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.
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.