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Bandit Lites Helps Bring the Lighting to the Polar Express

The Great Smokey Mountain Railroad's POLAR EXPRESS

In 2018, The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad and its winter attraction -- THE POLAR EXPRESS hoped to increase their production value and add additional safety lighting to the Bryson City, North Carolina train depot. With the help of local lighting designer Chris Speer at Speer Consulting, Great Smoky Mountain Railroad sought out Bandit Lites to provide fixtures, show control, and integration for their project.

Speer and Bandit's team worked together to retrofit existing street lamps with a RGBW LED source. The existing poles were mounted at 30' - 50' intervals, challenging the designers to find a LED that was wide and bright enough to provide even coverage for the entire train depot.

"Safety at the train depot was our number one priority," said Andrew Fisher of Bandit Lites sales and installations. "Guests board and deboard at the Bryson City depot, and any dark spots could be hazardous to patrons. We couldn't just swap the existing lighting for a basic LED color-changing par, we needed fixtures that were wide, bright, and colorful."

The team turned to Cameo Lighting and Adam Hall North America and their recently released Zenit W600 which packs 21,000 lumens of RGBW output, as well as the IP65 rating needed for harsh winters in the mountains.

"The swappable lenses added additional value to our designer Chris Speer," said Fisher. "The lensing is kept in place via powerful magnets, and he was able to adjust beam spreads on-the-spot during the focus call. The Cameo W600s were able to wash 2,000' of train depot, with only 20 fixtures. Unfortunately, we were unable to get wired DMX to the final pole, some 2,000' from show control; however, RC4 Wireless out of Raleigh, North Carolina offered assistance with their new RC5 IP65 Outdoor Data Transceiver. The 900MHz wireless signal was able to travel the 2,000' of harsh outdoor environment and control the last pole."

The team furthered the design by adding Chauvet Professional Colorado 1-Quad Zooms at each pole location to provide scalable down lighting accents. Show control was managed via ETC Eos console software.

"Working with Chris Speer, Andrew Hill, and the entire team at Great Smoky Mountain Railroad was an incredible experience," finished Fisher. "The team is extremely knowledgeable about the rail and environment. Chris's programming for the Cameo and Chauvet fixtures was beautiful! He mastered the show and provided guests with a truly unique lighting show to accompany their one-of-a-kind show experience."


(6 March 2019)

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