Design Triangle to shape rail cars

Design Triangle will start refining its railway carriage concepts this week for Iarnrod Eireann InterCity, the Republic of Ireland’s mainline rail network, as the fleet’s first revamp for almost 20 years gains momentum.

The Irish government is investing 117mEuros (£76m) in the project, with 67 new carriages scheduled to enter service in autumn 2005. Design Triangle is responsible for the shape, layout and aesthetics of both the control driving car and the passenger vehicle, which are being developed in conjunction with Spanish manufacturer CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles). The two companies have previously collaborated on the likes of Heathrow Express and the Madrid Metro.

Seamus Brennan, Irish transport minister, approved Design Triangle’s initial exterior concepts before Christmas. The consultancy will now work on finalising its 3D computer-animated models so that practical aspects of the design can be agreed. ‘We need to make sure the lights are in the right position, that the coupler is still right, that the cab is big enough for the driver – implementation issues like that,’ says Design Triangle project manager Siep Wijsenbeek.

A streamlined exterior shape was particularly well-received by the Irish government team, Wijsenbeek adds.

The carriages will comprise six standard class vehicles, a café-style dining car, a first class carriage, and the control vehicle for ‘push-pull driving’ and parcel storage. When in service, the train will be powered by IEI’s existing fleet of locomotives.

Design Triangle design partner Andy Clark is heading the consultancy team concerned with the design aesthetics. Ideas for the carriage interiors are still at a relatively early stage and the consultancy will also define colours and materials. Seating for 499 passengers will be sourced separately, possibly from a Spanish company.

Design Triangle pitched alongside CAF in 2001 and hopes to command a fee close to £100 000.

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