Simworx, the UK-based specialist supplier of media-based dynamic simulation attractions, has completed a unique attraction at Thorpe Park, near London, UK.

Derren Brown’s Ghost Train is a world first, high throughput ride designed specifically to provide a virtual reality experience like no other.

Merlin Magic Making worked closely with British illusionist and master of mind control, Derren Brown, to create the only fully immersive, psychological attraction designed to manipulate the mind.

It utilises virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), motion simulation, advanced dark ride vehicles and a huge range of special effects to create the experience.

The ride is housed in a themed Victorian train depot, and the 13-minute experience begins with a pre-show featuring a voiceover from Derren Brown discussing the concept of fear before appearing in a chair in front of guests via a Pepper’s ghost effect.

Visitors then move upstairs into a warehouse where they discover a suspended Victorian carriage seemingly held in mid-air by chains. On entering the carriage, they find themselves in a modern, London tube train and are asked to take a seat.

Each seat features an HTC Vive VR headset to provide special video and sound effects, while a whole array of special effects within the carriage add further to the experience which is based on a storyline about a fracking company and its work in the area.

Having ‘travelled’ to the next station, guests disembark the carriage and find themselves in another area next to a modern underground train. Actors playing the part of London Underground staff warn of a lethal gas that has escaped and their plan to take guests back to the surface, before a full size train suddenly appears and crashes into the mouth of a tunnel.

Reboarding the train, guests again put on the VR headsets for the final part of their Ghost Train journey and more unique special effects and illusions, before the experience ends and they disembark through the Victorian train carriage where it all began and return to reality.

Over 1,000 people were involved in the concept design and build of the attraction, and Merlin Magic Making approached Simworx for the ride elements.

Simworx, in conjunction with key supply partners for the project – Severn Lamb, Figment and HTC – supplied three, 17.6m, 58-seat passenger trains and 110m of train track, including two traverser tables.

In addition to the individual VR headsets and Real Time VR content, each carriage features on-board screens and numerous special effects such as smoke, lighting, vibration and more.

“This is a very different attraction to anything people will have experienced before and is truly a Ghost Train for the 21st century,” said Simworx managing director, Terry Monkton.

“This was probably our most challenging project to date, with many bespoke elements designed and created specifically for this unique attraction. The technology involved has taken this form of entertainment to a completely new level and we are absolutely thrilled with the end result.”