The Ghost Train is a seaside classic ride, immortalised by any one born in the 1970s as one of the classics, on par with the Waltzer, the Big Wheel and the Speedway (remember that one?). You sit down, you're secured in and you enter a dark foreboding place, driven around on a track, dangly bits of pretend cobwebs hit you in the face, groans, moans, faces that light up, demonic laughts AND I am sure at some point the staff go in and touch you, the bleeders. Then you come out of the dark and into the light saying "again, again, again", your Dad, his face now a sickening pale of white from fear barters with you "how about some Candy Floss?" and reluctantly you give in.
|"this has Derren's name written all over it"|
Has a new Ghost Train ride blown the pretend cobwebs away and re-invented the Ghost Train? You bet your bottom undercarriage it has.
Derren Brown's #ghosttrain at THORPE PARK is a definite must for anyone that a) likes to be scared b) likes to think they won't be scared or c) likes to think that they like to see other people being scared and d) likes to think that they like to think that they like to see other people getting scared. Understand??
In a nutshell - it is brilliant.
"The Ghost Train Re-invented, re-imagined" is the tagline and if you're expecting a throwback to the seaside ones that you begged your mum and dad to go on with you when you were a kid then you are sadly mistaken.
This has Derren Brown written all over it, and I don't just mean in the title. We all know Derren says on his TV programmes and live shows that he uses "magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship" so you would expect this new "ride" to feature the same ... AND IT DOES.
|"a message to your mind?"|
Without wanting to give too many spoilers away, even standing in the queue you are entertained by the Ghost Train staff, some are smiley, some are not, intent on making you uneasy as you queue. Then there's the experiments whilst you are in the queue, all designed to make your journey more personal, more stimulating, more unnerved and more exciting OR IS IT?
Cut to the chase, I hear you cry in your tens. Ok, I am cutting my chase. Once you've dropped off your man bags and your lady purses in luggage you are shuttled into a train waiting area where Derren himself pops up and says hello. It was like a personal one to one with the man, well it would've been if there wasn't 20 or so other people there. And then he in the blink of an eye he has gone and if your scare factor was still flat-lining at zero it'd be cranked up to at least a three by now, if you're human that is....
And then you're herded into another waiting area before you enter the abandoned warehouse home only to a train and if you're expecting some kind of Railway Children Train, all be it no Jenny Agutter with a white flag then think again.
I'd like to say that the train compartments were realistic but i've never had the chance to sit down on a train of this style, I am normally stood up, standing next to a complete stranger who is stood next to another complete stranger. This GhostTrain is so roomy, I like it, and comfy. (note to myself: task for rest of year, when next on underground TRY to find a seat).
|"We surrender, can we go home now please?"|
So, moving on, you're sat on a train, with a bunch of people, you put your gasmask-slash-goggles-protective eye gear on AND suddenly you're sat on a train withOUT a bunch of people.
Then the story unfolds.... how can an empty carriage produce so many screams, laughs, gasps, things touching your legs and voices repeatedly saying various kinds of expletive deletives. I must admit I did say the F-word on a couple of occasions (sorry Mother)... scare factor cranked up to an eight, borderline nine at some points.
Suffice to say, I have no intention of spoiling it for anyone but if you find yourself in Thorpe Park you got to try the Ghost Train, if you don't it'd be like going to the doctors, him asking you what's wrong and you saying "nothing I was just passing, have a nice day" GO DO THE GHOST TRAIN...
If you do go, you will love it and I am sure you will be chuffed to bits (is that a spoiler? I am not telling you!!). It's a five out of five for me.
Paul Stevenson, Haunted Magazine
EXTRA: Now, here at Haunted, we are not hard core celebrity spotters, in fact my last encounter with a celebrity was when I was on Great Yarmouth Pier in the 1980s and Les Dennis told me to "shift" but Thorpe Park was awash with celebrities of all size and stature from David Seaman to Brian Dowling, to Calum Best to Jeff Brazier to the brilliant Lucy Alexander (Homes under the Hammer) et al but the sight of Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore next to us with a Go Pro camera attached to her like it was some kind of Alien bursting out of her petite figure was a joy to behold. Here is the resulting video.