Is Ghost Train - Thorpe Park Resort's Chilling NEW Attraction For 2023 Worth Checking Out?
When it comes to first reactions, Thorpe Park’s new for 2023 attraction Ghost Train has had some VERY mixed reviews.
From some singing the attraction’s praises to others calling it an over-hyped waste of time, Ghost Train has pleased some and disappointed others since first opening to the public on May 26th.
But why all the mixed reviews, and how does Ghost Train differ in comparison to it’s predecessor Derren Brown’s Ghost Train?
What Is Ghost Train?
Ghost Train is a complete reimagining of Thorpe Park’s former VR based Ghost Train ride – Derren Brown’s Ghost Train.
Following the final departure of the Derren Brown IP at the end of the park’s 2022 season, Thorpe Park have been hard at work overhauling the whole attraction (and yes, the VR is gone)!
The new iteration see’s those brave enough depart on the “last train” and take a journey ‘beyond the veil, into darkness’ as they discover the story of the “Believers” and why Chapel Station remains “closed”.
The whole experience lasts around 15 minutes from start to finish and is completely actor lead.
The attraction features 6 scenes in total, 2 of which take place on the ride’s existing ‘trains’, however with the VR now gone, Ghost Train relies more on the actors and special effects to deliver the scares instead.
Ghost Train is certainly different from any other attraction previously featured at the park and offers an experience much more on par with the likes of Merlin Entertainment’s Dungeon attractions.
What Should I Expect From Ghost Train?
Ghost Train is an actor lead experience from beginning to end and mixes state of the art special effects with some truly jaw dropping physical sets to deliver a chilling, full on experience from start to finish.
The story centers around a collection of paranormal obsessed aristocrats called “The Believers” who believe that death is not the end.
The Believers supposedly held a seance in St Giles Chapel (aka. Chapel Station) and in the process summoned Death himself (embodied by the character of Angelus Mortis – The Station Master).
The result? The Believers had their souls sucked from their bodies and died and now those who dare to take “the last train” will also suffer the same fate.
The experience itself (we wouldn’t really say it’s a ride anymore) takes you through 6 immersively themed sets, each relevant to the story being told at the time.
As the audience you embark on the last train and end up stopping the now supposedly closed Chapel Station. Here you descend into St Giles Chapel’s crypt where things take a sinister and twisted turn.
As you attempt your escape, Death pursues determined to claim your souls for his own. This results in some truly jaw dropping acting, set pieces and so much more.
Ghost Train also features an almost identical final scene to Derren Brown’s Ghost Train too, however of course this has been modified to fit with the new story being told.
Is Ghost Train Scary?
Ghost Train has a height restriction of 1.3 meters and a recommended minimum age of 13 years of age, and having now experienced the attraction 3 times we would definitely say this feels appropriate.
The experience itself is very unnerving, fast paced and intense with alot of the scenes following the same formula as The Dungeon’s infamous ‘haunted’ scenes.
The overall story is very dark too and could be considered a little more adult in nature given the way the actors portray the characters in question.
Tripis and Thugs (a pair of very contrasting train conductors) are Ghost Train’s two main characters.
Each of them portrays a very different persona to begin with, however as the story progresses the characters become far more dark and much more on par with one another, especially following their possession (spoiler alert).
The attraction’s finale and penultimate scene is confined to the inside of the carriage meaning those ‘riding’ have no escape from the horrors that lie in wait.
The Character of Angelus Mortis is one who also follows you ‘in spirit’ throughout your experience too, and this is done through a mixture of pre-recorded audio and special effects.
The ‘photo point’ scene also remains identical in it’s intensity too and features a very similar set up with the inclusion of some more unexpected jump scares too.
Overall, the whole experience is loud, full on and very much in your face from beginning to end meaning younger ones may find Ghost Train a little too much to cope with.
Clever Nods To Former Attractions.
Although Ghost Train is in no way similar to The Curse at Alton Manor, each attraction shares one defining characteristic in common – they both feature nods to former attractions or areas at the park.
With Ghost Train, those queuing can expect to come across a full range of different, dated posters throughout the attraction’s queue line.
These provide nods to everything from Canada Creek and Loggers Leap all the way through to even earlier things such as Thorpe Park’s 1980’s appearance and more.
This for us was definitely one of Ghost Train’s defining characteristics and really helped set the tone for the experience ahead.
Given Ghost Train is supposedly set in the 1980’s, alot of the posters featured certainly fit in with this era as a whole.
It’s no secret that John Burton (also known for The Curse At Alton Manor & World of Jumanji) was involved heavily in bringing this attraction to life, and you can certainly tell this is the case.
Is Ghost Train Worth Experiencing?
Whilst we can completely appreciate why Ghost Train may not be to everyone’s tastes. we personally absolutely loved it!
The whole attraction is something very different for Thorpe Park and ultimately provides those visiting with an all year around scare attraction to experience.
Ghost Train is certainly not a ride though. Whilst the attraction does still feature the same ride system, the whole experience is now on par with a themed, actor lead scare experience as opposed to that of a ride.
Ghost Train sports eerie vibes and a chill in the air from start to finish and ultimately it’s the actors who steal the show with this one.
Issues could however arise should the same level of acting and reliability from technical effects not pursue.
If any of Ghost Train’s special effects stop working or an actor is having a down day, this could definitely impact on the experience those visiting have as a whole.
There is still however a lot of room for improvement. The final jump scare in the gift shop for one needs reviewing and changing to a different character for sure.
Reliability is also something that needs to be looked at too, however with that being said it was nice to see allowances have been made where waiting for the ride system to free up is concerned.
There were times where you could tell this was the case, although the actors covered this by playing out new scenes previously not seen in other run throughs.
Overall though, Ghost Train is something totally different for Thorpe Park and provides an immersive, yet chilling experience from beginning to end.
We highly recommend checking it out during your next visit.