Priestman Goode to design China’s largest train

Priestman Goode has won the job to design what is being billed as the world’s biggest train, for the Sifang Locomotive Company in China, Design Week can exclusively reveal.

The London consultancy won the competition against international rivals, including teams from Italy and Germany. T

he two- to three-year project involves two contracts – one for the nose of the train, and the other for the exterior and interiors for all classes – the combined value of which is ‘at the high end of six figures’, according to Priestman Goode director Paul Priestman. ‘It is absolutely “the project”, from a transportation point of view. It is about designing an icon for China,’ he says.

Priestman compares the Chinese train’s importance as an icon to that of the Shinkansen ‘Bullet’ trains in Japan. He says, ‘This is a oncein- a-lifetime opportunity to design a train, which will step ahead of the competition around the world, defining the future of high-speed trains.’

Though contractual agreements limit what Priestman can say about the new train, he describes it as much broader than UK trains and some 16 vehicles in length. It is designed to travel at 350kph on new highspeed rail lines that will run across China and include the Beijing-Shanghai line.

The consultancy is working on the design of the nose, which Priestman says is some three times longer than that of the Voyager tilting trains the consultancy designed for Virgin Trains with Alstom Transport and Bombardier Trans portation in 2001. The visual branding and interiors will follow.

The design work will be done in Priestman Goode’s London office, but it will have regular digital contact with engineers at Sifang (whose factory is pictured). ‘It is a tanta lising project,’ says Priestman, ‘because we still have it all to do.’

In another coup for the group, Priestman Goode has won the contract to design interiors for Malaysia Airlines’ Airbus A380 super-jumbo plane, which is due to take off in 2011.

The project involves interiors for First Class, Business Class and Economy Class ticket bands. The project builds on work the consultancy carried out on the First Class section of the carrier’s B737 in 2005.

• Airbus launched a radical cabin interior led by Priestman Goode in 2006, featuring mood-enhancing projections around the cabin.
• France’s high-speed TGV trains called in Christian Lacroix for its interiors in 2005
• The first Shinkansen train in Japan began operation in 1964. Experiments are being conducted into the use of magnetic levitation technology, giving potential for even higher speeds by eliminating friction and vibration

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