Thorpe Park Resort is a popular attraction located in Surrey, UK. Illusionist Derren Brown’s Ghost Train opened with much fanfare in the summer of 2016. The ride, which combines live action, virtual reality and show scenes with extensive use of projection, lighting and sound, was a world first for Thorpe Park Resort and a huge innovation for theme park technology.
Following the busy 2016 summer season, Van Damme were called in to support Thorpe Park with their plans to upgrade the ride for the 2017 season.
The Ghost Train is set on a replica London Underground train; each guest wears a VR headset which in turn is connected to a PC.
Jonny Burns, Show Services Technical Manager at Thorpe Park Resort, explains: “Derren Brown’s Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon takes guests through a multi-sensory experience and is a technological feat in terms of theme park technology.
For the 2017 season following guest feedback for more scares, we decided to bring a more realistic technology experience to life within the 20-tonne suspended carriage, so we revisited sections of the ride to make it fully immersive. Van Damme supported us in our journey to accomplish this.”
“Van Damme were instrumental in listening to our ideas and then exploring many options; it was obvious when they came in they had the knowledge and know-how to work with us to give guests an even better rider experience."
Van Damme spent time ensuring the VR headsets were fully functioning to completely immerse guests in the experience. Central to achieving these results was creating a customised cabling solution that offered the robustness and ease of install and replacement required by the Thorpe Park team.
Adam Jafrabadi, Export and Technical Consultant at Van Damme, says: “After meeting with the engineers at Thorpe Park and discussing their plans for the 2017 season we were able to make a couple of prototypes and, after a few tweaks and upgrades, we came up with a custom solution that fulfilled the brief.”
Since the ride has reopened, guest feedback has been positive: “Guests have been thrilled with the changes,” concludes Burns. “Working with Van Damme has allowed us to deliver the scares and the immersive experience that our guests crave.”