By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Nov 01, 2016 at 9:13 PM Photography: David Bernacchi

The Ghost Train, a new public art project – or, to use the creator's language, an "artistic sensory experience" – made its debut last night at the Oak Leaf Trail Bridge and Capitol Drive in the Village of Shorewood.

Hundreds turned out last night for a ceremony and community party.  Culver's even debuted a Ghost Train custard flavor (chocolate frozen custard mixed with Oreos and green and yellow M&Ms - the ‘400’ train colors) and unveiled a Ghost Train wall of history inside its recently renovated location in Shorewood.

Inside Culver's: a history of the Ghost Train

The first of its kind public art installation proved to be a big hit, transporting spectators to the past while also moving them forward into the future. Cliche? Maybe, but the lights truly do just that: enable visitors to travel back in history, imagining the round-trip journey of the Twin Cities 400, which was operated by the Chicago & North Western Railway and crossed that same location from 1935 to 1963.

Touted as the fastest passenger train in the world, the Chicago & North Western Railway’s train routinely covered the 400 miles between Chicago and St. Paul, Minnesota in just 400 minutes – including its jaunt through Shorewood along the route of today’s Oak Leaf Trail.

Here's the full video courtesy of Victor Allan Cain:

The designer of the project was Marty Peck, principal of Creative Lighting Design & Engineering, a Germantown firm specializing in the expressive use of light in architecture. Peck created the allusion of a Ghost Train crossing the bridge that will, twice each evening, light up. And yes, a comprehensive traffic study was conducted for this project to ensure that any potential traffic safety issues were addressed.

The Ghost Train will run after dark each evening, with time changes during daylight savings. Times will be updated on the Village of Shorewood website.

"Ghost Train will be an exciting addition to Shorewood’s long-term public art plan," said donor Diane Buck. "Funded by enthusiastic residents, this multi-media lighting experience will represent part of our community's history in a dynamic fashion."

"We envision The Ghost Train as a creative artistic experience that will both entertain and educate viewers of all ages and provide a memorable way to celebrate Shorewood’s railroad history," said Pat Algiers, The Ghost Train Committee Chair and a member of Public Art Shorewood Committee.

Major sponsors for the Ghost Train include Marian and Bill Nasgovitz, Shorewood Foundation, Shorewood Business Improvement District, Shorewood Historical Society and Shorewood Men’s Club.

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.