Argentina’s Francisco Lupin won the 2010 Bombraider You Rail Train Interior Design Contest with his sleek maglev-powered monorail entry. According to Bombardier, “The contest is about the creation of new and innovative interior designs for trains. Questions like how a modern train interior should look like and what kind of innovative features should be integrated need to be solved.”
Lupin’s provocative design incorporates sustainable energy technologies, like solar power and computer navigated auto-pilot systems.
And while there are many interesting features in his interior proposal, what I find most interesting of all is the redefined position the passengers adopt upon entering a train car that has curtains of glass for exterior walls.
This concept train mimics modern curtain-walls systems and deploys them on a mono-rail system.
Evidently, juxtaposing the modern urban condition onto a transport system suggests a reinvention of the modern commuting experience.
However, the historical precedent for glass-domed trains have been immensely popular for long-distance passenger rail travel.
Whether it is the California Zephyr, the Canadian Pacific, or Alaska Railroad’s GoldStar Service, taken together, train travel with sky-views of various natural terrains is a luxury-class service among a standard diesel train journey.
I like how Lupin’s design conjures the “luxury” of open view train cars and spins it into a modern, democratic, classless commuter experience. However, I am cautious in this design's improbable application below ground as a subway car. For now, my opinion is that Lupin’s Eco4 energy saving train engages an interesting mix of social, cultural, environmental, and economic issues which Lapin dusted over the technical merits of his proposal to ultimately claim the winning prize.
Ultimately, this project forwards our imaginations to future transport systems that incorporate larger windows and broader views, not only to visually connect with nature and even the urban skyline, but also to redress, popularize, and diversify the economic bases that will utilize these modes of mass transit.
Originally written by Fernando Arias at FutureTransport US