History of Wrecking Trains for Entertainment
The Great Train Wreck is an artistic interpretation of railroad history when locomotives were ceremoniously destroyed in head-on crashes for public entertainment. The California State Fair staged wrecks from 1913 to 1917. At Burning Man in 2018, we will have two interactive trains constructed from wood from Reno and Sacramento ultimately simulate a crash-and-burn as the finale.
Two full-scale locomotives, each with tenders, is 46' long, 8' wide & 11' tall, resting on a 200' standard gauge wooden track. The trains will initially be sited at the distant ends of the track, and on the day of the burn, pulled together into a fiery exploding end. A 10'X20' train station will stand beside the track.
Lighting and Effects
Using programmable LEDs and micro-controllers, we will have multiple circuits of effect lighting. The majority of our lights will be obscured or hidden creating more of a glow without visible pixels of bright light. This will add to the authentic feel of late-1870's steam locomotives. Inside the cab of each train will be ample lighting for safe operation of flame effects, which will in turn be dimmed during non-operating dark hours. On the front of each train, our plans calls for a 50-watt LED flood housed in a period looking lantern surround that will be "steerable" from controls in the cab. Participants will swivel the lamps direction to ensure safe passage across the desert at night. Strips of LEDs will also be secured to the entire length of the tracks for the safety of all travelers around the installation. Additional lighting circuits will be incorporated into the smokestacks, combining the interactive elements of flames, steam and whistles for a fun orchestra for the "conductors". There will be a continuous ambient sound element of "train sounds", audible to a distance of approximately 150 ft. from the center of the piece.