Priestmangoode Mercury Train exterior 2 High speed rail: The latest innovation in the UK, the latest challenge in the US

British rail hasn’t reached the stature of French, German, Japanese, or Spanish high-speed trains, but if PriestmanGoode’s plans for a new high-speed double-decker train system are any indication, things in the UK will reach a global level soon.

Their pitch:

Introducing an entirely new concept in the way we travel, the train will incorporate a flexible, open plan design allowing for interaction, space and relaxation without compromising privacy. Both commuting and longer haul journeys will be more relaxed, comfortable and akin to modern living, featuring traditional commuter seats (designed to incorporate in-transit entertainment systems) alongside private berths – for families, private parties or business meetings echoing the nostalgia of compartmental train travel. A children’s play area will be integrated into the train and a luxury first class section will mirror the choice offered to air travellers with a luxury lounge and bar.

The exterior of the train, designed to emulate design classics such as Concorde, the Spitfire and Rolls Royce, will be 400 metres long and the extended nose section will be one of the most extreme in the world – vitally important for the aerodynamics of a train which will travel at 225mph.

On the one hand, I’m always excited to see advances in contemporary transportation design. On the other hand, I feel like I’m a tool, just for posting this. Most of these designs are vaporware — you’ll never see any of these in real life. Bars, showers, tennis courts… Ok, no tennis courts. But we’ve seen this sort of innovative design before, but the reality never lives up to the prototype.

Want to imagine what train travel could be like? Check their site and dream the dream.

There’s always hope… except in the United States, where the plans for high-speed rail involve trains sharing track with freight lines. Coal — 45% of volume and 23% of value transported on the tracks — is king in the US. The Economist has a thorough takedown of the prospects for realistic high-speed rail traffic, for those interested.

pixel High speed rail: The latest innovation in the UK, the latest challenge in the US
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5 Responses to “High speed rail: The latest innovation in the UK, the latest challenge in the US”

  1. Andrew Says:

    It will never happen. British rail bridges are designed to be the height of a single decker train. The infrastructure cost of double deckers make them too expensive for the UK in the real world.

  2. Ultrastar Says:

    Trains good, planes bad. Woo woo. #NoAgenda

  3. Philippine_Infos Says:

    Great news, with its new modern technology, people will experience comfort and arrive on their respective destinations with less time.

  4. david Says:

    funnny. how will these trains look after a football game. anyone who lives or has lived in the UK know how these hooligans trash the transportation before and after games.

  5. Michele (nzm) Says:

    From my experiences with ICE trains in Germany and AVE trains in Spain, high-speed trains generally have purpose-built tracks as they require dedicated electrical power systems and overhead cables. If unavoidable, and if possible, they only use other trains’ tracks when coming into existing stations or high-density areas. Where low bridges need to be passed under, I imagine that any existing railtrack bed could be lowered, so that the trains could pass under them. Plus, from the looks of the design, the whole carriage system sits lower on the chassis, so the height is really not double that of most regular pax trains.

    But the current UK loading gauge for their out-dated rail system would mean that new dedicated lines would have to be laid. In Spain and Germany, they have done just that, with high-speed trains running between major cities. It’s doable.

    The UK football oiks and hooligans would definitely be the problem!

    I love this design and hope that it will become a reality one day. Let’s also hope that the trains don’t experience the issues that the German ICE trains have had over the past few weeks, where failed air-conditioning units have caused carriage internal temperatures to rise above 60degC (140degF), resulting in collapsing, heat-stroked passengers and very uncomfortable trips!

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