THE GHOST TRAIN
The Shorewood Wisconsin Public Art Committee wanted to illuminate this prominent bridge as a gateway to their small progressive community bordering Milwaukee. With the goal of telling a story with light, CLDE began by researching the history around the pedestrian bridge and discovered it once carried a historic train. The C&NW 400 was famous for being the first high speed luxury train, travelling from Chicago to Minneapolis in 400 minutes at speeds reaching 100MPH. The concept was developed to use lighting and control technology and creative programming to create an allusion of the passage of the train over the bridge…a suggestion that would be a “ghost” of the train. This unique combination of history, art and technology was illustrated with renderings and animations to raise funds.
The allusion starts with the sounds of crossing bells and crossing “signals” blinking on top of the bridge towers. The top rail of the bridge will begin to glow with the approaching headlight, along with the mournful sounds of the approaching train. To suggest the movement of the train cars crossing the bridge, lights from the bottom arch will wash up the side of the bridge, and move from side to side in the C&NW yellow and green colors,. “Rivets” of 3200 programmable pixels along the top rail will move at the same speed to suggest the passage of the headlight, windows and taillight. The Ghost Train passes each way once a night, at similar speeds and schedule as the historic trains. Other times there are 120 minutes of artistic lighting effects randomly playing on the bridge.