Rail Events Productions takes guests on an hour-long train ride where they’re treated to a live, Broadway-style show in the aisles of the train.

“I won’t go as far as saying that I play favorites with the lighting for The Polar Express Train Ride – Chicago, but the fact that it’s the hometown show for myself and the entire design staff certainly means there’s some extra special attention to detail involved,” quipped lighting designer Guy Rhodes on Instagram.

“One of my favorite parts of the show that’s really only possible to pull off in Chicago is lighting the entire indoor train platform, which immerses our guests in the experience before they’ve even climbed aboard,” shares Guy. “The platform is over two football fields long, so as you can imagine, there is a large amount of gear and cable involved in pulling that off.”

A friend of Guy messaged him recently sharing, “It’s so cool that you get to bring people joy through your career.” Guy commented, “It made me realize that I often lose sight of this aspect of theatre... Seeing the families enjoying the show this weekend...reminded me that we really are creating cherished holiday memories for thousands of people this season.”

As she left the train following a show, Guy overheard an elderly woman tell a conductor, “You had me in tears.” She was smiling.

Rail Events deploys a complete theatrical lighting and sound system in the luggage racks of each car and treats the show with as much attention to detail as a show in a classic theater. The crew consists of Guy on lighting design, along with a sound designer, props designer, costume designer, two stage managers, and multiple production managers.

ME-3239: Snowflake Gothic Group Used in the Whippany Ticketing Tent and Chicago Ticketing Area, as well as in Whippany and New Orleans.
SR-1040: Lacy Snowflake Group: Used on Chicago Platform.

Production Stats:

  • Up to 16 universes of DMX per train.
  • 1,944 control channels per train.
  • 4 simultaneously run lighting cue lists during the show triggered via midi show control.