How to build an effective Ghost Train

The word Ghost Train is actually more commonly used in Europe (Germany) than the US. Here these rides are often refered to by specific trade names such as "Laff in the Dark" or "Pretzel". The cars on the Ghost Train are small AC-motor powered chariots that get their power from the center guide rail. The cars are not locked to the track, so precautions must be taken. The front of the ride is always covered with gaudy props and murals (called "flash") to entice people to ride.

Creating Ghost Trains seem to cause difficulty for people. This is probably because much of what makes a ghost train scary is not visually provided in the game. Most Ghost Trains are exclusively "Dark Rides", meaning that they are totally enclosed in a dark room, except where they pass through light shielding doors (called "bang" or "crash" doors) to get to/from the loading station. Once in the dark room, the rides tracks sharply twist and turn to face the rider towards a planned series of briefly lit scary scenes and frightening noises (called "stunts" or "tricks"). Although these scary elements are not avaliable in the game as real scenery, you should always attempt to imply them through lots of wiggling and twisting curves in your track design. Note in this actual Sally company Dark Ride blueprint that except for the loading station there is almost no straight track:

Here is a Ghost Train I built in the dead space under the return track of a roller coaster in a Corkscrew Follies scenario. The track plan is based on the blueprint above {downloadsaved track}. Note the ride is completely enclosed except for the loading station. Note also the "flash" on the building front to entice riders (with the new Loopy Landscapes theming you can now make the flash even more elaborate). The Guests just love this ride.

Now examine the following Ghost Train designed by Chris Sawyer:

Ghost Train

When building a ghost train, if you penetrate a land edge with your track horizontally, the game will automatically create a crash door for you (see illustration). If you want a tunnel instead (like the one the train is passing through in the illustration), penetrate the land edge at an angle. The following illustrations show the effects of penetrating different land edges (one square, 3 levels high):

Bang Doors

Grey Wall EdgeGrey Wall Yellow Wall EdgeYellow Wall Red Wall EdgeRed Wall Purple Wall EdgePurple Wall Green Wall EdgeGreen Wall Skyscraper EdgeSkyscraper (3-window) Skyscraper EdgeSkyscraper (4-window)


Brown Stone Wall EdgeBrown Stone Wall Grey Stone Wall EdgeGrey Stone Wall


Rock EdgeRock Brick EdgeBrick Rusty Iron EdgeRusty Iron Wooden EdgeWooden Black Wooden EdgeBlack Wooden Ice Wall EdgeIce Wall

Because much of the fun in the game comes from actually watching your guests on the rides, it is suggested that you build some of the ghost train track outside your dark rooms. Note in the illustration how the spinning barrel (like the one found on the Universal Studios Tour) is placed outdoors where you and I can see and appreciate it. Note also how in the illustration they ran the tracks through an outdoor cemetery (perhaps located behind the rear of the Haunted House ride), giving us another chance to see our guests, while the surrounding theming keeps the ride "spooky".

As a final note, keep in mind that although horror theming is the most popular kind of theming for this type of ride, other kinds of theming (science fiction, moral tale, history lesson, etc.) have also been used. On all Ghost Train rides the passenger is a captive observer around which a short drama unfolds.