The Walibi Holland theme park in Biddinghuizen, Netherlands recently rebranded its steel roller coaster as “X-Press: Platform 13,” giving a new look and feel to the ride. The ride borrows elements from the theme park’s successful Halloween haunted house attractions and adds a mysterious backstory, which unfolds in the queue to extend the guest experience.
Guests entering the queue watch vintage-style news reports describing an infamous subway train crash and the many mysterious events that followed. As guests wind their way through the queue, they are immersed in an eerie atmosphere of piercing train headlights, blaring horns, squealing brakes, and PA announcements.
Arriving at Platform 13, an out-of-control train races past, its brakes squealing. Then their own train approaches. Once onboard, guests are launched, accelerating to 94.3 km/h in just 2.9 seconds. Entering the final tunnel, passengers see the safety light blinking red, but their train is not stopping. The train seems to slide on the track, and a final pyro effect concludes this heart-stopping ride.
Nightlife Productions provided creative design, programmed the lighting, installed the attraction, and hired Frank Ruisch from AV Syncworks, who designed the sound effects.
Ruisch chose to use only real elements to capture the ghostly atmosphere. Cars rumble on the street overhead as daylight quivers through a manhole cover. While crossing a bridge over a construction zone, guests hear a roar and see the headlights of a subway train racing toward them, and stopping just in time.
Alcorn McBride equipment provides elaborate video, audio, and lighting synchronization throughout the attraction. “Alcorn McBride products are the only ones I work with,” says Ruisch. “They are reliable, reliable, reliable.”
Alcorn McBride’s V4Pro frame-accurate controller manages the entire show. The status of projectors and other show elements can be monitored using Alcorn McBride’s ShowTouch interface running on an Apple iPad.
A DMX Machine and a LightCue create synchronous lighting effects and control 30 LED fixtures for the phantom subway train approach. An A/V Binloop HD drives projectors for spooky visual displays and creates the out-of-control train. An AM4 Digital Audio Machine provides audio effects for the finale. And a ProTraXX is the main audio source for the queue.
Ruisch gives kudos to ProTraXX for its extensive use in “X-press: Platform 13.” “ProTraXX is by far the best multi-channel MP3 player there is. It’s lightning-fast and has professional balanced outputs. It even announces the correct time every five minutes. An amazing machine from an amazing company. I couldn’t do my job without it!”
“We needed reliability and proven solid state playback.”