Newest UK ghost train installed by Sarner in Southend
Prepare to be terrified with Sarner’s most recent installation at Southend’s ‘Adventure Island’. The new ghost train ride, ‘Over the Hill’, was officially opened in time for Halloween and is being heralded as a ghost train for a new generation.
The new attraction will replace Adventure Island’s very successful ‘Beelzee Bob’s Trail’ which, after eight years, was closed to make way for a new and advanced scary ride of the future. So, forget all of your preconceptions and prepare to be frightened, high tech style, with a classic family ghost train ride that’s been dragged into the 21st century.
The ride, which is made up of 12 two-seater carriages, delivers a unique 3D experience using animatronics, pneumatics, video projection, holographic images, surround sound, lighting, mirrors and air blasts to create a multitude of special effects. Set in a cemetery, the ghost train features apparitions and a main character, the Undertaker, who guides thrill seekers through the ride after waving them off and warning them not to go ‘over the hill’. It also incorporates all of the elementary essentials of a ghost train like bats, ghosts, skeletons, witches, smoke and the ubiquitous darkness.
When ‘Beelzee Bob’s Trail’ opened in 2000 it was recognised as one of the most original and exciting dark rides in the UK but Adventure Island saw the need for a new and improved ghost train to satisfy increasing customer expectations. ‘Over the Hill’ was devised and designed by Adventure Islands Art and Technichal team, Paul and Martin Clapp, and was originally intended to be an in-house project. Paul Clapp comments, “The basic concept and set design were a natural progression from the previous ride but we soon realised that in order to deliver something far superior, and achieve the level of customer experience that was required, we needed some expert help to bring it to life.” Martin Clapp continues, “We involved Sarner in the project because we wanted a company with audio visual show experience and they were able to provide the technical expertise and design advice for the various special effects, utilising state of the art equipment and the very latest technology. Our previous ghost train won ‘Best new U.K attraction in 1999’ and we are sure that, with Sarner’s dedication, expertise and valued input, ‘Over The Hill’ will surpass that.’’
The attraction’s highlight is the ‘peppers ghost’, an illusionary technique often seen in magic tricks and at the theatre. Traditionally glass is used to achieve this effect but can be heavy and difficult to install, so instead Sarner used the recently developed foil technology where the foil is coated to create a half mirror effect and this, combined with projection and 3D set effects, creates life like floating holographic images. Many of the effects that Sarner has installed on this project are the same as those used on bigger scale them park rides and the quality of ‘Over the Hill’ as an attraction will rival those seen in major parks around the world.
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