ABC’s ‘Exposed: The Ghost Train Fire’ is a crime documentary mini-series created by journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna, who also serves as the host. The 2021 show takes an investigative approach to uncover the truth behind the 1979 Sydney Ghost Train fire incident. Throughout the documentary, Caro and the team interview multiple people and unearth ground-breaking revelations. One of the most interesting questions that linger in the viewer’s mind after they watch the series is about its filming and how the creators were able to recreate the incident for . If you’ve thought about the same, here’s all you must know.
Exposed: The Ghost Train Fire Filming Locations
‘Exposed: The Ghost Train Fire’ was reportedly filmed from 2020 to 2021 for fourteen months when covid was at its peak. The crew worked in teams of four that included the sound recordist, cinematographer, journalist, and producer. The creators filmed the series in Australia, where the real incident occurred. Here, they specifically utilized the sites in Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales state. So, without further ado, let’s unravel how the show was lensed at this spot.
As reports suggest, the crew’s main filming site was the ABC Ultimo headquarters located at 700 Harris Street, Ultimo North South Wales, 2007. Here, they built a replica of the Ghost Train ride; they recreated the carriages, the ghoulish interior, the doors, and the diamond wire-encased cage area. To do so, they referred to the original photographs, diagrams by the engineers, and coronial documents. The train was assembled nearby at Studio 26, a self-contained facility that belongs to the ABC.
They purportedly burned the replica to the ground in the studio. Later, they created the explosion with a façade at a quarry and filmed the sequence in one go. The creators decided to take this route of re-enactment due to limited archive footage. The rubble further helped in the investigation to answer questions of whether the fire was accidental or intentional.
In an interview, Jaya Balendra, the executive producer, spoke about her filming experience. She said, “My heart was in my mouth recreating the fire because we only had one go at it, and it was all over very quickly, just as the actual Ghost Train was razed within minutes, and there was nothing left.”
Their budget for the recreation was limited, and they used basic props along with a few extras who were either staff, interns, or friends. With the exception of an old bus, period cars, and ferry, most of the props and wardrobe were sourced from ABC itself. The team used empty offices, technical areas, training, and rehearsal rooms for taping scenes. Jaya also conveyed what they wanted to accomplish with this effort. She revealed, “We wanted to convey the ferocity of the blaze that occurred that night and the unusual behavior of the fire, which witnesses described as being like an atomic bomb.”
Moreover, the creators recorded around seventy interviews that were shot at multiple locations, such as the cinematographer’s motel room, a kitchen bench, their house, or a random street. The families who were interviewed were provided trauma counseling by ABC. It was difficult for the team to find candidates who were willing to talk about the incident, but their hard work paid off.
The crew had to opt for Sydney to film the show because the actual people who witnessed the tragedy were based here. In addition to that, the city’s availability of all major resources that, include state-of-the-art studios, equipment rental companies, and experienced crews, was just as crucial.
The support provided by the government, and access to subject matter experts who could provide insights and in-depth analysis of the incident, helped them produce a cost-effective yet high-quality investigative documentary. Other projects that were based on a true story and have been shot in Sydney include, ‘Hacksaw Ridge‘ and ‘Unbroken.’
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