Ocean Express is reportedly the first and only themed funicular ride in the world, whereby vehicles are attached and moved by a sophisticated cable/pulley mechanism. Located in Hong Kong's Ocean Park, the impressive ride has attracted 3 million visitors in its first 10 months of operation.
Designed to evoke a journey through a vast underwater world - in reality, the funicular train travels through a tunnel that is only one mile long and was created by excavating over 71,000sqm of earth - the attraction features a creative and technical installation by Sarner. The company made use of elaborate audiovisual technology, animation and surround audio effects to complement the underwater journey.
Specific equipment includes: 42 Samsung LCD screens, custom-manufactured to fit within a 72mm roof as the off-the-shelf LCD or plasma screens were too large; an AV Stumpfl SC Master 16 for show control and synchronisation of effects with the movement of the train; and an audio spec featuring Audica Microline speakers and Microplus amplifiers, APart Audio SUB-2200 subwoofers, a Peavey CS1400 amplifier and BSS Soundweb 9088 processing. The AV set-up is entirely automated and only needs to be switched on at the start of each day.
Paying tribute to Sarner's contribution to Ocean Express, Ocean Park chief executive Tom Mehrmann remarked: "This underwater adventure is a valued addition at Ocean Park. With visitor numbers expected to reach 7 million by 2017, we realised that the capacity of our current cable car system would be inadequate and we required an alternative route for visitors. Sarner's creativity has enabled us to offer a truly unforgettable ride."
Considering the overall theme park market, Sarner MD Ross Magri told IE: "The theme park industry has gone through a difficult time over the past few years, but the market is slowly gaining momentum. We have seen an increase in interest for new projects in SE Asia, and the recent opening of Universal Studios in Singapore and the proposed Walt Disney Park in Shanghai can only help in creating a market for this type of project.
"Sarner is currently working on a number of international leisure and educational projects, including a family centre in Iran, a sound and light show in Malaysia and a $250 million theme park development in Nigeria."