Office? Meeting place? Latest TRAIN design reveals future of travel

Office? Meeting place? Library? Latest TRAIN design reveals the future of travel – with carriages that can adapt their layout during the day to cater for different needs of passengers

  • NS railway company has hired world renowned architecture firm and designers
  • Move is in response to a survey of passenger’s wishes for their ideal train interior 
  • Dutch railway bosses hope the concept will become a reality by 2025 

Designers in the Netherlands have teamed up to create ‘the train of the future’ with carriages that cater to every type of traveller – including those who want to socialise and speak on the phone. 

NS railway company has hired a world renowned architecture firm – that designed the world’s biggest performing arts centre in Taiwan – and a furniture company, tasked with creating the new concept. 

The move is in response to a survey of passenger’s wishes for their ideal train interior and will hopefully be rolled out by 2025.

The adjustable interior of the concept train has an office-like area for work focused people 


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Every year, 373 million travellers spend their time in NS trains according to research in the Netherlands.  

Gispen, the furnishing company involved, said it would create a ‘more pleasant journey during which passengers consider their commute as quality time; a moment to relax, work, study or meet one another.’

Passengers listed six categories of activities that they would like to see in the train, revealed to the public at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven last month. 

People were even able to take a VR tour of the fresh concept at the annual event. 

Those who’d rather socialise can go to the less formal zone with bleacher-like benches

The concept would of course also serve as a normal train – but with adjustable modules 

Activities flagged up by the public included those that require concentration such as working and studying, or relaxing activities such as reading, watching a film or playing a game.

In addition, there is also a group of passengers who want social activities such as phoning, enjoying travelling together and chatting – thus separating customers who may draw one another’s ire with their choice of activity. 

The train’s modules will be completely flexible, even changing throughout the day to cater to the amount, and type, of passengers.   

These train blueprints show how its interior would look if the plans come to fruition by 2025

The train, designed by Mecanoo and Gispen, will have 12 adjustable modules decided by travellers who were asked what their ideal needs are for when they travel with NS 

‘The train of the future will let you get more out of your day, for example because you are able to work undisturbed. 

‘It will turn journey time into working time. Or time for reading, chatting or chilling out. The train makes it all possible – it’s the passengers who decide,’ said Tjalling Smit, NS Executive Board member.

The train will be a far cry from stuttering national railways in the UK, Arne Lijbers, associate architect at Mecanoo said: ‘The train isn’t just a tube that you travel in from point A to point B. 

There is also a zone for standing and leaning (right of the image) that also has space for bikes and luggage. The adjustable carriage also has bench-like seats and coat-hanging areas 

People can choose to sit alongside one another or even face outwards at a bar-like table 

‘It’s a comfortable place to spend time where you feel at home and where a variety of activities that passengers want to do are possible.’

The design principle was to approach the train in the same way as the interior of the building: not as a shell filled with seats but as an overall concept.

The plans do away with the classic 2×2 model of seating – which organizes two seats of two on each side of the train–and replaces it with all sorts of options in the form of 12 new furniture modules.

There is even a thin row pf single seats that flank benches with pull down tables 

Every year, 373 million travellers spend their time in NS trains according to research

 

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