A Lit-Up Train That's Pumping Out a Techno Soundtrack by Paul Mac Is Riding Sydney's Rails During Vivid 2024

This isn't your ordinary commute — this is 'Tekno Train', which takes you on a 60-minute trip filled with lighting and music that changes to match the train's speed and the landscape outside.
Sarah Ward
Published on May 20, 2024

Each year, the team behind Vivid Sydney clearly asks itself a question: where else can we dazzle with lights next? Ranging from gardens and tunnels to buildings and bridges, the answers brighten up not only the festival's annual program, but the Harbour City. Letting a train lit up with an immersive glow and pumping techno tunes loose on the New South Wales capital's rails is a new answer for 2024, however.

Meet Tekno Train. This isn't your ordinary, everyday, average commute — this is a 60-minute trip filled with lighting and music that changes to match the train's speed and the landscape outside. And the tunes? Like the event itself, they hail from Paul Mac. The result is a 23-night-only railway experience that's an Australian first, with its music newly composed specifically for what promises to be a helluva ride.

Here's how it works: between Friday, May 24–Saturday, June 15, you'll hop onboard a K-set train at Central Station, either opting for a scenic route to North Sydney and then Lavender Bay via a secret spur line (the slower, more family-friendly trip), or hitting up City Circle and South Sydney (which'll be the livelier and faster-paced journey). Whether you pick The Scenic Route or Tech Express, as the two choices have been named, you'll see Tekno Train's custom lighting beam and hear its electronic dance music soundtrack pulse through all of the locomotive's carriages.

"Trains have always fascinated me. Their mix of rhythmic clicks and clacks, the screech of metal on metal, and the sound and smell of brakes are all interesting sensory experiences that everyone can relate to," said Paul Mac about the new addition to the Vivid Sydney 2024 lineup, which has been announced just days ahead of the fest's kickoff.

"Tekno Train will take things one step further. It will drive the music and lights, turning a commuter journey into a sensory rollercoaster."

If you're wondering how it links in with this year's Vivid theme of 'humanity', Tekno Train puts the power of music to unite — even when people are doing something that they don't normally think twice about — in the spotlight. It also celebrates public transport, mass transit and community. And, of course, it'll get you seeing riding the rails in a whole new light, literally.

In 2024, other responses to the Vivid challenge to put lights anywhere and everywhere include the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, where Lightscape will again get radiant; the Sydney Opera House sails, the city's trusty large-scale canvas; facades including Customs House and the Museum of Contemporary Art; the Sydney Harbour Bridge; Barangaroo; and Sydney Tower, which will project a fan of 40-kilometre-long laser beams.

And, for the second year running, Dark Spectrum will return to Wynyard's railway tunnels with a one-kilometre trail featuring eight chambers, 300 lasers and strobe lights, 500 lanterns, 250 search lights and 700 illuminated arrows.

Tekno Train departs from Central Station, running for 23 nights during Vivid Sydney — which takes place from Friday, May 24–Saturday, June 15. Head to the festival website for further details and tickets.

Images: Destination NSW.

Published on May 20, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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