The Ghost Train Initiative - CODAworx

The Ghost Train Initiative

Submitted by Patricia Algiers

Client: Public Art Shorewood

Location: Shorewood, WI, United States

Completion date: 2016

Artwork budget: $380,000

Project Team


The Ghost Train Committee

Public Art Agent

Public Art Shorewood

Chemistry in Place


Shorewood Foundation

Shorewood Foundation


Marty Peck

Creative Lighting Design & Engineering


The Ghost Train is the most recent installation as part of the Public Art Shorewood comprehensive placemaking plan. Through innovative lighting and sound technology, The Ghost Train crosses the Oak Leaf Trail Bridge twice each evening after dark with bridge illumination lasting approximately 35 to 45 seconds. The bridge serves as a regional and beyond attraction, maintains general illumination from dusk to dawn and is a gateway into Shorewood. The public launch of The Ghost Train was on Halloween 2016 and approximately 2,000 people attended the event to watch the 'first run' of The Ghost Train.


Public Art Shorewood commissioned Marty Peck to design an LED lighting and sound installation for the Oak Leaf Trail Bridge. The goals were to create an installation over the Oak Leaf Trail Bridge and bridge Shorewood to its immediate western neighbor, The City of Milwaukee, fold time by bringing to life a historic event through innovative technology, create a placemaking installation that organically brings people from different backgrounds together and light Shorewood by night to add to safety and security


The members of the Public Art Shorewood Committee and The Ghost Train Committee came together and directed and coordinated all efforts including: mapping the locations; selecting the site; securing approvals from the state, county, city, and village authorities; raising funds; putting together a PR and marketing campaign; and planning events for donors and the public debut on Halloween. The project is an example of the kind of inclusiveness that delivers value to a community. The Ghost Train designer is Marty Peck, principal of Creative Lighting Design & Engineering and specializes in the expressive use of light in architecture. With Marty Peck's 25 years of experience and high profile projects, The Ghost Train Committee and Public Art Shorewood were very eager to work with him. The Milwaukee County Board approved the project and Shorewood's Village Board unanimously accepted the Shorewood Public Art Committee's plans for a new installation. The approvals were complex as the Oak Leaf Trail Bridge is a county bridge managed by the Village of Shorewood which runs over a state highway. The highway runs between The City of Milwaukee and The Village of Shorewood calling for much collaboration between the two.

Additional Information

The Ghost Train is a first - of - its - kind, placemaking public art project. The installation alludes to the 'Twin Cities 400' train that covered 400 miles between St. Paul, MN and Chicago, IL in 400 minutes. Many residents recall watching the '400' pass through their neighborhood and through the combination of art, history and technology they experience it again. The installation includes history displays near the bridge provided by the Shorewood Historical Society. The Ghost Train Committee raised $380,000 of which 90% was raised in 90 days. Contributions came from over 150 people and 10 organizations.