Seibu Railway recently announced plans for a new model limited express train, the first of which will debut in 2018. By 2019 the company plans to have 7 of these new trains running each with 8 carriages produced by Hitachi Ltd.
Designed by renowned architect Kazuyo Sejima, the design concept is as follows:
- A train that moves seamlessly between urban rural environments and adapts to the landscape.
- A train in which passengers can feel as relaxed as they would in their own living room.
- To create a new sense of values for railway travel, so that a train is not seen merely as a means of transport but as an enjoyable end in itself.
At present it is not clear exactly how the train will “adapt to the landscape,” but the initial concept image that Seibu Railway has released seems to imply that the train will have a reflective surface.
2018 will mark 25 years since Seibu Railway last introduced a new model limited express train, the #1000 series “New Red Arrow”. This new train will be the “flagship train” for the company and so they asked leading contemporary designer, Kazuyo Sejima to come up with a design “like nothing that has been seen before”.
Kazuyo Sejima is a celebrated Pritzker Prize winning architect, who has previously worked on designs for the 21st Century Museum of Modern Art in Kanazawa, and the Louvre Lens Museum in France. This is her first time to design a railway vehicle, however. Commenting on her design, Sejima said, “I think the biggest difference with architecture, is that a train runs between various locations. For a train that runs through a variety of landscapes, from the Chichibu mountains to inner city streets, I thought it would be good if it smoothly transitioned to the mood of each location.”
In contrast to previous designs for limited express trains, which have focused on a sharp, stylish appearance, Sejima’s aim is to create a graceful and flexible train design. The aim is to create a train that does not stand out from the landscape, but both complements and becomes part of the scenery. For the train’s interior, Sejima hopes to create not just a new look train, but a new form of comfortable public space in which people can relax and spend time freely, just as they would in their own living room. Together with Seibu Railway she hopes that the new train will be one that regular passengers look forward to boarding each day.
Intrigued by these initial conceptual design plans, and the image above, we are also looking forward to seeing just how the finally realized train takes shape!
Article by Michael Lambe. All rights reserved.