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Horror Train teases its secrets with just days to go before it leaves station for first time

PUBLISHED: 06:00 18 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:23 18 October 2018

One of the actors during the dress rehearsal for the Halloween Horror Train scaring passengers on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

One of the actors during the dress rehearsal for the Halloween Horror Train scaring passengers on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2018

Take one heritage railway, mix in some fear, add a dash of terror and a splash of every phobia going for good measure, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a night on the Horror Train.

With just days left before the enigmatic engine pulls out of the Mid-Norfolk Railway (MNR) station at Dereham, the event itself is still shrouded in mystery with punters left guessing what may be in store for them.

The chairman of the MNR, Charlie Robinson, said the event - brought over by American producers and scare attraction experts, Loco - had done an excellent job of raising the railway’s profile.

“Although we are only supplying the trains and Loco UK are organising everything else, to make more people aware of what the MNR can offer can only help us in our efforts to maintain and develop our heritage railway,” he said.

“We are always looking for different ways to promote the MNR so, building on the success of 2017, we will be putting on The Polar Express™ Train Ride again in November and December.

Some of the actors together after the dress rehearsal for the Halloween Horror Train on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSome of the actors together after the dress rehearsal for the Halloween Horror Train on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“Add to this an increase in film companies wishing to use our line - the much-acclaimed BBC One thriller Bodyguard was partly filmed at Dereham Station - and the railway is now able to move ahead much more positively than before.

“We are delighted to be involved in the Horror Train and very much hope it can become an annual event.”

Also lending a haunted hand will be a team of media make-up students from City College Norwich.

Course leader Tracey Gaines said: “It is absolutely vital that all our media make-up students have some kind of work experience as this is what identifies what is required for the work place.

Dereham Station lit up for the Halloween Horror Train on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYDereham Station lit up for the Halloween Horror Train on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

“We are preparing our students for the next steps which is progressing into work. This experience is essential to each of the students.”

And while the 60-plus team of scare actors are putting the final touches to their roles and enjoying the last moments of dress rehearsal , the people behind the event are gearing up for a show they will never forget.

Burtie Welland, casting and script producer, has been working on adapting the original script to incorporate the MNR’s surroundings.

He added: “It’s a wonderful thing for a writer to see the vision he had in his mind played out in front of him, and more so in a fluid evolving piece like this where new ideas can be instantly added and improved upon by such a talented group of actors.

“It makes the writer’s job much easier, more satisfying and much more exciting.”

Horror Train will run for ten nights from Monday October 22 to Wednesday October 31. Visit www.horrortrain.co.uk for more information.

One of the actors during the dress rehearsal for the Halloween Horror Train scaring passengers on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOne of the actors during the dress rehearsal for the Halloween Horror Train scaring passengers on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Ever fancied being a scare actor?

Paul Goldsmith, workshop coordinator for the Horror Train, shared his top tips for being a successful scare actor:

One of the actors during the dress rehearsal for the Halloween Horror Train scaring passengers on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYOne of the actors during the dress rehearsal for the Halloween Horror Train scaring passengers on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

· Know you can’t/won’t scare everyone: All out scaring every audience member you come across is unlikely. If a scare fails, don’t worry and instead deliver something creepy and odd before moving away quickly to a more suitable target.

· Stay in character: No one wants to see the hideous monster stop to answer their iPhone or chat about X Factor with their scary clown mate.

· Choose the moment, choose the victim: Pick the moment and type of scare carefully, timing is everything. Similarly choosing the right victim is important. You may have prepared your best scare but it could be totally wasted, so victim choice is essential. Scan the audience on approach and pick your prey.

· Variety is the spice of death: Create different levels of your characters behaviour - soft, intense, manic - allowing you to change throughout the show. Create an arsenal of different scares and learn what works with what type of audience member.

Actors during the dress rehearsal for the Halloween Horror Train scaring passengers on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYActors during the dress rehearsal for the Halloween Horror Train scaring passengers on the Mid Norfolk Railway. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

· Movement: Work on your body’s pace, movement and tension. Work out what works best for your character and then create secondary pace and tensions that you can snap to in an instant. A still, slow moving character who erupts with movement can be very effective.

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