I Can’t Stop Thinking About The Disturbing True Crime Luna Park Ghost Train Documentary

Six kids and one adult were killed in what was believed to be a freak accident. We now know otherwise.

Luna Park Ghost Train Documentary

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A fun night out marred by corruption, lies, and tragedy. It’s been a whole week and I’m still thinking about the ABC’s EXPOSED: The Ghost Train Fire documentary. 

After more than 40 years, the deep-dive investigation helmed by journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna has finally revealed the truth surrounding a devastating fire at Sydney’s Luna Park that was once pinned as a freak accident. 

The spine-tingling Ghost Train ride was a highlight at Luna Park back in its day — like a haunted house with tracks, passengers would twist and turn around a dark enclosed maze with ghouls, beasts, and, eerily, an imitation fireplace

Just after 10pm on June 9, 1979, a father and his two sons, as well as a pack of primary school mates, boarded their carriages to embark on the two-and-a-half minute ride. As a blaze suddenly erupted and ravaged the Ghost Train, they never came out the other side.

Seven lives were lost that night.

The amusement park shut down for three years after the incident. Police investigations and a coronial inquest blamed the fire on an electrical fault, negligence by the ride operators, and a flicked cigarette butt.

But we now know otherwise — and the truth is way more damning. 

Over three episodes, the series uncovers new evidence, unheard tapes, and a number of interviews that suggest the fire was planned and intentional arson. It makes the timing of the fire — lit while patrons were still there, instead of when the park had closed for the night — super unsettling. 

Then there’s the coverup: a corrupted circle of people protecting the perpetrators that spanned from crook detectives, bikies, crime rings, and politicians. It went all the way to the top in NSW. 

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

The first episode recounts that fatal night four decades ago. We are introduced to four Waverley College students, as well as a father and his two kids, who all lost their lives on the Ghost Train. We meet their family and friends, ride operators, and other park-goers spared by sheer luck and timing. There’s also a play-by-play of how the fire started, as well as initial thoughts and the aftermath. 

The second episode delves into witness observations, including dismissed claims of seeing bikies and smelling kerosene. The ABC team explores shady police reports that ruled out arson way too quickly. Members of the public were also allegedly threatened to change their initial statements about what they saw. 

The third and final episode pulled in nearly 740,000 views across the country last Tuesday, as Caro and her team tied up the loose ends. Corrupt police officers were found to be in cahoots with local crime organisations in an elaborate network that seems to just keeps growing. After the fire, the park was sold to a questionable tender that had ties with Sydney gangster ‘Mr Sin’, known for committing arson specifically to redevelop property. And as the web of connections intensified, it’s suggested a high court judge — and former Premier Neville Wran — allegedly helped arson-suspect Mr Sin secure the lease for Luna Park. The episode ends with the victim’s loved ones finally learning the truth.

NSW Opposition Leader Jodi McKay recently called for an inquiry into the Ghost Train killings the day after the final episode aired.

If you’re yet to watch it — or have watched it and want to channel your rage somewhere — there’s a petition to reopen the case here.