is missing the shop is so bad

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The big giveaway in that photo is the curved window.

12 hours ago, Benin said:

It's so weird, as a really great idea could've been to have you queue under it (though trying that without breaking the illusion would be difficult)...


Another box checked off the badly designed ride checklist though...

From very early on, it was never planned to be viewed or accessible from beneath the ride. Whether that was just a "we don't want people entering from ground-level" idea or "we consulted the illusionist and they said entering from ground-level is impossible" I don't know.


But having seen how the illusion was designed, and how it looks from ground level, I'd be very surprised if it could ever have been designed to be viewed from beneath the train carriage in any way.

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How it is today, rushing past the train in a blocky room where you only see the floor beneath you for a few seconds (if you bother to look over the side while you get the chance), is really not the best way the illusion could have been designed. It may not be possible to stand directly underneath, but they designed themselves into a corner with the whole thing really.

There's always other techniques when it comes to illusion to give the impression there's more than there really is. With DBGT its the other way round,  things are so badly thought through that you actually miss the best bits.

For all that effort and an amazing concept, how it turned out is almost pointless in my opinion. Much like the whole ride.

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29 minutes ago, SteveJ said:

I still think "It will completely change what theme parks can do" with that smug face is one of the all time classic theme park moments in this country

Ratigan: "Oh! I can just see that insufferable grin on his smug face!" (The Great Mouse Detective) Well, at least both the film, and the Ghost Train, are literally Victorian. Pun intended.


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Some of the things that have gone wrong with this attraction I have sympathy for Thorpe Park. Not like they can get a new demon costume on Amazon Prime and get it next day as it must be a bespoke outfit. The middle bit going wrong all the time so having to replace it. Shame they couldn’t think of a different way of doing it rather than a strobe maze.

But having such rubbish VR scenes, rushing people into the carriage when seeing the carriage is one of the best set pieces is just asking for bad reviews.

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I have limited sympathies though as it still relates to the design of the ride in the first place.


When a pirate in Pirates of the Caribbean breaks the ride is still pretty much a good experience. The experience does not lean heavily on one animatronic.


If the demon suit breaks or VR doesn't work (or the train crash scene fails and is replaced by metal fences) then the entire DBGT experience is ruined instantly. At the end the day the attraction is essentially a projection of Derren Brown, a hanging train set piece, 2 videos, a bunch of metal fences and a man jumping out at you.

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There's really nowhere else to place this, so let's pop it here:


British Theme Park Archive are reporting that a dark ride had been planned for many years at Thorpe (stretching back as far as 2008), with a ride similar to Spiderman at IOA being something considered. John Wardley, amongst others, was part of the team designing it too apparently. Many ideas were considered, and apparently Derren was bought on board in 2010. After many more ideas and iterations, eventually DBGT was decided upon and VR was one of the last elements to be added.


In the comments its confirmed this info comes from someone they interviewed, who said it was close but "didn't quite happen". How close in unknown.



I've heard a very different story behind the saga of how Thorpe eventually ended up with a dark ride (something that many had craved for years):


-The park had considered the idea of a dark ride / indoor experience many times (the acknowledgement of the need for this was one reason for Saw's indoor section)

-A decision was made for the park to focus on coasters and thrill support rides up until then (plus maybe a 4D show or Vengeance from the old London Dungeons coming over), but they got cold feet after Swarm's failures

-Derren was bought on board sometime in 2013 / early 2014, with the plan for a dark ride being decided upon in early 2014

-With the VR trend becoming a thing by the end of 2014, it was decided to incorporate VR then, again quite late in the process



Obviously there's no way to know for certain what version of events is correct, if either are. Maybe at one point or another someone somewhere within the Thorpe/Merlin hierarchy decided to look into a Spiderman style. Maybe it was just an idea that never got far beyond the drawing board.

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